Jim Schutze: What Impresses Me About Wick Allison

Spoiler alert: It's because he's capable of changing his mind.

Our editor in chief. If you work at D, you know this look well.
Our editor in chief. If you work at D, you know this look well.

Jim Schutze swung by D Magazine World Headquarters recently to have a chat with our commander-in-chief, Wick Allison. The muckraker wanted to ask Wick how and why he’d changed his mind on the Trinity toll road project.

In 1998, D Magazine published a special issue touting the ways in which the Trinity River project as a whole would transform Dallas. It was sent to registered voters throughout the city. The road was part of the proposal because the belief was that the money to fund it was what would make the adjacent park possible. But you may heard that in the May issue of D Magazine we declared that the Trinity Parkway is dead.

And now Wick wants to tear down or bury every highway through the city’s central core. Schutze writes in this week’s Dallas Observer:

But here is what impresses me about Allison. At this late date in both of our careers, he’s the one who can still change his mind. Not everybody’s that limber.

Allison: “I learned from the Trinity mistake. Maybe the biggest prejudice of all human beings is presentism. That is to say, what is has always been and will always be.”

I suggest he knows how much neighborhoods can change because he’s had offices in most of them. He laughs.

He paints a picture of a whole new Dallas in which all of the old interstates have been torn down or decked over, in which no Trinity River toll road has been built to cut off downtown from the river and all of the vast spaces once occupied by highways are now covered with wonderful urban neighborhoods.

Allison: “Jim, this can happen. This will happen. It’s inevitable. I’m going to tell you right now, in 20 years Stemmons will be a parkway of four lanes. That whole market center will be a huge urban development, because we tore down Stemmons.”

Me: “I think if somebody tries to tear down Stemmons, the old man [John Stemmons] will return.” He laughs.

Allison: “No, he will love the idea, because it will be a real estate play.”


  • Jack Jett

    That looks to be an authentic and amazing head of hair. Good genes.

  • Jim Schermbeck

    When conservatives actually adhere to conservative principles, you get thinking people like Wick Allison…as opposed to most who label themselves as such these days.

  • Paul

    Slow news month that requires this vanity piece about the boss? Is D Magazine now Wick Allison’s press scrapbook?

  • Johnyalamo

    When Wick and Shutze are on the same page about an issue (pun intended) then perhaps the rest of Dallas’ citizens may see how these old freeways, and possible new tollway, choke our inner city.

  • Bill Marvel

    Great! Wonderful!! Now if only Schutze would back down from his own position on certain issues.

    • Raj

      What specific issues should he back down?

  • Bill Marvel

    The tower of fire would be a good start.
    Not only was he wrong. He was perversely wrong. His whole take on the Nasher and the Museum Tower Death Ray rested on the back of a dead horse that he loves to flog when real ideas won’t carry him any further: Art is the passtime of pretentious rich folk — the Park Cities crowd, Republicans, members of the Dallas Establishment. Old folks. His demographics at the DO eat that up, and it boosts his cred as a working-class son of old Detroit.
    Just a sample, there, but it gets to the heart of the problem I think.
    There’s a better Jim with a deeper conscience, when he isn’t playing the old spit-on-the-floor ink-stained wretch to the crowd. Then he can out-write and out-report almost everyone else in town. It’s worth reading him and waiting for those days when the good Jim pushes the bad Jim aside.

  • Stacks

    That’s the best you have, Marvel? Schutze has never insinuated or said, “art is the passtime [sic] of pretentious rich folk.” Now, he has made that claim of the underutilized Arts District. You know, the one where the City of Dallas is on the hook for long-term maintenance fees and the Museum Tower if it goes belly up.

  • Bill Marvel

    Come, come, Stacks. You can do better. Apparently you’re not a close reader of Jim.

  • Slightly Anonymous

    Enlighten us, Marvel.