A Trinity "Tweak"? Impending Disaster's More Like It.

At some point today, somebody at D will say Jim's lying abut the Trinity River project. And we will act oh-so-surprised.

For a sickening example of local kiss-up media carrying water for the Trinity River gang, please read today's story at the top of The Dallas Morning News metro front, "Trinity project faces bump in road," by Emily Ramshaw. The deck for this story reads, "Dallas: Planned parkway may harm levee, must be tweaked, Corps says."

Tweaked? Tweaked? I don't see tweaked in anything the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. I see moved off the levee. That's not a tweak. That's an earthquake.

As of this summer, a new guy is in charge at the regional office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Obviously he has taken notice of the findings in New Orleans--that, for decades, the Corps, in order to get contracts and have work for itself, whored itself out to local real estate scammers who wanted cheap levees thrown up in a hurry so they could sell swampland to suckers. Later, suckers died, and New Orleans was destroyed.

What the Corps has told the city of Dallas is that the city cannot go ahead with its plan to build a highway on top of the levees on the east bank of the river, the levees that protect downtown Dallas. The new highway would weaken the levees, especially where the levees and the highway both have to crowd under the same bridges together.

Eventually as this unfolds, we will see confirmation of what I have said for years--that the whole business with the Calatrava bridges, supposedly an exercise in "public art," is an attempt to get around severe flooding issues caused by jamming a freeway under the existing bridges.

The "tweak" they're talking about now is taking the freeway off the levees and sticking it right next to or on top of all those lakes and boardwalks Mayor Laura Miller keeps promising. That will destroy the park they told us we were voting for in 1998.

I see Ed Oakley quoted in the News story with his tired old big fat lie about how this road is necessary to relieve congestion on downtown freeways. A raft of studies has shown there are several other much more effective and less destructive ways to relieve congestion without pouring a single lane of new concrete next to the river. This is a real estate scam to kite land values along the river in the old Trinity River industrial district, some of which is owned by members of the extended family that owns The Dallas Morning News.

Emily Ramshaw is a good reporter. But she knows this story was not about a tweak. The editors who worked on this story are good editors. They knew it wasn't about a tweak. The word, tweak, in fact, is a lie intended to keep Belo CEO Robert Decherd happy in his penthouse.

But if that bad road gets built, if the park is destroyed and the city exposed to mortal threat from flooding, Ramshaw and the editors she works for will go to their graves with some of the mud on their souls. The first person they'll meet at the end of the tunnel, by the way, will be D publisher Wick Allison, grinning with his bow tie in flames.

Bottom line? If the people of Dallas let themselves get suckered the way the people of New Orleans did, they will wind up in the same boat on the same river: Styx. --Jim Schutze

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky