The Trinity Parkway project in Dallas includes some urban upgrades to the Trinity River area and a 10-mile toll road that bypasses the downtown area. It was approved by 53% of Dallas voters in a November 2007 election.
Democracy in action.
Last month, the City Council, with further democratic intent, asked the public to vote on a new name for Industrial Boulevard, a road within the Project’s purview known more for its bars and bail bondsmen than the river it winds along, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The City Council announced a combined online and telephone survey, and when the results were announced yesterday, voters chose César Chávez Boulevard by an overwhelming margin. Of the 20,594 votes counted for six name choices, Chávez received 10,710 votes, or 52 percent. The next highest vote-getter garnered only 19%.
Install the Chavez street signs, right?
Almost immediately, some members of the City Council rapidly backpedaled, noting that the vote was neither scientific, nor binding. With some City Council members now claiming that they always assumed the chosen name would have something to do with the Trinity River, it is now unclear what weight, if any, the citizens’ vote will have when the City Council selects a final name on June 25.
True, Chávez is best known for farm labor organizing in California, but he is an icon to the Hispanic community—which is large in Dallas—and canceling his victory seems like sour grapes at best.
Democracy is messy. Sometimes the people just don’t do what they’re supposed to.