By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Calling M.C. Escher: Amid a chorus of boos and catcalls from audience members at a DISD board meeting, trustees adopt an ethics policy that restricts the amount of money trustees can earn through private business contracts with the district. Critics say the new rules don't go far enough. Despite concerns from fellow board members about a potential conflict of interest, board president Jack Lowe, chairman of a company that has done $9 million in district work since 2002, votes in favor of the policy rather than abstaining. "I see no conflict of interest in voting for this conflict-of-interest policy because any conflict of interest I might have has been reported as a potential conflict of interest as required by rules," Lowe tells fellow board member Carla Ranger, whose head bursts into flames.
Dallas updated: Fans travel from across the globe to attend the 30th annual reunion of stars of the primetime soap opera Dallas, only to find that the event, held at Southfork Ranch in Collin County in November, was a disorganized mess. Fans complain that the event's promoter charged exorbitant prices for access to the stars but failed to deliver on promises. News of the debacle produces a wave of schadenfreude among city residents who are pleased to know that foreigners now understand exactly what it's like to live here today.
How can we miss you?: Insisting that DISD needs the sort of firm, steady leadership that has made the district what it is today, trustees vote to extend their terms from three years to four. The Texas Attorney General's Office agrees to review the decision as critics point out that the law allowing trustees to lengthen their time in office required that the change be made before December 31, 2007. District lawyers defend the vote. "These people can't even do basic addition and subtraction. You expect them to follow a calendar?" says one DISD staff attorney.
Cherry pulpit: The Reverend Ed Young of the Grapevine-based Fellowship Church urges his congregation to have sex every day for one week in late November to strengthen their marriages. Some view Young's "sex challenge," delivered in a Sunday sermon whose topic was revealed in advance, as a publicity stunt to boost church attendance. The move backfires, however, when disappointed worshippers learn that Young meant married couples should have daily sex with each other.
Wah-wah: City Hall officials halt radio, television and Internet broadcasts of remarks made by speakers during the public-comment sessions routinely held at the end of city council meetings. No one in city management will admit to ordering the censorship at first, though it's later revealed that the broadcast ban was ordered by Mayor Tom "Vladimir" Leppert after complaints from council ally Dwaine Caraway, whose widdle feelwings was made all hurty from some of the mean ol' nasty things said to hims durwing the sessions. Leppert later vows to reconsider the ban after taking Caraway out for an ice cream sundae and a new comic book to cheer him up.
Welcome to Ground Zero II: President Bush and wife Laura announce they have purchased a home in North Dallas, where the couple will relocate after he leaves office in January. Local Realtors say the couple's planned move to 10141 Daria Place has created a flurry of interest in real estate. Unfortunately for Dallas, that interest is in Oklahoma City, as Preston Hollow residents load up their Lexuses and haul ass to get far away from the area before, as one neighborhood resident puts it, "men with beards start making things go ka-boom."
And finally: The Dallas City Council adopts a strict new anti-smoking ordinance that, come April, will ban smoking in most bars. With passage of the law, smoking is now prohibited in virtually all public indoor spaces in the city, excluding City Hall and DISD headquarters, where officials say they plan to keep blowing smoke forever and ever and ever and...