Sweet/Sour Grapes on Trinity Referendum Results

This is one of the worst deadline pickles I think I have ever encountered in my 200 years as a newspaper writer. I am writing this at the end of the week before the Trinity toll road election. The results from the election will come in about an hour after our last, ultimate, final drop-dead deadline for getting anything in the paper. So what do I do?

I'll tell you what I do. I do what newspapers have done from time immemorial. I write two versions. One in case Vote NO! wins, the other in case Vote YES! wins.

Only problem: Because we are a weekly, I can't sub one in for the other depending on the last-minute tally. So I've got to ask for your cooperation here as a reader.

If, by the time you pick up this paper or read this online, the votes have been counted and Vote NO! has won, please read only the first version of my column. Do not, I repeat, do not read the second version.

On the other hand, if Vote YES! has won, I must ask you to go directly to Version Two. I'm serious as a heart attack about this. You are NOT to read Version One.

Version One

I never said vote yes. NO! WAIT! Listen to me a minute. A lot of people said I said to vote yes, but that was all a bunch of propaganda. There has been a lot of misunderstanding about me, and I feel very hurt about it, frankly. That's why I'd like a little kindness for a change.

From the beginning I was solidly on the side of The Dallas Morning News editorial page. I think they're just a crackerjack bunch of folks.

Yes, I did repeat a lot of the Vote YES! arguments in my column, but I'm sure you got that, right? You snapped to it right away, right? It was satire!

If I may say so in all modesty, I think a lot of the credit for this outcome probably goes to yours truly. I don't mean any disrespect at all to our mayor, Tom Leppert, who fought the good fight, or to Carol Reed, the political consultant who ran the Vote NO! campaign for the Dallas White Citizens Council, but I honestly don't think they were going to make it without an assist from me.

So where do we go from here? Well first thing, no more damn hippies. The people have spoken. I think we need to get the green-space hippies the hell out of town. I recommend that Rod Dreher over on the News editorial page add the damn green-space hippies to his list of Muslim-Mexican illegal aliens that need to be deported.

Rod, a personal note here: By pretending to be their friend, I was able to penetrate the inner circle of the green-space hippies, and I have a list of their names I would be more than happy to betray to you. All I would ask in return is that you write a little something attesting to me being an intellectual.

Second thing: roads, roads, roads. I will not rest—I shall not allow myself a moment's respite­–until we have toll roads through all of our parks. I would like to see a great big mother of a toll road right across White Rock Lake, with giant fans to blow the exhaust from the 18-wheelers right in the faces of all those green-space hippies out there in their damn sailboats.

Hey, hippies: Anybody ever tell you about the invention of the gasoline engine? Maybe you oughta get one.

And finally, what about this crap with the elections all the time? Let me tell you something right now: I am sick of elections. If people want to vote, let them move to France and eat little French pastries and get ugly yellow custard all over their hippie selves.

What I liked in this whole Trinity toll road debate was that our professional hired government employees–Dallas Trinity Project Director Rebecca Dugger, North Central Texas Council of Governments transportation planner Michael Morris–just dove right in there and told us how to vote. No shyness. No Miss Prissy Two-Shoes about it. Just do it!

So why do we need to keep spending all this money on elections? We've got a government. It knows what to do. Let's loosen up the reins and let 'er romp.

Version Two

Remember: If Vote NO! won, you are not authorized to read this version. You may read this version only if TrinityVote Vote YES! won.

Is this suhweeeeet or what? Is this not unbelievable? Is this not the impossible dream come true? Yes, I probably do deserve a lot of the credit. Hey, I was just doing my job. But as The Dallas Morning News pointed out in its Metro front profile of me with a very nice photo making me look kind of handsome at my desk, I more or less thought up the whole thing.

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze

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