Dallas Independent School District board candidate Richard Evans, the self-described "doctor"(as in bogus Ph.D.), has been quiet in the wake of reports that he may have dropped out of high school and never attended an accredited college or university. That may be because Evans has been busy trying to corral his supporters, who are fleeing his campaign like rats on the Titanic.
Chief on the list of Evans' former friends is Pettis Norman, the businessman and former Dallas Cowboy who gave $250 to Evans' campaign last month. The DISD rumor mill has it that several ex-supporters of Evans are asking for their money back. Although Norman does not want his $250 repaid, he is unendorsing Evans.
"I can no longer endorse Richard Evans," says Norman, who said Evans told him face-to-face that he graduated from Roosevelt High School--a claim DISD officials have been unable to confirm. "When I ask a question, and you look me in the eye and tell me yes, I expect that to be the correct answer."
Norman says he isn't going to endorse anyone else in the race, though he would be happy with any candidate who follows the basic rules of political campaigning: Don't lie about such things as your educational background.
"I would give my moral support to anyone who has been honest and straightforward about who they are and what they've done," says Norman, setting a new and, we fear, impossibly high standard for politics.
The fugitive candidate
Richard Evans' loss of support is the other candidates' gain, as donors apparently are funneling their campaign money elsewhere. Although the name of Dallas Breakfast Group spokesman Harry Tanner appeared on Evans' list of supporters, the group's PAC gave candidate Yul Lynch $500, according to a campaign report he filed last week. Lynch also received $250 from real estate czar Vance Miller, bringing his total contributions to $1,350.
That's not much dough, but when it comes to honesty, Lynch is pulling up a notch. Last week, Lynch happily reported that he's hired an attorney to take care of a dusty old warrant for his arrest that was issued after he failed to take care of a bounced check. "I am no longer a fugitive from justice," says Lynch, who added a tiny figure of a running man on his campaign literature to make light of the warrant.
"Not a fugitive from justice" certainly makes a catchy campaign bumper sticker, but, again, we wouldn't want to set too high a standard for our school board members. It's hard enough getting anyone to run.
Of the four candidates, Yul Lynch and Jerry Parks are the only ones who filed their campaign reports when they were due last week. By Tuesday, Evans and Se-Gwen Tyler still hadn't handed in their reports.
Lynch says he can't predict whether his new supporters will be enough for him to prevail. "If I win, I'll be surprised. If I'm in a run-off, I'll be surprised. If I lose," Lynch says, "I'll still be surprised."
And if makes any difference at all, Buzz will be surprised.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams