Friday, May 2, 2014

Sign the petition to save Lincoln Center and its murals from being destroyed.

About twenty or more people attended the Metropolitan Planning Organization this morning to speak out against the destruction of Lincoln Center and a number of murals painted on pillars of an overpass. 

Although Judge Veronica Escobar explained that the MPO really doesn't own and therefore has no final authority over Lincoln Center (I am told that she does not favor saving this historic building whose heritage is cherished by Hispanic families, ancestors of the Ascarates, Rosa Guerrero and many more), Rep. Pickett, Senator Rodriguez and others pointed out that the MPO has control of the funding of projects. Somewhere along the line they could defund a project that requires destroying the Center. The fear is that, once the MPO, votes to include the HWY 54 project in a Transportation Program, TxDOT really has all control. Indeed the MPO voted to include HWY 54 into a TIP. 

Although MPO has agreed to a process (which some say doesn't predetermine an outcome), there has already been a de facto determination. Ted TxDOT Houghton has already stated publicly that Lincoln Center will be destroyed. TxDOT Regional Engineer, Bob Bielek, in emails to Sen. Rodriguez and Joyce Wilson has said that the building will be destroyed. Moreover, even if there are a number of alternatives now, Bielek speaks of them as Platonic abstractions not ready for the scrutiny of the public. We know this routine all too well. When the final process is trotted out, it will be done at a public meeting so that there is the window dressing of public input. However, the decision-making going into determining which alternative will be used to connect the Border Highway with I-10 will be done behind closed doors. Never mind, heritage. Never mind the will of the people who want an alternative that preserves Lincoln Center. (Bielek said today that the pillars would be left standing thus preserving the murals.)

The MPO may not have final say. But the MPO is the only place where people can go and, in a civil manner, voice objection to Houghton's and TxDOT's desire to destroy Lincoln Center. Sadly, TxDOT does own the Center. However, TxDOT is an agency of the people of Texas and WE are the people. That is why we look to our Congressman, our State Senator and Representatives and our City Council to voice our opinion - and all have agreed on the rightness of saving the Center. We also look to the MPO. Through these elected people and institutions we have a civil manner to press our case. However, given the royalism and the elitism of TxDOT, one begins to wonder whether the voice of the people must be expressed in manners less civil, by civil disobedience or perhaps with greater force. Those alternatives must also now be weighed.

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