Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006 Page: 50 of 72
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IT HAS BEEN MORE THAN A DECADE.
THE TIME HAS COME.
robin hood must go.
"Robin Hood" just won't go away. The school finance scheme which transfers
local property tax dollars from so-called property-rich districts to property-
poor districts in order to fund public education in Texas has been with us since
the early 1990s. Governor Ann Richards persuaded the Texas legislature to
pass a legislative version of Robin Hood after the voters of Texas had rejected
a similar scheme (which required an Amendment to the Texas Constitution),
by a two-to-one margin at the ballot box.
What was originally a transfer of approximately 400 million property tax dollars
from some school districts in Texas to others has become a taking of
funds from targeted districts amounting to approximately $1.2 billion
today. Those funds otherwise would have gone to fund their local schools
or to lower property taxes in those districts which are subjected to double
taxation as a result of Robin Hood. North Texas has been particularly hard-hit.
The adversely-affected districts in our area include: Park Cities, Piano, Coppell,
Richardson, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, McKinney and Allen.
Meanwhile, property taxes across the state — not just in the Robin Hood districts
- have skyrocketed, putting an added, economic burden on property
owners who already pay a disproportional percentage of the tax dollars
spent on public education in Texas.
Robin Hood is a bad way to fund public education for many reasons:
1. It weakens local control over education.
2. It unfairly penalizes successful districts by taking away much, or most, of
their local enrichment funds.
3. It unfairly taxes people of modest means who happen to live within a high
property tax, geographical boundary.
4. It is an inefficient and unstable method of funding public education. A study
by Harvard professor Caroline Hoxby documents the self-destructive features of
the "Robin Hood" scheme. (See Hoxby study under the Texas Education section
We believe that a low percentage, broad-based business activities tax is the
best solution to our current failed system. We have a much more detailed
discussion of the flaws of the current system and proposed solutions to
Robin Hood including the well thought out plans of Albert Huddleston and
David Hartman at our Texas Education section at DallasBlog.
Maybe you agree. Maybe you don't. But we want to hear your side. We'll publish
it exactly the way you write it (just follow a few common-sense rules). Let us hear
from you at www.dallasblog.com.
Join in the debate at
news • opinions • free classifieds
Dallasblog.com Inc. ©2006
Egyptians, tramps and queens
Uptown's 'Aida' soars with beautiful singing; 'Deathtrap' plays it safe
By Arnold Wayne Jones Staff Writer
I don't know many gay men or straight
women who wouldn't slap down hard currency
to watch Gary Floyd walk around shirtless for
two hours. Yes he's a great singer, and sure, he's
a sweet guy. But let's face it: The man is hot, too.
There's no point avoiding that fact, because
director Doug Miller makes ample use of Floyd's
ample physique in Uptown Players' Aida, on
stage at the Trinity River Arts Center. His big
entrance comes in a red gauzy tunic that, when
he rushes off stage, flows airily behind like
Superman's cape. When he opens his arms in a
welcoming posture, nearly everyone in the audi-
ence tittered at the thought that he would sweep
them up in a bear hug.
That doesn't amount to exploitation, but
canniness. Floyd seduces the audience much
the way his character, Radames, romances
Aida (Kia Dawn Fulton), a Nubian princess
captured as a slave. Their flirtation becomes
ours, and we swoon just like she does. This
is matinee-idol theater at its wooziest.
"Aida" is best known as a Verdi opera,
but Elton John paired with Tim Rice to cre-
ate a light-hearted lyric musical that
replaces pomp with camp. It's a tactic
Rice perfected with "Jesus Christ
Superstar" and "Joseph and the
Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:" 1
Litter the anachronisms around stage
like grass seed, downplay the tragedy
in favor of a perky "love conquers all"
coda, joke your way through the rough
patches (and there are more than a few
— the book is hardly more compelling
than the script for "Camelot").
John's music is more than pleasant, even if
there are no instant classics in the score. Some
songs come close, though, when Patty
Breckinridge sings them. "Every Story is a Love
Story" and " "My Strongest Suit" (hilariously
staged like a Goldwyn Girls number) resonate
because she belts them out with Broadway
Fulton's Aida gives her a run for queen diva in
the pipes department. The spiritual "The Gods
Love Nubia" and heartfelt "Easy as Life" pro-
vide her the chance to dig deeply in the character
and demonstrate an impressive vocal skill.
But Breckinridge's performance is the one that
lingers. As Amneris, Radames' fiance, she looks
to be the villain of the piece, but in many ways
the meat of the story is her transfonnation from
vapid princess to benevolent, sober head of state.
It's an arc she performs magnificently. Indeed,
notwithstanding solid direction and crafty design
elements, the triumvirate of Breckinridge, Floyd
and Fulton are what make "Aida" a joyous show.
LIVING IN DA NILE: A Nubian princess (Kia Dawn Fulton) finds herself
attracted to an Egyptian soldier (Gary Floyd) in the forbidden love story
"Aida," courtesy of Uptown Players.
The folks at Labyrinth Theatre united the crit-
ic at a gay newspaper to review their production
of Deathtrap, Ira Levin's nifty comic thriller. So
it seems fair to wonder whether they thought I
wouldn't notice the significant alteration they
made in the script, or that I just wouldn't spoil the
fun by mentioning it.
Let's spoil it: There's no kiss.
There's more than a little tongue hockey
between playwright Sidney Bruhl (Cliff
Stephens) and his wife Myra (Barbars Silva).
They go at it light teenagers on prom night.
But for anyone familiar with the play (or the
film version with Michael Caine and Christopher
Reeve), the most delicious moment — the
shocking revelation — is when Sidney plants a
sloppy wet one square on the mouth of his pro-
tege, Clifford (Shane Beeson). Holy crap! you
realize — they're not only plotting together,
Labyrinth's production cops out with an
arm's-length hug and a few come-hither looks,
which may zoom by the less perceptive folks in
the seats and which are bound to cause queer
audiences to spend intermission fuming from the
ears. (My companion wanted to walk out.)
OK, the theater is inside a Methodist church
— that hasn't affected the dialogue (the word
"fag" is used at least once) or the several murders
on stage. Is homicide that really worse than a
quick lip-lock between men?
It's too bad the show opts to play it safe,
because "Deathtrap" is a dandy and theatrical bit
of stagecraft, with more self-referential vignettes
than a Letterman monologue and a screwy, won-
The production boasts an engaging,
Shakespearean-styled performance by Stephens,
who is both funny and menacing; and an over-
the-top turn by Kelly Thomas, who gurgles, coos
and struts like a Central Park pigeon. To be hon-
est, not a bad show at all —just not the one audi-
"Aida," Trinity River Arts ( enter. 2600
Stemmons Freeway, Suite 180. Through March
5. Wednesdav^Satui-da\' at 8 p.m., Sunda\> at 2
p.m. $2 $-$30.214-219-2718.
"Deathtrap, " Arapaho United Methodist
Church, 1400 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson.
Through Feb. 25. Friday-Saturday at 8 p.m.,
Sunday at 3 p.m. $25. 972-231-1012,
50 i dallasvoice.com I 02.17.06
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006, newspaper, February 17, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238896/m1/50/: accessed August 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.