Breathalyzer Tests for City Council, an Idea Whose Time Has Come.

Spanish prisoners: By the time you're reading this, Dallas City Council probably has already voted on whether to approve a cunning plan to save money we don't have by spending money we shouldn't spend on a fancy bridge we don't need that will be paid for with money we also don't have.

Confused, citizen?

Allow Buzz to sum up: City Hall wants to build a fancy suspension bridge designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava on Interstate 30 over the Trinity River. The state says the bridge needs to be replaced right away, but has only the money to do a regular ol' bridge, which will cost around $170 million. The prettier Calatrava bridge City Hall wants costs around $500 million, which means the city, which is broke, needs a boatload of money to pay the difference in price. The plan, which the council was scheduled to vote on Wednesday, is to pay Calatrava $10.7 million—$7.2 million from private donations and about $3.5 million in borrowed money—to redesign his fancy bridge so it costs between $50 million and $150 million less than $500 million, which, as we may have mentioned, the CITY DOESN'T HAVE.



Still confused? Consider this analogy: You take your last $1,000 to buy a used VW. Your car salesman says, "I have a great used Bentley for $100,000, but if you give me that $1,000 now, I can knock that price down to $80,000 next week."

Now, those of you who are currently sane, sober and not a sitting council member can see the problem here, i.e. your broke ass doesn't have 80 grand. But that's the sort of small-picture thinking that keeps you mired in humdrum reality. City Hall knows one must spend money to save money. It's merely an unfortunate consequence of laws that the city can't actually print money, but we must forge ahead with our plans, confident that God—or taxpayers—will provide the millions we need when the time comes.

If all this sounds nuts, Mr. and/or Ms. Taxpayer, then perhaps you'll get behind Buzz's own money-saving City Hall scheme: Breathalyzers for city council. Before each vote, council members must blow into a tube and prove they're relatively sober (don't want to be too harsh) before they can get their vote buttons to work, like those ignition locks on cars. This scheme, which we thought up and claim any and all rights to, can be implemented at a low, low cost to taxpayers as soon as you all send Buzz a check. About $5 million should cover it.


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