Monkey Business

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What's the point: The Morning News publishes "Dallas at the Tipping Point: A Road Map for Renewal," an important, serious multipart series about, um, Dallas and tipping. Roads, too, maybe. Possibly maps. Or something. We'll let you know as soon as we find someone who read it.

Spin the wheels: Texas legislators, struggling to come up with a school financing plan, consider a measure that would allow racetracks to offer slot machines, with tax money from the slots going for schools. The plan is later rejected when opponents point out that a Texas public school education is already a crapshoot, and enough gambling is enough.

Dangerous granny: Highland Park police are inundated with calls and e-mails after the arrest of a 97-year-old woman for outstanding traffic warrants. In response, the department changes policy, allowing its officers more discretion in deciding whether to make an arrest in traffic cases. "We hopefully won't be cuffing and jailing elderly grannies anymore," Highland Park Director of Public Safety Darrell Fant tells reporters, "unless, of course, they're poor or driving domestic automobiles."

No place like home: After conducting a nationwide search for a new police chief, City Manager Ted Benavides hires former Arlington Chief David Kunkle to replace Terrell Bolton. Benavides praises Kunkle, a former Dallas cop, for his incisive leadership and intelligence, calling him the best man for the job. "Plus, since he's already here, we won't have to pay moving expenses. We're running out of couch cushions to search, you know." Kunkle's tenure in Dallas suburbs was also considered a plus, since that's also where most of the city's police force live. Kunkle vows he will work to "restore the department's image, improve morale, and, if I'm lucky, persuade our officers to stop framing people."

Straight dopes: A number of Dallas-area teachers are suspended for showing the video of American Nick Berg being beheaded in Iraq. At Northwest High, students hold a sit-in to protest teacher Andy Gerbert's suspension. "We don't know what the big deal is," one student leader of the protest says. "It's not like anyone in the video was gay or anything. Besides, we've seen way cooler stuff on video before, like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, you know, like when that guy with the leather face goes after the guy in the wheelchair with the chainsaw. That was, like, so awesome."

Ted, we knew ye: Ted Benavides announces he is retiring as City Manager, walking away from his post with a pension deal worth slightly less than the gross national product of Guatemala. Benavides tells reporters that his constant battles with Mayor Miller left him "overcome with a sense of depression" and that at times he felt City Hall consisted of him and "15 kids." City council members vow to conduct a nationwide search to find his replacement. "But to be honest, we'll probably start looking in Arlington first. That city's way better run than Dallas, and besides, we need to save on moving expenses," Miller says.

Hardly working: Dallas officials announce the city will fire 32 code inspectors for lying about the number of citations they issued. Officials reassure residents that none of the inspectors issued fake citations but simply lied about how hard they were working. Falsifying violations is a job for cops, not code inspectors, Benavides tells reporters. A representative for the fired workers complains that none of the 32 knew that faking work was against city policies.

East meets West: Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells apologizes for using a racial slur during a news conference. Parcells had told reporters that his assistant coaches, among them quarterbacks coach Sean Payton, commonly use trick plays in training. "Sean's going to have a few...no disrespect to the Orientals, but what we call 'Jap plays.' OK? Surprise things," Parcells says. Parcells later says he was unaware that he was giving offense. "Boy, I feel as dumb as a Polack," the coach says. "Now that I know it's wrong, there's not a Chinaman's chance that I'll ever say anything against the Nips. Me so solly. Heh, heh."

Psych!: The Cowboys break off talks with Dallas County over the team's proposal to build a new stadium in Fair Park in exchange for $425 million in public funding. Team officials say the South Dallas neighborhood was the leading contender for the team's new home until owner Jerry Jones actually visited the area. "There's just a little too much crack and weed on the streets down there," Jones says. "We're talking Cowboys here. 'Lead us not into temptation,' know what I mean?" The Cowboys take their proposal to Arlington, where voters in November agree to the plan to finance the stadium.

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

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