2002 Revealed

An aging Buzz finds little to celebrate in the year gone by. What did you expect?

Color bind: An aide for Republican Senate candidate John Cornyn comes under fire for calling opponent Ron Kirk's primary win the result of a Democratic "quota system." (The party's slate included Latino Tony Sanchez for governor; Senate contender Kirk, who is black; and lieutenant governor candidate John Sharp, who is white.) Democratic strategists, who openly refer to the slate as "a dream team," assail the remark as racially divisive. Says one Demo operative: "By 'dream team,' we meant that our guys are...um...really dreamy. We Democrats would never, ever play the race card in politics."

May & June

Dorit Rabinovitch
Dorit Rabinovitch

Getting testes: Mark Cuban threatens to slice off the testicles of D magazine deputy editor Tim Rogers after Rogers writes that Cuban is engaged to girlfriend Tiffany Stewart. Cuban, who previously posed for a photo shoot with Stewart for another magazine, says he fears for her safety if her identity is widely reported, despite the fact that no story can be considered "widely reported" simply by appearing in D.

Our thing: HBO subscribers eagerly tune in to a new series on the cable channel detailing the inner workings of a cult-like organization with a shady history of criminality, drugs, strippers and violence. The show is called Hard Knocks and chronicles the Dallas Cowboys' training camp.

Thanks for nothing: Dallas voters reject a proposed 17 percent pay increase for police and firefighters by a 3-to-1 margin. The defeat surprises public safety workers who had campaigned on a theme of Pay for Excellence. "Without us, who's going to end the scourge of powdered pool chalk threatening the safety of our community?" complains a police association member. In an effort to mollify police, who lay much of the blame for the defeat on Mayor Laura Miller, the mayor pushes for a 15 percent raise phased in over three years. Despite her efforts, some public safety officials vow to campaign against Miller but are chagrined to learn that officers who live in the suburbs--i.e. most of them--aren't allowed to vote in city elections. "There's a law or something against that," says one surprised cop. "Who knew?"

Go and touch: The Dallas Morning News reports that a county judge has thrown out 11 cases filed under a city ordinance banning any touching between topless dancers and bar patrons because the law is too broad. Attempting to make lemonade out of lemons, the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau unveils a new tourism campaign: "Cop a feel in Big D. It's OK!" The CVB reports a 150 percent increase in convention business.

Try liquor: Dallas Zoo officials report that Demba, a female lowland gorilla from Dallas sent to Pennsylvania to mate three years ago, has rejected all advances from suitor Chaka, a resident of the Philadelphia Zoo. Desperate zookeepers ply the recalcitrant Demba with banana daiquiris and Barry White music, only to be stymied by the fact that no self-respecting Dallas female would have anything to do with an Eagles fan.

Victory at last: After months of wrangling and recrimination, the Dallas City Council votes 9-6 to provide $43 million to help develop the 20-acre Victory project. "We was just screwin' witcha," City Manager Ted Benavides tells relieved managers of Palladium, which in June changed its name to Related Urban Development. "You didn't really think Dallas would say no to giving dough to a bunch of rich guys, did you?"

That explains it: The city council votes 13-2 to adopt an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and such public places as hotels and restaurants. Word of the vote quickly reaches Philadelphia, where a relieved Demba wires home that she's eager to come back to Dallas and "get a little action."

Forgive, forget: Meeting in Dallas in June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops votes overwhelmingly to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for priests who sexually abuse minors. Under the policy, abusive priests would be removed from ministry duties, but would not be automatically kicked out of the priesthood. Some church officials criticize the media for what they consider Catholic-bashing. "So a few hundred altar boys took it up the heinie," complains one anonymous prelate. "It's not like we told anyone to go get an abortion."

The heat got to them: Citing a restructuring of its U.S. operations, the Canadian Tourism Commission closes its Dallas office, but officials tell The Dallas Morning News that the decision is not a sign the nation is pulling up the welcome mat for Texas tourists. "People who wear silly hats and big clunky boots, drink bad beer and talk funny will always be welcome in Canada," a commission official says.

July & August

Friend indeed: Dallas County Sheriff Jim Bowles draws criticism from county commissioners after the sheriff awards a $20 million jail commissary contract to a longtime friend, rejecting bids from two competitors that offered far better financial terms. Bowles defends the contract with Mid-America Services Inc., saying the company won the contract on merit, despite its poor bid. "Mid-America has Ding Dongs--you know, those little chocolate cakes? God, I love them things," Bowles says.

Beggars banquet: Mayor Laura Miller and council member Lois Finkelman call on the city council to consider a ban on panhandling on city streets and other public places. Council members move quickly to assure Tom Hicks and Ross Perot Jr. that the ban would not apply to begging in the council chambers themselves, since it technically doesn't constitute a public space.

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