It’s time to bring in those well-known political analysts, Monty Python, to lend some perspective to the City Council’s deliberations about changing the name of Industrial Boulevard. I refer you to the Election Night Special. The Silly Party, indeed.

Today, the council’s Trinity River Corridor Project Committee will announce that it wants to rename Industrial to Riverfront. It will also float a plan to rename Field Street or a stretch of Ross near downtown to Chavez, the name that won the city’s infamous Rename Industrial contest.

This has been a mucked up process from the start, showing once again that this council is among the least politically sophisticated in my 25 years in Dallas. You can’t hold a vote, no matter how unofficial, and then decide to ignore the results. And, to make matters even goofier, several members of the Trinity committee were upset that they were criticized for ignoring the vote. That’s almost as funny as the Python bit.

But this is about more than a couple of easy laughs at the council’s expense (no matter how enjoyable). If they can’t get this right -– and it’s obvious that they can’t –- how can we trust them to handle a budget shrinking into deficit? How can we trust that their judgement on the convention center hotel is correct, which they agreed to with seemingly less debate than changing the name of a street?

Serving on the city council of the ninth-largest city in the United States is not the same thing as the serving on the board of directors of the local chamber of commerce. You just can’t say, "Sounds good to me" and leave it at that. You have to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and expect people to disagree with you. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting time on things like renaming Industrial and not solving the big problems, like the budget.

One more pop culture reference from a child of the ‘70s: There’s an Elvis Costello song called Clowntime is Over. Maybe the council should listen to it.


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