Taking the Bait

Taking the bait: Buzz just knows we're going to regret this. Arguing with captious demagogues is always a losing proposition, but goddamn, The Dallas Morning News really outdid itself this week with its story answering the not-burning question: What did we think we were voting about in the 1998 Trinity bond election? (Note that the story wasn't about the effects of what we will be voting on come November on the same subject.)

But before we get to the News' Sunday lead story, let's pause to give props to up-and-coming sophist Tim Rogers, editor at D magazine. In a blog exchange with city council member Angela Hunt, leader of the folks against putting a high-speed toll road along the river, Rogers smacked Hunt for asking the Texas Department of Transportation questions seeking pesky, specific facts about the value, trafficwise, of the proposed toll road. Hunt should have had those answers before she dared seek a referendum on the project, Rogers suggested. Another person might have asked: Shouldn't council members who support the road have had those facts lined up before planning to spend millions of your tax dollars on the road?

HA HA HA HA HA. We crack ourselves up sometimes.

In any case, facts on this referendum are a little thin on the ground, and those available are buried under tons of muck, which was made clear by reporter Bruce Tomaso's News story, which argued that voters in the 1998 bond election knew all along that they were voting for a high-speed toll road inside the levees, on land that only complete morons thought was going to be part of a park. As evidence of this, he cites a pretty brochure from bond supporters that accidentally left out images of the road but included plenty o' sailboats; one line from an opposition full-page newspaper ad; a few vague sentences from a "study report"; one sentence from a multithousand-word Jim Schutze story about levees; and even a line—uncredited—from Buzz. All of which leads us to one important question: Hey, Tomaso, how come Schutze gets named, but not Buzz, huh?

The point of Bruce What's-His-Name's story was that Schutze (whom Tomaso obviously has a huge crush on) and others should never, ever call the toll road a bait-and-switch, road-instead-of-park deal. His argument sort of reminds Buzz of a passage in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which a road builder tells a man, whose home is about to be demolished for a bypass, that he should have known about the road plans, as they were kept on public display in an unused lavatory behind a door marked "Beware of Leopard."

Still, in the interest of fairness, we promise that henceforth we will no longer refer to the Trinity project as a bait-and-switch. From now on it's a DMN-sponsored ass-raping.

 
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