Is the City Council About to Kill the Trinity Toll Road?

Follow-up question: is Robert Wilonsky a reporter or a columnist?

Yesterday afternoon, Robert “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky broke big news out of City Hall. Five council members sent a memo to Mayor Mike Rawlings and City Manager T.C. Broadnax demanding that the next council agenda include a vote on a resolution that would do away with the Trinity toll road. And the mayor, who has defended that road — or at least defended a process that would allow the road to be built in the future — basically said, I’m not going to support this road any longer. Like I said, big news. Good scoop.

I’m a little confused as to why the DMN’s City Hall reporter, Tristan Hallman, didn’t bring us this news. But whatever. What I really can’t stop marveling at is this passage in Wilonsky’s story:

I did not call Rawlings for this column; all I did was ask his office if he planned on putting the resolution on the first voting agenda after summer break. Rawlings called from vacation because he wanted to reiterate that he’s focused solely on planting a version of the park pitched in October — Michael Van Valkenburgh’s sprawl of trails and bridges running over and next to a river restored to its natural meanders, funded with Annette Simmons’ tens of millions, run by a Local Government Corporation.

I believe — and maybe I’m in the minority here — that the city columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper should not be impressed with himself if a mayor calls him from vacation, especially if that mayor once appointed the columnist’s wife to a board position with the city’s public library. Now, if the mayor had left vacation early, tried to catch a flight back to Dallas, had been forced instead to ride in the back of a moving truck with a polka band, and then showed up at the columnist’s front door to answer his question, then the logistics of the question answering deserve inclusion in the story. Any reasonable editor with a good night’s sleep would have adiosed that back-patting.


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  • topham

    It feels like this post has more subtext than text.

    • I have no idea what you’re talking about. But maybe.

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  • Handcrafted comments

    I didn’t read that way at all. Rawlings has been incommunicado during vacation and he even missed the 7/7 police memorial. But he decided to call Robert himself about a Toll Road story? It says something about the Mayor’s priorities.

    • SkyMasterson

      That’s exactly the way I read it.

      The fact that the mayor took time off from his vacation to respond to an inquiry about the new Council’s plans to kill the toll road indicates that he is concerned it will be perceived as a personal defeat for him (a long time supporter of the toll road). He is trying to jump on board a train that is running over him by claiming he doesn’t want a toll road now.

    • Excellent clarification, Handcrafted, if that’s the case. You should apply to work at the DMN.

  • bbetzen

    We must attend community meetings of the Dallas City Council members who are not yet firmly against the Trinity Toll Road. We must ask those present who support the Trinity Toll Road Project to raise their hands. (Is there anywhere in Dallas where a majority of the room would raise their hands in support of the Trinity Toll Road? Video what happens and post it here.)
    Demand that the council person represent their constituents. The Dallas City Council vote needs to be unanimous against the Trinity Toll Road!

    Should a second question be asked as to how many only support developing the Trinity River Park?