Friday, May 04, 2007
Dallas Trinity Parkway: Once More, It's All Business
In 1998, the citizens of Dallas voted for Propostion 11, which was to set aside $246 million to turn the Trinity River into a recreational area. Above is the illustration used in the official city brochure. Keep that image firmly in mind. There was no mention in the wording on the ballot of "toll" or "road", nothing about high-speed roadways with no exits into the park, and taking up 1/3 of the park space. But, typical, to Dallas and its usual suspect business interests, the park project got hijacked along the way, unbeknown to the voters, and now includes such a toll road, which has been engineered and re-engineered for the last 8 years, the cost estimate having risen to more than $1 billion. Add to that the the North Texas Tollway Authority, who will own the road (AND will be gifted the land by the City of Dallas), has asked to be exempted from the post-Katrina flood plain engineering requirements. Let me also mention, that Dallas would be the ONLY city in the United States with a highway in a levee.
In response to this, City Councilperson Angela Hunt started the Trinity Vote, a group of volunteers I am working with who are gathering the 50,000 petition signatures necessary to bring the referendum back to the voters, to let THEM decide whether they want a toll road or not. It's the only way that all the truth can come to light. With these signatures, neither the Mayor nor the City Council will have any authority to stop the referendum going back to the voters.
I gathered signatures yesterday at one of the early voting poll locations. You should know that the opposition has hired "blockers"--many of whom were brought in from outside the Dallas area and/or state--to dissuade people from signing our petitions. These are professionals who have been stationed at every polling location. They are getting paid $200/day (I found this out from "my" blocker). Doesn't that tell you something right there? On the one hand, you have volunteer Dallas citizens who are concerned about having their promised green space; on the other hand, you have "hired guns", because the fat cats are too busy making money and doing more deals to care about fair and open discussion.
On top of that, a second rate journalist for the Dallas Morning News, aptly named Steve Blow, wrote a lame "editorial" for the opposition in yesterday's paper. It did influence some people, who believe what they read in the Dallas Morning News (aka BELO Corporation which not only owns the city's only mainstream newspaper, but the ABC-TV affiliate station as well). Cozy, huh?
So, yesterday afternoon, when things slowed down, I suggested to "my" blocker that we call Steve. I was transferred to him right away. I identified myself, and that a representative from the opposition was also there with me, and we both wanted to ask some questions. After he got past the first five minutes of stammering, I questioned his statement that everyone knew the toll road was in the mix from day one. He responded that the issue was in the newspaper. I asked if he had read the actual wording of the Proposition. "No," was his reply. Can you believe it? He finally agreed that if you didn't read the Morning News, and had just gone to the polling place that day, you WOULD NOT have known a toll road was in the mix. How's that for an informed journalist?
In any case, I wrote a letter to the Editors of the News this morning, and was just informed that it will be printed in tomorrow's paper (Saturday, May 5th). It had to be brief to be published, so it's better than nothing, but check it out.
And, those of you who are registered Dallas voters, please email me and let's arrange to sign my petition!! We have 60 days from last Monday.