Just when you think the gall of city politicians has reached its zenith, Fort Worth City Council member Becky Haskin pushes it further.
After announcing she would run for justice of the peace in March, she vowed to keep her council seat in the meantime – in direct contrast to that bothersome little thing called a city charter. Haskin can use her position on the city council while seeking election to another office. If she wins that one, she’ll earn almost $79,000 a year (compared to $75 a week on the council) and still hold a position that allows her to be judgmental and bossy. If she loses, she can again run for city council in a special election in May 2006 – still as the incumbent. Smart… smarmy but smart.
A similar situation came up last year after then-council member Frank Moss announced a run for county commissioner. City Attorney David Yett paved the way by interpreting state law to say that council members should stay in office until their successors are elected. Regardless, Fort Worth’s city charter is clear: “If a member of the council shall become a candidate for nomination or election to any [other] public office … he/she shall immediately forfeit his place in the council.” City attorneys understood this to mean: “If a city councilperson wants to run for another office but keep her council seat in the meantime because she’s played the political game for a dozen years and thinks she’s above the law, then by all means circle the wagons, find a loophole, and piss on the people’s charter.”
Still the Champ
Static dug out its rhinestone-studded attire last Saturday and headed east to that big piece of paste in the Texas tiara for the annual Press Club of Dallas do. Several long hours and a couple of martinis later, Static and colleagues headed back west, heavier by several pounds. It wasn’t the Hyatt Regency’s chicken and chocolates that did it – Fort Worth Weekly had picked up three weighty Katies in the six-state contest that the Press Club puts on each year.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Morning News, and Dallas Observer, of course, took home their shares of the nekkid golden women, but the Weekleteers felt pretty good, all in all. Betty Brink, with the able assistance of erstwhile high-school intern Brooke Gray, brought home the hefty statuette in the medium-market newspaper series category, for stories on the Fort Worth school district’s math program that taught administrators how to multiply by the millions. Dan Malone’s latest cover story on the Wirt Norris saga received the investigative category honors. And the Weekly, for the second year running, was named best newspaper in its category.
Yee-ha, drinks all ’round. OK, now back to work.