Buzz | Dallas Observer


Sand between his ears
You might already be of the opinion that Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro is a bit daft, having decided he'll try to dislodge George W. Bush from the governor's mansion next year. Even Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock--good Democrat that he is--has driven a stake into the heart of Mauro's fledgling campaign by declaring that no one is going to beat the popular Republican incumbent.

But if you want more insight into the real Gary Mauro, just check out a copy of the vanity book Mauro's aides have churned out just in time for the campaign season. The book, Beaches, Bureaucrats, and Big Oil, is a thinly veiled political biography, allowing Mauro to brag that he's a Friend of Bill and used to carry former Sen. Ralph Yarborough's luggage.

The book's stated purpose is for Mauro to tell Texans why they should be grateful that he singlehandedly saved our beaches from dirty oil companies, slothful foreign ship crews, and corrupt politicians.

You don't need to buy this book. The cover pretty much gives away that it's a self-serving bit of pre-election drivel--it's a picture of Gary at the beach with an ethnically correct cluster of children gathered 'round.

Here's the skinny--Mauro did take a special interest in cleaning up Texas' coastline. He probably did better than his predecessors, which ain't saying a whole lot.

But isn't that his job?

Set our reporter free
If you've ever strayed into the upper floors of the downtown federal courthouse, you have witnessed one of the more bizarre manifestations of career civil service--the Apparently Pointless Men.

These are the guys who man the X-ray machines and metal detectors on each of the floors where judges have their courts. Unfortunately, these last sentinels in the building's line of defense often have vast amounts of time on their hands. Unless there's a trial going, traffic can be pretty slow on the upper floors, and the Apparently Pointless Men spend many of their working hours staring at walls, smoking cigarettes, and reading paperback books.

Buzz is here to assure you that this lethargy is purely superficial. These guys are ready, willing, and able to spring into action when menace arises.

Last week, for instance, a reporter from the Dallas Observer tried to walk down one of the hallways to a judge's office--on the theory that a reporter can actually use a public building. The reporter identified herself and tried to pass through the metal detector, but these savvy guardians of the upper reaches were not to be fooled. Sensing an opportunity to stand up, no fewer than 10 of them surrounded the reporter and hustled her to an office.

Only then, apparently, did it dawn on them that arresting someone entails filling out a lot of paperwork, so they let her go.

--David Pasztor