By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Touchy, touchy: We originally called Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins last week to ask him about criticism he had received in some quarters for his handling of the forgery case against former Dallas Area Rapid Transit chairwoman Lynn Flint Shaw. That story was made tragically moot by the deaths of Flint Shaw and her husband, Rufus Shaw (see this week's city story to the left). Buzz isn't the place to deal with tragedy. Rage and comedy are our meat, and some of what Watkins discussed with us had a little of both, so....
Watkins must have been feeling a touch presidential when we called, in that he complained about some rough handling by the media and the blogosphere lately, saying he believes he is being unfairly picked on while his predecessors were generally given comfy pillows and kisses by the media. Very Hillary-esque of him.
Watkins said he was frustrated that his office receives daily open records requests regarding his actions and finances. (Open government is such a bitch.) He says someone accused him of flying first class everywhere only to find out that he spent a total of around $2,500 on travel last year.
"These people are throwing out all this stuff because it's an election year, and they want to make Democrats look bad," Watkins says. "That's fine, but at the end of the day, I believe they're going to have to answer questions about why they were standing in the way of progress."
Watkins also claimed he is being attacked more often than his predecessor Bill Hill was. Hill's relationship with Dan Hagood, the special prosecutor in the Dallas Police Department scandal involving fake drugs planted on innocents, "raises all kinds of red flags," Watkins said. He noted Hagood submitted a bill for $412,375 shortly after Watkins was elected and that Hill and Watkins' GOP election opponent Toby Shook now work for Hagood's firm.
"This whole deal, which boggles my mind, is Hagood prosecuted the fake-drugs scandal two years before he submitted his bill and didn't submit it until after the election," Watkins says. "And people want to nitpick at me because I spent $2,500 on travel last year? Please!"
Watkins has been quick to defend himself, sending editorials to blogs, The Dallas Morning News and other media outlets.
Listen, Mr. DA Man, here's a little free advice from Buzz: You may think that complaining about how reporters and bloggers treat you will help, but it won't. We have a certain way of looking at it on our side of the media-politics divide. It's called blood in the water. You know what sharks do when they get a whiff of that, right?