No news...: Sanger police last week removed a prominently placed 4-foot-by-2-foot sign proclaiming January 15 "James Earl Ray Day." For Buzz's historically unaware readers, January 15 was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. James Earl Ray is the man who murdered MLK. And the person or persons who put up that sign are what polite people might euphemistically call Richard Craniums. (That's dickheads to nonpolite, foul-mouthed people like Buzz.)

Nobody knows who put the sign up over the busy intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 455 and FM 2164 or exactly why (ref. "Richard Craniums"). But, when the Sanger police chief learned of the sign, he ordered it removed. That was not a move likely to be applauded by free-speech advocates. On the other hand, anyone who really cares about that in this instance is probably a you-know-what.

Donna Fielder, a longtime cops reporter for the Belo Corp.'s Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily newspaper operating about 35 miles north of Dallas, wrote a 10-inch news story about the sign and its removal. Denton Record-Chronicle editors put her story and an accompanying photograph of the red and blue sign and orders for its removal on the front page of the newspaper last Wednesday.

Suburban editors at the Belo-owned Dallas Morning News, which is considered a parent newspaper of the Record-Chronicle and which frequently picks up articles from the smaller paper (as long as they are nice), did not share the opinion, according to a source. They didn't think the professional-looking sign, first noticed by motorists the day after the MLK holiday, was worth a picture or an article or even a sentence. A source at the Record-Chronicle said the editors at the Morning News didn't want to spread any bad ideas.

"They said it might encourage other people to do that," said the source, who asked not to be identified for obvious reasons. "They did not want to encourage it."

Of course, the folks at the Morning News know their readers better than anyone, we suppose.

Calling Justice Scalia:Former Dallas County Precinct 6 Constable Aurelio Castillo, convicted last year of a felony for taking an illegal corporate campaign donation (see "The King of Cockrell Hill, February 3), won't be getting his old job back--not unless he manages to win it.

The judge in the criminal trial ordered Castillo removed from office after he was found guilty early last year, but Castillo was reinstated temporarily while he appealed the conviction and challenged whether a trial judge could order him out of office. In a refreshing change of pace from recent events, the 5th District Court of Appeals ruled this week that since Castillo's term was up December 31, and he lost his bid for re-election, the latter question was moot. In other words, in Texas you first must win an election before an appeals court can put you in office.

What a grand idea.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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