Static is beginning to wonder if anyone down at Fort Worth City Hall – from staff to city council members – is paying much attention to anything these days.
Specifically, we’re talking about whoever is supposed to keep an eye on the money that flies around down there.
The latest incident involves 1,500 juveniles who were caught in curfew violations in the last 10 months, and now the city owes about $34,000 to the kids (and their parents) who paid curfew violation fines. Seems that state law automatically eliminates curfew laws after three years if the city doesn’t hold public hearings and then vote to continue the curfew.
Fort Worth also owes the state about $2 million because the municipal court didn’t pay the state its proper share of traffic fines for two years, and the city also owes about 1,000 drivers about $30 each for overcharging them. And don’t get us started on the $400 million pension fund shortfall. They still haven’t figured that one out. Scary.
We don’t want the city staff to cook the books. But just reading them every once in a while would be nice. Who knows what other horrors are building up inside those dusty spreadsheets?
Take That, Dallas
Justice was swift and anti-climactic for Fort Worth Weekly outlaw writer and musician Jeff Prince, who appeared on Monday before a Dallas County judge to fight an eight-year-old jaywalking ticket (“Circular Track,” Feb. 6, 2008). Prince had a fiery speech prepared that would have put Al Pacino’s And Justice for All rant to shame and made the Barney Fife clone of a cop who ticketed him feel two inches tall. And when the judge slammed down the gavel and said, “You are out of order, sir,” Prince was prepared to yell, “No you are out of order! This whole court is out of order!” Oh it was going to be divine – Dallas County, beaten into submission, trembling at Prince’s righteous feet. He might even get a good song lyric out of it.
But no, the prosecutor merely informed the revved-up reporter that the police officer had failed to appear in court, so the case was dropped. End of story. Damn.
That wasn’t good enough for Prince. “Dallas Country cheated me yet again by not allowing me to face my accuser in court,” he said later. “I’m thinking about appealing the dismissal.”
Now, there’s never been any actual sighting of Prince battling windmills. But there is the story of the new stop sign that the city put up in his neighborhood a few years ago without consulting him. The nerve. Static suggests a title for his next album: Prince Quixote.