By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Like many, Buzz, uh, forgot to vote in this week's primaries. It's not that we don't care about good government. It's just that all those Republicans look alike to us.
Fortunately, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance is a little more attentive. They monitor the races and send out endorsement letters to potential voters, including one we received recently warning us not to vote for R.D. Rucker, the only Democrat in the 292nd Judicial District primary--in fact, the only Democrat running for judge in a countywide election.
DGLA president Steve Atkinson says Rucker is a perennial candidate who, a few years back, showed up at an alliance forum, where he told members, "'I don't have any problem with gay people as long as they don't want to be police officers or teachers.'
"It's, quite honestly, something we still laugh about," Atkinson says. "We were always baffled as to why he showed up and chose to screen with us."
Rucker denies making that statement or being homophobic. "I don't even know what that means."
Unfortunately, he also doesn't know when to shut up. In a rapid-fire rant, Rucker went on to outline how "we can abolish homosexuality" by reconstituting the American family. He also allowed that he would have a problem with gay cops, since sodomy is illegal in Texas and peace officers are sworn to uphold the law.
Atkinson says the warning in the letter was intended for voters who usually vote along party lines or, like Buzz, punch holes randomly--or not at all--when it comes to judicial elections.
Not that we have any problems with homophobes, as long as they don't want to be judges, or teachers, or police officers, or...
Don't let the doorknob hit you
Is Dallas County Health Department Director Betty Culbreath counting her jailbirds before they've hatched? We hear that Culbreath is planning to run for Councilman Don Hicks' seat when his term is finished in May 1999. (This is Hicks' third term, and city rules require him to sit out the next.)
It seems a tad early to plan a City Council run, but then again, Hicks' name keeps popping up in conjunction with an FBI investigation of minority contracting irregularities. So maybe it's not as early as we thought.
Culbreath was a little coy about whether she intends to run: "Hmm, I might," she says. "So many people are asking me to do it."
Asked whether she knew something about the FBI investigation that we didn't, she demurred. But she made it clear that she didn't think Hicks was leaving office before next May.
She also made it clear that if she wins, she plans to hold onto her county job, but she would give up her position on the D/FW Airport Board. Buzz checked with the city attorney's office: There is nothing illegal about working for the county while serving the city.
"I couldn't afford not to work," Culbreath says. "The only people who could be on the City Council without an outside job are rich people. And in Don Hicks' district, there aren't any independently wealthy people I know of."
Several lawyers who have appeared before U.S. District Judge Joe Fish suspect that the honorable jurist has, on occasion, sneaked in a few catnaps as he presided over trials. One lawyer says he has even seen Fish's court reporter lean over and jab the judge to make sure he was awake.
But Fish was bright-eyed when Republic of Texas loony Richard McLaren and eight other ROT members came before him.
The Bozo-haired McLaren is known for peppering government agencies with claims of Texas independence. He was the leader in a standoff with state authorities last year in the Davis Mountains.
The Republic 9 are on trial on charges of conspiring to distribute $1.8 billion in funny money.
Fish, aware of the ROT's love of symbolism, has made sure that the republic members don't try to pull any of their "sovereign Texas" stuff in court. He issued an unusual order outlining in detail what would--and would not--be allowed in his courtroom. He began with a dress code.
"All spectators shall be suitably dressed. Shorts of any kind, tank tops, halters, or similar garments will not be permitted." Fish also barred "garments or buttons of any kind with messages or symbols." McLaren's defense lawyer, Tom Mills, was none too happy about this. He and his co-counsel had to remove the custom-made Lone-Star pins that he had ordered expressly for the trial.
Finally--and this one really must irk the ROT crowd, who tend to take copious notes on legal pads--the judge ordered that "no one other than media members seated in the press section will be permitted to take notes."
In pre-trial hearings, McLaren referred regularly to the judge as Mr. Fish, refusing to recognize his authority as a judge. Here's a hint, Rick: Don't try to one-up the guy who can send you to prison for a very long time.
Pop a Prozac and relax
Buzz generally respects people who hold grudges. They make such good sources. But the time has come to say enough already to Elizabeth Wurtzel, the former Dallas Morning News staffer who wrote Prozac Nation, Young and Depressed in America, her self-absorbed tale of mental illness and fellatio.