Congresswoman Johnson comes out hard against Inland Port Master Plan and JWP
When talk of a Master Plan at the Inland Port in Southern Dallas came up, I was skeptical. I mean the Allen Group had gotten the port off to a great start and I haven’t heard one negative thing about what they are doing out there. They have 6,000 acres of what could one day be a 70,000 acre project.
I was taken aback by the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board’s decision to support the Master Plan. The Dallas County commissioners came back a few weeks later and killed the plan by a 3-2 vote. The editorial board came back and disagreed with their decision.
Jim Schutze of the Dallas Observer writes an article regarding the port that pits Rep. Eddie B. Johnson against Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price. Here’s some cuts from Schutze’s article, …Shaking Down Development Deal.
- Johnson told me last week she views Commissioner Price’s role, in particular, as part of a long, bad history: “I see all of these different deals that he’s trying to do over the years, shaking people down and all that kind of stuff.”
- She said she knew what was wrong with the proposed inland port master plan the first time she heard of it. “John was making sure he put a cork in there to stop everything until they did what he wanted them to do.”
- In prior columns, I’ve reported on the extraordinary lengths to which Price has gone to oppose The Allen Group project, with help from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, a regional planning agency. Last week on December 11, Leppert blinked: Chris Heinbaugh, his spokesman, confirmed for me that the mayor had withdrawn his support from the plan, at least for now.
Then this week on Monday, December 15, the NCTCOG blinked too. The agency’s director told a specially convened panel of local elected officials that he was willing to drop it, as well. I guess that leaves the News.
- Congresswoman Johnson was blunt with me about her view of Price’s role. “If people want equity,” she said, “they have to come up with some money. Most of the time folks don’t care what color you are if you come up with money.”
The craziest part is that the only person who could give an interview like this, the only person who could say the things that are said here is Congresswoman Johnson. I’ve had people allude to these types of dealings and talk around people involved, but according to Schutze, the Congresswoman was naming names.
The last time I mentioned the Master Plan on Dallas South, this was a comment that I received:
- If history is any predictor of future behavior, the smaller surrounding cities will have zero input on this plan. Similar to the bridge that Price held up in Hutchins until Congr. Eddie Bernice Johnson came to ensure that it was built.
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson is the highest ranking African-American official in these parts, and her words carry a lot of weight. After the vote by the Dallas County Commissioners, everybody else has jumped ship. As quickly as they jumped on board the Master Plan, now it’s as if the Master Plan never existed.
Whatever happened here, a lot more people will be paying attention now that she has entered into the discussion.
Hopefully it will cause more people to look at the inland port and the opportunities that it presents to Southern Dallas. It’s to bad that it has to take Jim Schutze’s muckraking to get it done, but the more people know about the inland port -and the Allen Group- the better.
There are more and more parties interested in making sure that the will of the few doesn’t negatively impact the plight of the many. That includes folks like the person who sent me this article on Facebook.
But one thing is true. Ii we wanted to truly influence what goes on in our community and sit at the table where the decisions are made, we’re going to have to come up with some capital from somewhere.