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Angela Hunt Is Right On One Very Important Point. I Hereby Recant.

My apologies to those who have been waiting for the latest salvo in the Wick Allison vs. Angela Hunt debate. There will be no salvo, because on her central point, Angela Hunt is right. It has taken me a little time to post because I have a company to run, but I owe the councilwoman a retraction and an apology, which I am happy to issue.

In June, 2007, I wrote in opposition to Angela Hunt’s referendum on the Trinity Parkway:

“The entire Trinity project is premised on the federal money the parkway attracts.”

Anglea Hunt called me out on that statement then, and she’s calling me out on it again:

“1. Identify the specific programs within the Trinity Project that receive, or will receive, federal money as a result of the toll road.  2. Indicate the amount of federal funding received for (or anticipated to be received for) each program. 3. Identify any other aspects of the Trinity River Corridor Project that you claim would “lose federal funding” as a result of eliminating the toll road from the floodway. Specify amounts of funding lost.”

Then she adds that wonderfully Angelaic touch:

“Please indicate amounts in U.S. Dollars, rounded to the nearest decimal point.”

Like any good attorney, Hunt knew the answer before she asked the question. And her answer is correct.  I was wrong. The Trinity Project is not dependent on federal highway money. With additional Dallas taxpayer money, we can build the park without a tollway or even a reliever road.

Why would killing the road require additional taxpayer money? There are three things that the NTTA has agreed to do to construct the tollway that the City of Dallas would have to do if the NTTA tollroad is cancelled. First, there is the excavation of the lakes, costing between $25 and $30 million, and finding a place to dump the mud that was going to be used as a base for the road.  Second, ramps need to be built giving access to the park from the bridges, costing about $15 million. Third, there is the latest Corps of Engineers requirement that piers for the bridges where the bridge road passes over the levees must be protected from water seepage, costing about $45 million.  As far as I can tell, those are the costs the City of Dallas would have to assume if there were no parkway. It amounts to about $90 million. There is no federal money involved.

32 comments on “Angela Hunt Is Right On One Very Important Point. I Hereby Recant.

  1. @Wick

    So, inquiring minds want to know. Are you now for the Tollway or against it? And why?

    “We’ll see” won’t cut it this time.

  2. I cannot speak for Wick, but from what we’ve read – I think his reponse would be something like, “I was for it before I was against it.”

  3. @Johnson: What, are you going to cancel your subscription if I don’t jump when you say jump? If so, sorry to lose you.

    @Future Politician: Maybe, maybe not.

  4. Leppert proved his worthlessness early in the game. However, he is awesome at getting photos taken of him while getting haircuts.

    Does anyone know if he really made the annoying comment that is being attributed to him on TV and mailers?

    “This idea that everybody votes for everything – it sounds great back in New England in the 1700′s, but I’m not sure it’s applicable here.”

    Also, who created the convuluted ballot? Vote NO if you want it and YES if you don’t.

    Did all Dallas publications support Leppert?

  5. Let’s not forget I was as much of a shill for the Trinity as Leppert was. Maybe more.

  6. Wick, even the forgone contributions you attribute to the NTTA are somewhat misleading. Since the NTTA has now repeatedly indicated that its financial commitment would be far short of that required to build the tollroad, each dollar it says it would contribute to various things (access roads and the like) is one more dollar that it and/or the City are going to go hat-in-hand begging someone else to cover.

  7. No, the reason we didn’t vote for Ed Oakley is that he was going to legalize pedophiles and bestiality and force heterosexuals to go gay. He would also have caused the decline of western civilization as we know it. (oh that happened anyway) Remember how many different ways the Dallas media had to tip toe around that. My favorite…I don’t like his smile.

  8. I will gladly pay my (roughly) $100 towards not having a tollroad in the park. Now, if everyone else who resides in Dallas will do the same, we’re covered.

  9. @Wick, this is nice of you, but you still have not answered the question of the D editorial stance on the tollroad, that was posed days ago.

  10. What a ridiculous apology. Considering the incorrect information was disseminated to voters via the DMN and D Magazine (among other outlets), shouldn’t the recantation and apology be given equal readership?

  11. @ROJ: Ditto

    @Chris: Who cares? Writers/editors sometimes have different opinions than their publishers.

    @bbb: Give the man a break. If you have spent more than a half-second in front of Wick you would know what humility and pride-swallowing it took on his part to make this post. My hat is off to the ol’ bastard.
    Now, will the cultural players who half look over their shoulders at Wick before moving forward admit we should drop the tollway too? (I know Wick didn’t exactly say drop the tollway, he was careful not to. Only, when faced with a 100 million shortfall and 100 + x million shortfall plus an ugly toll road, who could possibly stand for the latter option?)

  12. @ROJ – at second thought, I’ll put in 300 if you put a brick with my name on it somewhere. That will cut our fundraising time by two-thirds.

  13. That is by far the most arrogant apology I have ever read. Wealth and intelligence don’t always go hand in hand. I hope many take your advice to cancel a subscription to a publication that would sooner waste taxpayer money crap like a bridge than to help feed the needy. Your arrogance is gross. Pathetic and gross.

  14. Our beloved mayor is a total sham; a hired lacky for his developer and builder money boys who chase the little white ball at Dallas National with him.

  15. @Wick
    I didn’t mean to upset you with my pointed question, but I thought it was fair. I know all of this criticism and publicity has been really hard on you. Hang in there.

  16. Gail llsahf,

    Which mayor are you referring to?

    1977-1981: Robert Folsom
    1981-1983: Jack Evans
    1983-1987: Starke Taylor
    1987-1991: Annette Strauss
    1991-1995: Steve Bartlett
    June 5, 1995-February 20, 2002: Ron Kirk
    February 20, 2002-June 25, 2007: Laura Miller
    June 25, 2007-Present: Tom Leppert

  17. JIm,

    I also understand Wick is a decent person, but he’s made some public and misleading statements about this whole expensive parkway thingy. He’s a public figure, so he has to expect criticism and take it like an adult. I love that D can dish it, but I hate that they cannot always take it. In their defense, they are increasingly taking on issues and stories once the sole territory of the DMN. Criticism about a bad restaurant review may not sting as much as a slam on young writer’s DISD coverage.

    Your comment about writers/editors having different opinions is right on, but there is no reference to it in this post, and I suspect you have mucho insight to the writers’ position on the toll road. The writers also have to expect some criticism since they have played ‘Bandit’ (e.g. beating up on the D.O.) to Wick’s ‘Snowman’ throughout this excruciating debate.

  18. @ROJ and JIm

    I will go $500 for me and wife (only need 1 brick)

    That’s $900 so far. Hell, we’re almost there!

  19. and a daily conversation about Dallas among the editors of D Magazine
    _________________________
    (from above)

    The silence from the paid staff is deafening.

    A result of undeserved arrogance.

  20. Wick, apology accepted. Whether this has changed your opinion of how we move forward on the Trinity Project, I do hope you’ll apprise the readers of D of these facts.

    I’m checking the math on the figures you’ve quoted (I seem to recall that the NTTA was only going to pay for half the ramps in the event the toll road was built in the floodway; the city was going to be responsible for paying for the other half). And it’s unclear to me who (TxDOT? the City?) might be responsible for the diaphram walls for the bridges. I’ll let you know what I find out.

    I had not expected an answer to the questions I posed, and certainly did not expect this response. I remain pleasantly surprised by your fortitude and thank you for the spirited conversation.

  21. Zac,

    I think you’re the only staffer who will go on record. I recall Trey saying he was too tired or exhausted to have an opinion (oooooo-kay). I want to know what your editor thinks since he’s put so much effort into running interference for the boss, but he has never voiced his opinion.

  22. Wick/Angela – thanks for advancing everyone’s understanding of these issues. It always helps when you are dealing with the facts. I do think that D should devote some space in an upcoming issue to address these points.

  23. Wick, I hope at the appropriate time you’ll say “cancel your own d_mn subscription.” As the current editor-in-chief of National Review (wink), those words should be familiar to you.

    Seriously, many thanks to you and Angela Hunt for the constructive and enlightening debate.

  24. This whole drama has been possibly FB’s finest hour. (Next to the voluble Sandra Crenshaw’s appearance, that is.)

    Wick’s apology may have been more than a little tepid, but come on. He can be egotistical but he also seem like a gracious sort.

  25. @wick@johnson:
    Man up and do what Buckley would have done, Wick: Tell him to cancel his own g*****n subscription.

  26. Yep, out of respect for Wick I would tell everyone to cancel their subscription to this publication, but I don’t know of anyone who subscribes to it. Not that many people care about the lifestyles of the rich and
    arrogant.