By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Truth hurts: A political gaffe, it's been said, is what happens when a politician accidentally says something honest. So, we figure former Dallas City Council member Craig Holcomb must have been wishing for a do-over for his comment in last Sunday's page-one Trinity River story in The Dallas Morning News.
Didn't see it? Reporter Michael A. Lindenberger broke the "news" that Mayor Tom Leppert might have neglected to mention some salient facts about problems with the Trinity River toll road project before a public vote on the road in 2007—problems like the fact that the tollway could make flooding worse. The story suggests that Leppert fudged a bit on the truth—sort of like a used car salesman forgetting to mention that creampuff he's selling you is missing a transmission. Oopsie.
So, what did Holcomb, a road supporter and president of the Trinity Commons Foundation, say that was so awkward? "If we wanted, we could have bored the public to tears with all the details, both positive and negative, but if you do that, they quit listening. The fact is if questions were asked, we answered honestly," Lindenberger quoted Holcomb saying.
Right. And if you, metaphorical car buyer, had only asked the salesman if that car had a transmission, he would have told you. Otherwise, he didn't want to muddle your poor widdle bwain.
To his credit—we guess—Holcomb didn't back away from what he said when we called him Tuesday. "I knew when I said that I was probably too honest," he told Buzz.
Sadly, deep in Buzz's cynical heart lives a bitter little man who agrees with Holcomb. Voters do tend to take complex facts, muddle them up and then make dumb decisions. Why, would you believe they voted for putting a highway between the Trinity levees in 2007? What dopes. Still, this being a democracy and all, you have to give them credit for some basic intelligence. Here, Mr. and Ms. Voter Person, let's do a quick IQ test: When Leppert said during the toll road campaign that engineers said the road was safe, environmentally sensitive and economically viable, was he serving up Shinola or that other stuff? (Hint: It wasn't Shinola.)
Still, as Holcomb points out, there are always going to be engineering problems with a massive flood and road project like the Trinity, and even bigger design challenges lie ahead. He asked repeatedly, he said, and none of the engineers he spoke to during the 2007 campaign said the project couldn't be done. No doubt that's true. Anything is possible. Like politicians being honest. —Patrick Williams