So, it's on. We will indeed have an election November 6 on whether to put a high-speed toll road through the proposed new park along the Trinity River downtown. Council voted it up 15-0 just now.
Of course, they didn't really have a choice. When the city secretary certified the signatures on the TrinityVote petitions calling for a referendum, the council was bound by law to agree to banish the road -- no way they'd do that -- or call the election.
Nevertheless there were lots of speeches on both sides. As a totally biased grandstander myself, I would have to say all of the great passionate speeches were on the anti-toll road side -- 'cept one. That Tom Leppert, our new mayor -- now he is a slick guy. In a very un-slick-seeming way. He will be a formidable champion of the pro-toll road camp.
The thing the anti-tollroaders have going for them, however, is that the pro-toll road money guys can't resist playing to their own wost stereotypes.
Donna Halstead, director of the Dallas Citizens Council, got up and made a speech in which she said basically that everybody always knew this project was about flood control and the toll road, and that the park was just added on at the last minute "to make it more attractive" to the voters.
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Yup, Ms. Halstead. You have concisely stated the accusation against you. That's why they call it "bait and switch."
But she thinks it's defense! Marvelous! Just marvelous! Leppert may be good, but he'll have to be awfully good to overcome his allies.
All the high-dollar political consultant money in town was there, squatted next to Halstead and the Citizens Council money. This is a big payday for the hacks.
Bring it on! This will be one great debate. --Jim Schutze