How’s the petition drive to bring the convention center hotel to a vote going? Well, I was filling up at a 7-Eleven Sunday when I was approached by someone holding a petition supporting the proposed referendum on the hotel. While signing, I noticed I was number 18 on the page of 20 possible signatures, and the guy soliciting the names picked up two more signatures on different petition sheets just while I was filling up and signing.

I asked the guy if he was a volunteer or being paid; he politely said he was being paid. I asked if there were a lot of people like him in Dallas right now: "Oh, man," he said. "A lot." He then threw out a few details about the hotel project, and everything he said was correct and delivered in a courteous, non-pushy manner. In fact, he approached one woman with a petition, she told him "no thanks", and he told her "thanks" and just kept moving. The guy told me this is what he does professionally, going from city to city soliciting signatures for various referendums: "We were just in Reno, Nevada, getting signatures for a school issue," he said.

It’s too bad politics in Dallas has come to this: We can’t depend on the people we elect to let us have a say in the big, expensive projects of the day. Instead, we have to depend on someone with a bunch of money to hire people from out of town to give voters a chance to have our say.