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
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
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.
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
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
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,
... 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
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'
but they are no longer the only media game in town. Jim Schutze at the
and Sam Merten of
www.DallasBlog.com have been incredibly helpful in countering the
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
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.