Fire two
Last week, Buzz saluted city council member Don Hicks for nominating former Councilman Chris Luna to the new city task force on ethics. (That would be the Chris Luna whose character is so flawed that it even offended his former fellow council members--not an easy thing to do.)

More congratulations are in order, this time for Barbara Mallory Caraway, who has nominated her husband, Dwaine Caraway, to be her appointee on the committee that will review the city government's ethics code. Maybe they should start with a look at the rules governing nepotism.

As we pointed out last week, during his time on the council, Luna had several square feet of his hide removed by Laura Miller, who outlined his sleazy deals in detail in her former column in the Dallas Observer. That is another thing he has in common with Dwaine Caraway, whom Miller described as a deceitful, pompous, vain deadbeat in a May 1994 cover story.

Let's see. City council member Miller pushes her colleagues to take a look at their ethics policies. Hicks and Barbara Caraway, who are not exactly friendly with Miller, nominate men who might conceivably have an ax--or a machine gun--to grind with her.

Is Buzz the only one seeing a pattern here? Is Buzz the only one who thinks that's just precious?

Now, we're not suggesting that anyone who was ever napalmed in a Miller column be excluded from serving on city commissions--there would hardly be any experienced people left at City Hall above the level of janitor. In fact, we're suggesting just the opposite. Looking over some of Miller's past Observer columns and stories, we see a whole slew of untapped potential for city service. Maybe Walker Railey can be enticed back to Dallas to serve on a panel examining the city's cell phone usage.

For the record, we called Miller to find out whom she is nominating for the ethics committee. It's Clark Birdsall, chief of the public integrity unit for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.

Where's the fun in that?

Girl from the north country
Back bacon, blue northers, Moosehead beer, and Channel 4 newswoman Ashleigh Banfield. Of all the Canadian exports to this country, which would you rather keep here?

Moosehead is bit skunky for our tastes, so we would pick Banfield. Apparently not all of her fellow broadcast journalists feel the same way, which would explain the rather mean-spirited anonymous fax we recently received from a local station.

It purportedly was a form letter that Banfield sent to other local TV news types. Banfield, a Canadian who is in this country on a work visa, has applied for permanent U.S. residency. The letter allegedly was to be filled out by broadcast journalists and sent to the Immigration and Naturalization Service in support of her application.

"In my opinion, her talents are extraordinary. Given her position at Fox News...I can unequivocally state that she has risen to the very top of her field," the letter states.

Normally, that would be fodder for Buzz's little spite mill, except that it's a hoax. Banfield tells us that she is applying for permanent residency, but that she's not asking anyone to write in on her behalf.

As she points out, the INS doesn't decide residency cases based on write-in campaigns--she has a lawyer for that--and she's in no particular danger of being shipped back to the Great White North.

Frankly, we're glad to hear that. The thought of the sunny Banfield ever being sent back to the cold gray North seems cruel, although we're sure Winnipeg barflies would be cheered by Banfield's occasional second career as a singer.

Besides, while the Observer has occasionally thrown a few shots her way for a perky delivery, Buzz likes Banfield--mainly because she returns our phone calls and seems to have a sense of humor. (City council members take note.)

Feisty this
We here at the Observer would like to thank the editors of the Utne Reader for recognizing us in the magazine's 10th annual alternative press awards.

We think.
The Observer was cited along with the monthly The New Internationalist, the environmental newsletter The Green Guide, and the bimonthly Buddhist Shambhala Sun for general excellence.

While the other publications were noted for being "wonderfully readable," "well-researched," and "enlightened," we were described as a "feisty rag."

In other words, The Economist we ain't.
Actually, Utne Reader was quite complimentary, and we appreciate it, really. But feisty rag? One can't help but feel like the teenager described as cute with a good personality.

Or the fat girl who doesn't sweat much.
Nevertheless, we thank the editors of the Utne Reader, a sort of Readers Digest of the alternative press.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Feeling feisty? Want to rag on someone? Buzz knows how you feel. Write us at [email protected].

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