So tomorrow, on some page of The Dallas Morning News (I assume Page One), Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert will concede that the Trinity River Project has hit the wall. Wall, wall, wall.
A story posted on The News's Web site this afternoon by Michael Lindenberger quotes Leppert: "Given the current funding challenges the different partners may be facing, this may mean that we proceed with elements of the project as funding becomes available, and pursing others at a future date."
The mayor weasels, of course, but mainly what he's talking about is the idea of building a multi-lane toll road out between the flood control levees where it floods. Indications have been building in recent weeks that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finally on the verge of summoning the bureaucratic courage required to kill that remarkably terrible idea.
The News, being The News, can't wait to toss Leppert a gratuitous weasel-out for this immense implosion of his entire political persona. Paragraph Four of the story says of his statements today: "They constitute an admission that much has changed in the nearly three years since Leppert led a vigorous campaign to defeat a referendum that would have taken the toll road inside the levees out of the Trinity project."
But, no, dear reader, that is not what his remarks constitute.
In fact, little has changed. All of the reasons for the collapse of this remarkably stupid idea -- way too expensive, crazy bad flood control policy -- were the core message delivered by Angela Hunt three years ago in the referendum.
What has changed is that Leppert and The News are being forced to admit that they were wrong and Hunt was right. That's the news here.
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I think of Leppert back then some times -- his tone, his body language. I can still hear the crack of the snare drums and the thrill of the trombones coming up behind him:
Oh, a band'll do it, my friends
Oh yes, I said a Boys Band, do you hear me?
I say River City's gotta have a Boys Band
And I mean she needs it today
Well, Professor Harold Hill's on hand
And River City's gonna have her Boys Band
Just as sure as the Lord made little green apples
And that band's gonna be in uniform!
Guess that makes us River City.
More on this in my column next week. In the meantime, don't miss Lindenberger's piece in The River City Bugle tomorrow.