Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"The city should listen to what its general public wants; and, not 'dictate' to the city what it should want."

Dallas Voters know difference between a Trinity Parkway & a Trinity Toll Road

Re: Leppert, Hunt debate merits of Trinity plan by Bruce Tomaso, (, Wed.,

Rafael Rodriguez
Dallas Arena
Copyright 2007

There are wrong and right ways to open opportunity in this city, and last night was no different. I attended the debate at Rosemont Primary School.

Dallas City Council woman Angela Hunt pulled those who venerate her and others toward agreeing with her that the City of Dallas officials are once again trying to hoodwink Dallas citizenry on the Trinity River Project. The audience at Rosemont Elementary was ecstatic about her remarks. It seemed like every time she spoke, the audience found reason to applaud and shout in her support. Angela Hunt appeared to be the real Mayor of Dallas.

Dallas Mayor Leppert, who was recently elected, just didn't seem to get it. Even though he comes from the corporate competitive side, he scarcely found good reasons to convince those in the audience that the city had even the slightest idea of what needs to be done to align itself with society or ensure the participation and input of its citizenry to such a tremendous project as the Trinity River Project. The mayor, who obviously had the audience against him, showed us that his current administration is not willing to pay attention to the citizens of Dallas, learn from the citizens of Dallas, nor work with the citizens of Dallas by allowing citizen participation in the River project.

Ms. Hunt projected herself as knowledgeable, confident, and exemplary. While using 'canned statements' to answer questions, Mayor Leppert was baffled time and time again when asked questions from the audience or the opposition panelists' Ms. Hunt and Sandy Greyson. The mayor seems to follow the belief emanating from Austin that our state highways should be privatized at all cost regardless of even taking the smallest concerns about what the Dallas citizens really value from this project. The mayor should seek solidarity in a more democratic way with the Dallas citizens. The city should listen to what its general public wants; and, not 'dictate' to the city what it should want. The city must convince the public that its infrastructure planning is inclusive of its citizens input and marks a competitive and growing economic potential for both the local and regional growth.

The irony of this coming election referendum in November is that those voting 'yes' will be voting with Angela Hunt who recognizes that Dallas voters want a park and not a toll way. She repeated explained to the audience that time and time again she would attend meetings in the Dallas Council Trinity River Project Committee that kept discussing one thing--a toll road. Those that vote 'no' will be voting for a toll way and not for the 'Parkway' as the bond program passed by the voters stated. From all appearances those elected officials that side with the mayor in opposition to the Parkway need to learn more about participatory democracy. Angela Hunt is a model of what a public leader should be in a democratic society.

This is not to minimize the qualities or the importance of the office of the Mayor of Dallas, but the mayor needs to enable the citizens to control the government and not the other way around. It seems clear at this time that the hoodwinking should stop.

More than 50,000 Dallas citizens signed the petition to hold a referendum to put this project back on the ballot. Federal, State, local elected officials, and the many local chamber of commerce entities should take heed of the growing repugnance of those citizens who signed the petition. They know there is a big difference in a Trinity Parkway and a Trinity Toll Road. I believe the Vote No-Save The Trinity supporters are missing a very important factor in this upcoming referendum. That fact is the growing disgust Dallas' voters have towards official attempts to move forward with a project that is different from what Dallas citizens voted for in 1998.

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