Droughts and wildfires are just a few of the challenges that North Texas ranchers and farmers faced in recent seasons. On the urban landscape, however, human fallibility in all its forms provided such a rich diet that the local Turkey Awards crop is one of the finest in years.
Elections, of course, always increase the size of the herd –– and when you have body-builder preachers and Domingo Garcia running in one season, it makes the Turkey Awards committee very happy. But let’s not forget our perennial favorites. The Fort Worth City Council and school board have won so many awards in this contest that really, they should retire from competition. No, really. Retire. Please.
Add a sprinkling of local lawn warriors, Chick-fil-Aliens, pipeline pushers, and the news media, and, well, it’s been more fun than rolling a tank of gas-well waste down Main Street. In fact, maybe Fort Worthians looking for new thrills should give up turkey bowling in favor of this pastime. Why hide all that stuff underground when you can repurpose it for the entertainment of the masses? That, or start betting on when the next earthquake will hit.
That’s about it. We hope you enjoy our annual pre-Thanksgiving buffet, put together by the Weekly staff. Please remember to keep the Pepto-Bismol handy. –– Gayle Reaves
Weak Brain Muscle
Marshall Hobbs — minister, college professor, and bodybuilder — wanted to add another job title to his resume: Fort Worth City Council member. Hobbs wanted it really, really bad. So much so that he filed a lawsuit after city officials refused to let him file as a candidate — seems he hadn’t lived in District 8 long enough to meet residency requirements for the May 12 election, based on the date he’d written on his application. But wait! Hobbs remembered something! He’d, uh, been living at the house about six months longer than he’d originally thought. In court he presented a lease and utility bill to prove it. A judge overruled the city’s decision, and Hobbs was back on the ballot. Neighbors, however, remembered differently. They recalled that the house had sat vacant for some of the time Hobbs claimed to have lived there. City records showed that water service wasn’t hooked up at the house until months after Hobbs claimed to have moved in with his bride, Nikee. A previous tenant said her family had lived in the house for part of the time that Hobbs claims to have been in residence. Hobbs pulled a fast one but lost the election, finishing third with 22 percent of votes. A few months later, his wife told police that Hobbs assaulted her, poured bleach on her wardrobe, and spit in her face. And she told the Weekly that Hobbs had backdated their lease to qualify for the election.
Lights, Camera, Inaction
To be sure, Fort Worth’s nonprofit film society can’t be held responsible for John Storm’s despicable hidden nature. The Lone Star Film Society’s former managing director was a clean-cut go-getter who’d passed a criminal background check before the nonprofit hired him in 2008. Logistical skills learned in the military helped him improve the group’s annual Lone Star International Film Festival. Who could guess that in his down time he liked surfing the internet for kiddie porn? Federal agents tracked him down after Storm and a Florida man were caught using internet video to direct and watch live footage of a young girl’s sexual molestation. Storm turned in a vague letter of resignation in July 2011, telling co-workers not to contact him. Then he disappeared. Turns out, he’d been sentenced to two years in prison. The film society went mute. Officials who soon found out about Storm’s incarceration made no announcements about his resignation, arrest, or conviction. It wouldn’t do for a film festival that relies on grants and donations to be mentioned in the same breath with a convicted child pornographer. It was bad that they didn’t tell board members of the film society. It was worse that they didn’t bother to inform the nonprofit kids film group that he’d been associated with — because of his job with the film society.
Nothing to See Here
Instead of a Turkey, Fort Worth Public Events Director Kirk Slaughter deserves an Ostrich Award for the way he buried his head in the sand when Fort Worth Weekly asked about alleged thievery by parking attendants. It’s bad enough that the city chose to ignore a long-standing tradition of free parking at the Cultural District and started gouging residents with parking fees. The city offers a sweetheart deal to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo every year and blew more kisses its way by building a fancy new parking garage that sits nearly empty for 49 weeks a year. What better way to pay for it than to charge everyone year-round to park on previously free surface lots? Except that many people, particularly locals, began avoiding the area. And then a whistleblower called the Weekly and described thefts of those parking fees by the attendants. Slaughter oversees the parking lots, but he wasn’t interested in talking to the Weekly about the thefts, other than to say that thefts had been reported and investigated, and everything was going to be fine. And as we all know, the public should blindly trust city officials when they assure us that everything is fine. On a happier note, city officials recently reduced the parking fees. Hope that doesn’t cut into the thieves’ bottom lines.
Turkification is a Bigger Problem
Failed congressional candidate Itamar Gelbman gets this award for his inflammatory comments in the race for the 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, which runs from Arlington all the way down to Corsicana. During the Republican primary, he sent out a mailer vowing to fight the “Islamization” of America, if elected. Got crowds of militant Muslims marching through the streets of Midlothian and Waxahachie waving AK-47s and chanting “Allahu akbar,” do we? No? Then that means that Gelbman was pandering for the votes of that segment of the public who are afraid of them swarthy, terrorist-harboring infidels, even though the 50,000 or so Muslims who live in the 6th District are in fact focused on living honest, productive lives and not destroying America. Maybe the worst thing about this whole affair is that it forced us to root for incumbent Joe Barton, the Big Oil lapdog who defeated Gelbman in the primary. Just in time for the Islamic New Year this week, we’re sending Gelbman a turkey — a halal turkey.
Eat Mor Turki
Remember last summer, when the president of Chick-fil-A spoke out against gay marriage and then promptly cried “poor me” during the ensuing blowback? That caused lots of God-fearing types to line up at the chain’s outlets across the nation, sending a clear, ringing message of “We hate you” to America’s homosexual population. You’d think an institution of higher learning would abstain from something so noxious, but the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary joined in, buying 200 sandwiches at the Altamesa location and bragging about it in a press release. Seminary officials said they were supporting First Amendment rights and affirming the traditional view of marriage, but we know why they really supported Chick-fil-A. They did it because they believe God hates fags. A lot of folks of all religious persuasions would call that un-Christian. Chick-fil-A doesn’t serve turkey, so we’re slinging Southwestern Baptist Seminary a soggy, flavorless slab of fried bird between two pieces of damp bread, just the way their favorite restaurant chain would undoubtedly prepare it.
A Sick One for Rick
You might think we’re giving Gov. Rick Perry this bird for his belated, half-assed, gay-baiting, over-before-it-began embarrassment of a run at the presidency. Actually, though, we’re giving it to our genius governor for his ideological war on healthcare in Texas. In March, he backed a Republican measure that shut down the Medicaid-funded Women’s Health Program and forced women seeking abortions to undergo invasive sonograms. Then in July, he announced that he was refusing to implement Obamacare in Texas, declaring (to widespread derision) that Texas had the best healthcare in the world. Apparently, the governor thinks so highly of our medical establishment that he’s reserving it only for the Texans who can afford it. His policy decisions have denied basic health services to thousands of the neediest Texans, all so his supporters can see him standing up to the president and being pro-life in some foggy way. What an impressively disastrous year for the governor. His reward: one scrofulous turkey, sent C.O.D.
There May Be No Crying in Baseball, but There Are Plenty of Fowl Balls
Last February, Stage West decided to promote its production of a play called The Sports Page by posting video footage of interviews with some sportswriters who were working during the 1960s, when the play is set. One of these was Mike Shropshire, the former Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News scribe, who displayed his sexist credentials by repeating an anecdote about a female journalist who allegedly got gang-banged in the locker room by Texas Rangers players. He didn’t name the reporter involved, but he left no doubt whom he was referring to. Shortly thereafter, realizing how he looked in the video (especially in light of the fact that his story wasn’t, you know, true), he requested that it be cut, but producer Adam Dietrich refused. Not, that is, out of a desire to show viewers what kind of crap women had to take back in the old days. No, Dietrich just wanted to stir up some shit. At this, at least, he succeeded massively. He must have been sad that none of his subjects gave a Nazi salute or performed a blackface minstrel act, because that really would have generated controversy. Various media outlets around North Texas re-posted the offensive video without calling out Shropshire for his sexism or inquiring into the truth of his story. All the men involved in this sordid episode get a turkey — though pork would be more appropriate.
A Wing for the Cure
This time last year, the only reason to oppose Susan G. Komen for the Cure was “I love cancer, and I want women to die.” That was before the breast cancer foundation needlessly got involved in politics, announcing in January that it would stop funding Planned Parenthood, citing an ideologically motivated congressional investigation as a smoke screen. Engineered from Komen’s Dallas headquarters, the move blindsided local affiliates and would have denied breast exams and mammograms to many of the neediest women. The organization did reverse itself four days later, so they only rate a pink-ribboned turkey wing for unwisely damaging not only themselves but also the worthy cause of breast cancer prevention and education that they’re supposed to be fighting for.
Remember when sacrificing for your country was cool? You know, like Rosie-the-Riveter cool? Well, us neither, but we’ve watched the World War II documentaries about it. These days, however, sacrifice for the common good apparently is no longer in style. When fears of another devastating drought caused the Arlington City Council to consider permanent water restrictions in April, more than a dozen sprinkler-happy residents showed up to protest, on behalf of (sniff!) thirsty St. Augustine.
“You guys have lost your mind,” one woman said. “This is America.”
Another angry homeowner railed about how being able to water only on certain days each week “creates hardship. … It’s just plain un-American.”
Yes, what kind of democracy would we be if we didn’t allow wasteful consumption of a finite resource? This is America, damn it! Seriously, though, if these people protected the environment as much they do their lawns, the EPA would be out of business. Their whining worked –– the council dumped the restrictions. It takes more than 500 gallons of water to produce one pound of turkey: Our guess is those Arlington residents like their meat extra moist.
As a Dallas Democrat running for the newly created congressional District 33, Domingo Garcia campaigned as both the politician and the heckler. He didn’t need some hotheaded protester throwing a wrench in the works –– Garcia could handle that all by himself.
In a majority Hispanic district, Garcia had a good shot of winning the primary against his black opponent Marc Veasey. Or he did until his talent for pissing people off started showing itself. Calling his black opponent an “errand boy” was tone-deaf to the feelings of African-Americans. Reneging on a promise to support a Hispanic community member who entered the race before he did revealed his win-at-all-costs attitude. Insulting three of Tarrant County’s biggest employers and angering hundreds of workers and their unions? That was just plain stupid. Which makes this award so appropriate.
The Springtown Spankers
Picture this: A 49-year-old man paddles the behind of a 95-pound teenage girl in wind shorts while a male police officer watches and then gives her a ticket. All this happens behind closed doors.
If your first thought is that this sounds like a smart, reasonable way for school administrators to discipline young girls, then you are probably one of the school board members in Springtown, about 20 miles northwest of Fort Worth. After this incident, which violated district policy because the spanker was not the same gender as the spankee, board members moved to fix the problem: They changed the policy to allow men to paddle little girls (as long as there is a woman around to watch).
The district superintendent requested the change because –– get this –– he says there aren’t enough women in the district to ensure that a female is always on hand to mete out the punishment herself.
Riiiiiiiiight. So now a woman must be present but doesn’t actually have to do the spanking. Well, it’s a heavy burden, but the old guys will just have to bear up under the responsibility of having to swat young girls on their asses.