Mega March could cause mega-mess in downtown Dallas

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA-TV

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 21 at 7:53 PM

DALLAS — What would you think if you invited 100 friends and relatives to your wedding and 100,000 people showed up?

Or, to your daughter’s quinceanera?

All outside the church?

That’s what might happen on May 1 at 1 p.m. when the Mega March for immigration reform starts outside a prominent downtown Dallas Catholic church.

The impact from the march, for which planning just started in the past month, doesn’t stop there.

A 2006 immigration march drew 350,000 to 500,000 people and dominated downtown for the day. This time, organizers hope for 100,000 who must share the jammed streets.

Attorney Domingo Garcia is one of the march leaders, “We've told everybody for a month, Dallas Police Department, sheriff's department, constables, Catholic Diocese," he said.

But the Dallas Catholic Diocese disagrees, saying march organizers told them nothing.

At the Cathedral Guadalupe, where marchers plan to meet in the streets outside, Diocese spokeswoman Annette Taylor said two quinceaneras and two weddings are set that have been planned for a year.

“The first notice we got of it was an e-mail blast that came to us, I believe, after after the announcement was made,” Taylor said.

The Diocese worries about crowd noise disrupting services and parking.

Just a block away the Asian Festival in the Arts District — planned for a year — is expecting 10,000 people.

Chiho Mori of the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce said her organization found out about the march a couple of days ago and is concerned about parking,

“So hopefully people will start getting there early," she said. "Even though there are going to be people for the march gathering earlier than 1 p.m., hopefully we can accommodate our people.”

In an effort to keep traffic and people moving orderly, Dallas police asked for march organizers to change their route.

Instead of going down Ross Avenue to Griffin Street,  then up Commerce Street to Ervay to arrive at Dallas City Hall for a rally, the route will now go down Pearl to Cesar Chavez Boulevard and then turn right on Young Street to City Hall.

The event also had a political angle — at least until today.

The Mega March information telephone number rang at the campaign headquarters of Garcia's wife, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia, who's running as a Democrat for Dallas County Commissioner.

Garcia said it's a voice mail that hadn't been changed since the primary — but will be now.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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