By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Lisbon/lesbian. Get it? Democrat Lupe Valdez is sworn in as Dallas County sheriff, becoming the first Latina and first homosexual--as far as we know--to hold the job. News of her sexual orientation comes as a belated shock to her political supporters in the sheriff's office. "What, she's gay?" one surprised deputy asks. "I thought 'lesbian' meant she was from Portugal."
Oh no he dih-unt: Former Dallas City Councilman Al Lipscomb stuns council members when he likens Mayor Laura Miller to Hitler for her support of a ballot measure that would greatly increase the mayor's authority. Lipscomb calls the effort a power grab and compares it to the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust. Widely castigated for his remarks, Lipscomb defends himself by saying, "Hey, if this town can call an old sellout like me a civil rights icon, calling a Jew 'Hitler' doesn't seem like much of a stretch." Councilwoman Dr. Maxine Thornton-Reese defends Lipscomb's analogy. "There is a relationship. You need to study it," Thornton-Reese says, according to The Dallas Morning News, leading Dallasites to wonder yet again what in God's name she is a doctor of and what sort of half-assed diploma mill gave her a degree.
Walk on: Two hundred North Dallas High School students stage a walkout to protest rules enacted by new principal Enedina Townsend that require students to get a faculty escort to go to the restroom or nurse's office. "It's totally unfair," protest leader Kayla Tiffany Ashlee Wilson tells reporters. "Like, my grandpa didn't fight the French in World War whatever so I'd have to tell the world I'm on my period."
But jaywalking is down: Crime-weary Dallas residents get some welcome news from statistics that show crime in the city dropped 4 percent the previous year. The good news is tempered by the fact that the number of murders and burglaries rose in 2004. Police Chief David Kunkle urges residents to be patient, promising that the city will soon "turn a corner" on homicides and burglaries. "At this rate, anyone worth killing and anything worth stealing will be gone in six months or so, and we should see those numbers start to drop."
Last one in, close the door: Members of the Young Conservatives of Texas at the University of North Texas stage a mock roundup of undocumented immigrants--portrayed by YCT members wearing orange T-shirts--to protest illegal immigration. "My grandpa didn't fight the Russians in World War I so this country could be overrun by Mexicans," says protest leader Patrick "Paddy" O'Donahue III. In response, members of the League of United Latin American Citizens hold a mock "catch the redneck" roundup at the Denton campus the following week. That event in turn angers the UNT chapter of the American Indian Movement, which stages its own "why don't all of you go the hell back to where you came from" rally.
Buc-buc-buckaw: Beth Ann Blackwood, leader of the petition drive that placed the strong mayor initiative on the upcoming May ballot, announces she is withdrawing from the race for the District 14 council seat. Blackwood says she wishes to focus her efforts on winning voter approval of the strong mayor measure. "Besides, on the off chance that thing does pass, I'm not sure I want to be on the council," she says. "Laura scares the bejesus outta me already."
The hulks: In this year's installment of "Overhyped Drug and/or Sex Stories That Scare the Crap Out of Clueless Middle-Class Parents," the Morning News reports that nine Colleyville Heritage High School students admitted using banned muscle-building steroids. Colleyville parents move quickly to blame school officials for not monitoring all of the hard-to-detect complex chemicals their students secretly inject. "We thought the violent psychotic episodes, the shrunken testicles, the 75 pounds of muscle and his hairy brow ridge were just part of growing up," one aggrieved mother says. "Why didn't someone warn us that something might be wrong before our son ripped the bumper off his daddy's Escalade with his bare hands?"
With friends like this: Police investigating a "strange odor" at a Grapevine park arrest a 24-year-old Euless man for marijuana possession after the man's dog retrieves a baggie of grass from a nearby creek and brings it to his owner while he's being questioned by a cop. The Dallas police Narcotics Unit, decimated in recent years by a scandal involving fake drugs planted on innocents by police informants, later offers the man $7,500 for the pooch, a Labrador retriever and rat fink terrier mix.
Police state, Part 1: Despite a 4 percent one-year decline in crime, new statistics show that Dallas is tops in crime among the nation's largest cities for the seventh consecutive year. Chief David Kunkle moves quickly to reassure residents that the department is taking steps to improve the stats. At a press conference, he unveils the department's new "You Probably Had It Coming" program to ticket assault victims who bleed on public sidewalks and the innovative "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" project, which will change the 911 emergency phone line to an unlisted number.
Return to sender: City Hall extends the deadline for residents to respond to a survey about the quality of city services because too few of the 34-part surveys had been returned. Red-faced city officials soon apologize after learning that the surveys had been mailed postage-due to 600 random residents of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.