I see Steve Blow takes some little shots at Angela Hunt over at the Bold Types blog today, making fun of her for being the lone city council person seeking a referendum on the Trinity River Toll Road. It tells me so much about a journalist when he sneers at the nonconformist.
I know one thing that distinguishes Hunt from every other city council person or mayor with whom I have discussed the Trinity project over the last 10 years: She is the only one who actually looked beyond the slick briefings put on by city staff and dug into the data herself.
In fact, I noticed about the second or third time I talked to her that she had sailed way out ahead of me in her grasp of the facts and analysis. I can flat guarantee you that if we ever see a head-to-head Angela Hunt vs. Laura Miller debate on this, Miller will go home with her head in her Louis Vuitton tote.
Take one of the central lies in this whole thing: We have to have the road, because it pays for the lakes. Staff says stuff like that, and the councilonians all just nod and say, "Yup."
Hunt said, "How? How does it pay for the lakes?" They said, "Well, the toll road people have to dig out a lot of dirt to use to build up the road. So they will dig our lakes for us for free."
Hunt said, "How much dirt?" Took her weeks, but she finally got the actual yards of dirt that will have to be dug out to make the lakes. Then she called the North Texas Tollway Authority. "How much dirt do you need for the road?" She called the Corps of Engineers: "How much dirt do you need for the levees?"
She figured out that the raising of the levees alone will require way more dirt than is coming out of those lakes. The levees pay for the lakes, not the road.
Then she asked Gene Rice, who is over this project for the Corps, "Will it slow you down in completing the project if the road gets taken out of there?" He told it would greatly speed up the project if the road were eliminated.
She's actually digging into this stuff and doing the hard work on it. The rest of them are all just glib ass-kissers, like Blow. That has been sort of the local culture for way too long around here: Let's all kiss ass, and maybe some day some money will fall out of the sky and land on us. It's your basic lazy subservient mode.
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Mayor Miller was on KRLD-AM last week hinting that Trinity River forces are going to send some kind of goons out to the polls during the citywide election next May to try to stop people from signing the petitions calling for a referendum on the Trinity. How sick. Miller doesn't even want people to have a chance to vote on this thing.
Blow has a line in his blog item about Angela Hunt: "Her basic point is that you didn't know a roadway was involved in this project. I think you're smarter than she gives you credit for."
Hey, Steve, how about allowing people to answer that question for themselves in an American-style election?
Obviously the money bullies are going to line up against this petition drive, with Mayor Laura as the lead bully. What an absolutely depressing and totally disappointing legacy for her to leave behind. Anybody who agrees with me needs to go here and see what can be done to resist this onslaught. --Jim Schutze