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  10/26/07  The Laura Miller Toll Road Factor
Gehrig Saldaña

Jim Schutze's Tom Leppert Keeps Delivering One Shocker After Another (, UnFair Park, 10/25/07) brings up a topic related to the Trinity River Toll Road Referendum on November 6th I have yet to read about in The Dallas Morning News or for that matter, on any televised coverage on this issue. Jim Schutze states:

'In southern Dallas, the Trinity project is one big Laura Miller deal. I was on KHVN-AM \recently with Dwaine Caraway, and I tried, whenever possible, to describe Pave the Trinity as the Laura Miller Laura Miller Laura Miller team. Laura. Miller. Couldn?t resist. It?s just so funny and so weird that they?ve got Miller locked up in the attic of her North Dallas castle like Rochester?s first wife in Jane Eyre. They?re terrified that if black people remember it?s her deal, they?ll turn out in droves to vote against it. That?s what that whole explosion at the city council was about. The subtext beneath Roy Williams? diatribe against Caraway was: ?Dwaine and Laura, sittin? in a tree?? I confess that I love that.'

You know, Jim Schutze brings up an interesting point. I worked in the City of Dallas Park Department for over 33 years in mostly West Dallas and Oak Cliff.  I have had many conversations recently with several citizens who live in South Dallas, South Oak Cliff and in the Woods area located west of Duncanville close to the Park in the Woods Recreation Center.  When the topic of the Trinity River Toll Road Referendum comes up, you see pained facial expressions on these citizens when they tell you they are not going to vote for the toll road because they know it's a vote for what they describe as "Laura Miller's Deal"I have heard that or similar comments on several occasions.

Jim Schutze just might be on to something here.  If hiding Laura Miller's accomplishments on the Trinity River Project is part of the Vote No! Pave The Trinity campaign strategy, I say it is not working. The Genie uncorked that bottle a long time ago and the damage is mounting. 

Equally troublesome are those multiple FBI indictments which netted former black Dallas city council members and several Dallas black community leaders.  As to what effect those indictments can be attributed to anticipated low voter turnout projections of 8% or lower by the Dallas County Elections Department is yet to be determined.  

On another note, my first introduction to toll roads resulted in sad memories.  I was born and raised in Dallas in what used to be a vibrant Hispanic community close to downtown Dallas known to many Hispanics and Dallas' citizens as "El Barrio" or "Little Mexico".  That vibrant community along with my school (St. Ann's ) from kindergarten up to the 8th grade was demolished to give way to what is now the Dallas North Tollway, which begins on the west entrance to downtown Dallas. 

Ironically, my neighborhood where I was raised since childhood was destroyed to make way for a toll road that was supposed to relieve traffic congestion for Dallas' citizens who lived just north of Dallas.  Now, over 40 years later, here we are again trying to build a toll road inside the Trinity River levees that is supposed to relieve traffic congestion for what seems like the entire North Texas Region.  Incidentally, most of the toll road users will not pay their fair share in taxes for the Trinity Toll Road because most of those users will not live in Dallas.

The anticipation of yet another Downtown Dallas Toll Road along with the aforementioned sidebar developments reminds me of what my granddaughter used to say when she was younger: 'You Get What You Get And You Don't Throw A Fit' .

Gehrig Saldaña






  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