The Trinity Toll Road Will Flood, Expert Admits. Who Knew? Me.

Categories: Schutze

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Wikipedia
Sadly -- or luckily -- unlike Archimedes, Jim did not leap from his tub to run about naked in the streets, shouting eureka.
The Pulitzer Prizes just came out. Once again I scan the list, searching for yours truly. Not a mention. But next year it will be different. Next year my early work on the Trinity River toll road is going to win me the Pulitzer and possibly also the Nobel and if they have a prize that's like a boy genius Einstein award for just being great, I'll be picking that one up, too, thank you.

Of course, tooting my own horn goes against my basic modesty, a quality for which I may possibly be in for some recognition as well one day. But in this instance, I really must toot.

If you missed it, Robert Wilonksy had a story yesterday in the Morning News saying the federal government has decided that if you put a freeway out in the area between the levees along the river where it floods, the freeway will flood. This finding is based on 20 years of research, countless studies and millions of dollars worth of scientific, engineering and environmental examination.

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The Tunnels Didn't Kill Downtown Dallas; Dallas Killed Downtown Dallas

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The Dallas City Council is reopening the question of whether the underground tunnel system beneath the buildings downtown is what killed downtown street commerce in the 1990s. Apparently now that downtown is on the rebound, some people suffer from a superstitious fear that reopening closed portions of the tunnel system might awaken and unleash slumbering ghosts.

I've just been here too long. I remember downtown with the tunnels and without. The debate about the tunnels killing downtown reminds me of Ridley Walker, a dystopian novel my son had me read a couple years ago: In a primitive post-apocalyptic society centuries after the nuclear holocaust, illiterate people speaking a kind of fractured English try to piece together clues to what happened.

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The Bureaucrats Are Trying to Ruin White Rock Lake Again, but the Lake Will Not Abide

Categories: Schutze

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Wikipedia
City Hall's vision for the White Rock Lake of the future.
The people who love and defend White Rock Lake Park are not idiots and nutcases. They went to war two years ago against a plan to mow Winfrey Point meadow and turn it into a commercial parking lot, because they did not want a commercial parking lot in a beautiful park. But five months later they reached a peaceful accommodation, after some brouhaha, with a Park Cities rowing club that wanted to build a clubhouse. That was for rowing. Rowing's OK, right?

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The Trinity River's Disastrous White-water Feature May Waste Even More Taxpayer Money

Categories: Schutze

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Wikipedia
Monkey eating elephant turds. Us.
Last week I was telling you how the city's so-called "white water feature," the fake kayak rapids they built in the Trinity River three years ago, is still there and still stupid, sitting out in the middle of the river like giant petrified elephant poop that nobody knows what to do with. Yesterday, The Dallas Morning News had a really good follow on it, pointing out in a very Morning News way (not exactly pointing it out) just how ridiculous the whole thing has become.

According to reporter Roy Appleton, the city has given up on actively forbidding people from paddling through the fake rapids just downriver from downtown, because they found out that they lack the authority to close a navigable river. But they're not exactly actively encouraging anybody to use it, because the thing is so screwed up that people might get killed, and, you know, cities shouldn't build stuff that kills people and then invite them to go use it. It's just not right somehow.

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Key Opponent to Tearing Down I-345 Likes to Keep the Race Card Up His Sleeve

Categories: Schutze

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Michael Morris
This morning, Eric posted an item here with a particular quote that I just could not let pass. Eric saw through the quoted statements immediately, so I guess I'm just piling on. His story was about remarks made recently to The Dallas Morning News by a powerful regional transportation planner who not very subtly accused opponents on a road issue of elitism and racism. I need to remind us all of the last time this same guy did this same thing.

See also: Transportation Planners Hesitant to Tear Down I-345, Because Poor People

Michael Morris, the head highway person for the regional agency that divvies up state and federal transportation money in this part of Texas, characterized people he saw at a meeting recently who were advocating the demolition of a downtown Dallas elevated freeway: "They were all white," Morris told the News, "they were very wealthy, and I don't think any of them live in the neighborhood."

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Slowly, Surely, Steve Blow and I Are Becoming the Same Person

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Wikipedia Commons
Granny is always the one in the sweater vest. And the hat. Right?
All right, please allow me to take care of some inside business here and use this space to respond to all of you who were kind enough yesterday to inquire whether I am turning into Steve Blow or Steve Blow is turning into me. Yes. It's a natural part of the aging process.

Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow and I have been at loggerheads over the years on many issues, but that was the distant past. Now as we age gracefully together, it is only natural that we should gradually come to resemble each other more and more. The day will come when the children will have a tough time telling Gramps from Granny, which, after all, is the thing that makes our grandparents so scary.

At the beginning of this week I wrote a column here making fun of a trio of community leaders selected by the mayor to be his special advisors on important school issues. I called them "wrinkledy guys" because they are old. I was using a folksy neologism which was a deliberate misspelling of the word, wrinkled.

Yesterday Blow had a column in the paper making exactly the same point, but he called the trio a "geriatric Mod Squad," which several of my callers said was the same thing but funnier than what I said. I would point out that, funny or not, "Mod Squad" is a cultural reference from 1960s television. But it was funny, and at least it was not a folksy neologism. And here is where Gramps and Granny's hair-dos begin to become more twin-like.

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The Trinity River's White-water Feature Is Still There, Still Stupid

Categories: Schutze

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This was supposed to be a Colorado-style natural-looking rocky rapids. Nice try.
Next month the "White Water Feature" on the Trinity River just south of downtown will be three years old. This ugly chunky mound of concrete, built at a cost of $4 million and intended to be a man-made rapids for canoeists and kayakers, was so ill-conceived, poorly designed, badly made and obviously dangerous that it has been officially closed to canoes since the day construction ended, ruining that stretch of river for what was previously its main recreational use.

City officials have steadfastly refused for three years to say who was responsible or what's going to be done about it. Yesterday I shipped my biannual request for an update to Dallas Park and Recreation Director Willis C. Winters. In the past his instruction for me has been that I should file a legal demand with the city attorney under the state's public information law for any update on the white water feature. But this time he emailed me back saying that the white water feature is now the responsibility of a little known city agency called "Trinity Watershed Management."

"You should contact either Liz Fernandez or Sarah Standifer," he wrote. "Regards."

Yes. Regards, indeed. I have put in my call to them, but my breath is not bated as I await a response.


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Too Many Wrinkled Guys in Mayor's School Takeover Campaign

Categories: Schutze

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Wikipedia Commons
Is this really the face the mayor wants to present for his school takeover campaign?
Monday I said Mike Rawlings was about to announce a pause -- a tapping of the brakes -- in his public school takeover campaign. I was a little off. Instead it turns out he has been meeting with three really old guys. I guess that could have the same effect.

What? That's not a slur. I've got nothing against really old guys. Some of my best friends are really old guys. I'm just saying that adding Rene Martinez, Pettis Norman and Tom Dunning to the effort is a darned good way to take the pace down a couple notches, which is exactly what the mayor needed to do seeing as how he was already about six paces from the cliff.

"OK, Team, let's get a move on. Hey, where's Rene? What do you mean, he's with Pettis? Where in the hell is Pettis? He's helping Tom find his keys? Again?"

I don't know if they will have a calming effect, but they will definitely have a slowing-down effect.

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"Home Rule" Drive for DISD May Be in for a Brake Job This Week

Categories: Schutze

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Wikipedia Commons
You've heard all the horror stories about brake jobs, right?
There is a distinct possibility the mayor or somebody else associated with the public school takeover effort now underway -- called "home rule" by its backers -- will announce this week that they are "tapping the brakes," pausing the campaign for now. That will make lots of people happy but not me, because I don't think I will believe it.

Multiple reliable sources close to the effort told me last week and over the weekend that home rule will be put on hiatus. Quite apart from any merit the idea itself may have offered, the execution is being viewed by insiders as one of the more spectacular cluster-conjugations in recent memory. Supposedly the mayor and some of the others taking the egging for it would like to take a breather.

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The Way Dallas Certifies Minority Contractors Is a Sucker's Game, News Shows

Categories: Schutze

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Wickipedia Commons
From time immemorial, someone has played the fool. Apparently now it's us.
Ed Timms and Kevin Krause had a great story in The Dallas Morning News on Sunday about a local agency that certifies businesses as minority or women-owned. The North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency seems to be sort of the same outfit as something called All Temps 1 Personnel.

The agency was set up to rule on whether companies are really minority or women-owned, but its entire staff is provided by All Temps.

All Temps, wouldn't you know, has had no problem getting certified as a minority-owned company and no problem getting local government contracts, $30 million worth in the last 10 years. Timms and Krause ran down other minority-owned staffing companies who couldn't get certified to save their lives. Some just gave up.


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