What Does City Hall Have to Say About Levee Report? No. Really. I'm Asking.
This is Day Two of Trinity River levee stories from me, which I realize is Day Too Many, but ... well, sorry. I'm just sorry about it, but I cannot let this moment pass without making an observation. Possibly an observation and a half. It'll be over quickly.
First, half an observation. I started off my deal yesterday about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and whether Dallas is about to be scraped off the face of the planet in a gargantuan flood of biblical proportions (I'm trying to make hydrology interesting) by saying that probably no other reporters would understand the significance of a big document released yesterday by the corps.
Oh, how arrogant! I blush. I just hate myself when I'm like that. In fact Steve Thompson of The Dallas Morning News, a local daily, has a terrific story as the lead piece on its front page today in which he ferrets out very significant changes the corps made in the just-released document and earlier proposed versions.
You might be saying, "So what?" or, "This is boring" or, "I want to hit you now." Oh, no. Don't say that. Here's the deal. This is why we are having Day Two.
Between my previous reporting on this stuff and what Thompson has in The News today, it is clear ... unmistakable ... beyond debate that the corps does not have faith in what the city is doing to repair the Trinity River levees. You might be saying, "Who gives a shit?" but you shouldn't talk like that. This is where we actually do get into the biblical area.
Bad Trinity River levees could kill tons of people. Bad Trinity River levees will tank the values of all kinds of very expensive real estate. Bad Trinity River levees are ... What can I say? They're bad!
An auto-inflating life vest, what all stylish downtown office workers will be wearing next spring.
So why bring it up again a second day? OK, now for my observation. I begin with a question. What do you hear about all of this from City Hall? What do you hear from our mayor, our city council? If the nation's main flood control agency, a division of the Army, doesn't have faith in what the city is doing to keep the levees safe, wouldn't you think our elected representatives and hired staff down at City Hall would be speaking out? At least making squeaking noises?
Answer to question about what we hear: Radio silence. Nada. Zip. See no, hear no, speak no. Hands held forward with index fingers making sign of cross to ward off werewolves. Garlic over lintel of City Hall.
Why are they silent? Because this is a very tough issue. Really fixing the levees the right way might require a tax increase. This is difficult. And at City Hall, they do not do difficult.
Just making an observation. No Day Three, I promise. More or less promise. But watch them. They're going to talk about Toys for Tots. Not this. Count on it.
Have you seen those great new self-inflating life jackets that look like a big fat pair of suspenders? They have a little gas bottle that shoots them full of air if they get wet. Those wouldn't be so bad with a suit. Of course, rainy days downtown might be tricky.