By golly, they actually did it. The League of United Latin American Citizens’ local chapter had threatened to slap Fort Worth city leaders awake, and they weren’t kidding.
Earlier this year, the local chapter found itself in the unusual position of fighting to keep the 2010 national LULAC convention out of Fort Worth. Why? Some local members accused city leaders of being dismissive of their neighborhoods and needs, citing institutional racism and a disproportionate percentage of violent crime in minority neighborhoods as compared to white communities. When a group dedicated to improving the economic condition and civil rights of Hispanics tries to prevent a national convention from coming to its own town, you know there’s a problem.
Static gripes about our cocoon-wrapped mayor who refuses to speak to Fort Worth Weekly and even encourages other city officials to snub our reporters. Well, LULAC’s beef is just another example of how an elitist string-puller like Mayor Mike Moncrief can hurt a city. LULAC members requested a meeting with Moncrief and other city officials numerous times, but were ignored. The local LULAC board even bought an ad in this publication, hoping to open the city council’s eyes to their concerns. No such luck. In response, LULAC’s national organization crossed Fort Worth off its list and penciled in Albuquerque, N.M. as the convention’s host city for 2010. Local LULAC leader Hector Carrillo said the drastic move might be paying benefits now, since he believes the group is closer to getting a meeting with our mayor. The loss of $8 million, the conference’s estimated financial impact on the host city, might be just the wake-up call that city hall needs. After all, that’s talking to Moncrief in his native language – money.
… And Neither Are We
Speaking of snubs, Fort Worth’s main contribution to celebrity in the 21st century so far has been Kelly Clarkson, who won the American Idol competition five years ago and parlayed that into a national singing career. However, she hit a snag this year when she insisted on writing or co-writing the songs on her latest, and possibly her best, album, the more hard-edged My December. That meant butting heads with crotchety BMG/RCA boss Clive Davis, who didn’t hear a hit. Later, she had to cancel her summer tour amid whispers of slow ticket sales. Static, who admires artists who seek creative control of their music – their destinies – called Clarkson’s managers to set up an interview for the ultimate profile on Cowtown’s Grammy-winning heroine.
As it turns out, her Los Angeles-based handler practically yawned in the Weekly’s face. Clarkson, he explained, is busy talking to “national” publications and tv shows and doesn’t have time for “regional” publications, like her little hometown rag.
Oh well, Static still admires Clarkson’s talent and pluck and wishes her the best. And someday, when her handlers are toothless derelicts bumming spare change on Hollywood Boulevard, she’ll look back on all the honors she’s amassed and say to herself, “Geez, I coulda been on the cover of Fort Worth Weekly. I coulda been a contenduh!”
It’s never too late, Kelly. Call. For you, we’ll make time.