By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
But the issue that is really making news is Simpson's decision to videotape cars parked outside the topless bars along Northwest Highway in the city's Bachman Lake neighborhood. Since he announced the practice in June, Simpson says, he has sent out about 70 letters of notification.
The strip clubs have been a thorn in neighborhood residents' sides for years. Although Simpson has only recently adopted the cause, he has quickly established himself as a leader on the issue with his ability to generate news and unite residents and politicians.
One resident who has been fighting the SOBs for years is Deacon Larry Lucido, who ministers at St. Monica's Catholic Church and met Simpson about a year and a half ago. Lucido has nothing but praise for Simpson.
"He's a leader, no doubt about it," says Lucido, who describes Simpson as a clearinghouse for information. "His approach is to involve the citizenry and, in turn, they approach the city leaders. From that standpoint, he is filling a leadership role."
In May, residents finally convinced the Dallas City Council to pass a revised city ordinance that, in part, prohibits topless bars from being located within 1,000 feet of each other or homes, schools, or parks.
The next month, Simpson capitalized on the news of the ordinance by announcing his videotaping program, a move that immediately generated headlines. The practice is also beginning to generate headaches for the Dallas Police Department, which was forced to respond to complaints that Simpson is trespassing on private property and harassing club patrons.
On July 3, police issued Simpson and 62-year-old Mel McCoy, who lives at 5826 Chapelwood Way in Dallas, a warning not to trespass on private property after they got involved in a scuffle outside of Baby Doll's.
Simpson admits there was an incident on July 3, but the man who loves reading about other people's arrests discouraged a reporter from asking the police about the incident, claiming his name won't appear on any report.
But Simpson and McCoy's names are listed as suspects on Dallas police report number 0561631-F, which summarized the incident.
"The suspects were walking up and down the sidewalk using a video camera to film vehicles in the parking lot," states the report. Baby Doll's manager Nyle Brasch and Simpson accused each other of assault, but no arrests were made.
William Raymond Simpson never did come out of his closet-like office on that steamy July afternoon.
Even before the unannounced visit, Simpson had evaded a reporter's repeated requests to meet at his office. He's not hiding anything, he says, it's just that he doesn't want a nosy reporter poking around in the privacy of the NTLC sanctum.
"I wouldn't allow any media to sit in my office for an extended period of time, because I never know what phone calls are coming in," Simpson says, his other telephone line ringing constantly in the background.
Simpson puts the call on hold and retrieves the other caller, whomever it may be. Upon his return, Simpson says he's got to go. As usual, his gabbing is about to make him late for a lunch meeting, he says, his voice sounding increasingly distant.
After the unexpected visit, Simpson turned suspicious. Two days before this article was published, he called the Observer to inquire about the angle of the story, about which he was growing increasingly concerned.
"I really felt that the tone of the article was going negative," says Simpson, who had somehow learned that the newspaper had pulled his voter registration record.
When asked to comment on the discrepancies in his resume, Simpson remained vague. He's got phone numbers for references, he says, but they're back in his office.
"I'm not at the office today," he says, sniffing. "My allergies are killing me."
Simpson then abruptly cuts off the discussion. He's got another phone call, he says, and he's got to go.
While Simpson continues to be able to rally politicians around hot-button causes that make good sound bites, some people--even his admirers--are beginning to wonder about his tactics.
Dallas County Commissioner Jackson says he's worried that Simpson's methods are causing his friend more harm than good.
"He acts on his beliefs and his convictions, sometimes to the point where it's probably not good for him personally," Jackson says. "I probably wouldn't stand out there doing the things he's doing. I appreciate him for what he does. Will it do any good? I don't know."
One high-ranking Republican leader says privately that Simpson's rapid rise to the top of local political circles is mysterious and increasingly troublesome.
"He's on kind of a little bit of a power kick and a publicity kick," says the leader, who adds that Simpson's extreme views and desire for attention will prevent him from forming the powerful coalition he had envisioned for the NTLC.
"I don't think he's a coalition builder. I think he just represents one end of the party," the leader says. "Obviously he likes publicity. I think he will be a player, but I don't think he will be a dominant player. But he'll be out there."
Dallasites can be sure that Simpson will continue to appear on television and in the morning paper for months to come. And the political Rambo will continue to burn up the phone lines of reporters and political insiders with hot tips and juicy scoops.