By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Think Albertson's effort to build a humongous grocery store in Old East Dallas died when the City Plan Commission voted unanimously to reject its rezoning request last month? Think again.
The grocery store chain has already sewed up one influential ally in its bid to have the city council overturn the plan commission's vote--District 2 city Councilman John Loza. Albertson's needs 12 council votes to win on appeal, so that's one down, 11 to go.
Says Loza, "I'm looking at it from a view of what I can do to bring economic development to my district," which is where Albertson's wants to build the 24-hour market. "It's certainly not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but on balance it's best."
Not perfect? A big-ass mess is how neighborhood opponents see the store, which they fear eventually will lead to more homes being torn down to make room for dry cleaners, retail shops, and liquor stores. You know, economic development.
Being Buzz, we had to ask Loza the obvious: Have you received any bundles of cash wrapped in Albertson's bags lately?
"I haven't asked, and they haven't offered," he said. Not that we're suspicious, but Buzz would have checked that out ourselves, except Loza is about a month late in filing his latest campaign finance report. He says it's on its way.
The site for the proposed 60,000-square-foot store, on residential property at Live Oak Street and Collett Avenue, is in Loza's district, where he says opinions on the store are fairly evenly divided. Much of the more vocal neighborhood opposition is across the line in Councilwoman Veletta Forsythe Lill's District 14.
Still, rumor has it that Albertson's was quick to lobby Loza after the plan commission rejected the company's rezoning request. The same rumormongers say that Loza will not reappoint Rick Leggio, who spoke out against Albertson's, to the District 2 seat on the plan commission when Leggio's term is up.
The latter, at least, is true. Loza confirms that Leggio is out, but says it's not because of the Albertson's vote. The outspoken Leggio has spoken out a little too much on issues that Loza finds politically embarrassing.
"He's done a number of things that give me cause for concern," Loza says, though he wouldn't be more specific. "Suffice it to say that he has felt the need to involve himself in other political contests" where his involvement has troubled Loza.
Leggio wouldn't comment on the record about whether he'll be reappointed--a "no comment" being something of a first for Leggio. Neither would he respond to rumors--Buzz hears lots of 'em--that he's planning to run against Loza for city council.
If Leggio does run and win, he may get a chance to vote on Albertson's again. The vote on the store's appeal initially was scheduled to take place this week, but it's been delayed until at least April. Store critics believe the delay is a strategy to push the vote back further, beyond the May elections.
Maybe by then we can get peeks at everyone's campaign finance reports.
Yes, we mean no
"...Texas needs to stay away from dictating the rules for parents and their children. It's time for Mom and Dad to reclaim their roles without the help of the state Legislature," The Dallas Morning News harrumphed last week on its editorial pages.
Good point, we thought. Too bad it was the wrong subject. The News was editorializing against a bill before the Legislature that would require kids younger than 18 to have permission from their parents to get their bodies pierced. (Which raises the question, Does anyone sober older than 18 allow needles to be driven through his or her genitals, nipples, etc.? Maybe the Lege should require that piercing salons install breath-test devices to check blood-alcohol levels too.)
What struck Buzz about the News' stance was how widely it differed from its position on another parental-notification law before the Legislature, this one requiring that doctors notify parents whenever a minor girl seeks an abortion.
"Why shouldn't a parent be informed? Parents must be notified when their child undergoes all other medical procedures. Why not when she is about to have an abortion?" the News wrote in 1997, the last time the abortion bill was considered--and rejected--by the Legislature.
Why not? Rape, incest, and child abuse spring to mind. Besides, whom would you rather the state regulate--a doctor or some tattooed entrepreneur with a staple gun and a bottle of rubbing alcohol?
But perhaps consistency--or logic--is too much to ask of the News' editorialists. "With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th-century essayist who, we understand, wore a 10-penny nail in his johnson.
What brings this up is an article in a recent issue of The New York Times, a newspaper located somewhere in the vicinity of New Jersey, about the $8,250,500 sale of an antique secretary at Sotheby's. The story noted that the record sale of a piece of American-made furniture was $12.3 million, paid by "Dallas billionaire" Robert Bass for another old secretary. (Be careful where you set your beer in Bob's house.)