For those willing to fight through the poor video quality, I condensed my footage from yesterday's city council meeting, where Angela Hunt and Mayor Tom Leppert had different ideas about how the report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers affects the city's plans to jam a toll road in its floodway.
Most fascinating was Hunt's exchange with Assistant City Manager Ramon Miguez, who served as the spin master at Wednesday's shindig. She darted off shortly after the meeting, but we caught up with her this morning to get a comment on the disconnect between the corps' issues with piers penetrating the levees and the city moving forward with a toll road that has dozens of piers that will, you guessed it, penetrate the levees.
"The city is in serious denial over the effect that the corps' report will have on the toll road. The city continually minimized and denied that there would be any impact from the determination that our levees have failed in numerous instances and numerous aspects," Hunt tells Unfair Park. "And yet the corps' report clearly criticizes and notes with certainty the many penetrations into our levees -- the current levee penetrations are problematic. How then can dozens of levee penetrations as a result of the toll road be acceptable? The city has no response as to how we will mitigate those levee penetrations or how much those mitigation techniques will cost."
We also wondered what Hunt thought about Leppert's antics of throwing his arms up and making her look like a crazy naysayer.
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"I was watching TV a couple nights ago, and it was showing Rick Wagoner, the former CEO of GM, from a couple months ago talk about how confident he was that he was going to be able to turn his company around, they would stay the course, everything would be fine and he was absolutely confident and certain that his company would rebound," she says. "I instantly thought of Tom Leppert's insistence that he is confident and certain that this toll road will be built. And he goes a step beyond that to call anyone who criticizes this toll road and this boondoggle as anti-Dallas. Frankly, I'm tired of that rhetoric. I think we've got to come to grips with the fact that this toll road has a billion-dollar shortfall, it's dramatically over budget, there's no funding to bridge the funding gap and there are serious safety questions raised by the corps' report. And to put our heads in the sand and to pretend that none of these problems exist is poor leadership, and it's irresponsible."