By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Row, row, row: Voters narrowly reject a ballot proposition that would have halted the city council's plan to construct a publicly owned convention center hotel. The vote comes as a welcome win for the hotel's chief supporter, Mayor Tom Leppert. Designers of the proposed $500 million facility say it will include many special amenities for conventioneers, including an indoor lake, water taxi and waterfall, depending on how much it rains and how much the Trinity rises.
Rated R for randy: Trustees in the Richardson school district approve a new film on human reproduction for use in the district's health classes after complaints that the old film was ridiculously outdated. "I mean, really, didn't people in the '90s ever hear of waxing?" 17-year-old student Amber Shmeckler tells reporters. "It's like bushwomen of the Kalahari in there. Ick."
Get motivated: Dallas slips to No. 2 on the list of the nation's most crime-ridden big cities. The city's criminals vow to step up their efforts to restore the city's No. 1 ranking, which Dallas had held for six years. "Like they say, we're No. 2, so we'll try harder," mugger Jimmy "Thumbs" Willotson tells a local television reporter before making off with a $30,000 camera and news van at gunpoint. Because of changes in the way the police department records crime, the theft is classified as a "minor disturbance."
Spam alert: Diann Jones, a vice chairman of the Collin County Republican Party, apologizes for forwarding an e-mail that some local judges claimed contained a racist comment. The message, sent to local Republican clubs, described a bill that would have imposed a $50 tax on guns as "another terrific idea from the black house and its minions." Jones says she didn't write the message and didn't realize it contained the comment. Jones slams local judges who passed the e-mail among themselves while at the same time decrying its content. "That was a pretty black-hearted thing to do," Jones complains. Collin County GOP officials deny any racist intent, saying the party welcomes members of all colors "be they white, pinkish, ecru or taupe."
Welcome to Arlington: The new $1.15 billion Cowboys Stadium opens in Arlington, not Dallas, with an inaugural concert headlined by country music's George Strait. Tens of thousands of fans flock to Arlington, not Dallas, to get a look at the state-of-the-art facility, which, as we said, is in Arlington, not Dallas. The Arlington, not Dallas, stadium boasts the world's largest video screen, giving Cowboys fans who pay roughly $32,117 per ticket a chance to view close up the slow-moving train wreck that is known among the team's long-suffering supporters as "December."
Down Hill: The trial of former city council member Don Hill; his wife, Sheila; his appointee to the city Plan Commission, D'Angelo Lee; and two associates begins in Dallas federal court in late June. The five are accused of taking part in a conspiracy to extract bribes from the developers of low-income apartments in exchange for favorable votes on the projects. The months-long trial lifts the veil on the hidden doings of City Hall, where well-connected lobbyists receive fat fees to give clients favorable access to council members. The defense will argue that Hill's actions—which include accepting a $10,000 cash payment late at night in a church parking lot—were no more criminal than the way City Hall business is usually conducted among white council members and lobbyists. Unfortunately for Hill and his cronies, the way City Hall usually does business was just criminal enough for the jury to convict all five defendants on most of the charges against them. The racial overtones of a case in which all defendants are black are set early on when the defense challenges the makeup of the jury and persuades U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn to add a fourth black juror to the panel. That strategy backfires when it turns out that black people are just as adept as white people at recognizing bribery and extortion.
Doth protest too much: Officers from the Fort Worth police and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission celebrate the anniversary of New York's Stonewall rebellion, considered the modern beginning of the gay rights movement, by raiding the Rainbow Lounge, a Cowtown gay bar. Officials defend the raid as a necessary step to combat the dreaded scourge of adults consuming alcoholic beverages in licensed bars. One man is seriously injured in the raid, which stirs up angry protests from Fort Worth's gay community. TABC agents say they were provoked into heavy-handed action and claim at least one of their officers was "groped" in the lounge. "Oh, it was provoking, all right," an anonymous TABC agent tells reporters. "All those shirtless young men with their chiseled chests and abs, their round, rock-hard bottoms gyrating enticingly to a heavy backbeat, their tight packages pressing so alluringly against their jeans, their pert, shapely lips, their...their...Why, I have an enormous provocation right now just thinking about it." The TABC eventually fires three agents involved in the raid.
Jason lives: Parents of several children attending a Mesquite day camp are outraged after their kids witness a teenage camp counselor kill a mother possum and her babies with an ax. Officials at Camp Crystal Lake say the teen was merely trying to put the animal out of its misery, though they were at a loss to explain why the youth donned a hockey mask before hacking the animal to death.