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Darryl Baker
Gehrig SaldaƱa


7/02/7    Dallas dabbles in Democracy and other stuff.

What an interesting week we just experienced.  

Our new mayor and 7 new council members were sworn in on Monday.  And, it kept raining, and the Trinity keeps rising.

On Tuesday, our gutless County Judge Jim Foster (Democrat) called in with a sick headache to delay the Commissioners' Court from demanding that Constable Mike Dupree post a higher liability bond to protect county taxpayers from litigation costs expected to be generated by employee complaints against the Constable.  Commissioner John Wiley Price (Democrat) went ballistic.  On Thursday, Constable Dupree abruptly threw in the towel and resigned.  See
Dallas Observer's UnFairPark posting,
Out of the Blue, Constable Mike Dupree Resigns by Matt Pulle.  In Dupree resigns, but still maintains his innocence, The Dallas Voice reports that Mike Dupree maintains his innocence, but was forced to resign due to the weight of a "orchestrated conspiracy to get me out of office."  I don't doubt the charges against him, but Mike Dupree was a great constable for NW Dallas, and we will miss him.   And, it kept raining, and the Trinity keeps rising.

The "polls" all said 80% of U.S. citizens opposed the Immigration Bill being pushed by President Bush and his new best buddy, Senator Kennedy.   Then, the Senate did the unimaginable.  They listened to the people, and the Senate voted "NO" on June 28, 2007 in a 46-53 vote.  And, it kept raining, and the Trinity keeps rising.

Friday, we got the news from the TrinityVote campaign, and 80,000 Dallas voters said "It's our river, and we don't want no toll road down the middle of it."  I left work early Friday so I could attend Angela Hunt's press conference to announce the petition drive results.  Councilwoman Hunt had called me Friday morning with a question I couldn't answer.  I asked her if we made our numbers.  She said we would have a "pleasant press conference".   As encouraging as that might be, I was only cautiously optimistic when I got to the Flag Room. 

It was an interesting group gathered for the press conference:  community activist and blogger Michael Davis, State-Thomas/Uptown developer Tom Lardner, Trinity sage Ned Fritz and his wife Janie, community e-mailer Kathleen Matsumura, and lots of others, including former council members Sandy Greyson, John Loza and Don Hill.  We all dutifully took our places behind Councilwoman Hunt.  When she announced we had gathered 80,000 signatures, there was as much surprise from us as from the press.  She compared the number of signatures to the original Trinity Bond vote where only 57,000 voted for the bond package.  More people signed the TrinityVote petition than voted for Mayor Leppert.     7/03 Stan Aten:
   The city claims the Trinity River toll road will be built for a 100-year flood.    The Trinity River is currently flooded to near the bottoms of the bridges crossing it.  This is the 2nd time this has happened in 12 years.   Don't know about you, but I think the city needs to re-examine their flood data.  This unusual flooding could become the norm due to excessive development in our region.
Any council members who step out to stand in the way of this people movement will be foolhardy.  This was a citywide effort.  The pro-tollroaders have no place to go for their votes.  They can't use the North vs. South tactic because a lot of people in the Southern Sector signed the petition, and Don Hill will be in the Southern Sector fighting against a toll road inside the Trinity River corridor.  They can't use Black vs White for the same reason.     
7/03 James Northrup:
The retaining wall on the proposed toll way effectively lowers the critical height to that of the retaining wall - not the levees - in that it concentrates the volume into a narrower channel. 
   So the first thing to go will be the toll way itself. 

I was surprised and pleased to see John Loza at the press conference on our side.  He questioned the credibility of anyone who could look at the Trinity this week and not believe the proposed toll road would be underwater or at least jeopardized by the flood water.  Of course, toll road proponents have released a statement that the road would be above the current level of the Trinity.  Ironically, one of the best responses to the city's claim of  safety comes from the DMN reporter who writes,

City says toll road could withstand severe flood
Saturday, June 30, 2007
By BRUCE TOMASO / The Dallas Morning News

...  Put another way: This week's flooding caused the Trinity to spill well beyond its normal banks, spreading all the way to the levees on both sides of the riverbed. At their worst, the waters got a foot or two up the sides of the levees, which are 30 feet tall.
     But to reach the 100-year flood stage, Ms. Dugger said, the river would have to rise another 18 to 19 feet ? to within 10 feet of the tops of the levees. Even then, she said, engineers plan to design the toll road with an additional two feet of flood protection, by building a retaining wall between it and the river.
    Given that the levees are about 2,000 feet from one another, the difference between a flood that laps at their bases and one that reaches to within 10 feet of their tops is, well, a lot of water.
No one on the pro-toll road side talks about the vulnerability of the toll road itself.  Built high or low, it's going to be built on river silt -- very unstable.  Well, it was going to be built on river silt.      7/03  Rad Field
   Not to forget.... Our New Mayor stands FIRM on the premise that he and other previous mayors will stand "pat" on utilizing all available resources to push and promote the toll road that transports travelers from "flood plane to flood plane".  One would assume the toll road will permit Dallas Visitors to view a flood from one end of town to the other --- and pay for the exciting view by toting the toll (something like an amusement ride).

Thanks to Councilwoman Angela Hunt, her army of volunteers and the 80,000 citizens who signed the petition, there's not going to be a stinking toll road in the stinky Trinity River corridor.  Granted, it's a long way from July 2 to November 13, but we've got the momentum and the people.  The other side's got the $$ and the support of Belo's Dallas Managed News and Wickless' D Magazine, but they are no longer the only media game in town.  Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer and Sam Merten of have been incredibly helpful in countering the pro-road propaganda. 

I don't know of anything else on the ballot for Dallas in November.  Assuming the election will be on the regular election day of "the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November", that makes it November 13, 2007.  This vote will not be about partisan politics because the primaries aren't until 2008.  The people going to the polls will be people who care about this issue.  The 80,000 people who signed our petitions care about this issue.

No one doesn't think we need something to resolve the "canyon chaos" where 35 meets 30, but a toll road inside the Trinity will not fix that mess.  A freeway or toll road down Industrial Blvd. would get it done.  It would leave the Trinity River for park development and move traffic effectively with none of the environmental and flood dangers of building a road in the river way.

I'm a religious person.  It's just a given for me that God put rivers and creeks where he wanted them to be, to do what they are supposed to do.  That's why I cannot understand the thinking behind people's plans to "control" a natural river with levees and concrete.  Except for maybe Holland, levees have never worked.  Whenever or wherever a levee is built, it causes more problems than it solves.  As Jim Schutze frequently points out, levees keep runoff water from flowing into river collectors.  We must have mechanical sump pumps to collect the runoff water because WE HAVE INTERFERED with nature's path.  Our sump pumps are old and wearing out.

Ever since the flooding caused by the Missouri River and the Mississippi River that were direct results of levees and river flood area development, there has been a basic and common sense response.  Let a river be a river!

There is terrible flooding along the Brazos River.  Hundreds of homes are ruined.  Roads are washed out.  We can't blame it all on our June monsoon.  Much of their problem is caused by overdevelopment in North Central Texas.  Almost as much of their problem lies within their own over-development in flood prone areas.  If you build a home near a river, you better expect problems. 

Common sense is often in short supply when you are dealing with politicians and bureaucrats.  The fact they have got where they are in life (climbed the bureaucratic ladder or won an election) often makes them feel omnipotent or Godlike.  Politicians and bureaucrats should never forget the lesson of the Tower of Babel.  King Nimrod and Babylon did not do so well trying to defy nature.  See
The Tower of Babel by
Lambert Dolphin.

So, to wrap it all up.  Our new mayor and council were sworn in this week.  A county constable resigned under pressure.  The Senate acknowledge the public will.  Over 80,000 Dallas voters decided to take back our river from politicians and developers.  The TrinityVote campaign needs your help, physically and financially.  WWW.TRINITYVOTE.COM

And, it's still raining, and the Trinity River is still rising.






  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8