Yvonne Gonzalez, the jailhouse-bound former Dallas school superintendent, showed up attired entirely in black--a la Johnny Cash--for her arraignment last week at the federal courthouse.
Unfortunately, such understated styling was not her way in January when she did all that furniture shopping for her home and office on DISD's nickel. (Does Buzz need remind anyone about the lavish pieces, including a bedroom set, that she picked up at a North Dallas store?)
The stuff she bought for her office was so fussy and rich that even though DISD paid for it, James Hughey, the veteran DISD administrator serving as interim superintendent, doesn't want to be anywhere near it. (When she was still laughing, Gonzalez used to joke with her secretaries that men would not want to sit on her chairs.)
"It had kind of a more feminine ring to it," Hughey says.
Last week, Hughey had most of the Gonzalez leftovers placed in storage. DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander says it will stay there "until the board or the superintendent figure out what to do with it." The furniture may eventually make it to a public auction. Buzz wonders who will want the ivory-inlaid pagoda Gonzalez used to store her curios? Since the Chicken Ranch has closed, perhaps one of those downtown businessmen who were so supportive of Gonzalez will want the display case for his office.
Meanwhile, "He's No Fool" Hughey has not replaced her stuff with new purchases. Instead, he hunted around the administration building and found all the pieces that Gonzalez's predecessor Chad Woolery used. Gonzalez had given Woolery's old couch to her close public relations advisor Robert Hinkle. Now Hinkle's been moved out of his old job, and his couch has gone into Hughey's office.
At DISD, the maxim clearly has to be amended. It's no longer the money, it's "follow the furniture."
Advice for new meat
Hard as it is to believe, Buzz is not entirely heartless or ungrateful for the likes of Gonzalez or Dallas' other favorite felonious public official, former city council member Paul Fielding. (After all, they provide plenty of grist for the Buzz mill.)
To show our gratitude, Buzz would like to recommend a book that recently crossed our desk: How to Survive Federal Prison Camp by Clive Sharp, a former guest of the feds himself.
The book is chock-full of tips for light-weight felons being shipped off to minimum-security prison camps. Among them: Don't call guards hacks, screws, or snouts to their faces. Its list of recommended toiletries to bring includes hand lotion, "a good lubricating kind for personal moments." Its most important piece of advice for new inmates: Remember that "everyone is a potential snitch." Oh, and be prepared to have your body cavities probed.
Come to think of it, those last two are pretty good tips for Dallas officials outside prison as well.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams