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.

9 comments:

dizzy said...

The 1998 vote was on a conceptual project that was unspecific & incomplete. If the plan that has evolved is as good as its supporters say,
they should be unconcerned about voters having a say on what the project has become. I will sign the petition.
PS. Micheal, good letter in the
DMN.

Michael Davis said...

I just linked to this article on my blog, Dallas Progress. Great stuff!

Pete said...

Of course, the original ballot proposition did not promise a roadway WITH exits into the park either. In fact, what the original ballot said was:
"THE ISSUANCE OF $246,000,000 GENERAL OBLIGATION TRINITY RIVER CORRIDOR PROJECT BONDS, THE PROJECT TO INCLUDE FLOODWAYS, LEVEES, WATERWAYS, OPEN SPACE, RECREATIONAL FACILITIES, THE TRINITY PARKWAY AND RELATED STREET IMPROVEMENTS, AND OTHER RELATED, NECESSARY, AND INCIDENTAL IMPROVEMENTS TO THE TRINITY RIVER CORRIDOR."
There you have it. That's what was on the ballot in 1998.

Life So Far.... said...

There you have it? Do you mean to say it's okay that the wording was vague? Secondly, what does "Parkway" mean to most people? It surely doesn't mean "high speed toll road with no exits in the park". Come on. That's the reason we need a new vote, right there. It say all things to all people.

There you have it.

Life So Far.... said...

Thanks for the link, Michael. How did you find my blog?

Michael Davis said...

Rob at the Observer (Unfair Park). He included it in a post on Monday.

Jeremy Gregg said...

Michael, it's great to find your blog at last! I found it through Dallas Progress. Truly inspired stuff on here... and of course, the images from Modern Toys' past are priceless!

Hope you are well!

Jeremy Gregg
http://theraiser.blogspot.com/

Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Ruth

http://muffinsnow.com

Anonymous said...

Interesting post you got here. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that theme. The only thing it would also be great to see here is a few pictures of any gizmos.
Jeff Watcerson
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