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Tod Robberson Explains Why the DMN Endorsed Sandra Crenshaw

This morning, we learned that Sandra Crenshaw is not eligible to run in House District 110, not because court documents say she is “mentally ill” but because she can’t do math. On her sworn application to run for the seat, she said that she had lived in the district for fewer than six months, the minimum requirement, at the time of the December filing. Dallas County Democratic chairwoman Darlene Ewing should have caught the problem. She didn’t. But Crenshaw says she has lived there long enough and simply “miscalculated.”

Yesterday, I emailed Tod Robberson, who wrote the DMN’s endorsement of Crenshaw, to ask him for clarification on his thinking. Robberson didn’t respond. No surprise. He and I stopped braiding each other’s hair and watching reality television together when I said he was horrible at his job and probably didn’t earn his Pulitzer. But Robberson did offer an explanation of sorts to Bethany. (Everyone remembers former FrontBurner contributor Bethany, right?) Here’s what Robberson told her. Bethany posted it to Facebook on Monday:

As the writer of the editorial in question, I’d like to assure you that we performed a full background check on Sandra Crenshaw and were well aware of her past. Our choices were between Ms. Crenshaw and Toni Rose, a candidate who had a record of non-performance in office, who would not answer our questionnaire, would not attend our interview and hung up the phone when we called her. We could not, in good faith, recommend Ms. Rose.

Our conclusion is that Ms. Crenshaw’s past is exactly that — the past. She has an ongoing level of community activism that is admittedly rowdy and rambunctious, but she is active. And her district needs someone with that level of engagement. That’s how we reached this decision.

It’s still not clear to me whether Robberson knew about the alleged “mental illness” issue when the wrote the endorsement. He certainly does now. And he also knows that Crenshaw either lied on her filing or can’t do math, and, in either case, is not eligible to run. The endorsement should be withdrawn, yes?

  • Ian

    Yes, you would hope. Also, you would hope that anybody who has spent more than five minutes speaking with Sandra Crenshaw would know that she is unfit to hold public office.

  • joeptone

    I want to say for the record that I am not, at present, a fan of the unique before-the-jump intro thing. Very confusing.

    I want to say for the record that if you’re really forward thinking and this is all the rage six months from now, I will probably love it then.

    I want to say for the record that this is doubtful because it’s terrible.

    Also I never read this blog.

  • Yvonne Crum

    You would certainly think so.. I cannot understand these things.. and why it can be.. OOPS.. i forgot.. i miscalculate, etc.. she will , in my opinion do nothing but bring more “uproar” to her district..

  • Tim Rogers

    Just remember that D Magazine was the first media organization in town to start a blog, way back in 2003, when Robert Wilonsky still wrote obits for the Times Herald, the Observer was still running Joe Bob’s drive-in column, and you were getting potty trained somewhere in the Midwest. Soon enough, you’ll catch up and be doing the same thing.

    Kidding aside, I know what you’re going through. But hear me out. Take my post about Morgan Meyer ( ). In the before-the-jump intro thing, I wrote the following:

    “A tipster has been sending around an email saying that Meyer, a candidate for House District 108, lied about having been arrested on his DMN voter guide questionnaire. In fact, he was arrested once, nearly 20 years ago. But he didn’t lie about it.”

    If you were scanning FrontBurner, that’s the only text you’d see on the post (aside from the headline). Think of it as a longer subhead, really. That’s because the post itself began like this:

    “Morgan Meyer is a Bracewell & Guiliani lawyer who is running for House District 108, Dan Branch’s old seat. He also happens to belong to the downtown YMCA, where he and I sometimes play in a pickup lunchtime basketball game. Am I his friend? No. But we certainly are friendly. Meyer and I are roughly equivalent on the court, if not off of it, so we not infrequently get matched up against each other. Once I get to know someone, play ball with him for a year or two, I like to take the game to the next level. …”

    Which blurb is more likely to get you to click through from the main FrontBurner feed of stories to the entire post? I hope it’s the first blurb. But, see, I wanted to begin the post with the full disclosure, acknowledging how I know Morgan Meyer. That’s why we do it.

    For what it’s worth.

  • D

    Very inside baseball convo, but I appreciate the explanation as I too was curious about the change.

  • BrentDude

    Since you reminded, I miss Bethany.

  • TLS

    I have always been annoyed by the “jump with me” thing, occurring on SideDish for-ev-er. If you write a killer headline I guarantee you I will click through. If you combine that with the first paragraph of the actual post I will click through. But I don’t like to jump and often I don’t because it is THAT ANNOYING!

  • Bethany

    I guess I’ve had this question flittering in my noggin since this morning when I read the DMN piece on Stefani Carter: What is the threshold for what is considered “the past” at 500 Young?

  • AmyS

    Anyone for cactus juice? I’ll buy first round. And I miss Bethany too – although I’ve had my suspicions she’s been here all along, quietly or anonymously. Hi B!

  • MADD

    Tim, hats off to you and don’t let them get you down. Your friend the Lawyer lied to you.
    But you stand by your man.. He does have a hottie for a wife and a good hook shot.

  • joeptone

    This will be your side-scrolling.

  • jasonheid

    Hey, pal. No need to start using slurs.

  • Eric Celeste

    I don’t know. I’m kind of with Joe on this. (Can I be with Joe on this? Is this covered in my contract? Do I have a contract?) For example, I clicked on the FULL STORY link, and then I was just confused. “Wait, where did this take me? Oh, it must have taken me to the original post about Crenshaw, because this first graph is totally different. Weird. Then I guess Bethany’s comment is in the comments somewhere, and Tim directed us here to read it.” So I scrolled down and saw this conversation. Only then, after reading Joe’s post and the replies and then scrolling up and seeing the second graph, did I realize that this was the same post. And so I’m commenting before I’ve read what Bethany has to say, which I suspect is above.

    To which you could say, “Why would a link that says FULL STORY take you to a different post, idiot?”

    To which I would reply, “I DON’T KNOW THAT’S WHY I WAS SO CONFUSED!”

  • Wes Mantooth

    I’m going on record here and signing my name across the lower left-hand part of the screen in Wes Mantooth Unplugged: This jump-intro thing will enjoy approximately the level of adoption and enjoyment of the CueCat. IJS.

  • joeptone

    Motion seconded.

  • Not Buffy

    Don’t know why Robberson referenced Rose’s failure to complete the questionnaire or show up for the interview. Two election cycles ago, several Republican candidates who were subsequently elected, as well as Republican incumbents (including the Governor) blew off responding to the questionnaire and interview by DMN ‘s editorial board. Using that as part of the reason why it didn’t endorse Rose is disingenuous.

  • Tim Rogers

    Very, VERY artisanal Dale Hansen joke. Hand-crafted. Much appreciated.

  • Tim Rogers

    I see what you’re saying with your words. Yeah. Hmm.

    Here’s the other reason we do it: after discovering that many people were coming to our posts from a very poorly designed aggregator of our blogs, we fancied up that aggregator. It’s called The Daily:

    The blurbs we write are meant to function in that space, too.

  • BrandonS

    Would it have been so bad if the DMN just, I don’t know, didn’t endorse anyone for House District 110?