2012 Turkeys of the Year

Puffed up, plucked and ready for roasting, here's this year's best of the worst.

Suckers.

TURKEY VOTE
The absurdly confusing METRO expansion referendum

Some time ago, a bunch of major metropolitan areas got this craaazy idea to build an effective public transportation system, complete with choo-choos. Then, early in the 21st century, the city of Houston surveyed the landscape and thought the whole thing might be more than just a fad, like those flappers with their Fletcher Henderson gramophone records. Lo, seven miles of track were laid. And the Lord said it was good.

No United Nations conspiracy can get past Houston Councilwoman Helena Brown.
Chris Curry
No United Nations conspiracy can get past Houston Councilwoman Helena Brown.
No one with an eight-year, multimillion-dollar contract should look this unhappy.
Aaron M. Sprecher
No one with an eight-year, multimillion-dollar contract should look this unhappy.

Then, this year, the public faced a thorny proposition: Should Metro continue to share up to 25 percent of its sales tax with unincorporated Harris County and 15 multi-cities?

The thing was, the way the referendum was worded, you had to vote "no" on the ballot if you wanted Metro to keep all of its money, ostensibly allowing for quicker expansion, and "yes" if you were fine waiting until hell froze over. Actually, the earliest draft of the ballot language was this: "The continued dedication of up to 25% of Metro's sales and use tax revenues for street improvements, except not; and the discontinuation of the continued re-dedication of deferred semi-annual temporary payments at year's end (when allowed, and except on Tuesdays), not to exceed the square root of the inverse of pi (whichever is greater), hold the lettuce." (Making things even more complicated, only right-handed people were allowed to vote.)

David Crossley of Houston Tomorrow, a nonprofit group that warned of the weird wording, summed up the "yes" win perfectly: "The confusion that all poll workers encountered about this issue was amazing, considering how passionate most voters were in their expressions of desire for more light rail and soon. Generally, they couldn't believe that elected officials and Metro were putting the question to them in a way that would achieve the opposite effect they intended if they voted For."

Crossley also wrote that Mayor Parker herself might have been confused (or deliberately misleading?), citing a Chron article stating that Parker insists "that passage of the proposition makes rail expansion more likely. One of the stated purposes of the referendum is to allow Metro to pay down debt, freeing up borrowing capacity that could be used on future rail lines. Referendum opponents are wrong when they say its passage will delay rail, Parker said...."

However, in all fairness, she did say this on Opposite Day, so....

RADIO TURKEY
The 103.7 FM Mess

For a couple of years, it looked like Houston had broken out of the commercial rock-radio slump it had been mired in since Rock 101 went Latin hits in November 2004. Calling itself "Houston's Adult Alternative," Cumulus Media's 103.7 FM really did offer a legitimate alternative to 24-7 Led Zeppelin and Journey on one hand and stale '90s alt-rock on the other, mingling "classic alternative" (R.E.M., The Cure) with "adult alternative" (Lucinda Williams, Coldplay), and especially connecting with fans of more commercial indie-rock groups like Death Cab for Cutie, the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons. Unlike Houston's other commercial rock stations, 103.7 always sounded like it was programmed by a living, breathing human being — and a music fan to boot.

But 103.7 was also especially vulnerable. As part of a Chapter 11 reorganization in 2011, parent company Cumulus Media transferred it to a holding company that instantly began shopping 103.7 around. It found a buyer in July, when Christian media conglomerate Educational Media Foundation snapped it up. It lingered in limbo for a couple of months until one afternoon in mid-September — appropriately, around the traditional quitting time of 5 p.m. — 103.7 played Semisonic's "Closing Time," R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)" and flipped its programming to EMF's contemporary-­Christian "Air1" format.

Honestly, it's difficult to say exactly whom to award the Turkey here. Nobody really did anything wrong. Encouraged by its successful acquisition of a similar San Antonio station, EMF saw an opening in the market here and made its play. Despite some unusually vocal supporters, 103.7 was hardly a ratings juggernaut and had always struggled to gain a real foothold in the market. Either way, it became another tombstone in Houston's crowded radio graveyard, and it looks like the real turkeys are local rock listeners who haven't jumped ship to satellite radio or iPods by now.

TURLEY "ARTIST"
Picasso Vandal Uriel Landeros

In June, 22-year-old Landeros strode into The Menil Collection and spray-painted the word "conquista" across Pablo Picasso's 1929 painting, Woman in a Red Armchair. He then high-tailed it to Monterrey, Mexico, later explaining via YouTube that "I dedicate this to everybody out there who has suffered any kind of injustice, whether from your family, your religion or from your government. And to Pablo Picasso, the intellectual artist who loved bullfighting and understood that, at the end of the dance, somebody has to die. And on this day, it was his turn."

O RLY?

Apparently, he was just continuing the grand tradition of great artists defacing earlier masters', uh, masterpieces. In fact, it was Picasso who, as a teen, sneaked into the Louvre with a charcoal pencil and added a rough-looking mustache to the Mona Lisa, which he further soiled by scrawling "ensuciado de Sanchez" above her head.

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6 comments
Schitt.Rumpney
Schitt.Rumpney

I nominate SchittRumpney, Doofus JunkTrump, Noot, Dushe Limbaugh and the likes for Turkeys Of The Year

texasmovieshd
texasmovieshd

SO MANY TURKEYS, YET YOU FOLKS LEFT OUT THE BIGGEST TURKEY OF THEM ALL, CONSTABLE VICTOR TREVINO, THE MEXICAN-BORN SHIT FACE THAT IS THE BIGGEST BANDIDO TO EVER WEAR A TEXAS PEACE OFFICER BADGE. HE WAS INDICTED LAS NOV. 16, 2012, ON FOUR FELONIES OF CORRUPTION - BUT THIS MORON REFUSES TO STEP DOWN AND WAIT FOR HIS TRIAL LIKE A MAN OF INTEGRITY. HERE'S AANOTHER CLINCH, THE GRAND JURY DO NO KNOW ABOUT OTHER SHENANIGANS, INCLUDING HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH RUBEN GUERRA, A HEROIN CONVICTED FELON AMONG OTHER CRRIMES. I HAVE A LOT OF SCOOP ON THIS RELATIONSHIP AND MANY OTHER SHENANIGANS BY TREVINO  CHECK IT OUT AT facebook.com/J.j.Garcia

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@texasmovieshd And you had to type that in all caps why? Amy Davis from KPRC definitely should be on this list too.

texasmovieshd
texasmovieshd

I AM AN EXPOSED MARINE VETERAN - COLON CANCER, LOST LEFT EAR HEARING, LOST TWO FINGERS, HAD TWO FACIAL SURGERIES, AND MY EYESIGHT SUCKS TOO, THEREFORE I TYPE IN CAPS. IF THAT BOTHERS YOU, I AM THE ONE THAT HAS PAID DEARLY WITH MY HEALTH ISSUES. SATISFIED?.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

I notice you managed the link in lower case. Meanwhile I come from a family of jarhead vets and I promise you, your service doesn't cover acting an @ssclown. Consider increasing your screen resolution/font size.

 
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