By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
If Buzz were conspiracy-minded, here's one we could peddle with the Kennedy assassination freaks: Lee Alcorn's opposition to the Trinity River plan is all a scam, a setup he arranged with Mayor Ron Kirk to actually sell the project. A touch paranoid, you say? Well, how else to explain Alcorn's painful-to-watch appearance last week before the City Council?
The Dallas NAACP chief says he opposes the Trinity River project's collection of levees, parks, and lakes because it's designed to benefit wealthy developers. Not that he offers any facts to support his views--as was painfully evident at the April 22 meeting, when Alcorn and a small band of followers staged a walk-out because Kirk denied Alcorn the privilege of shouting over Councilman Larry Duncan.
But as time was running out for Kirk to sell Dallas on the $246 million bond issue, Alcorn's sputterings, transparently staged for the TV cameras, undoubtedly pushed a herd of those still undecided right off the fence. If Kirk has enemies like this, who needs friends?
Asked whether Alcorn's actions at the meeting had discredited his cause, Kirk said, "To say that his actions today discredited him would be to imply that he had credit at one time."
The Wu-Ron Clan
When it comes to vitriol, Mayor Ron could take a few pages from Alcorn's book. Otherwise, he should spare us all a lot of embarrassment by not trying to sound streetwise. Last week, in an attempt to diss Ann Albers, a white environmentalist opposed to the Trinity River project, the mayor allegedly blurted out, "You're pimping for the black men." It could have been an incendiary remark, but no one in the small crowd standing around Albers could figure out what it meant. A few days later, Kirk called foes of the river issue a bunch of "ragtag environmentalists." Maybe he meant ragtag environmentalists pimping for the black men. Hmmm. The madder he gets, the more he sounds like hip-hop George Bush.
All of those undecideds on the Trinity project are in some pretty good, if surprising, company. Even council candidate and former Dallas Observer columnist Laura Miller is among them.
Laura Miller. Big city project. No opinion.
Take us now, Lord. We've heard everything.
Miller told the The Dallas Morning News this week that she did feel strongly about chasing roaming chickens out of Oak Cliff, but that she still hadn't made up her mind about the Trinity.
There are two possible sinister explanations for her reticence. 1) She's learned the politician's wisdom that it's best not to express unnecessary opinions on divisive issues; or 2) She fell asleep one day next to a big green pod and was replaced by an alien.
Frankly, we hope it's the latter.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams