After last week's trading of contemptuous memos, Unfair Park was pretty excited about a potential confrontation between Vonciel Jones Hill and Scott Griggs at Monday's meeting of the city's Transportation and Trinity River Committee. As far as city hall showdowns go, this one was likely to be pretty good, pitting the force who actually wants to increase transperency and accountability in city government against the one who still thinks the Trinity toll road is a good idea.
Both Griggs and Hill are concerned with the Trinity-adjacent wetland pond that the city allowed to be drained by contractors so that water from the pond could be used for dust control. Griggs thinks the draining is symptomatic of a mishandled effort; Hill thinks it's a blip on the otherwise good project.
The agenda for the meeting promised an update on Trinity forest projects from Liz Fernandez, the director of Trinity Watershed Management. Griggs -- who isn't even on the committee -- showed up to try to get his questions answered. Hill, the committee's chair, did not.
"We need a clear articulation of the lesson learned from just destroying this ecosystem," Griggs said
Fernandez, who earlier told Councilmember Sandy Greyson that a single, unnamed architectural engineering gave the go ahead for the pond to be drained, told Griggs that the "horrendous" lesson learned was not to touch environmentally sensitive areas without consulting with experts.
Griggs placed blame not on the engineer, but on the Trinity project's leadership.
"We need to have values in place to prevent this sort of thing," he said, before Lee Kleinman, chairing the meeting in Hill's stead, cut him off to move on to other business.
Council member Carolyn Davis, who like Griggs is not a member of the committee, had a significantly more positive message for Fernandez and Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan.
"I want to commend everybody who's worked on this project," Davis said. "If you look from '07 to now and the only thing you can point out is a pond and some trees, my God."
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