Another interesting day Trinity toll road-wise. I appeared on (actually, was heard on) Krys Boyd’s show on KERA-FM (90.1), Think, with Dave Levinthal of The News to discuss the toll road referendum. Snag yer podcast here, but as usual, the best chat was off the air and before and after the show -- especially Levinthal’s description of a recent trip to Greenland and hearing a guy in a bar singing Willie Nelson songs in Greenlandic. When Levinthal had someone interpret to the guy that Levinthal thought it was really great he was singing all that Willie Nelson stuff, the guy said, “Who’s Willie Nelson?”
All during the day I have had discussions with people on a topic that did not come up on the radio show: How dumb or not dumb is the new mayor? The Think segment was led in by a great story by Catherine Cuellar in which District Attorney Craig Watkins made it clear he thinks Mayor Tom Leppert has been playing political games with his fraud allegations against the TrinityVote petition campaign, and Watkins doesn’t like it.
I spoke later to council member Mitchell Rasansky, a big Leppert ally, it seems, who conceded that Leppert’s footwork out of the box has been less than balletic. Rasansky suggested it might have been smarter of the mayor to check in with Watkins first before invoking his name in a smear of TrinityVote. You know, like to see if Watkins is on his side? (Not.)
I asked Rasansky if he thought Leppert was taking his marching orders from somebody as dumb as Trinity Improvement Association bag man Bill Ceverha. Rasansky suggested it’s more likely the person doing the tugging on Leppert’s chain is Donna Halstead, the hired gun at the Dallas Citizens Council.
Mayor Tom, whoever it is: They are makin’ you look a fool, boy.
We did have a teensy contretemps on the radio show about whether or not The Dallas Morning News has a party line on the Trinity that staffers have to tow. So apparently while we were on the air or just before, council member Angela Hunt and former member Sandy Greyson, both leaders in TrinityVote, were speaking with The Dallas Morning News editorial board. They told the editorial board, among other things, that a big nasty no-exits expressway was incompatible with a natural park experience.
Right after they left, Keven Ann Willey, head of the editorial department, announced a competition on The Dallas Morning News editorial board blog for examples of nice highways through major American parks. It’s just so hilarious. It never occurred to Keven Ann she might want to ask also about the national and European trend to remove highways and other infrastructure from parks and waterfronts.
No. We don’t ask questions that might piss off Colonel Belo.
Mainly, the blog exercise -- nominations for most beautiful freeway in park -- was such a wonderful example of how the company line is woven at The Snooze. “Angela and Sandy just left. See who can come up with the best shoot-down line for them.”
What do you think happens, for example, if one of Keven Ann’s underlings submits a post saying, “I really think the idea of a highway jammed up next to a riverfront in a greenbelt in the middle of a city is an obscenity, here or anywhere.”
I think a big oogah-oogah alarm goes off and giant digital screens on the walls of the editorial department start flashing, “ILLEGAL RESPONSE! ILLEGAL RESPONSE!” And then a while later, the poor little soul gets a “buyout offer.”
We are learning much about our city in this exercise. Knowledge, we hope, is power, not merely a cause for depression. --Jim Schutze