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07/30/04 Floods are direct result of over development.

We need to forget the Trinity Project and focus on restricting overdevelopment from Denton County to Lancaster.  I'm not talking about limiting development, but creating restrictions that require set asides for permeable surfaces.

If you want to build a new housing development, all sidewalks and driveways must be grasscrete. 

It may not make great skateboarding, but it will cut down on water runoff. 

It may not solve all flooding, but it will not add to the problem. 
    James Northrup:
Controlling watershed run-off is a city and county job - not just the Corp of Engineers. Other cities, including Austin, have addressed this at the building code level, requiring new construction to use permeable paving or on-site retention.  No big deal.
   But the municipalities have to do it, or share the blame for deaths every year.
   If Jim Schutze is looking for conspiracies, may I suggest the Singleton Avenue Suspension Bridge - whose funding remains shrouded in mystery, but without which there will be no Trinity Tollway nor fed funds for I-30 and I -35.
 

And -- folks, we have a problem, which even The Dallas Managed News acknowledges.

Growth in south Dallas County paves way for ruinous floodwaters
Thursday, July 29, 2004

By KATIE MENZER and HERB BOOTH / The Dallas Morning News
   New development helps fill city coffers.
   Wednesday night in Lancaster, it also helped flood homes.
   When 13 inches of rain falls in a few hours, flooding is the expected result.
   But when that rain falls in places downstream from booming residential and commercial developments ? as was the case in Lancaster in south Dallas County ? the flooding will be worse.
   "With all that new paving, the concrete, roofs and Wal-Marts, instead of the water soaking into the ground, it runs off those structures into the creek," said Eli Kangas, a project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "There's so much upstream development in the area, the water is getting to the creek sooner. The creek just doesn't have the capacity to handle it."
   As many as 200 homes in Lancaster were flooded Wednesday night and Thursday morning when more than a foot of rain fell in eight hours, forcing Ten Mile and Bear creeks out of their banks and into city streets.
... A study performed by the corps a decade ago found no solution to Lancaster's flooding woes. The cost of creating a system to stop the flooding was greater than the cost of repairing homes and businesses when floods occurred, Mr. Kangas said.
...  "Some of the cities at higher elevations in the upper reaches of the river, they don't have the flooding problems, so they don't see the benefit in participating in the watershed study," said Kevin Spath, an environmental planner with the Council of Governments. ...

No city along the Trinity River or any of the creeks that feed it exists in a vacuum. 

Changes to the permeable surface (dirt/ground that will absorb water) in one town causes changes all the way down the river.  Creating a bottleneck in the Trinity near Downtown Dallas for aesthetic purposes and to enhance Downtown redevelopment is not only foolhardy, but dangerous.  Cities south of us should be paying attention, but they are run by the same types as we have at City Hall.  The only progress they recognize are more people and more rooftops and pavement.  When we have a go-go guy from the Corps of Engineers blaming urban flooding on "
new paving, the concrete, roofs and Wal-Marts, instead of the water soaking into the ground", you can no longer ignore the situation.

Well, you can ignore it if you're dead like the two people who drove off a bridge that was torn out by debris from another bridge that was torn out by hard/fast flood waters carrying debris.
 
It was incredibly ironic to have this bridge disaster happen in July when DallasArena.com has been telling you the true reason behind Our Mayor's obsession with those Calatrava String Things.  If they do what she wants to do with the Trinity, it will make that muddy, sewer filled glorified creek run faster and harder with more destructive force that will wipe out our historic viaducts. 

Flooding claims second victim 2 bodies found in floodwaters; Lancaster area hit hardest, with more than 13 inches
Friday, July 30, 2004
By FRANK TREJO and JAY PARSONS / The Dallas Morning News
   At least one man was killed Thursday when his pickup plunged into rushing floodwaters after powerful storms washed away an Ellis County bridge.
... Arlington firefighters responded to a rain-related drowning about 8:30 p.m. Thursday in an industrial area in the 1900 block of North Peyco Drive, about a half-mile west of Cooper Street.
... The worst-hit areas appeared to be in southern Dallas County and portions of Tarrant and Ellis counties.
... The bridge where the body was found is about two miles downstream from the Ovilla Road bridge, which collapsed sometime early Thursday.
   Deputy Sullins said that about 30 officers searched for another possible victim from a second pickup thought to have been swept into the creek when the bridge fell.
... Authorities said Lancaster public safety officers performed 19 high-water rescues at the height of the storms, with at least two people injured.
... Eric Martello, senior forecaster for the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. "Some parts of the metroplex hardly had 2 inches of rain, while others had more than 10 inches. ...
   "We didn't expect anything like that. But, then, that's just the way Mother Nature is sometimes."

... Jerry Johns, president of the Southwestern Insurance Information Service, placed a preliminary estimate of the damage from the storms around $20 million. That comes on the heels of several large storms in June that caused about $400 million in damage. ...

Apparently, the Corp of Engineers need to rethink their previous analysis of our situation:  The cost of creating a system to stop the flooding was greater than the cost of repairing homes and businesses when floods occurred, Mr. Kangas said.   $420 million could have gone a long way toward finding/creating a solution or even a means of flooding prevention.

Unfortunately, the message is not getting to the Commissioner who represents Lancaster and that part of Dallas County.  Someone's Man Downtown Commissioner Price is much more exercised about the Cowboys going to Arlington than he is about two hundred flooded homes in Lancaster.  Guess Someone's Man Downtown is way too busy to tend to the responsibilities of his office.

The people in Lancaster should be starting a recall.

Having the Cowboys play in Arlington is no different to Dallas taxpayers than having them play in Irving.  For Lancaster taxpayers who have just lost everything but their lives, where the Cowboys do their business makes no difference whatsoever.  For the families of the two men who drowned on Commissioner's watch, Someone's Man Downtown's indifference must seem criminal. 

Where Jones builds his stadium may make a difference to Dallas County, but not in tax revenue because Grandpa Jones will leverage a deal where the stadium and surrounding parking are city owned and off the tax rolls anyway. 

It is interesting that Jones is promising no extra development to Arlington, just a fancy stadium with no mass transit available on a freeway that stays congested under the best of circumstances. 

Remember, Someone's Man Downtown Price said he was only interested in the deal if there was to be simultaneous development of a shopping mall, office tower and a hotel, etc.  Guess he forgot!  Must have something on his mind.  Certainly cannot be the welfare of Lancaster taxpayers.

Cowboys: Dallas deal was 50-50; Team says offer similar to Arlington's; county denies formal proposal
Friday, July 30, 2004 By DAVE MICHAELS / The Dallas Morning News
... The conversation between Mr. Bayoud, a former Texas secretary of state, and Ms. Keliher apparently was not communicated to other county commissioners.
   "The only deal I ever heard about was a two-thirds [county] and one-third [Cowboys] deal," Commissioner John Wiley Price said. "At least negotiations were commencing. I never heard that."
   Mr. Price added, "It only takes three votes to prevail on the court."
   Commissioner Mike Cantrell cautioned against assuming Mr. Bayoud's offer compares favorably with the deal that may be worked out in Arlington.
   By building on a public park, Dallas would not have any land costs. Arlington would have to acquire privately held land. Even if Arlington contributes only $325 million toward the cost of the stadium, it could be asked to pick up land and infrastructure costs, Mr. Cantrell said. ...

Why is it Joe Taxpayer's responsibility to contribute anything to Grandpa Jones' business?  Taxpayers contribute enough with the cost of a ticket, not to mention the police time spent chasing and arresting current and former thugs on Grandpa Jones' team.

There are lots of balls up in the air just now, while Our Stepford Mayor plays Annette Strauss in La Jolla.  We have floods and mayhem.  We have Grandpa Jones extorting fortunes out of local crooked politicians.  We have chaos at City Hall and political games so pervasive our new Police Chief Kunkle may not be able to pull off the miracle we desperately need to make this city safer, not to mention habitable.

Jim Schutze has a great column this week -- one of his best.  Of course, I think so because it looks like he's finally come around to thinking a Strong Mayor form of government may not be worth the price or risk.

Deal
Decherd and the boys get downtown. Miller gets the crown.
By Jim Schutze | 2004-07-29
Mark Poutenis
Mayor Laura Miller may dance for the cameras, but Robert Decherd at Belo Corp. pulls the strings
... Mayor Laura Miller and the old downtown business boys have come to a deal. She gets a strong-mayor system. They get downtown.
   They're set. They're down. They're ready for the blitz. Everybody else is just waving arms and spluttering.
   This is not just a trick play. A strong-mayor system is a good idea. The existing arrangement is Dallas' weak, weak, weak system (weak mayor, weak council, weak city manager). The mayor has no real power, just one vote on a 15-member council. We're a football team with no coach and consensus huddles.
   We need a strong-mayor system. But not this way--too closed-door, too done-deal, too typical of the way the old Citizens Council used to operate. For all those reasons, this important opportunity for reform is at risk. Strong-arm is not the way to get strong-mayor.
... The new effort includes a significant change from previous attempts. In the past, the mayor has said she had no interest in seeking this reform for herself and would ask that such a reform take effect only after she left office. Not now. In enthusiastic remarks to The Dallas Morning News last week, Miller said she now supports changes to take effect immediately.
... And now I'm sure they're all going to say there is no deal and that the mayor's support for the LGC is in no way tied to the downtown business clique's support for Miller's strong-mayor reform. THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY. CITIZENS WHO KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEM WILL NOT SAY THERE IS A CONSPIRACY.
   I have a suggestion: If you don't want to be accused of conspiracy, don't wear masks.
... I watched the mayor's presentation of the LGC idea to the city council. Members from north and south, white, black and Latino, were openly suspicious and asked over and over why they would hand off to a private group the very responsibilities they were elected to discharge. My favorite was James Fantroy of Southern Dallas. The mayor tried to assure him this was really just a minor administrative arrangement, but Fantroy kept saying, "I'm not that country."
...  I worry that McKinsey may have been brought into the picture by the downtown interests with a specific mandate to come up with recommendations strongly in support of the LGC.
...  [Political consultant Pat Cotton]: "...they had no clue about Texas law, about public health, about any of the strictures that would make it difficult for us to do what we were hoping to do."
...  Cotton said she had the impression the McKinsey people knew where they were supposed to wind up politically: "I'm sure they knew what the end should be," she said.
... I had just finished taking a look at a free study McKinsey did of the Dallas housing department, ...  one recommendation stuck out like a sore thumb: "Do not buy out Cadillac Heights; support community development efforts."
... There is no reason why McKinsey even would have addressed that question, unless somebody had a thumb on the scale.
... First, what was the rationale for stating ahead of time, before even starting to look at Dallas city government, that they wouldn't touch the strong-mayor issue?
... Second: If they make any kind of endorsement of the LGC, they got problems. The LGC plan for downtown is already associated in the council's mind with Decherd and Belo.
... The game, if there is a game, would be for Decherd and his group to win the LGC, effectively taking downtown out of public control. In return they would help crown Miller queen of all the rest.
...As much as I think the strong-mayor system would be good for the city? As much as I love downtown? If the only way to get things done is to fence out everybody but the big dogs and treat other people as if they don't belong, then screw it. Let it all go to hell. Democracy is worth 10 times the city.

Right on all points, particularly Cadillac Heights.  That neighborhood is in a floodplain.  Nothing should have been built there in the first place.  That neighborhood is polluted with lead.  It cannot be fixed.  Lead leeches down into the deep soil, way past 3 or 4 feet.  The trees and vegetation pull it up and out of the soil.  Don't believe me?  Go over there and stand on a high place -- almost anything is higher than Cadillac Heights.  You will be struck by the fact that all trees in the area have a white film on the tops of their canopy -- all trees.  Get those people out of Cadillac Heights.  Level all the structures.  Give the whole area to the street bums for their tent city.  And prohibit any permanent structures or development from ever happening there again.  Our local shrine to bad planning and permanent consequences.

The last thing we should be doing in light of our increasing urban flooding (and I don't mean Whites fleeing to the suburbs) is doing any building along the Trinity Trough.  Get real!

This is not about being anti-development or a tree hugger.  I'm a Republican for Heaven's sake, and all Liberals know we are greedy, poor-hating rich people.  Not!  I'm as a big a protector of property rights as you get, but we must protect the rights of people who are already here, who have already invested in their homes and businesses.  Destroying their property rights by allowing the Trinity River mafia to build in the flood plain and dicker with the hydraulics of the river itself is just wrong and dangerous.

I was really mad at Pete Sessions for his interference in Roxan Staff's council race.  When Martin Frost pulled that stunt of committing all of his "transportation allocation" to the Trinity Project ($30+ million), it made it really easy for me to forget my mad and sign on to help Pete. 

Martin Frost, Kay Bailey Hutchinson and the rest of the big ticket, big spenders have vested interests in developing the Trinity River floodplain to the detriment of every city South of Dallas along the river route.  The people who are trying to salvage their personal treasures and restore their homes today after this week's flooding should look at those people very carefully in current and future elections. 

Hutchinson is supposedly coming back to run for Governor, which is why Con Jerk/Ron Kirk announced Thursday that he wanted to run for the Senate again.  I sure hope he does.  Fort Worth's Kay Granger is going to run for Hutchinson's seat, too.  She did a lot more for Fort Worth than Kirk did for Dallas.  She left that city in great shape.  Kirk left our city in financial and physical ruin.

If we do the Trinity Project, there will be no money to fix the damage the inevitable flooding will cause.  When there is water standing everywhere Downtown, Our Downtown Betters (the ODB) will finally have that Downtown lake their predecessors have forever lusted after.

Let's find out which County Commissioner was responsible for maintenance of the Ovilla Road Bridge and ask why we have not heard from him.  Let's ask why Commissioner Price and the County Judge are worrying about Jerry Jones when people are drowning after trusting our bridges.

sb

                                        

    





                            

 

  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