By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Catch-22: Dallas state District Judge Tena Callahan rules that Texas' ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. Callahan's ruling comes in a case involving two men married in another state who are seeking a divorce in Texas. Her ruling prompts outrage among conservatives and intervention from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who vows to appeal. Ironically, if Abbott is successful, the two men would be unable to obtain a divorce in Texas and would remain married. "Well, that's a conundrum, all right," Abbott says. "I guess maybe we should send a few TABC agents round to those gents and see if we can gently 'persuade' them to move their gay asses back out of state."
Lost in translation: The League of United Latin American Citizens calls for an investigation after a Spanish-speaking motorist complains that a Dallas police officer ticketed her for driving while not being able to speak English, which is not against the law. At least 20 Dallas police officers issued similar citations since 2007. Senior Corporal Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, claims the outcry over the tickets was overblown and that the investigation was unnecessary. "It was just an honest mistake. Our officers have nothing against Hispanics. Why, some of my best friends are Mexican. They've nicknamed me 'Pendejo,' which I'm told means 'good friend' in Spanish."
Cleaning house: Reacting to the October guilty verdicts in the Don Hill corruption trial, Dallas City Council passes a sweeping package of ethics reforms aimed at limiting lobbyists' and developers' sway over zoning cases. Under the reforms, lobbyists would be required to file detailed reports of who they lobbied at City Hall, and people who make or spend more than $200 to influence city officials must register as lobbyists. Mayor Leppert, who sponsored the reforms, says the measure will protect innocent, naïve council members from being led down a primrose path of corruption by wily lobbyists and their wicked enticements. "The only other choice here is for Dallas voters to elect council people with some measure of brains, backbone and integrity," Leppert says. "Yeah, like that's gonna happen."
Welcome mat: Dallas officials tout a new program that they hope will bring foreign investment into the city. Under the program, foreigners who promise to invest $500,000 may receive green cards for permanent U.S. residency. Those who invest $1 million get a green card and a toaster. Investors on a shoestring budget may still qualify for green cards if they're willing to "invest" $10,000 in unmarked, non-sequential bills, paid out after 11 p.m. in a church parking lot.
Disorderly conduct: Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price erupts into a fist-thumping, profanity-laced tirade as the commissioners court discusses a $113,000 bill paid to a special investigator looking into allegations of...of...well, something involving local constables. Possibly something involving towing. Or using deputies for electioneering. Maybe something to do with computers. Hard to say. The investigation, pushed by County Judge Jim Foster, has been lengthy and contentious, opening rifts among fellow Democrats Foster, Price and District Attorney Craig Watkins, who attempted to halt the commissioners' inquiry. As Price grew angry during a meeting to discuss the investigator's bill, Foster attempted to restore order by pounding his gavel. Price violently struck the table with his fist and shouted at Foster, "So what? Make me come to order!" The breakdown in decorum shocked political observers, among them, Skippy the golden retriever. "I haven't seen anything like that since the cat got in the kennel," Skippy tells reporters. "If I'm elected county judge, I'll bite ass and take names to restore a little order down there."
Ground zero: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security designates Dallas as one of the nation's top 10 terrorist targets, a measure that entitles the city to $25 million for safety measures. City officials say most of the $25 million will be used to relocate residents in the North Dallas neighborhood near 10141 Daria Place, the home of former President George W. Bush. "Those people are scared shitless and their property values have tanked with this ranking, so it's only fair we do something to help them out," a city spokesman says.
Catholic love: At the urging of Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell, local Catholic leaders launch a number of ads on DART buses intended to lure lapsed Catholics back to the fold. Thirteen buses, at a cost of $359 per ad, carry the message "Catholics Come Home for Christmas." The ads originally were to read "Catholics Come Home for Christmas and Bring the Kids," but the diocese decided to shorten the message for unspecified reasons.
Heigh-ho, Silver, away: David Kunkle announces that he will retire as Dallas police chief in April, ending his five-year tenure as the city's top cop. Kunkle's reign included a boost in the number of cops on the streets and a significant drop in crime statistics. "By our statistical measures, along about April, we will have completely eliminated all crime in the city," Kunkle says. "My work here is done."