Judge not

Your mother always warned you, girls. Once you get a bad reputation, you'll never shake it. Just ask visiting District Judge Candace Tyson, who once again came in dead last in the Dallas Bar Association's judicial evaluation poll.

Every two years, the association quizzes local lawyers about their opinions on the quality and work habits of judges. Generally, the lawyers are satisfied with the judges, most of whom draw a 70 percent or better favorable response to the question of whether the lawyers "approve of this judge's overall performance." (Obligatory lawyer-bashing joke: Winning a favorable opinion from a group of lawyers must be like winning a swimsuit competition at a leper colony.)

Then there's Tyson, whom D magazine once called "The Most Hated Judge in Texas" after she received a measly 13 percent favorable performance rating in the last poll. In a fit of brio, Tyson ignored the poll and gave up her district bench seat to run for the Texas Supreme Court. She lost, but ousted judges in Texas never die; they just become visiting district judges, like Tyson.

But she didn't get any more popular. This year, Tyson scored a 10 percent favorable rating, which leads Buzz to suspect that Mom was right -- a bad rep will follow you forever.

Tyson wasn't alone in scoring poorly among the judges. County Criminal Court 3 Judge Dan Wyde won a 41 percent approval rating for overall performance, District Judge John Marshall scored 49 percent, visiting Judge David Cave scored 42 percent, and visiting Judge Robert Moss received a 22 percent favorable response.

Wrong number

The four phone lines inside the home of Buzz's Austin correspondent kept going dead, which made it difficult for him to do his work. Work like the story he wrote recently for the Dallas Observer exposing Southwestern Bell's heavy-handed tactics at the Legislature ("Ring Ma Bell," May 20).

Southwestern Bell repairmen told him the recurring problem had to do with the prehistoric lead cables that service his neighborhood. As long as Bell was too cheap to replace them, his phone woes likely would continue.

So, on a day when one of his phones actually had a dial tone, our man in Austin called to register a complaint about the greedy monopoly by calling the Office of Public Utility Counsel, a state agency that represents consumers. He looked in the Southwestern Bell Greater Austin phone directory and found the number: 935-7500. Wrong number.

So instead he called the Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages and Advertising Services customer service line. A nice woman named Stephanie answered, and she confirmed the number in the Bell directory is incorrect.

"Yep, it's a misprint," she said. "That's not good."

Yeah, no kidding, Stephanie. Especially since that's the number people call to complain about Southwestern Bell.

Buzz is sure it was just an honest mistake -- a coincidence, just like our correspondent's phone service going to hell shortly after his story critical of Bell was published. Just to be on the safe side, though, Buzz is buying a cell phone.

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

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