Turkey Awards 2013

This year’s flock of pavos: pedaling into infamy.
19
Posted November 20, 2013 by FORT WORTH WEEKLY STAFF in News

We’ve got them highway-building blues.

“Damn this traffic jam, how I hate to be late,” James Taylor once sang about that all-American pastime of crawling bumper to bumper in the big city. He could have written an opus about the reconstruction of Airport Freeway east of Loop 820, which began in 2010 and has somehow lasted for 194 years. This never-ending construction purgatory leaves motorists in tight little lanes bordered by concrete barriers and with no shoulders, few stripes, poor signage, and daily surprises about which lanes will be open or closed. We know people who have changed their whole route to and from work and the airport because of it. Hey, Taylor, how about a song called “Damn this panic attack”?

 

Cruz worked hard to earn the Big Bird. David Peterson/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com

Cruz worked hard to earn the Big Bird. David Peterson/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com

A bending, breaking bird

The good news for the 5-5 Dallas Cowboys is that the NFC East is so weak that they could go 7 and 9 and still win the conference and enter the post-season.

The bad news is that, while the Cowboys’ offense is OK, their defense is dreadful. Ranked dead last (giving up nearly 440 yards per game), the less-than-big D has been wracked with injuries, sure, but there’s more to it than that.

The main problem has been the implementation of new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s trademark scheme. Created in the mid-1990s with Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy, the “Tampa 2” favors speed over size and strength, bends but doesn’t break (opposing offenses –– theoretically –– can rack up yardage but not crack the end zone), tries to keep the same 11 defenders on the field at all times, and creates turnovers. The Cowboys have got that last part down –– they’re near tops in the league in takeaways. But the rest? Not so much. The defense is bending and breaking, giving up a whopping 25-plus points per game, and if there was a record for pancakes/steamrolls received and missed tackles, you can bet the Cowboys would be near the top of that list too.

Even though the old saw “defense wins championships” is a myth, and even though Tony Romo and company can light up a scoreboard, you don’t want to have to shoot-out your way through the playoffs. There are much better offenses in the league, quite a few of them attached to much better defenses.

 

Only turkeys mess with free speech.

Few things inflame passions on both sides of the aisle like the debate over gun- control laws in America. But good is rarely accomplished when officials at a public university try to muzzle debate on any topic. Recently the folks who monitor the social-media platforms at Texas Christian University refused to post an online flier promoting a campus appearance by former U.S. Treasurer Bay Buchanan, a gun-rights advocate. The conservative student group Young Americans for Freedom, which hosted Buchanan, was told that the flier’s illustration of a Wild Bill Cody-era rifle and the phrase “Fully Loaded” would make some students think –– erroneously –– that guns are permitted on campus.

Afterward, officials said the rifle drawing might offend somebody. YAF was also denied permission to give away certificates for gun-safety classes as raffle prizes. Buchanan criticized campus administrators for all of it during her speech, and she was right to do so. This has nothing to do with gun rights per se, but with another right that, dare we say, is even more basic: freedom of speech.

 

Hamilton hasn’t done well with the Angels, but he did earn a Turkey here. Michael Goulding/The Orange County Register/ZUMAPRESS.com

Hamilton hasn’t done well with the Angels, but he did earn a Turkey here. Michael Goulding/The Orange County Register/ZUMAPRESS.com

Only turkeys take guns to a bar district.

Getting back to guns, we’re not so thrilled at the Wild West sight of a dozen gun-rights activists waving semi-automatic rifles and shotguns at a last-minute rally in the parking lot of a Stockyards bar. That’s exactly what happened Jan. 31 at the impromptu “Open Carry Gun Walk.” The rally was ostensibly staged to support a (failed) bill in the Texas Legislature to allow people with concealed handgun permits to display their weapons openly. When reporters showed up, however, the march predictably devolved into an orgy of Obama-bashing. Its substance was flat-out untrue –– the president has never proposed seizing guns that have been lawfully obtained by citizens. But the heady mix of right-wing paranoia, assault-style weapons, and maybe –– just maybe –– some pre-rally happy hour drink specials earns this gun-happy group a big noisy bird.

 

A fig leaf for shade

A contractor hired by the City of Fort Worth cut down a huge elm tree on Brian Bentley’s property last summer because the trees roots were believed to have been damaged fatally when the city installed a new street, sidewalks, and curbs in the neighborhood.  The contractor didn’t have the permit required by the city’s own ordinance to cut down a tree of such size and significance (106 inches around, which would put its age at roughly 135 years). Such a giant, beloved by neighbors for its shade and beauty, couldn’t really be replaced — but then again, the city barely tried. Officials e-mailed an apology and offered to plant — hold onto your hat — two saplings measuring 3 inches in diameter and would do even that much only if Bentley signed a waiver releasing the city from all other damages. Bentley refused and used the city’s own ordinances to determine that he was owed $13,000 for the unauthorized tree removal. A year later, they’re still wrangling over it. For acting as if they’re above their own laws, Fort Worth bureaucrats receive a brown turkey fig tree. Eventually, it may produce leaves big enough to cover their embarrassment.

 

Yes, officer, I was looking up with my mouth open while it rained.

You’d think the lieutenant governor would know that police stations record phone conversations. But that didn’t stop David Dewhurst from calling Allen police in August and trying to use his position and power to bully a police sergeant into giving special treatment to one of Dewhurst’s relatives (that is, if a “stepniece-in-law” is a relative). The police sergeant tactfully stood his ground, much to the growing consternation of Dewhurst, who appears accustomed to people asking “how high” when he says “jump.” A couple of months later, Dewhurst was speaking with a group of Houston Republicans and joked about the call, saying it’s “far better to talk to police officers in person than on the phone.” Well, that’s one lesson for the politician to learn. Another would be to not seek special favors. … You can stop laughing now.

 


19 Comments


  1.  
    Avid Fan

    How right you are. The FWISD Three Ring Circus will continue as long as the powers that be in Cowtown allow Judy “Medusa” Needham to control the Board. Change is long overdue. Avila was just her latest toy/victim. Hopefully he learned his lesson. Hard to feel sorry for Sutherland who was content to sit back in silence and watch others suffer. Hopefully the Palazzolo trial will convince someone – anyone – Needham has done enough damage to the children, teachers and employees of FWISD. Needham, Sims and Dansby – the last of the Tocco relics – need to go – along with their cronies. Ashley and Cinto are much needed breaths of class and fresh air.




  2.  
    Justice

    WOULDN’T IT BE KIND OF SAVAGE FOR A TURKEY TO BE FED TURKEY? AVILA IS A WORTHLESS WANNA BE LOSER, WHO GOT ON THE BOARD, B/C NO ONE HAD THE CAJONES (OR THE PSYCHOSIS) TO RUN AGAINST HIM! YOU RAN UNOPPOSED AVILA; THE SEAT WAS GIVEN TO YOU, B/C YOU WERE THE ONLY BOOB IDIOTIC ENOUGH TO TAKE IT! WE ALL HAD HOPES, REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU GOT ON THE BOARD, YOU WOULD HOLD THE MINIONS ACCOUNTABLE. BUT NO; YOU DECIDED TO VOTE ON SOMETHING YOU KNEW SQUAT ABOUT, JUST TO IMPRESS THE ASSES OF NEEDHAM AND DANSBY. AND YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE A LAWYER? YOU WOULD THINK YOU WOULD KNOW ABOUT ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL COURTESY. WHY VOTE ON SOMETHING YOU HAD NO KNOWLEDGE ABOUT? HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE TERM “ABSTAIN”? WELL, AFTER YOUR STINT AND JASON SMITH (THE OTHER LEGAL BOTTOM FEEDER) SHOWED HIS TRUE COLORS BEING REPLACED AS PALAZZOLO’S LAWYER; I AM CONVINCED THAT MOST JD’S DEALING WITH THE ISD, IN ANY CAPACITY, ARE GREEDY AND UNSCRUPULOUS!

    I AM HOPEFUL STILL, AFTER 3+ YEARS, THAT PALAZZOLO’S TRIAL IS GOING TO MAKE HISTORY, IN TERMS OF IMPOSING THE BAD KARMA THAT IS DUE TO ALL OF YOU HALF-BAKED “TURKEYS” ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, INCLUDING DANSBY AND MOST OF HIS CABINET! YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CANNOT HIDE. DON’T THINK FOR A MINUTE THAT YOU ALL HAVE BROKEN PALAZZOLO! BY THE TIME IT IS ALL SAID AND DONE, YOU PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE EATING MORE THAN RAW SLICES OF TURKEY; YOU WILL ALSO BE SERVED A NICE BIG HELPING OF CROW! BON APPETITE!!!




  3.  
    Matthew Avila

    I received a “Turkey” award from the Fort Worth Weekly for my “unsubstantiated” censure of a fellow board trustee. Welcome to politics…Anyone who know me at all knows I don’t do anything without full knowledge of the facts and without a thorough analysis. It’s a deeply rooted conviction, a part of my personality, and is supported by years of scientific and legal training. I’m being chastised for the same skills that are helping to turn this district around. I appreciate and respect your opinion Fort Worth Weekly, but you missed the mark on this one.

    Respectfully,
    Matthew Avila
    FWISD Board of Education, Trustee – District 8




  4.  
    Reader

    I believe the point was, as with the leaked audio on Palazzolo, you had no personal knowledge about what Needham and Dansby (who obviously stabbed his former supporter in the back) were claiming. The Board in general flounders around without any knowledge of FACTS – just listen to yourselves in the Palazzolo audio. No FACTS. It was unfortunate that you allowed yourself to be ‘played” by “Medusa” – but it is politics and you are “new”. Employees beg to differ with you that the Weekly “missed the mark on this one”. The Weekly hit the nail on the head. Cowboy up and move on.




    •  
      Insider

      It’s indeed unfortunate that partisan politics seems to cloud the greater issue of free speech. While the Weekly may indeed have a liberal “tilt”, it is far from being a “rag”. In Cowtown it is the ONLY choice for objective reporting on the School Board, Water Board, Drilling, Prisons, politics, society and so much more. The Star PravdaGram long ago lost the honor of being considered a “newspaper”. Not only do they censor the news and stifle objective thinking, they now suppress free speech. They are a failing enterprise and will continue to loose revenue as citizens starved for information search elsewhere.
      As for Mr. Avila’s comment about possessing; “…. skills that are helping to turn this district around.” I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt only if you confine your “description” to the three newcomers on what certainly is a corrupt Fort Worth ISD School Board. Scandal after scandal, blatant nepotism, raises, promoting of former mistresses and family members of the Superintendent and sitting Board Members – all continues unabated while student performance declines. No amount of $$$ will change that. No one has accounted for the alleged 90 million Dansby “saved” in the last Bond by simply not doing work promised to taxpayers. Who will watchdog the latest Bond? Will marginal land owned by the partner of Judy Needham REALLY be used for a new FWISD building? Did Dansby REALLY promise the Bond contract to one of Mr. Avila’s largest financial contributors? How did Linebarger get the FWISD contract Ms. Needham? Did you really share the competing bid? The truth is, FWISD will never be turned around until Needham, Sims, Moss and other corrupt dinosaurs are gone. Dansby, Sorum, Monge, Everest, Ray, Steinart (the list goes on and on) must be given their walking papers. You need to clean house and start over Mr. Avila. Only the light of day will cleanse FWISD and that is why only a trial will expose what has been business as usual at FWISD. As an attorney and “doctor” your first question should be to see all of the evidence FWISD’s attorneys are keeping from the Board. Start by reading the teacher statements about Izzy Perry and then ask Needham and Dansby about their role in covering for her all those years as she harassed and bullied teachers, students and parents alike. Read the old Star Telegram Watchdog who I believe reported on her theft of gate receipts at athletic events… Better still, just read Betty Brink’s cumulative works on FWISD since the Palazzolo witch hunt began. Then Mr. Avila, put you skills to work. Then again, this is only one opinion.




  5.  
    Fairness and Equality

    Mr. Avila- How sad and lacking is both your scientific and legal training if your thorough analysis of Ms. Sutherland led you to second the motion and vote to censure her. You, then, were part of that conspiracy to ambush Sutherland that night without the benefit of her receiving prior notice of the accusations made against her. How admirable of her to so articulately respond to each and every accusation; those accusations, if you had studied them more closely, describe the very essence of what board members are supposed to be doing; asking the probing/pertinent questions, not taking/trusting the word of administrators who do not follow their own policies/practice, and seeking accountability for the sake of the citizens/residents of the District.
    Mr. Avila, you were not voted or allowed to step in to a cheerleading slot. The FWISD is not supposed to be an extension of the Chamber of Commerce. It is the board that supervises the largest educational institution in Fort Worth and with that should come the ever vigilance of its board members that all FWISD students receive the necessary services to create an educated populace in our city. Your action against Ms. Sutherland is a dictatorial move to silence true accountability. Too bad that your scientific and legal training cannot see that the Weekly got it right and you were in the wrong.




  6.  
    Justice

    “Me thinks thou protests too much!” Come on Avila; you think that we are going to fall for that “Scientific and legal training” mumbo jumbo?! How are YOU helping to turn this district around? I am sure that Paz and Cinto would like to know the answer to question as well! You sound self-absorbed; a perfect characteristic for someone, who slid into a board member position and didn’t have to run on his own merits. You did wrong, not only to vote to censure Sutherland, but also to trash Palazzolo in the audio. Your smug tone was proof enough for me, as you laughed and carried on with Dansby and others in the board room. Have you read ALL the information on Palazzolo, enough to pass judgment on him so quickly? Were you debriefed the day of the censure vote, to give you the comfort to vote and motion with such ease? You know what THEY have told you, b/c if you checked the REAL facts about the censure and the Palazzolo case, you wouldn’t be so likely to support any of the old regime on the board. You are a cracker jack Avila and your reaction to these comments and Fort Worth Weekly, are so customary of someone, who is trying to tap dance his way out of the truth!!! Back off the Weekly, b/c they very seldom get things wrong, especially when they expose people for who they really are! I may not be extremely happy with them here of late, considering that the work Betty Brinks started appears to have fallen by the wayside. However, they have been the ONLY paper that has taken the bull by the horns and publishes what has transpired with YOUR board versus Palazzolo in the past 3 years! Surely you know you are surrounded by corrupt, selfish, unethical people, who could care less of who they sacrifice for personal gain. Yes, you have showed them indeed, where your loyalty is and will be, as long as these evil doers are still at the helm. You are one of “them” and will continue to be! So don’t try to pretend you are so righteous, b/c you are not! You are just one more lifeless puppet at the hands of the master puppeteer known as Judy Needham. Don’t think YOU alone are making a difference to change the climate of the board, if anything; you are just another spider on the tangled web that this district continues to weave. Let me know how that works out for you!




  7.  
    Typhoon2

    Lol! I so enjoy reading a liberal rag occasionally ! Just an fyi…we get it! You hate conservatives , you love liberals , and that’s that. Ted Cruz is a hero . Wendy Davis is the biggest joke of the year , by far! She wore tacky shoes and championed the “right” to kill the unborn !




    •  
      Mitt's Ghost

      I agree. Wendy Davis should have done what she was supposed to do, and that is: get the boob job and the hair bleached, marry a guy who sells insurance, join the junior league, pop out a few future All Saints Episcopal School kids, and then sit around the country club pool and complain about her insurance selling husband. Isn’t that what these women are supposed to do? Who cares about her championing the right to kill the unborn. My God, she wore tacky shoes while doing it. That in and of itself shows she just doesn’t know her station in life.




    •  

      Dear Typhoon2,

      Ted Cruz isn’t a joke he’s an tea pot Anarchist who will never be satisfied until he brings this country to it’s knees, in front of him. I think its rather ironic you calling Wendy Davis a joke considering who our current governor is mr. good hair.

      And far as foot wear goes your insult of wendy’s trademark is insulting to the thousands of lower and unemployed ethnically diverse woman who will now have to walk hundreds of miles in their less than new shoes to receive reproductive health care denied to them by stinking rich $100.00 shoe warning rick perry and minions.




  8.  
    j

    I’ve read your mag for the last time. I’m pro choice, do not attend church, ok with gay marriage, and a REPUBLICAN. Keystone jobs 400? Are u on crack? Ted Cruz is trying to save your snotty ass, and I’m sure u could use a job instead of spewing your radical leftish agenda. Gain some wisdom before u preach your crap.




    •  
      Ben T. Holland

      j….What do you eat? How old are you? Look….many normal Americans sleep in on Sunday, no normal person gives a flip if Gays choose to marry (why would they), and Gayle Reeves has probably the best job in Texas, and additionally sports an extremely shiney ass. Snotty? Are you blind as well as bigoted and hammer-headed. The Fort Worth Weekly is flying with the Angels & the Startle-Gram is gasping for breath (you might be aware that the Startle-Gram laughed, and slapped it’s leg, and as you have, denigrated the Weekly. Practically every American who can read, and that loves Jesus and freedom is pro-choice. Another thing, every Repug in Congress (excluding nit-wits) hate the Tea-Baggers. Cruz and the Baggers shut the United States of America down. You read the papers? My bird-dog Roxy is smarter than the lot of you losers combined. I’m praying for your dumb asses.




  9.  

    Ok, sorry I’ve been away for a while but here goes. Avila you’re were plain wrong for putting yourself in the Sutherland mess. You were to new and could not have been completely informed on what the real reason for her censure was. Same for Joe’s case. Nobody’s buying the “training” you claim to have that allowed you to weigh in on issues more complicated than you had time to truely grasp. Also we all know you weren’t elected. You hold you position through a series of backroom deals that gave you your seat by default. You’re making the same mistake Walter Dansby has made,, you’re taking your self too seriously. You claim to be working ro make the district better but until you step away from the Needham click and begin to think for yourself you won’t help to improve anything in the district. Stop and do the job that you should be doing, taking care of the students of the FWISD.
    Now Ted Cruz. He’s the most dangerous Senator since Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy. Like McCarthy, Cruz is a self-promoter that uses misinformation and out and out lies to push a controversial agenda that’s bad for the country. He’s a hypocrite, like McCarthy, that pretends ro be be pious and self-rightious but isn’t. His ideas are wrong and wrong-headed but they get him the publicity that he craves and money from donors that are his real motivation for what he says and does.




  10.  
    weekly reader

    With a potential local and statewide “Turkey goldmine”, the FWW has elected to ignore some Turkeys of their own political leanings. How about the DA Craig Watkins/Barron Blue scenario? John Wiley Price? The Obama appointed Texas US Atty who “prosecuted” Mark Cuban, costing the taxpayers thousands, but forgot to produce any “evidence” acceptable to a rational jury? The Tarrant/Dallas County county Medicaid fraud dentists who bilked tax payers out of a cool $51 million (state and federal funds) and were not indicted or prosecuted (by the above mentioned DA)–and as an extra “taxpayer bonus”- the money has not been recovered? The on-going disaster that is JPS Hospital? Injury prone(can’t stay on the bike) Mayor Betsy’s decision to fund bicycling rather than stray animal welfare? The Obama administration IRS official who charges the taxpayers $400,000 annually for transportation between Washington DC and her cushy DFW home? I would say that some local or Texas “turkeys” are treated more like ” golden calfs” than the tough old bird ideologues, they actually are.




    •  
      jeff.prince

      Watkins and Price are Dallas officials. We don’t do Dallas. Obama is a national figure. We have enough turkeys right here in Tarrant County.




      •  
        JN

        Well, Jeff, I liked Weekly Reader’s comments and I predicted that you might use that “local only” excuse as a cop-out but Ted Cruz and Rick Perry are not just local figures, either…and they landed your coveted Big Gobbler designations. Think globally Jeff…




  11.  

    JN, unlike Price and Watkins, Cruz and Perry are supposed to represent the entire state so I believe they qualify.




  12.  
    Reader

    Frankly I missed seeing Walter Dansby and the entire FWISD School Board (except the newbies) on the gobbler list.




  13.  



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