Don Hicks is downright chatty--about how he uses his mobile phone.
After discovering, on that New York street corner with Sandra Crenshaw, that the city supplies some of his colleagues with free mobile phones, Hicks inquired about the possibility of getting a subsidy for all the council-related calls he was making on his personal mobile phone.
His specific proposal, he says, was to mark his city calls on his private mobile-phone bill and simply submit it to the city for reimbursement. Hicks figured that would cost taxpayers about $50 a month.
But Assistant City Manager Ted Benavides didn't like that idea, Hicks recalls. "He said it would just be easier, as far as the paperwork went, to get a city mobile phone for the flat rate of $75. But, personally, I think it's stupid because it would save a couple of dollars to do it my way."
Like Fielding, Hicks is predictable in his mobile phone habits. Hicks called his law office the most--145 times last year. Then he called an outfit called Focus Communications 118 times.
Hicks explained that he, Pro-Line hair products titan Comer Cottrell, and political running buddy Royce West, a state senator, are in the filmmaking business together.
Last September, they arranged for a local production company to film the entire 114th National Baptist Convention in New Orleans, and today they offer it for sale in a five-tape set for $60. Focus Communications, a small minority-owned Dallas public-relations firm, takes the phone orders for the tapes.
It just goes to show that you can learn something new about a person every single day--especially when you have their telephone records.
Among other dialing destinations, Hicks called his home (just 57 times last year; his wife works with him at their law firm). He also calls three local politicians often, to discuss issues, politics, local goings-on: state senator West and Dallas County Justices of the Peace Thomas Jones and Charles Rose.
Hicks allows the taxpayers to pay for a Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems service called "Mr. Rescue," which, for a monthly charge of $1.95, promises to send a tow truck if his car breaks down.
Barbara Mallory is like mayoral driver Larry Conners; she's in love.
Last year, she spent most of her time on her mobile phone talking to her honey, her Park and Recreation Board appointee Dwaine Caraway. The two married in December.
Between his Allen Street apartment and his Stemmons Freeway office, Mallory called Caraway 708 times. Fellow councilmembers say Mallory won't make a political decision without calling for his advice.
"As far as we're concerned, she just keeps the chair warm for the real councilperson, Dwaine Caraway," one councilmember says.
The phone records thus buttress a widely held impression. Caraway has been openly telling people for more than a year that he is managing Mallory's affairs, and leaders in the African-American community typically go through Caraway to get an appointment with Mallory.
Mallory also called her city council office 260 times. Her sister, John Ware's phone friend Bernadean Steptoe, was third in line. Mallory called Steptoe 173 times last year, at both her Channel 8 office and her DeSoto home.
Mallory is also one of the few councilmembers to take her phone on out-of-town trips. She has never reimbursed the city for any part of her roaming and long-distance charges, $90 in all, even though records show some of the calls were personal.
Donna Blumer--because she rarely uses her phone--receives a reduced monthly flat rate on her phone of $13.
Her phone use is pretty much limited to calling her husband to advise him that she's on her way home from city hall. Says Blumer: "The only reason I got the phone was because when I was first elected to the council I was concerned about all the stories about the council meetings running until two in the morning. I really wanted the capability of calling 911 if I needed it on the way home. But we really haven't had those late meetings so I rarely use the phone."
Bob Stimson uses his mobile phone perk a lot; he makes about 150 to 200 calls per month. He likes calling directory assistance. He racked up $40 in roaming charges in December 1993, after taking his mobile phone to Santa Fe and Albuquerque. While there, he made, in addition to calls back to his council office, a number of local calls (to Southwest Airlines, for example), for which it would have been cheaper to throw a quarter into a pay phone.