Fort Worth has never lacked for interesting characters, and few were more memorable than Andrew Hill, who died last week at the age of 31 from complications during routine surgery. Hill was a writer and documentary filmmaker but is best known for his Andy-Kaufman-esque antics during a 2003 mayoral bid.
His platform included legalizing marijuana and bringing back prostitution to Hell’s Half Acre, along with a vice tax. As he explained, “If we’re going to have Boss Tweed-type corruption from the white-conservative-male-millionaire oligarchy that runs this city, let’s at least fund it from a nice, pleasant red-light district.”
According to Robert McKee, his campaign manager, Hill didn’t exactly sweat over the decision to run. “We flipped a coin to either go to the movies that day or run for mayor,” he said. After that, Hill passed up no chance to take a shot at his opponent, Mike Moncrief, including by doing impressions of him.
Apparently Moncrief doesn’t hold a grudge; he was in the crowd at what McKee described as a roast in honor of Hill at the Fort Worth Club. McKee told a story of Hill running around a Florida beach, drunk on Manischewitz, wearing nothing but an adult diaper, holding a poster of Garret Morgan (inventor of the gas mask), and chanting Spanish-sounding gibberish.
Hill was genuinely funny and self-aware. He’s one of the few people who’s received both a Best Of and a Turkey Award from Fort Worth Weekly in the same year. His sublime absurdities added a much-needed note of humor to the often dull political history of this city.
Another roast will be held at Sometimes a Great Notion bar on Ridgmar Boulevard on Saturday, Dec. 13. There is also a Facebook site in his honor, called The Andrew B. Hill Life Exhibit.
No Beanie-Weenies for Bob
“The way I see it,” the Dallas Morning News alumnus said, “no one with major stock ownership in a publicly owned newspaper can ever be trusted for anything that has to do with journalism or journalists.”
Those words of a former colleague came back to Static on Tuesday, when A.H. Belo, owner of the News, announced that CEO Robert W. Decherd’s salary will be more than doubled next year. Yes, the top dog of a company that has laid off hundreds of journalists in recent months, frozen the salaries of most of the rest, and otherwise kicked the bejesus out of its employees will draw $600,000 in salary in 2009, compared to $250,000 this year.
To give the devil (using that word advisedly) his due, Decherd, according to a News story, voluntarily shrank his salary in 2008 from $985,000 to $250,000 when his company split off newspaper operations into a separate firm, and waived a bonus that might have totaled $330,000. OK, so the past year’s salary cut was very nice – not to mention, justified. Wait a moment while Static finds a hanky.
The web site comments on the story were as might be expected – references to journalists eating Spam, etc. But the ex-News-er said it better.
“If you see your former [newspaper] owner stranded on the side of the road, nervously eyeing the prison chain gang members who have just shucked their shackles,” he wrote, “just smile and wave as you keep motoring toward your destination.”