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Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Culture What to Know: Budget time, COVID housing and 'If I Had a...

What to Know: Budget time, COVID housing and ‘If I Had a Hammer’

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Trini Lopez, a singer and guitarist who gained fame for his versions of “Lemon Tree” and “If I Had a Hammer” in the 1960s and took his talents from Dallas to Hollywood, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Lopez died from complications of COVID-19.

I hadn’t heard much from Lopez in recent years, but in his day he blazed a trail. First, he was Hispanic in a time when that culture was not well-represented in mass media. They wanted him to change his name, but he said ‘no’ in a time when few people who wanted to make it did. For a few years Lopez seemed to defy gravity, conquering the music scene and Hollywood in rapid fashion. It didn’t hurt that he had people like Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra looking out for him. But make no mistake, Lopez made it on his own.

His initial hit, ‘If I had a Hammer’, was recorded live and the album sold like hotcakes. What was it about ‘60s live albums? They sound so – well live? There was Ramsey Lewis with “The In Crowd,” and Johnny Rivers’ ‘Live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go’ , as well as numerous others. The audience would start clapping and the rest was history.

Compare that with the arena rock live albums of the ‘70s and ‘80s which echo around the amphitheatres and stadiums.

Lopez was one of those guys who sang and played guitar with an ease that made it look simple, but his artisty was deceptive. Lopez could play a mean guitar too. Check out some of his guitar work on those live albums. Lopez played a Gibson guitar and helped design his own line of the guitars that continue to be favorites of current rock stars like David Grohl and Oasis’ Noel Gallegher.

So long, Trini.

It’s budget time.

The City of Fort Worth is getting its budget ready and that means there will be some citizen meetings on the budget. Right now the tax rate will stay the same, though it is likely that property tax rates will be up, so tax bills may be up.

You’ll hear more in September. The council meeting in a budget session on Friday.

The council also approved a contract to provide housing for many impacted by COVID. The original amount was $18.6M, but the council reduced it by half. The funds come from the CARES Act and council members seemed to indicate they may use some of the funds from that act to help small businesses in the area impacted by COVID.

Chisholm Trail Ranch courtesy

Lots of bad retail news these days, but guess what? There is still some new retail opening. Check out The Shops at Chisholm Trail Ranch: The stores open to date include Ross, Marshalls, Old Navy, Ulta, Five Below, Famous Footwear, Tuesday Morning, Dollar Tree, Bath & Body Works, America’s Best, Aria Nail Bar, Pacific Dental, AT&T, Sprint, The Joint, Great Clips and Sport Clips. Restaurants currently open include Chick-fil-A, Whataburger, MOD Pizza, and Marble Slab/Great American Cookie.

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