By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
I know this wasn't just about media and I shouldn't just dwell on that aspect, but damn! What exactly can The Dallas Morning News editorial page get done in this town anymore? (Reminder to reader: If Vote NO! won, you are not supposed to be reading this.)
Huh? Could they endorse everybody going to bed at night and then waking up the next morning? Could they even get people to do that? I don't think so.
They poured every ounce of juice they had into this thing, and they didn't get their way. So I ask again: What is the word of The Dallas Morning News editorial board worth these days?
On the other hand, how about us? Huh? Hey, how 'bout that Dallas Observer? I guess we know who rules this town now. I want you to imagine me standing on my desk right now, waggling my index fingers and doing a little hoochie-coochie dance, singing "WE WILL...WE WILL...ROCK YOU."
So sweet! So sweet! I'm gonna DIE of sugar.
Maybe the Morning News editorial page could try coming out in favor of Mom and apple pie. No, no, big mistake: I'm afraid we'd see moms getting turned out of their homes all over town with apple pies smushed in their faces. Better wait on that, Morning News.
(Hey! You're not reading this if Vote No! won, are you?)
And how about that mayor we've got? The thing I worried about most during the whole campaign, I can tell you now, was that the Vote NO! side would snap to what a lump they had in Tom Leppert and bring former Mayor Laura Miller out of whatever attic they had her locked up in. See, North Dallas actually likes Laura Miller, unlike Leppert, who by the end of the campaign was starting to remind everybody of the Riddler in Batman comic books.
Miller could have turned this thing around and might even have won it for Vote NO! But no. Carol Reed and the White Citizens Council stuck with the Riddler.
I have some campaign advice for the Riddler in the unlikely event that he plans to continue his fledgling career in politics. It's one thing to lie, as when you kept insisting that a vote against the toll road would cost the city a billion dollars. It's quite another thing to keep telling the same lie after your own house-organ newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, has exposed the lie, along with KERA-90.1 FM and, need I mention, the Dallas Observer.
Campaign Strategy 101: After you get caught flat-footed in the lie, suspend telling the lie. Do not utter it again. I know they told you to stay "on message." But you don't want to wind up looking like you're the captain of the Titanic shouting over the rails at the lifeboats, "No problem with icebergs!"
Version Three? Yeah, I was just kidding about only two versions. There is a Version Three, and it's about things that will be true no matter which side won.
In the battle between the two camps, we all got focused on the wrong side of the levees. By now you know what levees are, right? Not a brand of jeans. Levees are the big dirt berms along the river that are supposed to hold the floodwaters in so they won't ravage downtown.
Our flood risk here is in some ways worse than what New Orleans faced in Katrina. The failure of the flood control system in New Orleans ravaged residential neighborhoods. If our levees break, the resulting flood will rampage through downtown and all the most expensive real estate in the city, to say nothing of the threat it will pose to human life.
With the toll road or without the toll road, we still do not know how our system of downtown flood control will be affected by excavation and building in the floodway, whether we're building a toll road or building lakes and kayak courses.
Whoever won last Tuesday, I predict that someone among the victors will start calling for a full-steam-ahead construction project in the floodway.
Obviously I hope Vote YES! won and that what we are building is a park, not a road. But guess what. I could see myself getting crosswise with the parksters just like I did with the roadsters, if what they want to do is expose downtown to flooding. That's not sour grapes or a refusal to accept the will of the voters. It's physical reality.
It ain't over yet. Not for me. Not for us. Not for anybody.