Leading Off (12/23/13)

Ethan Couch, Charlie Cato, Mineral Owners Suing Drillers, and a New Trolley on McKinney.

Judge Jean Boyd Sentenced Previous Teen Drunk Driver to 20 Years. Plus, More Angry Op-Eds in the New York Times. Twenty years is quite a bit different than the 10 years of probation that Ethan Couch received. In 2004, Eric Bradlee Miller, then 16, stole a truck and crashed it into a car, killing a 19-year-old man. His BAC was .11. He was sentenced to 20 years. Couch, also 16, with a BAC of .24, crashed his pickup into an accident scene, killing four people. He received 10 years probation. Of course, there are differences between the stories of Miller and Couch, mainly the felony charge for stealing the pickup. But it’s an interesting, and devastating, comparison nonetheless. Also, James McAuley, who brought us that lovely JFK op-ed in the New York Times back in November, is back with some more venom for DFW on the Couch matter, specifically the “affluenza” diagnosis.

This Is a Story About an Apology. Dallas Police Department second-in-command Charlie Cato is sorry. He messed up (and by messed up he means never investigated) a shady account about a drug bust. The officers have since been fired, two others were disciplined, and Cato was put into the role of interim assistant city manager. Yes, that makes sense. But, according to the Morning News, he’s returning to his previous post next year.

Fort Worth Battling Drillers for Royalties. And it’s not alone. Arlington, Arlington ISD, and Fort Worth investor Ed Bass are all suing as well.  They claim that drillers, including Chesapeake Energy, have been using the money to cover post-drilling costs. Fort Worth alone alleges it’s been short-changed millions.

A “New” Trolley Car Will Hit the Streets This Week. The McKinney Avenue trolley system is adding Betty, an 80-year-old car that hasn’t been used since the 1950s, to its ranks. Betty will be out for tests this week and, hopefully, fully operational by February.