Friday, January 22, 2016
Here’s a note from someone at the COG meeting –
One of the council members spoke of the Lake Lewisville Dam / sink/ slide due to 16 inches of rainfall, “some reporter wrote shock & awe”…Corps of engineers had to do damage control to correct initial report of imminent danger. However the attention it garnered gave the political push that just may quickened the time frame to make the dam safer & extend its life.
In addition to the COG meeting, there was a closed door meeting at City Hall in Dallas, where there were threats, big ones. You can read it all in the Dallas Observer. Though some of the highlights are so good, we’re saving them here for future reference. Heads up, Fort Worth…
COULD THE STUPID WHITE WATER FEATURE ON THE TRINITY FORCE US ALL TO MOVE? REALLY?
City attorneys told the council in an emergency executive session Wednesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was only hours away from shutting down almost the entire drinking water system for Dallas if the council didn't immediately cough up $3 to $5 million to fix or (better idea) demolish the stupid white water feature. Some on the council didn't believe the lawyers, so thank goodness they balked at signing the check.
All of a sudden — bang! out of nowhere! — the lawyers lock the council up where the taxpayers can’t see them, shove a letter from the Corps in their faces and tell them if the council doesn’t agree to spend millions more on this already atrociously over-budget fiasco by 5 p.m. that day, the Corps is threatening to yank federal permits that could effectively shut down the city’s water supply.
Apparently the socialites glimpsed a man-made whitewater park over the rims of their martini glasses while semi-reclined on a canopied deck somewhere in Colorado and decided they wanted to bring one home. But they thought it would be better for the taxpayers to pay for it, because … money. (Psst – you, listening FW?)
The original estimate given to the City Council more than five years ago was $1.5 million. When construction on the fake rapids was finished, the cost was more than $5 millio
Oh, they didn’t issue a permit, they told me. They said it fell within something called a “nationwide permit 42 for recreational facilities.” It was permissible without a specific permit, they said. All it needed was a “letter of permission” from the Corps, which they granted without any environmental study.
But all of a sudden the Corps is desperately serious about making something happen. And it’s weird. The Corps, a gigantic public construction company run by the Congress, never acts this way with client cities. It kisses cities’ butts so it can get more work and not make local congressmen mad. The Corps’ emphatic behavior here this week was way outside their profile.
The big permits that the Corps does hold over the city’s head, called 404 permits, could theoretically be construed to govern virtually the entire water supply of the city. And that’s the type of saber they are rattling. They don’t have a pea-shooter to aim at the white water feature alone, so they are bringing out bigger guns by threatening to yank the 404 permits, or so the lawyers told the council last Wednesday.
Posted by The Star-Telegraph at Friday, January 22, 2016