By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
AWOL: The city bills former council member John Loza $3,100, part of his council salary he must return for missing more than 10 percent of scheduled meetings. The Morning News suggests that current council members James Fantroy and Don Hill may also be on the hook to return money because of excessive absences. Mayor Miller says that may not be the case, however. "You know what? I'm all for fiscal responsibility and devotion to duty, but I think we might be able to let these guys slide on this," Miller says. "In fact, if they stop showing up altogether, I'm pretty sure no one's going to complain."
Can't dance, don't ask them: The NBA announces a new dress code that requires players to dress in "business casual" wear at off-court league events. League commissioner David Stern says the code, which bans such items as sunglasses and heavy gold medallions worn outside clothing, is intended to improve the NBA players' image as bad boy partiers. "This is just a start," Stern says. "Next, we plan to go after things like those Mavericks television commercials with Mark Cuban and his players dancing like arthritic lumberjacks. Dude, those guys make us all look like big doofuses."
Sounds fair: Police Chief David Kunkle reveals that Dallas is on track for a 20 percent reduction in homicides. As of December 8, Dallas tallied 195 killings, though three of those deaths may be subtracted if grand jurors rule they were justifiable homicides. "Frankly, shooting three people because they shorted you on an eight ball sounds pretty darn justified to me, but we'll have to wait and see what the grand jurors decide," Kunkle says.
Pipe dream: Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin is arrested in Plano for possession of a drug pipe and plastic baggie containing marijuana residue. Irvin, who says he gave up drugs and turned his life over to God, claims the paraphernalia belong to a friend who left a rehab program and came to Irvin's house on Thanksgiving. Irvin's claim is a milestone in the U.S. war on drugs, marking the 2 millionth time a suspect found with drugs or drug-related items was "just holding it for a friend."