Static: Wednesday, February 6, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
He May Be Hirtin’

Ken Barr stepped in enough poop this year — from Stonegate to hotel-gate — that one might expect local politicos to be knocking each other down trying to oust him as Cowtown’s mayor. But so far, the only one willing to take on Barr is Cathy Hirt, his former nemesis on the council. Hirt, a lawyer and neighborhood activist, has never made a secret of her disdain for what she sees as a mayoral style that puts the needs of the big guys first. She’s wanted Barr’s job since she left the council.

On Feb. 9, she’ll make it official at a coming-out party at the former Museum of Modern Art. But the announcement of her candidacy will be something of an anticlimax to most political junkies around town. The word’s been out for weeks. Although the Fort Worth Star-Telegram didn’t report it, a veteran S-T editor bluntly warned the mayor at last month’s Downtown Rotary lunch that Hirt is running and she’s going to be “a tough one to beat.”

Collecting Shame

A Henderson Street Flea Market dealer was overheard grumbling about NASA’s demands not to touch debris found after the space shuttle Columbia crashed. “They’re saying the stuff is supposed to be toxic but I don’t believe it,” the vendor said. “They just don’t want collectors getting ahold of it. If I found any, I’d keep it.” Some collectors are on a genetic level with vultures after tragedies like this. Recall that pieces of the World Trade Center began appearing on eBay shortly after 9/11.

Columbia’s remnants rained down on north-central and northeast Texas after the shuttle disintegrated Feb. 1 with seven astronauts aboard. Only a few hours later, the debris surfaced on eBay. The online auction house yanked the items and threatened to report sellers to the federal government. Removing government crash debris carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

On Monday, bottom-dwellers remained. One eBay auction offered a fuel injection valve “used in rocket engines.” The seller, “csmz,” claims he found the item in his backyard “about an hour after the explosion,” although he offered no guarantee that it was from the shuttle. Seems doubtful since he lives in Germany.

Still, somebody bid $99,999,999. Could be a dangerous payment to collect, however, if csmz had to come anywhere near astronaut families to pick it up.


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