Democracy is messy, boring, and a goddam pain the ass, built as much upon tedious motions and sparsely attended meetings as lofty rhetoric. So we raise our glasses of eggnogg to the members of the Park and Museum Reach subcommittees and the River Oversight Committee, who sat through many a tense hour this past year trying to fashion a public hike-and-bike trail between Pearl Brewery and Brackenridge Park. To them fell the unenviable duty of making nice with neighborhood residents, powerful City and County players, birders, and a Municipal Golf Association that swings a very big club. In the end they conceded to what was pretty clearly the majority view: A multi-use path running east of the Brack Golf Course, near what will one day be a drastically prettier Catalpa-Pershing drainage ditch. Avenue A is slated to remain a dead-end destination for friends of the feathered. There are still plenty of details to be worked out, but the compromise, reached after months of a seemingly endless Lazarus act by the Avenue A thoroughfare advocates, is doing a lot to restore citizen confidence in the public decision-making process.