Archive for October, 2007

Trinity River Revisited

October 27, 2007

Long ago in a county far, far away (okay, more like two miles away, but work with me here) there was a bond election in which the citizens were promised that by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a park in the flood plain of the Trinity River the rift between the wealthy northern regions and the poorer southern regions would be sealed, future generations of Olympic sailors would be able to train on the new recreational lakes, children who might never see a blade of grass otherwise would have perfectly manicured sports fields (did I mention that this was in a flood plain?), global warming would be reversed, and a cure for AIDS would be found. Okay, I made up the last two; but they did promote this project as the salvation of the heart of the city. Oh yeah, there’s going to be some kind of road in the project too, but don’t worry about that…think of the lakes.

Curtain falls, curtain rises. In a fairly low turnout even for Dallas (off year cycle) and despite having outspent the opposition by a factor of between 10 and 15 to 1, the proposition passed by something like 49% to 48%. Almost before the ink is dry on the victory announcements the word comes out that the low speed parkway meandering through the park area will have to be scrapped and replaced with a high speed toll road so that traffic through downtown can be relieved, but not to worry, there’ll still be plenty of room for parks. Somewhere.

Curtain falls, curtain rises. Money originally thought to be earmarked for the parks portion of the Trinity River project is instead proposed to be spent on three ‘signature’ bridges across the Trinity to be designed by the noted Spanish architect Calatravva whose works have a history of coming in well over budget. The first of these bridges is intended to be built in a place that nobody wants to go while the second two will replace existing bridges that are in perfectly good working order. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, it is reluctantly decided to seek other funding for the ‘signature’ bridges. Seed money from private citizens has been raised to begin planning for the first one but I lay 5 to 3 that ground is never broken.

Curtain falls, curtain rises. With every revision, the recreational aspects of the Trinity River plan have taken a back seat to the high speed toll road and some of the voters rise in righteous indignation and seek a referendum on whether an explicit limit should be placed on the road design of the project so as to preserve in some fashion the Platonic ideals that were promoted in the original plan. They gain more signatures on the referendum petition than there were voters in the original election. The item is added to the election.

Now the fun begins. Once again, the supporters of the plan are outspending the opposition by an enormous margin. Most of the usual suspects are saying most of the usual lines and the local newspaper has thrown their weight behind the plan 110%. They’ve even gone to the level of printing a hatchet piece on the writer in the local free paper, the Dallas Observer (actually part of a major national company that does these all over the country) who’s been driving the opposition bus for the last ten years. There’s desperation in the air and it don’t smell good. Keep an eye on the news from Big D for the next two weeks. This could be interesting.

Most Manly Guns

October 27, 2007

Subtlety is not his strong suit, and I definitely don’t agree with all his choices; but this is pretty damned funny. It is also NOT WORK SAFE.