The "Vote No! Save the Trinity" coalition of the shilling had another git-together this a.m., this time at the Belmont Hotel in Oak Cliff, where Mayor Tom, ex-Mayor Ron and the rest of the Unholy Trinity trotted out Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. You may recall a few months ago that, when asked about Angela Hunt's TrinityVote petition drive, Johnson said, "I'm never anti- people doing a vote."
Well, now she feels a wee bit different. In her prepared remarks this morning, she called the November 6 referendum "a waste of time and money."
In response to a question from Dave Levinthal of The Dallas Morning News, however, she said she still supports the people's right to vote -- but she still thinks "it's a waste of time and money." Does. Not. Compute.
Then it got weird.
I pointed out that the mayor has repeatedly said in public speeches that voting against the toll road will threaten federal funding for the rest of the Trinity Project.
I said to Johnson, who's the head of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, "You're about to get $298 million for the project in the WRDA [Water Resources Development Act] bill. You got it through the House with 91 percent of the vote, it passed the Senate with 90 percent, it passed the conference committee with 80 percent." I asked her if she was afraid Congress was now going to change its mind.
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She said, emphatically, No.
She pointed out there is no connection between the toll road and funding for the rest of the project. We then had a bidding war of reporters re-asking the same question. WFAA-Channel 8's Brad Watson asked her if the rest of the funding is "sacrosanct." She said, "Yes."
Then she dropped a little bomb by saying that Dallas is in danger of Katrina-like flooding, and that's precisely why the federal money won't disappear if the toll road does -- because most of that government dough is for flood control, and she'll be damned if she's going to let history repeat itself in her home district.
So I guess that means they got her to join the choir, but she's still singing off-key, at least to Leppert's ears, because she's still honest. --Jim Schutze