By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Kaboom II: Men's Health magazine ranks Dallas the nation's fourth-fattest city, behind leading Lone Star lard-ass Corpus Christi (No. 1) and El Paso (No. 3). The magazine's rankings are based on a number of factors, including rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes and the per capita consumption of products manufactured by Kraft Foods Inc.
Take this job: Embattled Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes, who lost his bid for re-election in March's primaries, announces he will resign. Cortes, the subject of a controversial investigation by Dallas County commissioners into allegations of kickbacks involving a towing contract, claims he is the target of a witch hunt by Republican commissioners and County Judge Jim Foster. His resignation comes after commissioners adopt new rules that would have required Cortes to post a $250,000 surety bond to indemnify the county against any liability from his actions. "A quarter mill?" Cortes says. "Damn, I don't think I could impound that many cars."
Wild card: In mid-May, the Morning News reports that Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, chairman of the city council's public safety committee, interfered with police and prosecutors who attempted to crack down on a South Dallas house where men play poker. Prompted by neighborhood complaints, police in January issued 16 citations for illegal parking behind the house, where Caraway and his elderly father had in the past gambled. A less-than-contrite Caraway admits that his arm twisting of City Hall and police staff may have violated the council's policy of non-interference in police matters, but he insists his goal was to urge police to focus on serious crimes, such as the plague of young men walking about with their trousers slung low.
Shameless Joe: U.S. Representative Joe Barton gets a taste of his own shoe leather at a House hearing when he apologizes to oil giant BP for what he calls a "$20 billion shakedown" by the White House, referring to a fund the Obama administration arranged for BP to pay Gulf Coast residents for damages caused by a record-setting well blowout. "I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday," Barton tells BP execs. Hammered by the media, Democrats and fellow Republicans alike, Barton quickly apologizes for the apology, admitting that he misspoke. "I think the voters of North Texas I have served for so long are well aware of the fact that I have no sense of shame," he says.
Troubled waters: City and state officials gather at the Trinity River to watch as builders place the final 150-ton section atop the 40-story arch supporting the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Construction of the $117 million bridge, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava as part of the Trinity project, was long delayed by cost overruns. Says Mayor Tom Leppert: "Finally seeing this arch rising majestically into the sk...HEY! Wazzat rain? I felt rain on my neck! RUN! Run for your freakin' lives!" The mayor, found by police hoofing it for higher ground a quarter mile away, sheepishly returns to the ceremony after learning that impish council member Angela Hunt squirted him from a bottle of Ozarka water.
Vagina Monologues was taken: Noted conspiracy theorist Robert Groden files a federal lawsuit against the city of Dallas, claiming police violated his First Amendment rights when they arrested him on Dealey Plaza in mid-June for selling without a permit his latest magazine, Naked Hunch: Proof Badu Badidn't.
Thanks for the tip: The Texas Department of State Health Services warns people not to consume any fish taken from a lengthy stretch of the Trinity River, including most of Dallas, because of PCB and dioxin contamination. In a follow-up advisory, the department also cautions Dallasites against running with scissors, cleaning loaded handguns and drinking drain cleaner.
Forbidden fruit: Swami Mukundananda, founder of Jagadguru Kripalu Yog, makes a stop in Plano as part of a 17-city U.S. tour. The Indian spiritual leader, whose saffron robes signify his renunciation of material things, intends to teach a program on yoga, meditation and spirituality, but the session is abruptly canceled after the swami makes unscheduled stops at Plano's P.F. Chang's and Gap. "Asceticism? Drafty robes? Bugger that. Gimme chinos and lettuce wraps any day," says Mukundananda, who announces he will renounce his renunciation, purchase a Lexus and 4,500-square-foot Plano mock Tudor and "maybe dabble in a little real estate."
Downright neighborly: The first of 17 homeless people move from The Bridge downtown shelter into Dallas Housing Authority's Cliff Manor apartments in Oak Cliff, despite the protests of nearby residents who fear the arrival of recovering addicts will depress property values. City council member Dave Neumann, who represents the neighborhood, leads the opposition. Neumann claims he was shocked and blindsided by DHA's plans for "permanent supportive housing" to the chronically homeless, apparently forgetting DHA had briefed council on the project in 2009. "Nope, doesn't ring a bell," he says. "You know how it is down at City Hall. So many bridges to think about. Just busy, busy, busy."
Waltz to glory: The NFL Hall of Fame inducts former Cowboys running back and Dancing With the Stars winner Emmitt Smith, the last of the famed '90s-era Cowboys "Triplets"—Smith, quarterback Troy Aikman and wide receiver Michael Irvin—to receive the honor. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones notes with pride that not only did the three teammates make it to the Hall of Fame, "but only 33 percent of them had ever been charged with a felony."