The scoop on Paula
Buzz generally tries to avoid those mendacity festivals known as news conferences--the hard questions never get answered, and statements that should draw a horselaugh go sailing by. But even we were lured out of our comfy chair to the Fairmont last week to get a peek at Paula Jones.

All the media heavies were there--Time, Newsweek, CNN, Buzz--but only we will tell you what you really want to know: Jones looks much better in person than she does on camera. Yes, the schnoz is Durante-esque, the eye makeup a touch heavy, but all in all she doesn't look like the sort you might find by trolling a $10 bill through a trailer park. (Her husband, Stephen, with the permanent four-day growth of beard and big blow-dried hair, is perhaps another matter.)

Please, before you pick up your pen and fire off a letter accusing Buzz of being a swine, ask yourself if you've ever wondered--and discussed with a friend--how Jones could inspire trou-dropping by the president.

You're welcome.
Of course, there was more to the news conference than the chance to check out Jones' makeover. Frankly, we stopped listening early, when her lawyer Donovan Campbell let fly with two big whoppers: "My client is not in this for the media attention" and Jones et al don't care if a trial comes after Clinton leaves office and is "busing tables at Luby's."

Uh-huh. We counted 20 television cameras at the Fairmont. Here's a hint: A good way to avoid media attention is to not have news conferences (or write the inevitable tell-all book). And we wonder how many victims of lecherous busboys have ever received a gazillion dollars in gratis legal service courtesy of the Rutherford Institute.

Hey, you, get off of our cloud
When it comes to lowering the level of political discourse in Dallas, we've always felt that Buzz owned the franchise (see above).

Apparently, Mayor Ron Kirk is prepared to give us a run for the money.
Take, for instance, his not-so-trenchant comment last week concerning the League of Women Voters' stand against the Trinity River project. "Kirk calls women voters' group view 'abominable,'" The Dallas Morning News headline read, and that was pretty much all he had to say about it: abominable, as in vile, disgusting, very bad.

That's a bit dismissive of a well-respected organization with a long history of civic activism. We figure the mayor is either a) too busy pimping the river bonds to make a considered response or b) too accustomed to pushing around the empty suits on the City Council to figure he should bother.

Buzz doesn't really have an opinion on whether extending the levees and building toll roads into South Dallas are good ideas, but we have a fairly firm idea of what's abominable--a summer picnic next to a fetid, mosquito-infested lake in a treeless park bounded by expressways--all paid for with taxes. Now, that's abominable.

The poor held hostage
Thirty to 40 schoolchildren in West Dallas will be going to bed hungry at night when those centers are gone. Twenty-seven adults out in Pleasant Grove will be going without their GEDs. People will be going without shelter, without counseling services.

So says Anthony Bond, president of the Dallas County Community Action Committee in a Morning News story about the closing of five of DCCAC's community centers.

Bond and DCCAC's executive director, Cleo Sims, blame state bureaucrats with choking off the agency's money and tossing Dallas' disadvantaged into the streets.

We enjoy chewing the legs off hardhearted bureaucrats as much as the next guy, but in the case of DCCAC, there are some facts--neglected in the Morning News piece--that killed our appetite.

For instance, it failed to point out that the state's problems with the agency stem from actions by Sims, who the Dallas Observer reported ("Family first," July 31 and "Poor relations," August 14) has a penchant for hiring her children to work for the agency. The DCCAC also suffers from fiscal incontinence--as in, it pissed away a bucketful of state money on contracts for shoddy maintenance and renovation work.

Buzz's left-leaning heart bleeds for the children and disadvantaged screwed by the closing of the DCCAC's centers. Truly. Let's just be sure we know who's doing the screwing.

Catch a keeper
Prosecutors at the U.S. attorney's office apparently are feeling a bit henpecked these days by all the media attention focused on their investigation of Dallas Independent School District. Specifically, they're bothered by the big, unstated questions hovering about their efforts: Will they ever indict Matthew Harden, DISD's former chief financial officer, and will they please hurry up about it if they do?

"It takes some time to properly do these things. We're happy that in a little over a year, our investigations have already led to 15 convictions," one prosecutor told Buzz.

With the sizable exceptions of former Superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez and roofing supervisor James Hargrave, however, most of those nabbed so far have been low-level maintenance workers. Our attention spans are short, and we're ready for a better payoff than that.

Just this once, let ol' Buzz fly with a fishing analogy, and we promise, from the heart, to never, ever do it again: Nobody cares about the stringer full of minnows. We want to see you reel in another lunker. (Sorry. We're weak.)

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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