See no evil
City Attorney Sam Lindsay never met a conflict of interest he couldn't rationalize, especially if it involves Mayor Ron Kirk.
The latest issue involves Kirk's vocal opposition to nascent Legend Airlines, which is trying to get its 56 first-class seat planes off the ground at Love Field. Although the pesky Wright Amendment allows for 56-seat commuter planes to fly out of Love Field, the Department of Transportation ruled that Congress meant the planes had to be designed for 56 seats, not reconfigured for that number, which is what Legend wants to do.
What's the diff? That's what a lot of business travelers want to know. They're tired of paying the highest ticket prices in the country on American Airlines and are anxious to fly the roomy planes out of the convenient Love Field location.
The U.S. Senate recently gave Legend its blessing, but then ultimately left it up to the City Council to decide whether to let Legend fly. The House is grappling with its own version of the bill now.
Mayor Kirk based his opposition to Legend on the grounds that it could hurt Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and upset the agreement between the two cities.
Kirk's blather about agreements between Dallas and Fort Worth aside--after all, doesn't Alliance Airport breach those agreements?--the only entity that stands to get hurt is American Airlines' bottom line. American Airlines is a client of Gardere & Wynne, which pays Kirk a tidy sum for doing nothing, except perhaps to look after their clients' best interests from his perch as mayor.
Well, Lindsay told The Dallas Morning News recently he doesn't see where the conflict is. But Buzz wonders if it might be a matter of where you sit. A few years ago, a member of the Dallas Plan Commission asked Lindsay whether there was a conflict when the law firm where the member's son worked had business before the commission. According to a copy of a letter given to the Observer, Lindsay's office--and a subsequent Texas attorney general opinion--ruled that the Plan Commission member could not discuss or vote on matters that came before the commission if they involved the law firm that employed his son.
Call it a sign of the times or a symptom of excessive testosterone. Eastfield College last winter announced that it would offer the area's first men's studies program. While its instructor, Dr. Craig Washington, didn't expect torrents of interest, he had hoped someone might sign up.
No one did.
"It's not all that surprising," says Washington with a chuckle. "It's a subject generally that men don't want to talk about, not yet."
Buzz has a hint for the good doctor: It's not likely any good gimme-cap-wearing, Cowboys-worshiping, pickup-driving Texan worth his salt is ever gonna want to talk about his masculinity. Not talking is the whole point. We'll leave the tom-tom thumping confessionals to parts elsewhere, thank you.
Washington, who is a counseling psychologist, is vice president of instruction at Eastfield College. He has taught men's studies courses previously in Virginia and Massachusetts. There, the biggest fans of men's studies were women, he says.
But of course.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams
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