Pulse of the CITY

for the record

ADVENTURES WITH CUECAT

■ A.H. Belo is a conservatively managed company willing to place large bets. Its burgeoning Internet division hosts 40 web sites, including guidelive.com and dallasnews.com. Then there’s TXCN, a statewide cable network, in which Belo continues to invest. Now comes CueCat, a bar-scanning device.
Belo seems to think that people read their morning paper while seated at the computer. So it invested $40 million in Dallas-based Digital Convergence, endlessly hyped the product in the paper and on WFAA, sent CueCat packets to 360.000 subscribers, and put bar codes in stories. We tested CueCat in our D Magazine laboratories:
STEP 1:The CD-ROM is missing. No problem-we downloaded instructions from www.CRQ.com. Five minutes.
STEP 2: As ordered, shut computer down. Another 10 minutes of scrounging on floor, trying to find right connection in computer, Plugged CueCat in.
STEP 3: Rebooted, clicked on icon, and registered, Waited 30 minutes for passcode to be e-mailed back.
STEP 4: Mini-window ready to go. Swiped front-page story of this morning’s News. Nothing. Tried another story. Nothing. Maybe our cat has a hairball. Tried Pepsi can. Aha! We’re now looking at a Pepsi web site. Tried News again. On this story it worked. Tried another one, swiping furiously. Again, it worked.
BOTTOM LINE: CueCat is an invention only a checkout clerk could love. Who else wants to spend their time swiping Pepsi cans?
Follow the Money
Regina Coggins’ war chest gave her the ammo to run for Congress. But can a liberal win the Fifth?

Regina Montoya Cog-gins seems a natural candidate. She’s smart, charming, and telegenic. Her regular appearances on 90.1 KERA’s “On The Record” gained her good name recognition. An early stint in the Clinton White House gave her Washington experience. With all these assets, she seems to have only one major liability: She’s a liberal running in a district that is Republican in urban areas and conservative in rural counties.
The Fifth Congressional District, now represented in Congress by Pete Sessions, covers parts of east Dallas County and 11 counties stretching southward to Bryan.
Sessions is no gladhander, but he is regarded as hardworking and knowledgeable, and his record is unimpeach-ably conservative. He is also an energetic fundraiser, having raised more than $1 million in 1998 and reporting more than $1 million cash on hand as of June 30. Sessions’ strength-he won in ’98 by a 13-point margin over Victor Morales-has led political observers to wonder why Coggins picked this race for her electoral debut, especially in a year when George W. at the top of the ticket will probably increase GOP turnout.
’This one has mystified me from the beginning,” says Amy Walker, who monitors Congressional races for the Washington-based Cook Political Repars.
Coggins, a Wellesley and Harvard Law graduate, has parlayed her connections in national Democratic circles into a solid campaign war chest. Bill Clinton’s first fundraiser of the political season was for Coggins last September. Emily’s List, which backs liberal women, donated $120,000 to her race, $162,000 more has come in from plaintiffs’ lawyers, and various labor unions have chipped in $120,000. Congressional donors include Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank.
“The money’s nice,” says one political observer, “but how do you explain Barney Frank in Groesbeck?”
QUOTABLES
” Go away. “
-Browser bar at The Met’s web site hours after it was purchased and shut down by Phoenix-based NewTimes, owner of the Dallas Observer.
Dallas Girl Gets Special Treatment
Stephanie March ups babe count on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
DALLAS NATIVE Stephanie March recently made a big move from doing Shakespeare onstage in Chicago to the gritty world of sex crimes in New York. After a brief stint on broad-way, March auditioned for Dick Wolf’s new series, Deadline, but was offered a role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, also produced by Wolf, as Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot. This makes her the second Dallasite to land a coveted role on the Law & Order series, and the first blonde to be a regular on the series since its inception more than 10 years ago. Highland Park native Angie Harmon joined the cast of Law & Order in 1999 as Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael.
“This ail happened so fast,” March says, “Often the subject matter is really grim. It’s difficult when you’re dealing with special victims. It can be alarming. But the show lias definitely evolved since last season.” March joins SVU in its second season, after it picked up several Emmy Award nominations and was touted as one of the best new shows in its freshman season.
Sex and the SMU Go-Ed
According to policy, three’s no crowd.
When Misty Morley signed up for SMU, she requested a female-only floor in a substance-free dorm. As a 26-year-old freshman, she wanted to buckle down to her studies. But on their first night of co-habitation, Morley says her 18-year-old roommate’s boyfriend spent the night. Upset, Morley complained to the resident advisor. She was astonished to discover that school policy allowed her roommate to have male overnight guests up to three nights a week.
Though the policy encourages roommates to work out an agreement. Morley was told her roommate had ihe right to sleepovers. (The other student told D her boyfriend hadn’t stayed the entire night.)
Calls about the policy to SMU president Gerald Turner and Methodist Bishop Bill Oden were not returned. HP Untied Methodist pastor Mark Craig, a school trustee, declined to comment. The policy lias been in place at the Methodist institution for 10 years, says Dr. Jim Caswell. VP for student affairs, and has created little controversy. “It appears that student A has violated the policy,” says Caswell. “Whether or not she will own up to that is another matter.” But he adds that the policy doesn’t allow one roommate to have overnight guests if the other roommate objects. “Privacy is paramount,” he says.
But Morley says SMU housing officials “had no sympathy whatsoever” for her situation. They told her she could get another roommate, but that roommate could also choose to have men spend the night. Unwilling to lose her privacy, Morley moved to a single room, which will cost her S900 more per year.
VAST LEFT-WING CONSPIRACY?
Most of the News’ political journalists are Democrats.
Studies show journalists overwhelmingly identify themselves as Democrats. One poll showed that 91 percent of journalists surveyed voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, though only 43 percent of the populace did, The News is no exception.
Of all the political reporters whose voting records we were able to check, only veteran Carolyn Barta has shown a willingness to step under the Republican umbrella. She voted in a GOP primary-once.
STATS

1,245,000
Number of households in Dallas metropolitan area

95,000
Number of Dallas households with net worths (exclusive of primary residences) exceeding $1 million

35
Percent increase in the number of Dallas millionaire households since 1996

7.6
Percentage of Dallas millionaire households

8
Number of billionaires in Dallas

.0000072
Percentage of Dallas billionaire households

1 in 26,000,000
Odds of winning the Texas Lotto

SOURCES: J.P. Morgan and The Spectrum Group
QUOTABLES
“Even if the record shows that the old man is a liar, I have no interest in exposing him in front of his congregation and community. “
-DMN reporter Bryan Woolley in Brill’s Content on why he didn’t run a correction after learning that a veteran he lauded lor receiving the Distinguished Service Cross in combat had made up the story.
First Lady of UT Dallas
“Invest in people,” her husband said. So she does.
MARGARET McDERMOTT’S GIFT OF $32 M1L-lion to UT Dallas confirmed two things. First, it showed once again Mrs. McDermott’s commitment to the intellectual life of the city, which she has demonstrated with countless gifts over the years. Second, it showed that UT Dallas has come of age as a first-class academic institution. The scholarships funded by the widow of TI co-founder Eugene McDermott will be awarded to 20 of the nation’s top college freshmen-all expenses paid, including trips home and international travel.
Bringing talent to Dallas-or keeping it here-is a major reason area universities gel local support. At SMU. Ray and Nancy Hunt have established the $25 million Hunt Leadership Scholarship program. The Dedman family committed $2.5 million to finance the top four students every year at North Dallas High School. The President’s Scholar program, which is full tuition plus summer stipend, got a $1.2 million boost from Harold Simmons.
Across town at the University of Dallas, Jeffrey and Nancy Marcus endowed two chairs for $1.2 million: The Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Chair in Science and the Louise Cowan Chair in Literature. Bringing professors to Dallas-and keeping them here-is as important, if not more important, than attracting and retaining students. These academic endowments have become almost as popular for donors as bricks and mortar.
At SMU, the Levine family gave $1.25 million to endow the Nate and Ann Levine Chair in Jewish Studies. The Pettus family endowed the Guerin-Pettus chair in American Politics at $2.5 million. Bill and Rita Clements gave $10 million to establish a Center for Southwest Studies. The most appreciated gift of all was probably the $15 million from the Stella Porter Russell Trust to “enhance” faculty salaries.
Up the road at the University of North Texas, Bill and Winspear made a $2 million gift to the College of Music, the largest single gift in the university’s history. In addition to helping build a lyric theater, it will fund music scholarships. And that’s a good thing, because every town needs more musicians.
THE LIST

King Hughes Emanuel Borok Mary Cook John Connolly Linda Evans Carol Brandt Trammel! Crow Lyle Nowinski Ken Downing Charlotte
Anderson Tom Luce Jim Oberwetter Matrice Kirk Bennett Miller Gene Street Todd Wagner Jac Alder Jere Thompson Art Lomenick Stephan Pyles Helen Holman Brian McCall Thomas Q.
Robbins Don Hanratty Terry Flowers Kim Schlegel Barbara Watkins Suzy Kaye Albert Black Bill Solomon Stan Richards Bob Palmer Cindy Clendenen Richard Trimble Jack Shelton Mary McKay Mary Anne Owens AI Niemi
Call Of The Wild

BRIEF ENCOUNTER:
(right) Adrienne Landau’s red, black, and white fur collar doubles as a halter for a decadent night out, $29WUltimo.

CRAZY, SEXY, COOL:
(below left) This sultry fur by Adrienne Landau is the height of opulence, $I70/Ultimo.

THE REVOLUTIONARY:
(below center) Prada’s chinchilla collars add some vintage romance to your life. Regular-length collar (on model’s head), J 1,900. Long collar. $2,300. Both available at the Prada Boutique in Highland Park Village.

GLAM ROCK: (below right) This eye-catching collar by Adrienne Landau is a must-have for rebels, $345/UItimo.
WHAT PEOPLE
ARE READING
BRUCE SHERBET is head of elections for Dallas County. Voter registration, equipment, election judges- everything. He’s reading Nelson DeMille’s The Charm School, a spy novel set in cold war Russia. “I love DeMille, but I shouldn’t have picked up a book this thick. Not now. It’s 800 pages.”

bill howell, Dallas County Democrat chair is a retired bookkeeper and former philosophy major. He’s reading Antonio Damasio’s The Feeling of What Happens. Gore or Bush, who wins? “My heart hopes Gore. My head thinks Gore.”

BUDDY RAGLEY is chairman of the Collin Republicans. “I read the Bible, the Wall Street Journal, and histories of the American Revolution,” he told us. Right now he’s reading I Marvin Olasky’s Compassionate Conservatives. Really. “When Republicans die in Texas, they don’t go to heaven-they go to Collin County.”

MORTON (JEFF) GRAHAM owns and operates a mobile medical business. He’s been head of the Collin County Democrats since 1998. “My whole family’s gone Republican except for my mom and me.”
Graham is reading Southern Cross: The Beginning of the Bible Belt, by Christine Heyrman. “I’m interested in the coexistence of Jim Crow and the religious South.”

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