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Published on Jul 10, 2008
A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.
County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.
Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.
Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."
That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.
Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster's, is perhaps "the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape."
Other county officials quickly interceded to break it up and get the meeting back on track. TV news cameras were rolling, after all.