By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Blegh: City Hall watchers tell Buzz that it's likely that the Dallas city secretary will announce this week that council member Angela Hunt's anti-Trinity toll road petition drive collected more than enough signatures to require a vote on the project.
OK, by "City Hall watchers" we mean either the homeless guys who hang out in front of the library across the street from City Hall, or anyone who's read the newspaper lately who calls or drops by our office.
And by "more than enough" we mean "maybe enough" or "not quite enough," depending solely on how many of the 80,000 signatures the city secretary actually certifies.
We're pretty sure on the "this week" thing, though we could be wrong. Frankly, we just don't feel like checking today, and Hunt's away on a retreat and not returning our calls.
Man, you gotta love the blog age of reporting. Just like D magazine's blog FrontBurner did this week, we've managed to report on the (opposite) outcome of an event before it even happens. We have a 50 percent chance of being right, and since the claim is so value-free and content-free, if we're wrong, who cares? Welcome to the age of information democratization, when appearing knowledgeable is more important than having knowledge—sort of another way of saying it's more important to look good than to feel good.
In fairness, D's post did go into some details about how careful the city was being in checking the petitions: hiring temps, filing petitions in assorted piles for extra checking, etc. The charitable assumption, made by D, is that the city secretary knows the issue is contentious and is taking extra care to make a solid count. The less charitable assumption is the city staff know the majority of their bosses would rather not have this election and that 80,000 is a lot of signatures, so they're looking for every misdotted "i" or uncrossed "t" they can find.
They're going to need help, if it's the latter case, since The Dallas Morning News also reported this week on the care petitioners took, in a completely unbiased story headlined "OHMIGAWD TRINITY PETIONERS HIRED PROFESSIONALS FROM SATAN FOR GODLESS PETITIONSWEREALLGONNADIEEEEEE!" It may have been a little less direct than that, but the story did seem to suggest that hiring signature gatherers was morally equivalent to the petition opponents' practice of hiring "blockers" to hinder the petitioners—which makes some sense, if you also think that renting a bus to take voters to the polls is morally equivalent to instituting a poll tax.
Could be. What does Buzz know? We just read blogs.