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Joe Martin

07/27/04  ... and Made it a Flood Plain

Once upon a time, Journalist Laura Miller and even Councilwoman Laura Miller considered the Trinity Project a dangerous road project.  Or at least, that's what she said in those days. has surmised that our Laura Miller was taken by aliens and was replaced with a Stepford Mayor.  On, Avi Adelman has another theory.  He thinks she's done an "Evita" on us, and he has done a very clever new version of the main song from the musical titled
Don't Cry For Me Dallas (Texas) [Because I Can?t Hear You]My favorite lines:

So I chose power and glory
Running all over the city with the movers and shakers, because I knew
I could not stay with you common folks,
Come on, you really expected me to?

But back to the Trinity Project and why we should not do it.  It's going to be a disaster and we cannot afford it.

Ned Fritz explains it better than anyone and basically says "when you dig the river deeper and make it more narrow (by expanding the levees to build Our Mayor's roads), you make it run faster with more destructive force."  Which, of course, is why the ODB, the Trinity Promoters and Our Mayor are so hell bent on those Calatrava String Things.  Putting the Trinity in a trough will cause problems we cannot even imagine.     James Northrup:
Neither Dallas County nor the City of Dallas have a watershed development plan. So much of our flooding, including the inevitable drownings, are self-inflicted.
   White Rock Creek is a text book example of no plan. As is Mill Creek in Deep Ellum - where storm drainage and sanitary sewer systems merge. The Trinity Plan is the logical (illogical? extension of it all  - a giant water cannon aimed at the Trinity forest.
   Meddling in DPD demotions is de facto patronage. You know, the kind you get with a "strong mayor" form of corruption. Enough reason to drop Ms. Suhm and Mr. Daniels from consideration as City Manager. And a great opportunity for the Council to "out" the meddlers.

The urban flooding in Frisco is absolutely what we can expect up and down the Trinity if Our Mayor's plans come to fruition.  I can't believe Belo allowed this story to see the light of day, but it confirms what has been saying for almost 5 years.

Flood of growth hits home; New maps may put property in the plain, raise insurance rates
July 23, 2004
By PAULA LAVIGNE / The Dallas Morning News
   Homeowners who shake their fists to the sky when the creek swamps their back yards or high water forces them to take detours should perhaps scowl northward instead of upward.
   Thousands of new concrete-laden subdivisions, parking lots, business parks and shopping malls built over the last two decades in the northern suburbs have increased the flood risk in some areas downstream, including neighborhoods in Dallas and Fort Worth.
   Downstream homeowners who live just outside federally designated flood plains could see their properties land inside them when new maps are completed in the next three years. That means higher and mandatory flood insurance premiums and potentially reduced property values.
... blame the region's northern growth for the bulk of the changes.
... Gene Rice, project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers Fort Worth District. "The more concrete you put down, the less water can permeate the soil. The more it runs off, and it runs off faster, and you get higher levels."
   From 1982 to 1997, the most recent data available, developers covered the Dallas-Fort Worth area with 45,000 to 106,000 acres of impervious surface, ... equivalent to a sheet of solid concrete the size of Frisco and Plano combined.
... Today's flood plain maps were drawn more than a decade ago, in most cases, and they don't account for all the new roads, homes and stores.
... A study of the Upper Trinity River Corridor in the 1990s showed that a 100-year flood would affect 1,082 homes in Dallas and 55 in Fort Worth. A worst-case scenario would drown more than 12,000 Dallas homes and about 2,300 in Fort Worth.
... Robert Goode, director of transportation and public works. ...  "In Fort Worth, we don't have as strong a control on development," he said. "As we continue to develop outlying properties, it can't be getting any better. It is increasing in intensity. It's also something more people are becoming aware of."
... "In the '60s through the '80s the solution was to build something and let people downstream worry about it," Mr. Goode said. "It was, 'Get it to the creek and be done with it.' "
...  Watching White Rock Creek after a hard rain illustrates that point.  ...  the second-largest watershed in this area to the Trinity River.
... Runoff from Plano is the main cause of a significant increase in water flow over the last 10 to 15 years,
... The staff at the Royal Oaks Country Club, where the creek is a water hazard along the course, doesn't need a new study to tell them they may see more flooding. Club president Steve Boyd said the club has its own data going back 20 years that show an increase in water levels and velocity.
... Mr. Boyd also said more water in the creek was the result of more concrete in and near the flood plain. ...

This is just common sense.  We have been defying nature, and we always eventually lose the struggle.  All over the country, they are undoing mistakes from the past where human arrogance exceeded intelligence.

Denton, Plano, Dallas, Arlington, Ft. Worth -- we are all smack dab on top of prairie land where grass is supposed to grow.  Our original stands of trees were always along a river or creek.  The Oaks in Oak Lawn grew beside Turtle Creek and underground tributaries.  There was a balance, and our forefathers and the current bunch of ODB (Our Downtown Betters) have been screwing with it almost since the city got started.

We have paved over creeks all over Dallas, forcing the water in unnatural directions.

Paul Kix writes about Mill Creek, one such creek that was turned into a storm drain in East Dallas/Deep Ellum back in the 40's.  We are now paying the consequences of that decision.

Up the CrickTo Deep Ellum's problems, add this: an underground raging river of poop
BY PAUL KIX | originally published: June 24, 2004
... The sewer lines of Deep Ellum are in serious disrepair and are getting worse with each passing day, month, year. One day--some day soon, even--a backup could cause an entire sewer main to overflow, forcing raw sewage up through each floor drain of each restaurant and club, up through the manholes, out into the streets.
... The problem is that the sewer lines are directly under the buildings of Deep Ellum, impossible to get to without boring a hole through a business or apartment floor or using other obtrusive and costly techniques. Late last year, the city awarded a contract to Dallas-based Barson Utilities to construct new sewer lines beneath the streets of Deep Ellum. The project will be done in two phases ...  Once the sewer lines are built, property owners must pay to connect to the new mains. And this connection will not come cheaply. Some businesses estimate it could cost as much as $100,000, enough to wipe them out.
   On April 8, 22 Deep Ellum property owners filed suit against the city of Dallas, alleging that it's the city's responsibility to pay for each property or resident's connection to the new sewer lines once they are built. City attorneys say the connection costs will be kept to a minimum, but the city, by law, cannot spend public money on private property, or, in this case, private plumbing.
The last thing the district needs is months or years of delay. Aside from the threat of a severe backup dousing the streets of Deep Ellum in raw sewage, the city and property owners are worried about Mill Creek, which in the 1940s was converted from a creek to a storm drain that runs underground through Deep Ellum. Raw sewage is finding its way into Mill Creek, which eventually empties into the Trinity River. The Environmental Protection Agency was none too pleased to learn of this in February: It issued an administrative order demanding the city fix the problem. The Dallas-based Environmental Conservation Organization, a nonprofit agency, went a step further, suing the city for its supposed negligence...

Before we continue talking aobut paving over of Mill Creek,  remember that the city is giving $64,000 in tax rebates to a wealthy couple who have already made the repairs to their $1.6 million private residence that happens to have been designed by a famous architect.  (06/21 It's not fair: Tax rebate to rich couple to rehab home.)   It seems to me that if we can give away over $800,000 a year as Princess Velveeta says to rich, connected City Hall insiders to fix up their private residences because someone thinks those houses are historic, we should pay to hook up the Deep Ellum businesses Kix mentions to the new sewer line.  Is there a single structure in Deep Ellum that does not have historic significance?

Covering up Mill Creek and covering up Cedar Springs and putting the Trinity into a concrete trough are all stupid, stupid ideas.  We are paying dearly to fix the consequences of what was done to Mill Creek and Cedar Springs, but that will be nothing compared to what will happen if the Trinity Project gets done.

We could make the Trinity a beautiful place to look at by doing stuff along the shore lines, but we will never be able to keep the sewerage out of it.  Even if all the suburbs north and west of us were not dumping stuff into it, we have our own deteriorating sewer system dumping directly into the Trinity as Paul Kix writes in
Up the Crick.

Please don't forget our April Day's Non-Joke when we had poop floating down the Trinity from an equipment malfunction.   

04/01 It's not just the Trinity stinking --  and it's no April Fool's Day Joke! 
 Raw sewage floating in Trinity!

If you think it can't get any worse, you have not been paying attention.  If we do not have the money to repair our existing sewer lines and infrastructure, where will we get the money to maintain the fake lakes in the Trinity River Project, conservatively estimated at $3 million annually. 

Oh, yeah, we will take it out of employee raises and benefits.  We will freeze our cops and firefighters at the salaries they have at the end of 2004 and keep them at the bottom of the pay scale for metroplex safety personnel. 

Just when we were hoping our new Police Chief would be able to get things in order, we get a headline like this story:

Officials: Politics played into DPD reorganization: Officials say City Hall has cut demotions; Kunkle plan includes 8 promotions
July 27, 2004 By TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News
   Chief David Kunkle will unveil a plan today to reorganize the struggling Dallas Police Department, but some officials say City Hall has blocked his plans to demote as many top officers as originally intended.
...while three top commanders received notice of their demotions Monday afternoon, "The picture we saw Friday is not the picture we saw [Monday]," said one high-ranking police official. The number of demotions "keeps getting less and less."
   In May, city leaders expressed confidence in their selection of Chief Kunkle and promised him a free hand in fixing the department's problems.
... Along with the demotions, the promotion of a few top commanders is part of the chief's mammoth effort to restore confidence in the department and boost morale among the rank-and-file who see some top leaders as ineffective and incompetent.
   Chief Kunkle and interim City Manager Mary Suhm, who have worked closely to agree on a final plan, declined to discuss details of their negotiations about staffing.
... Suhm denied that there had been any disagreement.
   "The chief and I and [Assistant City Manager] Charles [Daniels] have had a good discussion," she said. "It's not a negotiation. It's a discussion of what's best for the city."
...  sources said disagreements over how many top commanders could be demoted delayed the announcement of the department's reorganization for at least several days. They declined to give details about how many deputy chiefs were originally slated for demotion.
... "It's getting political now," said the high-ranking police official. "Some people have called council members and outside civil leaders and had them call Mary Suhm."
   "You can't fix this thing with a Band-Aid," the official said. "You've got to fix it or not fix it."

The more things change ---  This is exactly why we cannot have Mary Suhm as the City Manager.  She will make us long for the good old days of John Ware.  Chief Kunkle may deny her interference because he has to work with her, but anyone who has been watching City Hall knows this is so much her style of doing business.  Charles Daniels is the guy who groomed Terrible Bolton and got Benavides to name Bolton as Chief, without ever interviewing him.

Poor Chief Kunkle must feel like he's rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.  He was left with a real sewer problem after 5 years of Terrible Bolton running the Police Department into the ground.  Kunkle's having to demote some of the morons Bolton promoted to chief from their sergeant ranks.  Good moves for sure.  If you believe Tanya Eiserer's DMN story (and it certainly sounds plausible), political pressure from some council members protected some other morons who also needed to go back to a lower level of command.   Don't forget Suhm wants to be the permanent City Manager as bad we do not want her in that position.

In the end, what Kunkle really needs is more money for his rank and file officers so he can hire more and successfully compete with other police departments in the area to retain our experienced officers and interest a better caliber of applicants for new hires.  That, and to be left alone to do his job.

In the end, all we really need to reverse our municipal misfortunes are more than one or two on the council and someone in the Mayor's office with a lick of sense and balance.  As it is, we have a bunch of idiots and a stand in for the woman we elected running things at City Hall, and they are running our town into the ground.

I often say we should let the Trinity be a river instead of trying to screw it up and creating an inevitable ecological disaster in the not too distant future.  By the same token, we should let our prairie be a prairie and put a limit on more pavement.

Neither's likely to happen anymore than we can expect the council to allow our new Police Chief to do his job without their corrupt fingers in the mix.







  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