The 2007 Turkey AwardsThe 2007 Turkey Awards

As the bird burns, we figure out who’s really getting roasted.
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Posted November 14, 2007 by FW Weekly Staff in News

Right about this time of year, our e-mail box fills up with all sort of holiday advice.

How to cook the turkey. How to serve the turkey. How to carve the turkey. How to bowl with turkeys. How to use the turkey carcass as a hand-puppet. (And from PETA, the traditional message about why we should avoid murder so fowl and serve tofurkey instead.) At Fort Worth Weekly we offer a slightly different kind of advice in November: how to recognize Turkeys when they are picking your pocket, stealing your future, and generally leaving their droppings all over the civic landscape. This year, the toasted-and-roasted birds are almost completely from our local poultry pen. The dark, feathered things circling over our national and international landscapes these days are mostly not turkeys, but something much more sinister and unfunny — like the winged creatures ridden by Cheney and the other undead in Lord of the Rings. … Oh, sorry, that’s a slip-up. Our apologies to the Nazgul. Now, where were we? Ever mindful of readers’ time, we’ve arranged this year’s awards in the form of one of those helpful-hint lists. First, the piece de resistance, the Big Bird itself. After that comes the Weekly’s guide to Fun with the Turkey Awards. Aprons on? Oven pre-heated? Baster full? Here we go. — Gayle Reaves

The David Williams Memorial Big Bird to: Urban Gas Drilling
Since the TV age began, kids have grown up watching horror movies, not realizing they were metaphors for, like, grown-up things. Who knew Frankenstein was symbolic of public anxieties over the leaps and bounds being made in science in the early 20th century or that Invasion of the Body Snatchers was about McCarthyism and communism rather than an innocent tale of flesh-eating zombies? It may be almost Thanksgiving, but we haven’t gotten over Halloween yet. So in the spirit of those old screenplays, may we present … Attack of the Blood Suckers! Fade in: Exterior of a modest brick home in Fort Worth, early evening. Tex and Ethyl Aco snuggle on a front porch swing, listening to fiddle music by a new band — “Nero and the Burning Romans.”

Tex: Ain’t life grand, sugarbooger?

Ethyl: Wonderful, honeybunny.

Tex: All we gotta do is allow a mosquito to suck a little blood from our arms and …

Ethyl: … and we get a monthly check!

Pan right: Couples are seen swinging and snuggling on porches up and down the street, as far as the eye can see.

Pan left: Tex and Ethyl smile with satisfaction.

Tex: The bonus done paid for this radio and porch swing, and the monthly checks ought to buy a new spittoon and that armadillo-shaped wind chime you’ve been wanting for … holy cow! What the hell is that?

Pan to sky: A 40-foot tall mutant mosquito carrying a giant straw descends from the sky and heads directly for Tex and

Ethyl. Behind it are more swarms just like it.

Tex: My gawd! This ain’t what we bargained for!

Ethyl: Call the Texas Railroad Commission!
(Cue laugh track)

Ethyl: The environmental commission!
(More laughter)

Ethyl: Call the Fort Worth City Council!
(Continue pushing laugh track button. Keep pushing it. Don’t stop.)

Fade out. Epilogue: And so the mosquitoes sucked all the blood out of everyone’s bodies, then sucked all the water out of the lakes and aquifers, deposited their eggs in injection wells below the earth, shed several million dollars into the coffers of a city no longer worth living in, and then flew away with the rest of the blood money, to go live somewhere nice.
The end.

Tip 1: Plan Ahead
Damn. The very first tip, and Fort Worth is already in trouble. Our leaders seem to think, not of seven generations hence, as the Nez Perce leaders once did, but of last week and seven dollars from now.

As Long as the Rivers Shall Run and the Council Crumble

An appetizer bird to our mayor and council, for disappearing into the brush along with their promised support of a prairie park in far south Fort Worth. Mayor Mike and colleagues had ooh’ed and aah’ed over Jarid Manos’ proposed park, which could save one of the last large prairie ecosystems around these parts. But when it came time for a vote, Moncrief and crew tossed out a lame excuse about the park endangering the Southwest Parkway (not true). They turned tail on their promises, which left Manos with support from the county and local contributors, but not the city itself. Reward: One shot of Wild Turkey-gone-forever, for all of us, to wash away the taste of this one.

Plucked Over
A half-baked bird stuffed with nothing but lint to the Tarrant County College board and TCC president Leonardo de Garza, because that’s what the pockets of county taxpayers will look like when this inept bunch gets through with their mad plan to turn the north end of downtown Fort Worth into a Taj Mahal on the Trinity — a.k.a. TCC’s downtown campus. Cost? From $135 million a couple of years ago to $300 million and rising and not one brick’s been laid, prompting one board member to suggest the whole thing may have to be scrapped (never mind that big hole already gouged out between two downtown streets). Oh, and there’s the “oops” factor: The planners “forgot” one rather important initial step, like filing for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to build on the levee that the Corps controls. The Corps now says the project will have an “adverse” effect on the levee’s integrity as well as its historical aspects. Darn the luck. Back to the drawing board and talks with some of the most cantankerous groups in the country: local, state, and national historic organizations. You’d think a college board and president would have done their homework better, wouldn’t you?


Penny-Wise,  Trust Fund-Foolish

Let’s say some neighbor invites you and the whole block over for Thanksgiving dinner, puts a big turkey on the table, and then proceeds to hack it in two. Half goes in the freezer, and the guests have to make do with the rest. That’s sort of what Mayor Mike has done with Fort Worth’s proceeds from the Barnett Shale gas drilling. Moncrief appointed a committee to study how to use the $1 billion or more that the city expects to receive over the next 20 years, but most folks on the panel were from museums and foundations that specialize in trust funds — no representatives from neighborhood groups. So the committee met, but they didn’t allow any regular citizens to talk about the needs of their neighborhoods and how some of the money might be invested that way. Not surprisingly, the Trust Fund Bunch came to the conclusion the mayor wanted: Put half the money away. This goes against some basic economic principles of government: Tax dollars should be returned to citizens in the form of needed projects and services. Local money can be leveraged into more from state and federal funding sources. Investments can be made in capital improvements, which do more for the city than just socking the bucks away in the bank.

Maximum Possible Disruption
The North Texas Toll Authority is supposed to build and operate the section of State Highway 121 between Fort Worth and Cleburne. The Texas Department of Transportation, a major purveyor of pterodactyl-sized snafus and condor-sized arrogance, announced years ago that the road would be a two-lane toll road. So homeowners who contributed land for the project via eminent domain were mighty surprised in the last couple of years to discover that, at points, the state was taking 640-foot-wide swaths. At its widest, I-35 doesn’t hit 300 feet, and that’s with eight lanes, entrance and exit ramps, and big grassy embankments. Surprise turned to outrage more recently when TxDOT came back to take even more land. Unannounced survey crews showed up to stick new stakes in already-reduced yards. Property owners who called to question or complain were told only that the road was being rethought. Enough’s enough. If the agencies involved can’t even figure out where their danged road is supposed to go, they shouldn’t begin taking land. To come back over and over for more land is emotional abuse, if not outright abuse of authority — and a bad case of politically deadly ptomaine turkey.

Tip 2: Include Some Chilled Dishes Find the Taser ’cause the microwave just died … . Canned Sentiment
A canned ham, ice-cold, to Taser International, which sees, hears, and certainly experiences no evil as it continues to turn out a line of weapons the company advertises as nonlethal (or now, “less lethal”) but that manage to continue killing people all over the country — including in these parts — mostly at the hands of law enforcement officers. There have been so many Taser-related deaths that the company apparently has come up with a cookie-cutter response. “Until all the facts surrounding this tragic incident are known,” a company spokesman told the press in connection with a fatal tasering in 2005, “it is inappropriate to jump to conclusions on the cause of Mr. Thomas’ death.” Earlier this year, same spokesman, same exact response, when another man died after being tasered for the heinous crime of behaving strangely in his Denver neighborhood. On second thought, connect that ham can up to some electrodes and deliver to the Taser folks a little of their own cynical medicine.

Frozen Hearts
As pastor of Arlington’s non-denominational mega-church known as High Point, the Rev. Gary Simons nabbed some major national publicity for Tarrant County by refusing to hold funeral services for a decorated Navy veteran because he was gay. In interviews, Simons compared the 46- year-old sailor to a murderer because he’d lived in a long-term relationship with another man. Homosexuality and homicide apparently are equal sins, in the gospel according to this moron. Lee Sinclair was a member of High Point, and when his brother, Cecil, died of a heart condition in August (unrelated to his service in Operation Desert Storm), Lee’s church initially volunteered to hold a memorial service. Simons is the brother-in-law of millionaire Houston televangelist Joel Osteen, so perhaps he smelled the publicity value of honoring a veteran before thousands of spectators. But then family photos were produced that included shots of Cecil with his long-time partner Paul Wagner, and the deceased’s sexual orientation could no longer be ignored. Cecil Sinclair’s mother said she would have negotiated on the question of images to be used in the memorial but was immediately shut out by church leaders. Simons told The Dallas Morning News that he would’ve been happy to honor the life and death of, say, a thief or a killer, but, in his words: “I don’t think the mother would submit photos of the son murdering someone [for the memorial]. That’s a red flag going off.” A private Arlington funeral home laid Cecil Sinclair to rest after High Point Church kicked him to the curb. For the record, Sinclair’s Navy assignment back in Kuwait was to help rescue downed fighter pilots. Readers can make up their own minds about who’s more likely to earn eternal wings in this scenario.

Please, Ma’am, They Want Some More
A poorhouse empty bowl to Fort Worth’s “compassionate conservative” U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who enjoys top-notch government-funded healthcare (a.k.a. socialized medicine) but doesn’t want to share that benefit with children of the nation’s working poor. Granger voted against the Democratic-supported legislation that would have added $50 billion to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, allowing more than 5 million uninsured kids to be added to the 6 million now served by the program. But Granger and her cronies don’t have such worries. If she has to check into, say, Walter Reed Hospital in D. C. for surgery, the taxpayers pick up the tab. She does have to pay for her room and food, but guess what? That bill is picked up by her supplemental coverage paid for by — you got it — we the people, including the working poor whose kids, Granger said by her vote, do not deserve the same healthcare that she gets.

Tip 3: Throw in a Few Surprises
We’re not talking marshmallows in the green bean casserole — just people who ought to have known better.


Chuck Silcox’s Anti-Gay Gobble

Chucky baby, what were you thinking — “outing” Joel Burns when he was already out. Your serving is of crow, heavily seasoned with hypocrisy, for telling a local GOP women’s group to vote for Republican Chris Turner over Democrat Burns in the District 9 council race because Turner is married to a woman and Burns is married to a (gasp!) man. The first thing wrong — of an embarrassment of wrongs — with that statement is the obvious: Burns and his partner of 15 years, J. D. Angle, are not legally married since same-sex marriage is verboten here. Second, Burns’ sexual preference is well known in the district and has never been hidden by either Burns or his partner. Third, Burns’ sex life had not been raised as a campaign issue by any of his opponents until Silcox, a sitting councilman, opened his mouth and put his very large foot inside. Last but not least is the brow-slapping shock of those words coming from the mouth of the man who not that many years ago led the charge at city hall to have gays and lesbians added to the list of those protected under the city’s anti-discrimination laws. And add a big helping of that dish to Turner’s plate, for sitting meekly by, his normally rattling tongue silent, letting Silcox appeal to the district’s darker side.

She Took the Katies and Gave Them the Bird
True, many in the public think the news media in general are turkeys, but surely Elizabeth Albanese, ex-president of the Press Club of Dallas, deserves a large gold-plated bird. Albanese, a writer for a trade newspaper covering the exciting bond industry, suddenly started winning the club’s prestigious Katie Awards — 10 of them, including four last year, one of them in the category of investigative reporting by major newspapers. After some complaints from media folks who lost, Albanese couldn’t produce the names of any judges who supposedly picked the winners — and it now seems quite likely that the Katies were rigged for the last few years. And let’s not forget the press club board, which gets the drowning-in-the-rain award, for not noticing what their president was doing.

O! Henry, Goodbye
It seems odd to peck at one of the nicest bar owners this city’s ever had, but when bad management costs the town a great venue, it’s open season. John Walker opened MacHenry’s as an acoustic music venue in 2002 featuring live music seven nights a week — usually local singer-songwriters during the week and better-known regional acts on weekends. It was a “grand experiment” in the words of one customer. Perched atop the old Salerno’s Italian Restaurant on Camp Bowie Boulevard, the bar oozed dingy cool from the get-go. Guitar pickers started hanging around, acoustic jams blossomed, friendships were formed, and a sense of purpose mingled amid the booze, smoke, and dirty carpets. But bad luck, combined with Walker’s tendency to let the monkeys run the zoo, turned the grand experiment into a grand funk. When Salerno’s building was sold out from under him in 2003, Walker was forced to move farther west to a place with higher rent and lower vibe. The bar verged on closing until musicians raised money to pay bills. A second relocation to Magnolia Avenue was too little, too late. Along the way, Walker allowed too many local musicians of dubious talents to take over the scene, and they became the collective face of the bar. HackHenry’s was running on fumes long before Walker parked it.

Tip 4: Remember the Less Fortunate
Feasting is fine. But some folks are only getting the bones.

No Gravy, Less Meat
Since the turn of the century, the Texas Rangers have finished last or next to last in their division every season, and there is only one place to put the blame: Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks figured out that he could cut spending on good players and make even more money. So the payroll is in the bottom third of the league, despite the team being in a top-five media market with fans who persevere through ticket price increases. Hicks bought a half interest in a Liverpool soccer club earlier this year, recently raised more than $500 million from investors to do with as he sees fit, and should make huge profits off his Glorypark development around the ballpark. All that baseball fans are asking is for him to push a little gravy over to the baseball side of the plate, but no such luck. It was another year of gristle-only for the Rangers faithful.

No Roof for Their Heads
Jerome Walker, head of the Fort Worth Housing Department, receives a falling-down hen coop for his uncanny ability to take millions in federal dollars, given to the city to build solid and safe housing for low- to moderate-income folks, and using it to build houses that are about as solid as those built of straw and twigs by the sillier two of the three little pigs. However, he certainly knows how to make those federal dollars work for the city, if not for the citizens: He convinced an unquestioning city council to let him create a construction company within the housing department with himself as president, after which he proceeded to award no-bid contracts to the city-owned company to build and rehab homes that are now falling apart or sitting empty because they are so poorly constructed that they couldn’t pass the city’s own building code standards. Not to mention the fact that the feds are now investigating and want a few wagon-loads of their money back. And this turkey still has his job.


Dr. No-Show

Johnson County Medical Examiner Arthur L. Raines, who doubles as the county jail physician, is a public servant, but you wouldn’t know it from his work ethic or his response to reporters. He theoretically oversees a jail where lack of medical care and compassion has arguably led to needless inmate deaths. “Theoretically,” because some jail staffers say he only shows up there about once a year. At the jail there are no overnight nurses, and staffers say they’ve been ordered, in all but the most extreme cases, not to take sick inmates to the local emergency room unless the inmate has $250 to pay the ambulance. Then there’s the senseless rule dictating that inmate medicines must be ground up before being dispensed—which has caused a number of inmates taking time-released medicines to get severely, even dangerously ill.  According to his attorney, one inmate lost an eye due to an untreated condition. Another inmate who was denied medical care despite running a high fever for more than a week was finally taken to the hospital and died soon thereafter. Wearing his medical examiner hat, Raines decided there was no need for an autopsy on the inmate, whose death might have been laid at the feet of jail-doctor Raines. And public servant Raines, in the past 18 months or so, has not returned any of a dozen or more calls from the Weekly. For his humanitarian spirit and distinguished public service, Raines gets a special Hypocritical Oath-bird. It arrives dead and badly in need of an autopsy.

Tip 5: Relax, Don’t Stress Out
These turkeys certainly weren’t worried — why should you be?

Purple Frog-in-Throat
Maybe this should be renamed the ostrich award, since the TCU administration has had its collective head in the sand for a long time over various controversies surrounding their student athletes. The TCU administration and athletic department seem to develop a bad case of laryngitis every time one of their players is accused of or arrested on charge of … oh, lets say assault, rape, burglary, weapons charges, or pretty much anything that requires a comment. In fact, it’s easier to get hold of a coach or a player from the Cowboys, Rangers, or Mavericks than one from TCU. The university has hired an army of media relations people who, much like the football team’s offense, seem to consistently drop the ball, when it comes to answering the phone or returning calls. Perhaps they’re too busy fielding questions as to why in the world a relatively high-profile football program would allow its games to be broadcast on a cable channel that almost nobody gets — which seems to worry Frog fans and officials more than the players’ potentially criminal behavior off the field.

A Here-and-Gone-y Bird
Spencer Taylor came back into town with a bang and left with a whimper, quite a quick whimper, in fact. The nightclub and entertainment impresario, who helped start Billy Bob’s in an earlier era, started the West Exchange complex of bars and nightclubs in the Stockyards in mid-summer. By fall, the six clubs were shut down. There were lots of reasons for the implosion, chiefly Spencer’s overspending and his misreading of the market — like a business plan that depended on Southlake soccer moms rediscovering the Stockyards and reveling in karaoke and piano bars. But they never showed up en masse, the young hip-hop folks stayed away, and the tourists wondered what all this had to do with Western heritage. So a big turkey for Spencer, flash-fried, bland, underdone inside. Has to be thrown out almost immediately.

Danny Scarth
The downtown elite chose this Eastsider as their candidate in the 2006 Fort Worth City Council election to replace Becky Haskin. Clearly, the last person they wanted on the council was the independent and combative Louis McBee. Scarth had already proven himself a team player: Supposedly representing his neighborhood on the city’s Gas Drilling Task Force, he aligned himself with the drillers and took their money for his campaign. Since then, Scarth’s lax approach to reporting his political contributions has drawn a $500 civil penalty from the Texas Ethics Commission. Also, he’s had a problem paying his property taxes on time (hey, no wonder he’s pushing for property tax reductions).

Tip 6: Some Things Naturally Go Well Together …

Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, and Bass Hall
Last June standup comic D.L. Hughley, one of the Original Kings of Comedy and a star of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (clearly that worked out for him) came to Bass Hall, and the result was one of those controversies where nobody came off looking good. The comedian drew a target on his back by talking smack about the Rutgers women’s basketball team in the wake of Don Imus’ firing — who told him this would be a good idea? Then local activist Eddie Griffin (not to be confused with the African-American standup comic by the same name) staged a one-man protest inside the hall during the comedian’s performance — Griffin had time to think of a witty insult to launch at Hughley, and all he could come up with was booing the man? Then Bass Hall security and Fort Worth police, apparently unfamiliar with the time-honored practice of heckling standup comics, totally overreacted and threatened to file charges against Griffin, only to be swiftly talked out of that by leaders of the crowd of protesters outside the hall. We’d give everybody a turkey, but Griffin beat us to it, posting a message on a friend’s blog that the incident was “an embarrassment to all, including myself.”


Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Gas Drillers

The city’s daily newspaper has celebrated gas drilling from the outset of the Barnett Shale phenomenon several years ago. With so many millions at stake, it’s not surprising that Fort Worth city officials have kowtowed to the industry so far. What’s less easily explained is the Star-Telegram’s motivation for cheering on drillers erecting rigs in bustling neighborhoods. Gushing editorials were nauseating enough, but then we got columnist Bud Kennedy’s view that allowing a high-impact gas well in a tree-covered area near a Trinity River hike and bike trail was A-OK, no problema. More than a thousand residents rallied against the permit, trying to convince the company to drop the proposal or at least reduce its impact on the property. But that passionate show of democracy in action was just so much fuss to Kennedy — the company had a legal right to drill, and nothing more needed to be said. That column aside, the paper’s coverage has some people wondering how much Barnett Shale money is making its way to the Star-T’s bank account, either through advertisements or from drilling royalties from its properties. The newspaper has practiced boosterism since chief booster Amon G. Carter founded it. But no newspaper worth its salt should act as uncritical apologist for an industry that has thus far shown little concern for the environment or citizens’ safety and quality of life and shown every indication that it’s willing to bully citizens and, in many cases, lie, cheat, and steal to get what it needs. (No, of course those injection wells won’t affect water wells; 300 feet is plenty of clearance from houses and schools; officer, please arrest those legal demonstrators for daring to express their opposition to our arm-twisting.)  Recently, however, the newspaper has begun offering a little more balance in its coverage and on its blog site devoted to the Barnett. So in the spirit of the day, we give thanks for small wonders.

Leonard Briscoe Sr. and Questionable Deals
Let’s see, who is most deserving of this tough, tasteless bird — controversial developer Leonard Briscoe, for talking 3,000 or so homeowners into signing over their mineral rights to his newly formed but money-short drilling company with promises of big bonuses and high royalty percentages, or the homeowners who signed on with a company formed by an ex-con before they got the bonus money in hand? After waiting more than a year for their money, some of those folks have now filed a class action lawsuit against Briscoe, who promised the suckers that he could get $60 million from California investors to cover the lease agreements and begin drilling for gas in their neighborhoods. So far, those investors haven’t materialized, and Briscoe won’t answer the fleeced customers’ calls or letters, the attorney said in his filing. It’s what happens, people, when the Music Man comes to River City.

KXAS-TV/Channel 5 and Junk News
It’s a generally true maxim that, in TV news, if it bleeds it leads. On the local NBC affiliate, however, just as groundbreakingly important is a cure for hangnails, the discovery that overeating leads to obesity, or a new procedure for injecting money and brain cells, both painlessly harvested from the patient, under the skin to reduce wrinkles, regrow hair, and cure bad breath. The news producers must figure the public can’t get enough of crime, tragedy, and the old bait-and-switch consumer stories, but do those things really need to play at the top of the prime-time newscasts day after day? Just before Halloween, Channel 5 led off the news with the story of a mother whose three young daughters were frightened by Wal-Mart’s costume display. A few months before that, the station revealed that if you get chips and cookies with a Subway sandwich, you will be ingesting more calories than if you just had the sandwich by itself. Then there was anchor Mike Snyder, who, in recounting an incident in which a man exposed himself to a woman in a local apartment laundry room, intoned the perve’s own line, “Do you want some of this?” No, we don’t.

Tip 7: Don’t Neglect the Classics

Wal-Mart
You’ve seen it before — a big-box retailer, wanting to plop a store in a neighborhood, promises to infuse property and sales tax revenue into a city, provide jobs, and boost the local economy. Then construction begins, trees are slaughtered, employees are paid slave wages, small business owners are crowded out, and customers are treated like cattle. Earlier this year, the Washington-based nonprofit research group Good Jobs First described how the mega-company consistently challenges its annual property tax bills at stores across the country and saves millions of dollars, particularly in Texas. Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: Huge discount on promises and ethics! A communist philosopher once said the end result of a capitalistic system is predictable — one person will ultimately own everything. Years from now, Sam Walton’s great-great-great-grandson’s love child’s adopted daughter, Stardust, probably will control our entire nation’s wealth and power. Let’s hope she’s a nice gal.

Bishop Jack Iker
This isn’t Jack Iker’s first waddle down Turkey Lane. But the long-tenured bishop of the Episcopal Church’s Fort Worth diocese has taken his anti-women, anti-gay position to a new level. Last month, the powers-that-be in the diocese set in motion the first steps necessary to remove themselves from the national, very tolerant Episcopal Church USA. Apparently allowing women and homosexuals to preach the word of God constitutes a “distortion of the Christian faith,” according to a statement made by Iker supporter the Rev. Ryan Reed. In Iker’s mind, there have been two separate churches within the ECUSA for some 30 years: one that thinks it’s OK for gays and women to be ordained as ministers and elevated to the rank of bishop and another that clings to the old-world ideals of the Catholic church — a church not exactly known for its acceptance of new ideas, like the one about the Earth revolving around the sun. Instead of reconciling his differences with the national church, agreeing to disagree, or — God forbid — giving up a little of his power to some of the faithful whom the Diocese has so zealously marginalized, Iker has chosen to bully, manipulate, and break church laws so that his new church’s doctrine will finally match his own level of intolerance.


Mayor Mike a.k.a. Richie Rich

How do we love thee, Mike, let us count the ethically challenged ways: Mayor Mike reaps hundreds of thousands of dollars from investments in just about every drilling company that comes hat in hand to the council for a permit to punch one more hole into the gas field that underlies this old town. But does that mean that the mayor should abstain from voting for the beggars? Hell no, says the city attorney, ’cause his worshipfulness is not the outright owner of the companies, just an investor. Forget that the city’s ethics code is clear enough for even a bird-brained bureaucrat to understand: An elected official cannot vote on an issue that comes before the council in which the officer or a member of his/her family has a financial interest. And he or she has to announce publicly what the financial interest is. Is that so hard? Must be. The mayor not only votes “yea” on those drilling permits, he also votes in the affirmative when the financial interest accrues to son Troy. The younger Moncrief’s Sendera Title Company did the deed work for Moncrief family friend and developer Michael Mallick’s Sierra Vista housing project on Riverside Drive — a development that was jump-started with $3.5 million from the city. And then there was that little trip to Nebraska on Ross Perot Jr.’s private jet for a whirlwind VIP tour of one of Cabela’s stores before voting “yea” for the sporting giant to get a stupendous tax break to build one of its stores in the Alliance corridor on land it bought from — voila! — Ross Perot Jr. Way to go, Mikey. With turkey drumstick held high, we give you the people’s sa-lute.

Tip 8: Go Light on Dessert

Petit Fours for Sports Fans
OK, just one little cream puff and we’re out of here. If it’s not lining the birdcage yet, go check out the cover of the Star-T’s sports section for Monday. True, the sports section is accurately referred to by more serious-minded journalists as the Toy Department, but please, have these people no shame? What did they do, hire Tim Gunn as the new sports editor? Taking up more than half the page was a feature devoted to which local football teams have the cutest helmets. The copy even referred to them as “sweet looking object[s]” — perhaps the writer had never received the full force of one of those sweet nothings in the solar plexus with a 250-pound lineman behind it. Some designs were “too busy,” it was found that DELETE writing “destroys the look,” while overly plain color schemes failed to mark the wearers as warriors.
Next week’s section-cover topic: Should ducks wear pants? Vote on the blog.


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