Rant, Rave

A year-end banquet of my two-bit opinions

They did, by the way, come up with two very technical possible infractions of state ethics rules on contributions--so arcane that the state official quoted on the matter seemed unfamiliar with the rule. Even if those pan out, they might result in a letter of admonition, which I doubt. If that was supposed to be the journalistic justification for the story, it was very thin gruel, indeed.

Other rant:

It is truly disappointing that Mayor Laura Miller continues to push for the Trinity River project, a massive public works campaign to rebuild the Trinity River through downtown Dallas. It's appalling that the old Dallas money establishment insists on seeing this project mainly as a massive multibillion-dollar campaign of public lawn ornamentation. And the fact that the whole thing is now centered on a fake suspension bridge designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava is all the proof I ever needed that Calatrava is no architect. He's a decorator.

Of course I am troubled by McMansions because of the architectural oppression and communal disintegration they represent. But, man, I sure like to see that cash coming into the 'hood.
Of course I am troubled by McMansions because of the architectural oppression and communal disintegration they represent. But, man, I sure like to see that cash coming into the 'hood.

The Trinity River is one of nature's time bombs. So choked and corseted it is by ditches, reservoirs, dams and levees that half the people in Dallas probably don't even know we have a river.

But we do. A massive rampage is locked deep inside that pathetic dribble of a stream--a flood that can reach clean across the manmade realm of downtown Dallas and grab out hunks of neighborhoods. It has come before. It will come again.

The purpose of the Trinity River floodway extension project, as originally conceived by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was to increase the level of flood protection for downtown Dallas. But the agency allowed Dallas landholders to pile all sorts of collateral junk on top of the project, including a freeway inside the levees that somebody thinks will help kite nearby land values.

It's now a project that directly contravenes the state-of-the-art wisdom on flood control. The Netherlands is pouring resources into its "Living with Water" program--getting as much structure as possible out of the way of the big floods rather than trying to stop Mother Nature with Tinkertoys. But Dallas is piling massive structure into the floodway, reverting to theories of flood control that were rejected on the Mississippi 75 years ago.

This is our own "Katrina" in the making. If the mayor had the courage to convene a colloquium of flood control experts to review the Trinity project, I know they would urge the city not to allow that freeway down there.

And that's why there will be no colloquium. As far as that road goes, the fix is in. (Oh, by the way, I mean the entirely legalfix. You know. The BIG one.)

Let me see. Did I say rave? Sure, I can do some raves. I rave to myself all the time. Here's what I rave about.

I drive my part of town, East Dallas, and I see all of these McMansions going up on in-fill lots where somebody has knocked down a one-story cottage. And I have all of the politically correct architectural objections and the East Dallas ex-hippie class resentments and so on. Puh-leeze! I do carry my card.

But, man, isn't it really something that so many people want to invest that kind of money in inner-city Dallas? Hey, I hail originally from a northern city that is now a hollowed-out core. I don't say this out loud to my fellow East Dallasopolites, and I would appreciate it if you would not out me on this, but I secretly think it's pretty exciting to see this much interest in the old part of the city.

Come to think of it, I got another rave. Downtown! Man, have you been down there recently? It is about to be reborn. The infant new downtown may not be here exactly yet, but I would have to say we are reaching a point of critical dilation.

Well, wait, what am I thinking of? West Village! And Uptown! Cities all over the world would give their eye teeth for that stuff. Mockingbird Station. The Bishop Arts District.

The bottom line here is that Dallas is loaded for bear. I get paid to concentrate on problems. But the energy and the potential and the direction all far outweigh anything negative going on.

Wow. I add it all up, and I feel so positive that it worries me. Do they have any of those psychological drugs out there you can take to help you stay negative? I mean, I got a living to make.

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