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The smell test
Maintaining a healthy level of cynicism is not as easy as it looks. Life, especially here in Dallas, especially at 1500 Marilla Street, has a nasty way of meeting and surpassing our most paranoid suspicions, of confirming our doubts about others' motivations. You think you're being cynical, but pal, you don't know the half of it.

This maundering bit of philosophizing was prompted by City Manager John Ware and his new--we guess it's new--business partnership with Stars owner Tom Hicks, just months after Ware helped Hicks secure public financing for a new arena.

News that Ware was leaving City Hall was followed last week by a report in The Dallas Morning News that Mayor Ron Kirk and his wife earned $500,000 from stock options that Matrice Ellis-Kirk received for serving on the board of a Hicks company.

Well sure. Why not?
Laura Miller, the newest city council member and former Dallas Observer columnist, along with several fellow travelers, still had enough energy left to be outraged and demand an investigation into Ware's deal.

"I find it shocking that the city manager is going to leave to work for the man he just helped get a sports arena for, and I'm just really disappointed," she told Buzz last week. "It raises a lot of questions. How long has this deal been going on?"

Forever, maybe?
No, really, we're kidding. Kirk, Ware, and Hicks swear that, despite all appearances, their relationships were aboveboard and ethical. They toked, as it were, but didn't inhale. They say everything's jake, and we'll give them the benefit of the doubt. What the heck, take the money and run, guys. Have a ball!

That's not the point.
For all their talk of innocent dealings and no-violations-of-ethics-codes, what Ware, Kirk, and Hicks don't seem to give a damn about is the fragility of the public's trust. When it comes to credibility, appearance counts, guys. Ware and Hicks might have delayed their partnership, and the Kirks might have forgone their stock options to help maintain what's left of a bond of trust between Dallas' residents and its leaders. Instead, they said "trust us" and went for the moolah.

We're sure Kirk, Hicks, and Ware are a lot richer for their move. We believe public life in Dallas will be much poorer--and more cynical--for it.

One good flush deserves another
Buzz is happy to know that at least one other person in Dallas has as much time on his hands as we do. Reader Mike Stanfill offered this design for the city's new arena, along with the following comments:

"After spending considerable time surveying the proposed arena site, the I.M. Pey company presents what can only be the most logical choice for a public edifice constructed on a toxic-waste dump. Designated the 'Pey Toilette,' this structure offers the most superficially modern details in contemporary arena design such as (A) a perfect, bowl-shaped seating area offering excellent sightlines, with built-in high-pressure water jets along the upper rim to make cleanup and crowd control extra cost-efficient.

"The translucent 'Sky Dome' (B), while offering a delightfully unobstructed view of any new atmospheric display from our neighbors to the south, is the perfect complement for gender-specific sports, designed to rest primarily in the raised position for male-oriented contests and in the lowered position for female-oriented events.

"Dominating the structure will be the high-rise Central Excess Tank (C), which will house numerous corporate suites, complete with their own gold-plated private entrance (F) designed to allow its privileged members rapid ingress and egress while allowing them to maintain a healthy distance from the pathetic, squalid rabble who ultimately will foot the bill for this arena.

"The surrounding public plaza (E) is to be surfaced with a low-maintenance, glazed-tile surface. Although structurally a bad choice, seeing how it's slippery, prone to cracking, and certain to present problems with mold and mildew, it sure looks better than that tacky old tarmac stuff.

"A proposed extra feature (D and inset) will be a freestanding memorial to those responsible for the existence of this impressive facility. Fashioned out of pure gall will be a larger-than-life statue of Tom Hicks riding the backs of the typical South Dallas voter as he leads them to victory with a basketball on a stick."

The kits are all rights
It's also good to know that our threat to our cats' lives last week inspired one person to come up with a design. At last, the little fleabags are doing something to pull their weight. Reader Ann Forrester came up with a design that looks like a child's drawing of a house with large windows. But what it lacks in imagination, it makes up for in concern for felines and female bladders:

"This is the best I could come up with on short notice, but it's for the cats. This is my design, only it would be, you know...bigger.

"It has lots of windows, so if people get bored (which they usually do at Mavericks games), they can look out the windows. Did I mention that the Mavericks are awful and do not deserve a new arena? The windows are different sizes for different-sized people. There is one entrance, and there are 50 women's bathrooms, which are everywhere so the women shall stand in line no longer. There are only two men's bathrooms. I think that is self-explanatory."

--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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