Angela Hunt has just blown the center right out of Laura Miller's defense of the Trinity River toll road, and she has done it with a bit of investigative reporting that should have our tree-climbing ex-reporter mayor tied in little green Boy Scout knots.
Miller has been defending her plan for a big fat expressway through the park we're trying to build on the Trinity River downtown by saying the idea was OK'd, blessed and signed off on by the expert she brought down here a couple years ago from Harvard, Alex Krieger. Now, by filing open records demands for Miller's e-mails, Hunt has found the smoking gun: On the Trinity Vote Web site this morning is an e-mail from Krieger to Miller telling her he is dismayed that the city intends to build "a great big interstate highway instead of a parkway" along the Trinity.
Miller's other expert, transportation planner Bill Eager, also weighs in with an e-mail agreeing with Krieger.
What Hunt has uncovered here is an enormous public deception on Miller's part. In appearance after appearance, statement after statement, Miller has insisted that Hunt doesn't know what she's talking about. Miller keeps saying the current design for the toll road is what everybody agreed on and the Harvard guy designed.
Now we learn that Krieger wrote Miller a month ago telling her the road had bloated into something he didn't recognize. Here is the full text of Krieger's e-mail:
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From Alex Krieger March 22, 2007 to Bill Eager, Laura
I'm not sure in what context the issue of alternative alignments for the Trinity Parkway has come up, but during my recent visit -- at the initial charette with the Trinity Lakes Planning Team -- what concerned me most was that the engineering of the road was proceeding as if it were a great big interstate highway instead of a parkway and that there was absolutely no evidence of concern for the "context sensitive design" that was promised as part of the balanced vision plan. Devoting MUCH MUCH more attention to the design of the roadway - and making sure that it results in a road worthy of being part of great park and open space environment -- is what I think is most immediately necessary.
Best, Alex Krieger
It's way beyond ironic to me that Miller, who has always prided herself on being the tough two-fisted ex-reporter with a notebook in her hip pocket, has so directly misled the public about the design question and that Hunt has outed her on it with a fine bit of reporting.
But the big point is this: Krieger, the expert Miller has been bragging about, sees the bait and switch in this deal. Clearly when he left town after coming here to guide the so-called "Balanced Vision Plan" for the Trinity River project, he left behind the design we voted for in 1998 -- a charming little "parkway" along the river. Recently he came back to check on things and found that somebody had stuck a highway in there.
This revelation of deception by Miller is so important. You know what I'm watching for? I want to see if The Dallas Morning News or D magazine will touch this. This blows the hell out of Miller's core argument for the expressway in the park. I bet we won't hear a word from either one of them, and when we do not, readers will have yet another proof, if they need it, of why they can't trust either publication on tough local issues like the Trinity. --Jim Schutze