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Kathleen Matsumura

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Let me know if you're interested in joining me on a September Saturday (date to be determined) canoe trip on the Trinity River led by Charles Allen of Trinity River Expeditions.  (For info, go to http://www.canoedallas.com)

 

Here's my report on Wednesday morning's "celebration"...

 

You saw a few minutes coverage of what organizers billed as the ?Dallas Floodway Extension Press Event? on the evening news and you can read about it in the DMN?s Thursday edition.  I venture to say, however, that the media?s perspective will differ from mine.

 

Despite the extreme sunlight and heat, I was made to shiver at the comment made by Dallas Councilwoman Thornton-Reese.  She stated that it was great to see all levels of government represented, showing their support.  Indeed, she was right.  City, state and federal elected officials were present along with EPA Regional Administrator Richard Greene and Col. John Minahan of the US Corps of Engineers.

Another chilling truth was stated by Congressman Frost.  The project is bipartisan, as he proved with his presence and his speech.  

Dallas Mayor Miller told the fairly large crowd that it's been a long road to this day of celebrating the first step in the Trinity River Corridor (TRC) development.  Initial efforts, she said, can be traced back to 1965.  I would say talk of doing something with the Trinity goes back much farther.  At any rate, she glossed over the "why" of the long delay, the controversy.  Today, after all, was an historic opening to a bright future. 

A couple of times, the TRC exhibit behind the speakers' canopy fell down and the mike blared during Sen. Hutchison's claim that she wanted to save as much of nature as possible.  But these minor interruptions did not deter.

 

The morning's hour-long presentation, emceed by Mayor Miller, was filled with verbal pats on the back and misdirection. 

Congressman Hensarling opened his remarks about the DFE flood protection project by talking of the high waters that threatened Downtown Dallas in 1908, alluding to a river that no longer exists.  He forgot to mention the flood control measures that led to channeling the river in the 1930s. 

EPA's Greene admitted he hadn't spoken to President Bush about the TRC lately but back when the President was part owner of the Rangers, he went along with the idea of a trail in the river area that would eventually connect Dallas to Fort Worth.  However, according to a position paper produced by Save the Trinity Chair David Gray, the President's administration continues to recommend a zero budget for the Corps' Dallas Floodway Extension (DFE).

Dallas City Councilman Oakley talked of the Trinity River Committee he chairs and claimed his committee's bi-monthly meetings are open to participation by all, including environmentalists.  Oakley and many others offered proof of environmental support by invoking the name of Ned Fritz who sat in front of the podium, but Mr. Fritz was not part of the group under the canopy today.  He was not invited to speak. 

Mayor Miller mentioned the road on the downtown side that will be part of the corridor development, but most emphasis was placed as always on environmental enhancements - trails, parks that would be coming along as development continues.

There was an admission that we have a funding shortfall
.

Congress needs to come through to approve $$ for a Calatrava bridge.  It was pointed out the Trinity Trust was established to provide funding for corridor-related projects.  However, it was not made clear that most environmental enhancements described at the ceremony are the projects needing Trust monies.

The project at Joppa was highlighted as a project related to the TRC development.  There were display tables set up and horses in "full regalia" as the event agenda pointed out.  The Dallas County Buffalo Soldiers brought in the flag to begin the event and were featured again at the end to begin dismantling an old shed on the former Sleepy Hollow Golf Course where the ceremony took place.  The soldiers will be taking the pieces of the shed to use as part of the Joppa Rodeo site.  Soldier Paul Allen spoke before the dismantling, emphasizing that the Joppa Rodeo Recreation & Development Center needed contributions.

According to a center brochure, the following were listed on a wish list:

Horse Stables/Trail Development,
Neighborhood Park Pavilion
Community Development Center
Covered Rodeo Arena
Buffalo Soldier Museum
Boarding School for at-risk kids. 

Tax-exempt donations can be sent to Communities Foundation of Texas, Attn: Joppa Rodeo Fund, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane, Dallas, TX 75225-8146.

Since Mr. Fritz was not able to express his views, I invite you to go to

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TrinityRiverNetwork/files/TRC%20Alternative-Files

for background info that he and others have provided over the years.  (NOTE:  If you're asked to sign in after you've double clicked on the above URL and you're not a Yahoo user, create an ID and password to register. You will then have access to the list of files.)

Below are comments from Save the Trinity Chair David Gray. 

On behalf of Save the Trinity:

1. We are disappointed that such a costly, destructive project is going ahead.  Taxpayers are paying for pork-barrel projects to benefit contractors, speculators, and developers.  Bureaucrats and politicians are sacrificing 30,000 trees to keep the project alive.

2. Much less damaging and costly alternatives are available.

3. Relief for *all* of
Cadillac Heights has not yet been recommended.

4. Funding is $10 million a year.  The costs have already gone far beyond that.

5. Taxpayers for Common Sense and National Wildlife Federation have ranked DFE as one of 10 worst Corps projects in the nation.

6. The Bush administration continues to recommend a zero budget for it.

7. Mitigation does not save trees or habitat.  It sacrifices them.

Don't forget to contact me regarding the Saturday canoe trip in September.  Come enjoy the Trinity River!

Kathleen Matsumura

972-484-1391; 214-437-4907

 

                                        

    





                            

 

  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