Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm sent a memo to the city council a couple weeks ago inviting the members to a meeting with a top honcho in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the Trinity River Project. Of course, if it’s an affair involving our city council, I assume it’s public, and I want to go. But, gosh, I am starting to feel as if I may be ... well, it pains me to say it … unwelcome.
The meeting is tomorrow at noon at 1444 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 200, which is the office space of The Trinity Trust. The Trinity Trust is one of the private lobby groups pushing for building a toll road up the middle of the new park we are trying to create along the river downtown.
I called over there. Gail Thomas, their director, is out of town. They told me I had to talk to Craig Holcomb, executive director of Trinity Commons Foundation, another private lobby group pushing for the toll road. But I had already called Holcomb, and he had told me it wasn’t his affair.
I also called Mary Suhm, who told me it wasn’t her affair. So the question is: Out of Gail Thomas, Mary Suhm and Craig Holcomb, who is having the affair?
I visited the Trinity Trust offices today just to scout around. They have a big Plexiglas wall-art thing by the door cut in a Yin-Yang shape, dedicated to the people who have brought us the Trinity Project. On one side its says “Margaret McDermott,” and on the other it says “Hunt Oil.”
And here I thought the Trinity Project was public and being paid for out of our tax dollars to the tune of several billion dollars. Silly me. Silly taxpayers.
Suhm’s letter to the council says the members need to show up so they can help the Army Corps of Engineers guy “understand the complexity of the project and the associated challenges, as well as the magnanimous support for the project and all of its associated components among the Dallas citizenry.”
Yeah. Notice they said, “magnanimous" and not “unanimous.” Big difference.
I have been checking the City Secretary’s list of officially posted meetings: I still don’t see this one, and I believe the deadline has passed for getting it legally posted. I hope John Paul Woodley Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), understands he’s probably getting suckered into an illegal meeting, so obviously I’ll have to try to get pictures of council members going in and then file complaints and all that mess.
I don’t think the Texas Attorney General has jurisdiction over the Open Meetings law. If memory serves, those violations are criminal and have to go through the Dallas County District Attorney.
This is why I never get invited to lunch. --Jim Schutze
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