By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Crock the vote: By the time you read this, the votes in an election called "the most critical in city history" will be counted, and it'll be left to the jabbering classes to tell you What It All Means. Buzz, who is a member of that class (we sit in the back and scribble Led Zeppelin doodles on our notebook most days), is at a disadvantage here, jabberwise, since we don't know the outcome. But a lack of facts has never slowed down our analyses before, so here goes, our explanation of What It All Means. Ready? Here it comes.
Wait for it...this is gonna be good.
OK, enough fooling around. Here it is, Buzz's explanation of WIAM.
Seriously, it's on the way—WIAM, fresh off the press.
You caught us. We got nothing. Either the forces of light won, and there won't be a toll road mucking up our fine, future Trinity River park, or the forces of progress won, and there'll be a fine toll road speeding traffic to a bright new future.
But then, this vote never really was about a toll road, was it? It was about trust, as in: Why should we trust the city leaders who pitched us the original Trinity project in a 1998 election like they were selling Springfield a monorail? It was all LAKES and SAILBOATS and PAVILIONS in big letters and toll road in little tiny type, like at the bottom of a credit card application. You can fool all of the people some of the time, but not this time! This second vote would at last force the powers that be to come clean, to clarify why we should build a tollway inside the river levees, to detail the costs, to explain the benefits clearly and factually.
Like that happened. Will there be heavy trucks rumbling on the road? Will the park have trees and soccer fields? Can you even get into the park from the road? Depends on whom you ask. It's a fine moment for democracy when after two elections and nearly a decade, the effect of the most important vote since man invented checkboxes is still foggy.
A co-worker described this scene at her polling place Tuesday morning: An election judge explained the ballot to an elderly woman wearing a cockeyed knitted tam. "No, ma'am, we aren't voting for any people today. These are propositions." Some grumbling as the old bird checked with a pal whether they should bother to vote for "non-people." They went ahead. Then came the election guy's explanation of the Trinity proposal: "This proposition is for the Trinity River...water...way. You vote 'for' if you don't want them to build a road or 'against' if you do."
"Why would they need to make a proposition not to do something?" the woman muttered.
Ah, wonderful. The people have spoken, and we said "Huh?" There now, don't you feel better about the future?