Pulse of the City

Democrats make a comeback in Dallas courts, the man who conquered Starbucks, baseball trendspotting, must-have handbags, and more.

Here Come Dem Judges
As the GOP loses momentum, Democrats make their move.

For years, people have told Dallas civil trial lawyer Sarah Saldaña that she should run for judicial office. But, as a Democrat in a Republican stronghold, she never seriously entertained the idea. Since the Reagan-era landslide of the ’80s, most races have been decided in primaries, with the Republican winners running unopposed in the general elections. This year, Democratic supporters finally swayed Saldaña.

“They felt it was a viable year,” she says, “and if I ever would consider it, please consider it now.”

In fact, the Democratic party in Dallas is experiencing a rebirth. In 2000, only one Democrat ran for district judge (Mary Ann Huey lost by seven-tenths of a percent). This year, 14 Dems are running. Seventy-two, in total, have filed for district and local offices.

Ken Molberg, a senior member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, says the party has had its most successful year of recruiting in the past 20. “You show them the numbers and say, ‘Here’s why you have a chance,’” he says.

Dems owe their resurgence in large part to a demographic shift. Besides the migration of Republican constituents to northern counties, each census reflects a rise in the non-Anglo voter base in Dallas County, typically a left-leaning bunch. In the presidential election, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney took merely 53 percent of their adopted hometown. What’s more, Democrats beat Republicans in the straight-ticket by more than 2,000 votes.

“The Democrats aren’t just putting up numbers,” says Saldaña, who’s running for District 44, “but putting up good candidates.”

Lisa McKnight, Greg Gray, Andy Trusevich, and Patrick Strauss all stand to win high-profile races. And if Harryette Ehrhardt wins her bid for Dallas County judge, she’ll be the first Dem on that bench since 1983.

The GOP will be watching.

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Oh, the Ironing

As it turns out, Dallas women indeed have nothing to wear. New data reveals that many should stay home and watch Oprah.

10.7
Percentage of Dallas women who’ve gotten in trouble for dressing inappropriately at work
5.6
National average

3.6
Percentage of Dallas men who’ve gotten in trouble for dressing inappropriately at work
7.1
National average

9.7
Percentage of Dallasites who say they’re ironing for the first time in their lives
2.4
National average

12.7
Percentage of Dallasites who would consider wearing a wrinkled garment to work
17.8
National average

Source: 15-city survey conducted by Rowenta, the ironing people. And thank God for their attention to this matter.

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Stating the Obvious

I’d be a fool. I’ve got a wife and two kids.
—Ron Kirk on why he wouldn’t quit Gardere Wynne Sewell, the law firm that last year paid him $227,634, according to records made public in the course of his senatorial bid.

_____________________


The List

Cynthia Patterson
Wendy Lopez
Jeanne Cox
Kim Askew
Laura Boeckman
Barbara Lemmon
Lauren Law
Veletta Forsythe Lill
Buddy Ragley
Cinda Hicks
Ann Williams
Steve Wolens
Jack Gosnell
Angus Wynne
Brooks Egerton
John Zogg
Hunter Hunt
Marguerite Lenfest
Mike Gunn
Monica Heinemann
Ryan Evans
Jennifer Weinzapfel
Peter Gold
Jack Kilduff
Heather Goodman
Laura Estrada
Hanh Pham

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American Beauty: She was born in Korea, moved to the Land of Opportunity, and received a genetic enhancement.

Nicole Bilderback always knew she wanted to be an actor. She studied at the Dallas Young Actors Studio, and, after graduating from Lake Highlands High School in 1993, she moved to Los Angeles to do just that. She’s appeared in numerous television shows, including Dawson’s Creek, ER, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On the big screen, she’s played less-than-lovable characters, like Whitney in last year’s hit Bring It On. But Bilderback couldn’t be more like the girl next door.

“I love playing bitchy roles because I’m so not like that,” says the 26-year-old. “It’s a great escape to play a sassy character and get paid.”

Bilderback was born in Korea and was adopted when she was 6 months old. “Being raised in Dallas by Caucasian parents was never an issue,” says the raven-haired beauty. “I may be Korean ethnically, but culturally I’m 100 percent American. It’s the only way I’ve ever known.” You can catch Nicole in action on Fox’s sci-fi hit Dark Angel, as Brin, a genetically enhanced soldier.

_____________________

Trendspotting: An Afternoon at The Ballpark

NEIGHBOR

HOOD

HIGHLAND PARK

UNIVERSITY PARK

M STREETS

SOUTH
IRVING

BEDFORD

RICHARD-SON

FAVORITE PLAYER

John Rocker

Herbert Perry

Gabe Kapler

Carl Everett

Rusty Greer

Chan Ho

Park

ACCOUTER-MENTS

LaCoste casual wear, cell phone

Polo casual wear, cell phone

flask of Bacardi
disguised as binoculars, cell phone

green apron, comfort-able shoes, pager

tank

top, foam hand w/ middle finger erect, cell phone

Fujinon binoculars, cell phone

FOOD AND DRINK

foie gras, 1999 Colin-Deleger Puligny Montrachet

shrimp cocktail, Evian

bagel dog, spiked Coke

leftover tuna casserole,
Big Red

nachos,
Coors Light

ice cream

in tiny plastic batting
helmet, Diet Coke

SEATING

luxury suite

neighbor’s
luxury suite

partial season tickets,
upper level

various locations through-

out concourse

bleachers

employer’s
season tickets, lower level

OVERHEARD YELLING

“Who does your taxes?”

“LET’S go RANG-ers!”

“C’mon yellow! Go yellow!”

“Programs!”

“I told you Palmeiro was
taking Viagra!”

“Zhè zhen xióng-wei!”

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The Man with the Bottomless Stomach
A Dallas man takes on Starbucks—one cup at a time.

Five years ago, Starbucks declared it would have 2,000 stores by the year 2000. Contemplating this news over a cup of coffee (sugar, no cream), in a Starbucks in Plano, John Winter Smith formed a bold plan of his own. He decided he would visit them all.

“The project was originally about my perseverance,” says Winter, as he prefers to be known. “But it’s become multifaceted.” The 30-year-old software developer says he’s discovered that he enjoys the entire process, from photographing the stores to meeting the people who work behind the counters.

As of press time, Winter figures he’s done about 83 percent of North America (2,688 out of 3,242 stores). But even as he strives for completion, Starbucks continues to expand. In late February, Winter was “Texas complete.” Then a store opened in Tyler. Traveling for business, he takes roundabout road trips mapped out for maximum Starbucks-visiting efficiency. His Sisyphean quest has put more than 220,000 miles on his ’97 Acura Integra. Obviously, a visit doesn’t count unless Winter has a cup at the store. He’ll sometimes drink 25 cups on a productive day.

“If somebody else wants to compete with me, they’ve got to drink the coffee,” Winter says. “And if they can take 20 cups of coffee a day, well, more power to ’em.”

To see a picture of every Starbucks Winter has bagged, go to www.starbuckseverywhere.net.

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Q&A

Fortune senior writer Peter Elkind recently landed a $1.4 million deal to write a book about the Enron hugger-mugger—though he’ll have to share the money. He will write the book, due out in 2003, with fellow Fortune staffer Bethany McLean. Elkind was editor of the Dallas Observer from 1991 to 1996. He lives in Arlington.

D: So, you’ve got a degree from Princeton, and you can’t even write a book by yourself?

Peter Elkind: I’m sorry. I lost you there. Hello?

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