Why Do We Want to See the Trinity Corridor Project Records? What Else is There to See?

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

SHZ_GetOffMyLawn_TitleImageV2.jpg
Yesterday on Unfair Park Patrick Williams posted an item reporting that the city of Dallas is going to court to sue rather than follow the instructions of the Texas Attorney General to release basic information to the Dallas Observer about the money the city has spent so far on the Trinity River Project.

Greg Abbott's office said it's public. The city said tough.

I just want to make sure we know what kind of information is at stake in all this. The city admits to already having spent over half of the full budget for the Trinity River Project -- $250 million of $420 million in bond debt we authorized in 1998.

If you were around for the '98 debt election, you saw the pictures. For that $420 million we were supposed to have lakes by now, sailboats, amphitheaters, a sculpted and landscaped urban park bigger than Central Park in Manhattan.

You see what we've got. Jack. No lakes. No park. Squat. More than half the money gone. The Calatrava bridge that's going up now wasn't supposed to be part of the bond program or come out of that money. And the city is going to pay lawyers to sue rather than tell the taxpayers where that money went.

Where could it have gone? Lots of places. The whole Calatrava fiasco is one very good candidate. The standard line from the Park Cities socialites pushing the bridge thing is that they paid for it -- the rich families for whom the bridges are being named.

margaret_hunt_hill_bridge_c250809_sc.jpg
No way. They bought naming rights for a few mil. But the additional cost of turning seven ordinary freeway bridges into fake suspension bridges was huge -- way more than even the socialites could afford. We knew when the bridges were first proposed 12 years ago that the full cost of the Calatrava program was going to be between $130 million and half a billion dollars -- not to build the bridges, just to pay Calatrava to turn them into fake suspension bridges!

So the question -- unanswered by the city -- is how much of that money we have already paid him, even though we now know that only one of the originally planned seven bridges will ever be built. The great Spanish architect doesn't draw stuff for free, even on a napkin.

I have also provided another example of where the money has gone -- the ridiculous fake whitewater kayak thing they built in the river, originally priced at $445,000, on which we have now spent $4 million, and it's so screwed up it has to be rebuilt. For more money.

But that's only a small-change example. And the other thing is this: after first denying it, the city manager admitted years ago that tens of millions of dollars -- $73 million at one whack -- has been sluiced into the Trinity River project from subsequent bond programs, even though the voters were never told they were voting for more money for the Trinity project.

So it's not $250 million spent so far. We know of $323 million. And who knows how much more a tight accounting would divulge?

Just look out there. See what you see. Nothing! Nothing! Think about $323 million in your money that's gone already. And then tell me why you think City Hall doesn't want to talk about it.

Hey, somebody ask those mayoral candidates about this damn lawsuit to keep from leveling with the taxpayers. Sounds like a fair issue to me.

My Voice Nation Help
61 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Malachite141
Malachite141

what a waste of money and time. can we make jobs and quit screwing with an area that floods every year... really dallas? hey have michael vick build something for us!!! really people. we have starving people and crime and your worried about the trinity? duh? winning is not happening!!!!! 

Canoe1980
Canoe1980

We also need to find out what went on with the 408 reviews for the standing wave. How is it the city can build a damn, and NOT need to do a full EIS? The wave is within the federal flood control. IS it all part of a grand scheme? One to keep siphoning money into someone's pockets. Consultants, contractors and long term care of the city's investment is putting money in many peoples bank account. We all have a right to know when and who the recipients of such "public aid" are.  

I.M. Broke
I.M. Broke

Following in the footsteps of Parkland Hospital who is suing the AG not to release public records,the City of Dallas is using our tax dollars to prevent taxpayers from seeing where their tax dollars have been spent.The Open records Act was made law to prevent the failure of public entities from hiding behind some shield of privacy.The legislators need to review this law and pass legislation to prevent these law suits. Budget shortfalls everywhere and the city is using money,the city doesn't have to prevent taxpayers from seeing what the tax bond money was used for in the project.Soon, we will become a city of shame when all of the skeletons come rattling out of the closet.Parkland,County Constables,UT Southwestern and now the City of Dallas are all hiding what must be the embaassing truth of their behaviors.Of course, these are our tax dollars they are using for legal manuvering to prevent the citizens of Dallas from knowing the truth. 

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

well Hell DMN and some Council people ,dammed Mayor Caraway for suing to keep his private business private.You mean the City Attorney is using the Taxpayers money to keep us from knowing how much of our Tax dollars have been used on the Trinity River? Could I as a Tax payer go down and ask them,and get the information? Dam shame about secrets at City Hall and Staff is not elected.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

 Look on the bright side, at least Dallas has nekid booby NAZI chicks at Fair Park.

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

Can anyone say "Class Action Lawsuit"? Oh, they'll claim "sovereign immunity"; they'll just say "we made a mistake". This is what happens when dishonest, incompetent, unintelligent people are elected or appointed......the voters and citizens get shafted (again).

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Jim,In June we will have a different City Council.  So can the new council order the City Atty to drop the lawsuit and to turn over info in the open records request?

If so, let's start working on that new council's vote. 

Alex Roderer
Alex Roderer

 this makes me so mad this is why people get mad at publics works projects when this kinda crap happens people loose faith in this sort of thing and before you know it were not building anything.  Why didn't they get the parks done before doing the bridge since things like bridges and tunnels for whatever reason are prone to huge money problems. Unless we find more contaminated soil it couldn't be to hard to get a park done. Man im so mad right now we spent 420 millon pretty mucch ON ONE BRIDGE!!! ahhh 

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

 You forgot the nifty standing wave lawsuit generator.  We got a bridge and 2 standing waves.

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

For all of those who have expressed such overwhelming confidence in the "independence" of the City's (internal)  Auditor, where is the audit and why can't the taxpayers see it?

Bob
Bob

"The Trinity River will be the second largest public works project, after DFW Airport, in Dallas history. And it will prove to be just as important.

The $1.2 billion investment by Dallas citizens and the federal and state governments will create one of the world’s largest urban parks, containing not only downtown lakes with a whitewater run, but also the country’s largest urban hardwood forest. The project, in its entirety, will be 10 times the size of New York City’s Central Park.

The new Trinity River will create billions of dollars in taxable value to Dallas. It will open new development opportunities for downtown and the southern sector that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago."

Wick Allison, PublisherD Magazine, December 1, 2004http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/...

Buckeye
Buckeye

I always get a kick out of the term "largest urban hardwood forest." 

Feldnick
Feldnick

Buildings aren't really made out of wood anymore, are they?

Montemalone
Montemalone

" It will open new development opportunities for downtown and the southern sector that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago."The key phrase.Of course, neither you nor I would be bale to avail ourselves or those opportunities, as the land was long ago bought up.

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

The irony would be if it turned into a bad investment, and those who invested based on this "pipedream" get stuck holding it for many, many years to come. 

Montemalone
Montemalone

Why do you think Leppert quit? 

MattL1
MattL1

 So he could run for Senate, where nobody notices when you misappropriate that much money.

(not that) John M
(not that) John M

Why the hating on Santiago? He didn't hold a gun to our head to force us to hire him.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 he's a trashy designer.  He uses the same elements for every problem, that's not good design, that trite trash.

Juan Valdez
Juan Valdez

Are there any good ol' american bridge designers available? In a time when we need to invest in America...we go hiring foreign labor (aka Santiago Calatrava) 

observist
observist

Then it sounds like someone would have to be really stupid to hire him. 

Phelps
Phelps

Dallas Politics for $200: This is where the Trinity River bond money has gone.

What is "into the pockets of relatives of the council posing as vendors and consultants along with good old fashioned kickbacks", Alex?

Anonymous
Anonymous

 Relatives and friends couldn't soak up all the missing money. Some went to campaign donors too.

cp
cp

"Walking-around money" for South Dallas preachers.....

lorlee
lorlee

After the first Trinity vote, we questioned how the money was being spent and as I recall the City went to Court to say that it didn't matter what they said on the ballot, they basically had carte blanche to spend the $246M (the 1998 bond) any way they wanted so long as it had something to do with the Trinity. So beware of Bond votes and language. 

(I had the "pleasure" of debating Kirk on this issue twice during the 1998 vote.  I will get to  say"I told you so", but with a heavy heart as I see the money that has been wasted.)

cp
cp

Oh yeah, how can we forget that? Which is what makes it all the more curious why they are fighting SO hard to keep the Observer from finding out what they spent the money on. 

StopDISD.org
StopDISD.org

You got that right Lorlee be very aware of Bond votes and language.  DISD has used the guise of a bond dollars for a new school to steal homes so, they can pave the way for a concrete wasteland.  They want to call it parking lots in-between homes.  Hino informs the voters and taxpayers that this is all part of the bond monies but, the Bond was for a new school not a land development deal and future town homes. Oh..and DISD refuses to disclose any plans or information for this  O.M. Roberts project.  An open records request was filed but, DISD slithered its way out of it.  The plans are concealed tightly behind the curtain of corruption. To learn more visit www.StopDISD.org or StopDISD on FaceBook   Click on the link below to view Satire Video on DISD's Land Grab http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...  Click on the link below to view Satire Video on DISD's Land Grab http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...  

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Jim,

Are you sure that this isn't the suburbs' fault?

Essbo
Essbo

"Consultants" are expensive.

dlcole76054
dlcole76054

Gee...and I thought Ft. Worth had problems with throwing money at the Trinity...it's NOTHING compared to our high faluting neighbor further down the Trinity... LOL. 

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

You've got to go to the source of the money management: MARY SUHMWhy is this so hard and why won't anyone call her out?

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Angela Hunt has butted heads with her repeatedly for refusing to provide her with basic info on several occasions and has even had to file her own open records requests in connection with Suhm's penchant for secrecy. As I recall, both she and former council member Rasansky went so far as to say they didn't trust her during at least one open city council meeting.

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

Well then, there is your smoking gun. I mean this city manager has so much protection, she's like a mob boss unless someone is willing to 'go there' and get the answers needed.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

She lives in Bryan Place.  

We should rally in front of her house...reminiscent of the days JWPrice used to perform in front of Ron Kirk's home. 

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

And that "someone" is definitely not the Dallas Morning News.

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

I think it's good to remember who was in charge as P.T. Barnum when voters were originally sold up the river on this deal back in 1998, the Right Honorable Ron Kirk.

Kirk has endorsed Mike Rawlings who is the Citizen Council's choice for Their Man Downtown.

Leppert was also a Citizen's Council Boy and biggest cheerleader for this monetary black hole Trinity deal.

Do we really believe Rawlings won't also inherit this torch?

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

yeah, but remember, Laura Miller, was very outspoken against Angela Hunt and the TrinityVote issue.  And, Laura Miller was hugely in favor of, and the spokesperson for, strong mayor issue. 

And, we all know who Laura Miller is pushing for Mayor. 

At least, in the case of Kirk endorsing Rawlings...that's all it is, just a simple endorsement. 

My fear is that Kunkle, if Mayor, would be in constant counsel with Laura Miller.  Might as well just re-elect Laura Miller. 

Gangy
Gangy

Also, Kunkle has already said he does not want to pursue the Trinity Toll Road.

Gangy
Gangy

Kunkle didn't take orders from Laura when she was mayor and he was chief.  I don't think he'll start now.  David Kunkle is very much his own man.

Gangy
Gangy

You might find it interesting that Ron Kirk's wife, Matrice, served as a Director of Ace Cash Express at the same time that Mike Rawlings, JM Haggar III, Robert P. Allyn did.

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

......and the beat goes on..........unless the voters do something to stop this insanity. 

Jay
Jay

Please post the petition Dallas' attorneys file, I can't wait to read their legal justification for refusing to account for spending public bond funds.

MattL1
MattL1

Is there an ACTUAL list of what we have gotten or are in the process of getting for this money (other than screwed)? $300 mil doesn't just disappear.

Montemalone
Montemalone

That's what the city is suing to stop DO from discovering. 

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

Didn't the Audobon Center come out of this bond money? If so, it would be good to mention it for the sake of fairness.

JimS
JimS

The city is obligated by contract to pay the Audubon Center a fairly fat subsidy every year -- I forget the amount, but it's not chickenfeed -- that comes straight out of the general fund. I think The Audubon Center is a very lovely joint, but why is a city that can't mow its parks in the bird-watching business? 

cp
cp

That's right, I meant to say that the City pays Audubon for operation and maintenance. I think it's somewhere along the lines of $4million a year. I could be wrong but I KNOW that exactly what they pitched the City when they bid on it five years ago.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

The few nature watching places I have been to were more about the human being a guest in nature not what they have at the this Audubon center.

cp
cp

There is plenty of nature to be seen in the Great Trinity Forest. I have seen deer, rabbits, fox, coyotes, bald eagles, hawks, owls, osprey, and several other species. 

cp
cp

Yes and the properties that were purchased to make the Great Trinity Forest a contiguous piece of land, and the money for the Horse Park, and PART of the Audubon area. That area was on an illegal landfill in which the previous owners were fined a hefty fine, along with the property adjacent to it to the west (Deepwoods). And, Audubon is paying the City an annual fee to operate the Center. Still, all of that doesn't combine to equal $373 million, and if it does, then yeah, we're getting screwed.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 Dallas destroyed Habitat to show Habitat ....

Nice ?

Yes .

Needed NO WAY !

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

I thought the Audobon was built in a former illegal dump site. It actually improved the habitat, unless I'm missing something.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

TRAC was in fact built on an illegal dump and reclaimed beautifully. I found the following:http://www.dallascityhall.com/...

Looks like the acquisition was funded with 2006 bond money, and "The $15 million TRAC building was jointly paid for by the City of Dallas, which contributed $13.5 million and the National Audubon Society, which covered the rest. Additional funds are appropriations from the federal government for flood control, and from state, county, city, and private funds" http://www.newgeography.com/co...

I don't know who pays ongoing costs.

It's a great facility and a real jewel in terms of its restoration efforts. There are free guided nature walks all the time.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...