By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Simpson announced that the group was there to demand that the purveyors of filth be shut down. He said that his group was challenging the licenses of three businesses, using a new city ordinance that was pushed through the Dallas City Council in May. Simpson kept his comments short and, like a public relations pro, quickly let the elected officials assume the spotlight.
One by one, the politicians declared their support for the neighborhood and symbolically took turns pounding a sign into the ground outside the club announcing that the group had filed a formal appeal against its license with the city's zoning board.
That night, Simpson's press conference led the 6 o'clock news on Channel 5--beating out a story about former Dallas City Councilman Paul Fielding's inexplicable attempt to take back his guilty plea on federal corruption charges.
Publicity-wise, June and July were good months for Simpson. In that time, he convinced The Dallas Morning News to publish a story questioning Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk's international goodwill trips, and another story about the availability of condoms in the Dallas Independent School District.
Television viewers also saw Simpson roundly condemning pornography while holding a copy of the Metroplex SunDown, an adult newspaper that Simpson claims is too readily available to minors. Simpson went on TV to announce that he was filing a complaint against the newspaper.
Simpson's name also popped up often last year in the Christian press in connection with his attempts to stop gay and lesbian marriages from taking place at the State Fair of Texas.
Now, Simpson says he is preparing to file a lawsuit challenging the way the city's district lines are drawn, and he is developing a way to grade local judges for their "empirical effectiveness."
All in all, Simpson is working pretty hard to grace Dallas with his vision of the leadership the city needs.
"We're not in the business of going out on international goodwill junkets. We're not in the business of building downtown arenas. When I say 'we,' it's the city," Simpson says. "They [city leaders] are more concerned about building a sports arena where they can entertain their corporate connections. The city has been destroyed because of their inaction."
Simpson is trying his best to create an image of himself as an all-around civic do-gooder. But the self-described city father seems more interested in creating issues and generating publicity for himself by condemning other people's lifestyles.
So far, his plan appears to be working.
In June, Simpson invited a handful of city and county officials to one of his increasingly popular monthly meetings. The main item on the agenda was a discussion about the birth control policy at the Youth and Family Centers, which are jointly run by the Dallas Independent School District and Parkland Hospital.
Dallas City Council member John Loza, Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson, and Dallas Hospital District board member Pat Cotton were in attendance. So, too, were staff members from the offices of U.S. Representatives Dick Armey and Pete Sessions. The News was also there and duly published a story about the meeting the next day under a headline that read "Group wants birth-control policy changed."
The clinics, which are located on public school campuses, provide basic health care to children whose parents don't have health coverage. The clinics also provide birth control and treat students with sexually transmitted diseases. A child cannot receive any treatment unless his or her parents sign consent forms.
Simpson, who believes that birth control increases teen pregnancy rates and spreads STDs, wants to change the consent form and require doctors to notify parents by mail or phone whenever their kids ask for a condom or contract an STD.
Dr. Sam Ross, who oversees the clinics for Parkland, says the hospital is considering changing the consent forms so that parents have to initial each type of service listed, rather than giving one signature. Parkland is willing to make the change, Ross says, even though he hadn't received any complaints about the program until Simpson made an issue of it.
"To this point, we have not been able to identify that these concerns are coming from the parents of the children that utilize our services," Ross says.
Last fall, Simpson aggressively fought the "A Commitment to Love" event, where gays and lesbians exchanged vows inside the Hall of State during the State Fair. Simpson says he was offended that children had to witness the "perverted" behavior on display during the state fair.
"They saw men walking around with shirts on that said, 'I'm not queer, but my boyfriend is,'" Simpson says. "They were exposed to public, graphic displays of affection: kissing, groping, fondling--all done through the clothes, which I would not support heterosexuals doing either."
Simpson believes gays and lesbians are not entitled to civil rights because their sexual behavior is a voluntary act that's morally wrong. Therefore, he argues, they shouldn't be allowed to rent a public building like the Hall of State.
"To compare voluntary behavior with involuntary behavior, such as race or gender, is preposterous," Simpson says. "I don't measure homosexuality any differently than I do adultery [and] other sexual sins that would be out there."