Friday, July 31, 2009

Depends on WHO you ask

The question lately has been does drilling cause earthquakes?

Now the question is does drilling cause sinkholes?

TXSharon has lots Texas sinkhole info today.

She did it again

This morning Ms. Betty Fay has penned another excellent letter asking excellent questions concerning the truth surrounding the Trinity River Vision creative financing.

(Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

"Who’s taking the risk?

Star-Telegram columnist Mitchell Schnurman reports that local leaders have found the solution to massive costs of the Trinity River Vision project: creative financing. Yes, we can reshape the river, build bridges for a new bypass channel and keep buying land for a town lake. There is no need to tax. We won’t pay for 20 years. Our children will.

The funny thing is that in the same July 26 issue was another commentary, "Financial Innovations: We win, you lose," by Ed Wallace. He is a rare writer who has business knowledge, a worldview and a good memory. He reminds us that it is "those reckless financial innovations that have devastated everyone’s personal investments and retirement accounts and caused recessions."

The problem is that the public has no way to find out the underwriting rules or understand the gimmicks that insiders create on paper to make money while the rest of us take the risk.

The Fort Worth City Council, Water Board members and commercial developers are loath to recognize that their pet project is an unnecessary budget buster and to compare the cost of a glamorous and, to many Fort Worth people, undesirable business development to the underfunded needs of homeless, hungry and unhealthy human beings who call out for attention. This comparison is exactly the point on which residents of Fort Worth must focus.

— Betty W. Fay, Fort Worth

We salute Ms. Fay again for asking the questions that need to be asked.

Now, WHO will answer?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Name calling

In today's Letters to the Editors (From Bulldog to Lapdog) in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper it is apparent some have not outgrown their name calling ways (see previous post for examples). If you scroll down and read the comments under the letters, it is apparent citizens still don't appreciate it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Water whoa's...

Both Clyde Picht and Don Woodard in the Fort Worth Business Press letters today.

We'll give you one guess as to what the letters pertain to...

If you said the shrinking urban lake with the inflating price tag that you will be paying for forever, you were right. We are glad we have such intelligent readers!

Now go read the letters! Then, write one!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Trinity River Rising

In a previous post we shared some past FW Weekly "Best of's" for Fort Worth.

In 2006: Waste Of Taxpayer Money -
Readers' choice: Trinity River Project

Critic's choice: Steve Hollern

Hollern is the former chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party, but has stayed active in the community even after moving out of the job. His latest mission is getting signatures to put a referendum on the ballot that would cap spending on the Trinity River Vision project. He's working hard against the so-called flood-control project that keeps getting more and more expensive. This goes against the city's party line, but Hollern is doing his best to keep this boondoggle from becoming an even more massive waste of taxpayer dollars.

Seems no one was listening, if they were, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

Today, Steve has an article concerning the Trinity River Vision in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper. It is a must read.

If we gave you the highlights, we'd have to give you the entire article. Steve does mention how Clyde Picht and Chuck Silcox brought up the contamination factor years ago, he talks about the TIF, TCC, and drainage and street repair funding shortfall. (Read today's Fort Worth Star Telegram article about water bills increasing again (remember last year's increase?) to cover the bills.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trinity River TIF

Recent Fort Worth mayoral candidate, Mr. Louis McBee, has something to say about the Fort Worth Business Press article concerning the Trinity River Vision.

Question is, WHO is listening?

While I certainly do appreciate the Biz Press trying to educate us country folk about the ever rising cost of the Trinity Uptown project (now renamed the Trinity River Vision), I do have a couple of problems with your relayed information.

First, " TIF " commitments are city tax dollars that would normally accrue to the general fund to help us pay for infrastructure improvements throughout the city, but instead are captured within the TIF district for private use.

Second, there has never been a public vote on the Trinity Uptown/ TRV project as a stand alone ballot initiative, and certainly NEVER has the issue of whether to cap the spending on this project gone "before the voters and defeated."

I would very much like to see the Biz Press print a retraction, and clarify the city commitment of our tax dollars....all of them. It would also be very helpful if the Press could report on how much of our tax dollars are being capered within all TIFs in Fort Worth . Especially during these difficult financial times.

Louis McBee

More Trinity River Vision Letters

Yesterday we were asked WHO would you contact if you wanted to find out WHY so many millions of tax dollars are being spent/wasted on the Trinity River Vision/Trinity Uptown/Central City project.

Good question. If you write your Congresswoman, you are writing the project leader's mom, that secured the funds. Is that a conflict of interest?

Today there were two more Letters to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper. If all else fails, write them. Daily.

Finally catching on

Congratulations to the Star-Telegram Editorial Board for finally catching on to what Trinity Uptown critics have said for years. It’s an economic development dud that creates more need for flood control than it fixes. It is near triple the 2003 estimate of $360 million. The addition of canals and other amenities may cost as much as the original price tag for the whole project.

The editorial was correct that a lot of the changes in financing are "worrisome." In the next breath, however, it complimented J.D. Granger and the river authority for putting together a plan that would work. Why would it? This is the fourth revision since the 2003 estimate.

In a June 12, 2005, Star-Telegram article on Trinity Uptown, my husband was quoted as saying, "I expect costs will easily reach $700 million before it’s done. We always underestimate the costs and overestimate the economic benefits." His estimate was a little low and he has since predicted costs exceeding $1 billion. The mention of site contamination and cleanup costs in another article would seem to confirm that prediction.

— Tru Picht, Fort Worth

Trinity runs green

What is it about the Trinity River that causes Tarrant County leaders to dump hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into it?

First it was the incompetent leadership of Tarrant County College, gashing a hole in the river bank downtown to build a still unused fiasco of a building. For them, spending more than $1,500 a square foot seemed reasonable, while nearly tripling our college district taxes.

Now the Tarrant Regional Water District — after spending $1.5 million just for the roof on its new annex — intends to spend $880 million on the "Trinity River Vision." The cost has more than doubled from the original $360 million, even though it has barely started. And this while we have a hard time finding $3 million to help actual people, the homeless, get off the street.

Where are the true leaders who will represent the residents of Tarrant County and put an end to this madness? Where are the media investigations and outrage? It certainly won’t be the current crowd who will lead reform, since Kay Granger’s son earns a six-figure salary for his part in this porkulus boondoggle. With more than a billion taxpayer dollars dumped into it, the Trinity should be running green for a long time.

— Marc Rogers, Fort Worth

Fort Worth Mayor Pro Tem

We recently received a comment concerning the "unbecoming" behavior of blindsiding the current Fort Worth mayor pro tem and electing a new one.

Regarding the Mayor Pro-Tem, hey, it happened to Chuck Silcox twice and I don't remember Bob Ray coming to Chuck's defense. Actually Chuck handled the insult much more graciously than Hicks.

In searching for information about Chuck Silcox losing the Mayor pro tem title, we found this blurb in his obituary from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper.

In 2006, Moncrief engineered a vote that stripped Mr. Silcox of a largely symbolic title, mayor pro tem. Mr. Silcox took it in stride:
"I will look forward to being the old Silcox. Democracy is asking questions," he said at the time.

The "Fort Worth Way"

back in the spotlight.

The FW Weekly brings up some good points about the way things are done in Cowtown, and the recent use and different meanings of our slogan.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wise words -

from one of our favorite wise men in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram Letters to the Editor.

Squandered dollars

A July 4 AP story told about a group of preservationists, history buffs and civic leaders in Fishkill, N.Y., trying to save the final resting place of hundreds of Revolutionary War soldiers posted in Fishkill when it was the main supply source for Gen. George Washington’s northern army. Commercial development has whittled the wooded parcel down to 12 acres hemmed in by roads, a shopping mall, gas station and Mexican restaurant. "They didn’t fight and die for independence just to have a mall built on top of them," said one history buff.

Where are the history buffs, preservationists and neighborhood leaders in Fort Worth? Surely Nature and Nature’s God didn’t cause the Clear and West Forks of the Trinity River to flow together with a sense of law and beauty in a picturesque confluence below towering bluffs just to be covered by a so-called 33-acre town lake, in time to become silted in and bottomed with contaminated sludge. Unthinkable!

Why are our neighborhood organizations mute? What would residents have? Desecration of our most prominent historical landmark? Bitterer tears will flow over the loss of the confluence than ever were shed over the Tarrant County College fiasco. Do we want a 33-acre mercury- and chemical-laden stock pond whose fish cannot be eaten and in whose polluted waters we dare not permit our children to swim? Do we want higher taxes? No!

Neighborhood associations: Next time your City Council representative appears before you, ask him/her this question: "How do you justify squandering our tax dollars on this costly boondoggle?"

— Don Woodard Sr., Fort Worth

Fort Worth City Council, again

We found Bob Ray Sanders weekend editorial amusing.

He called the "backroom dealing" concerning the mayor pro tem vote last week "unbecoming".

Really? Why are none of the other Fort Worth backroom deals called unbecoming? Because they happen to average citizens, not council members?

He says it was "a pathetic example of leadership and gave a bad name to integrity".

Sanders also claims "Hicks, who serves her constituents in District 8 well, performed those duties with sincerity and a commitment that put the council and the city in the best light. Her untiring efforts at all times are most commendable".

There are many residents in District 8 that argue this claim. Trust us, we've heard them. Some have asked if Hicks even knows where Carter Avenue is. (She did do an interview from a gas station close to there once). It's been said, if you want her to show up, make sure the cameras are rolling.

This isn't the first example of unbecoming, integrity lacking, pathetic leadership.

And sadly, this being Fort Worth, it probably won't be the last.

Sanders wants to get over the petty politics and move on, we wonder WHO he voted for in May?

Vocab word of the day

Fascism - definition provided by Durango. As usual, he has a point. A lot of them.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Can you hear him now? Act 2

Yesterday we mentioned Clyde Picht's Letter to the Editor to the Fort Worth Business Press in January 2007 concerning the Trinity River and the agencies involved.

He made another interesting point in that letter...

"it was reported the next day that the Authority would spend $240,000 for office renovation. Naturally the “new government” has to have a place to sit. The digs will no doubt be world-class".

This week the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper reported the on the new, world-class, $9.9 million dollar Tarrant Regional Water District annex buildings.

Durango shares his take on the Trinity contamination today. Question is, WHEN will someone listen? And will it be too late?

"And now, this morning, we learn that, oh my, what a surprise, serious ground contamination has been found, at an old TXU energy site, where lead contamination is in the soil and vinyl chloride and other solvents are in the groundwater.

An 18 foot deep cement wall needs to be built to stop the contaminated groundwater from seeping into the Trinity River, which I assume it is already doing.

I don't know if the Fort Worth Trinity River Vision project people have ever heard of the EPA Superfund. I suspect maybe not, after all the project is being run by the son of the Congresswoman who represents Fort Worth, a guy named J.D. Granger, who has absolutely no experience in running such a project, but who picked his mama well."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What's your limit?

Finally, at $880 million dollars the Editorial Board at The Fort Worth Star-Telegram might have reached theirs with the Trinity River.

We can only hope.

This project continues to escalate in costs while scaling back on everything else. The "urban lake" is now half the size, more of a pond. The expensive fancy bridges gone. Nearly $400,000,000 earmarked in stimulus money.

Maybe they should have listened to Clyde Picht in a 2007 Fort Worth Business Press Letter to the Editor.

Trinity Uptown robs taxpayers, rewards private interests

The Army Corps of Engineers made the recommendation; no doubt, because they couldn’t find anyone among the high-cost crowd who knew what they were doing. It’s what they should have done in the first place rather than practicing political payback.

Heading into 2007, the Authority still insists the price of River Vision is $435 million. Compare that dream with the reality that Jerry Jones’ $650 million stadium is now $1 billion; the $90 million Omni Hotel is now $160 million, and the cost of one lane mile of road construction has jumped from $500,000 to $660,000. Those are cost increases that are happening now, with current projects.

There have been no elections for Trinity Uptown and very limited opportunity for citizen input despite the claimed “hundreds of open meetings.” The Corps was late on the environmental impact statement and the plan has been changed to move a holding pond from the River Crest area to Gateway Park. That requires at least an amendment to the EIS.

But ignoring bad management at City Hall and dismissing it as “challenges” is just as irresponsible as the mismanagement.

Let’s say it loud and clear: The Trinity Uptown project is taking money from the taxpayers to subsidize economic development for private interests. That’s not why we have government, and we all know it. It matters to the general public that they can’t drive on decent streets, with curbs and gutters and good lighting.

It also matters that this project displaces or closes around 90 small businesses through eminent domain, just so others can profit. It matters that there are still unknowns in the handling and cost of environmental remediation. It matters that this is a Fort Worth project that is partially funded and managed by the Tarrant Regional Water District, which has wandered way beyond its prime areas of responsibility: providing current and future water supplies and managing some near-empty lakes.

It matters that this project is rife with cronyism, subterfuge, smokescreen and misinformation.

When the private sector returns to funding development and accepting the risks that bring greater rewards – and local government puts the needs of the public first – we’ll have the idyllic city living that we now only think we have.

Since it's Sunday, we'll leave you with this quote from THE book, "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

"And that's the way it is"

Walter Cronkite has died. What a sad day for media.

Walter reported on some of the most important moments in American history, such as when President Kennedy was shot in Dallas and when man landed on the moon.

Back when the public believed in the news, they trusted "Uncle" Walter. In the 1970's a poll found that he was more trusted than any politician, religious leader or sports hero.

Brian Williams, the current evening anchor on rival NBC News, told MSNBC that "Cronkite used to address the nation; other people delivered the news."

Walter had something to say on many subjects. He saw the shift in the news coming. He also made a good point about health care.

When you're bringing in a fairly unknown candidate challenging a sitting president, the population needs a lot more information than reduced coverage provides.

We are not educated well enough to perform the necessary act of intelligently selecting our leaders.

America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.

Thank you Walter, for watching over America for so many years.
We appreciate your contributions.

Weekly Accolades

Last month we told you to be sure and catch the FW Weekly article "House of Cards".

Then there was the follow up.

Delores Taylor was listening and thanked the FW Weekly for their work. We do too.


To the editor: Betty Brink's story ("House of Cards," June 3, 2009) is one of the best follow-ups yet to the series of exposés Fort Worth Weekly has conducted over the years. It encompasses everything from the city leaders, our so-called stewards who are elected to protect the citizens' interests, to the federal government that is supposed to investigate charges of wrongdoing. We, the taxpayers, ultimately pay the price for the malfeasance and machinations that flow like a river throughout city hall.

Of course Mayor Mike Moncrief isn't going to put his foot in his mouth by talking to the Weekly because he didn't have a script handy to answer the charges brought forth by Theresa Thomas and Lisa Weaver. Both these ladies ought to have their jobs reinstated with retroactive pay and a public apology from Moncrief.

The mentality that still operates at city hall contributed to their firing. Felony charges should have been brought against Walker and his cronies. The mayor didn't give a tinker's dam about the Thomas and Weaver allegations and used the "Don't Know Nothin'" excuse when the truth came to light. The only council members who listened with full ears open were Chuck Silcox and Donavan Wheatfall. Chuck deserves posthumous accolades, for he was an honest man, with integrity to the bone, and he listened to his constituents.

Hopefully this updated "House of Cards" will be the catalyst for a full investigation, and charges will be brought against those who orchestrated
and participated in the stealing of taxpayers' money.

Without the Weekly's go-get-'em reporters who keep the public informed, we'd be paying higher taxes to cover the thefts by these narcissistic stewards of the city.


The Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper is full of the "Fort Worth Way" today.

There is an article where the Fort Worth police say Chad Gibson, the gentleman injured in the Rainbow Lounge raid, fell down and hit his head. Was this before or after the picture was taken with the agents (TABC and Fort Worth police) sitting on him?

And now TABC says they shouldn't have been there at all. Then why were they?

Another gem was the huge headline boasting that the Trinity River Vision is now a blurry $880 million dollar project. One of our contributors is currently working on a post for this, check back soon, you won't want to miss it.

Here are some of the comments citizens have posted about the Trinity boondoggle so far today.

Looks like one more Republican backed over budget, behind schedule and shorted project. Well at least Kay's kid has a job until 2021.
Budget over runs??? Time to completion expanding??? No!!!!!! Who would have thunk it. the way these poeple throw around millions of dollars is shameful. I agree, nothing more than a monument to some politicians ego. We have to outlaw the position of politician as a career.
Tommy Lee Jones didn't tell us that "the Barnett" would make the "vision" more expensive.
Don't worry about a thing...we've got a kid with ZERO experience on ANY construction project in charge of this with an $800 million budget. What could go wrong?
DUH! KG's boy is way out of his league, and this has been a boondoggle since it was conceived! Keep this story on the computer, and leave the increased figure blank for the next revision. This story will run over and over, with slighty different figures for the new cost.
This project is a joke and is nothing more than FW stroking its own ego. All while folks can barely afford to live. This is absurd.
Durango has said Boondoggle from day one. You can read his latest on Trinity happenings here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Timing is everything

Kathleen Hicks was voted out as Fort Worth Mayor Pro Tem during the packed council meeting Tuesday night. (The council wasn't packed for that reason, it was packed due to the police raid on the Rainbow Lounge.) Hicks says she was unaware of this development and claims it is due to getting cross ways with Mayor Moncrief. What will happen if the "Fort Worth Way" is used on it's own? Will Hicks talk? After all that's taken place, will anyone believe her?

As for Fort Worth police raids, Durango, "The Outlaw" had himself a run in with Fort Worth's finest today. He has a very valid point. (And a ticket).

I tell you, you people of Fort Worth, this is the corrupt system you get when only 6% of you turn out to vote for your city government. This town needs a revolution and a cleaning up of a very corrupt house.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Another stand out Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today.

One narrow, two-lane road — Tiger Trail — is the only entrance into and exit out of our neighborhood. Tarrant County commissioners and other government entities have ignored our pleas for relief from the heavy traffic of drilling rigs, tanker trucks, fraccing trailers, etc. that clog this artery.

Our neighborhood of about 200 homes, located south of the Fort Worth city limits and about five miles south of Benbrook, has been ignored. The majority of the drilling is less than 600 yards inside the Fort Worth city limits north of our neighborhood. The traffic moves off Tiger Trail onto land immediately to the north (within 15 feet) of our homes, to the drilling locations.

There is plenty of easy access to the well sites directly from U.S. 377, where there are no homes, but because we were such a small voice and the drilling companies are so powerful, our recommendations that they move directly from 377 are ignored.

Only state Sen. Wendy Davis has come out and listened to our woes. We appreciate that, but still we have no relief. We need help to continue to operate and have viable passage from our neighborhood to get to and from our jobs, church, school and other activities without being stopped by large trucks blocking our narrow road. This is an emergency and possibly deadly disaster waiting to happen.

— Joe E. Rogers, Benbrook Neighborhood Estates, Fort Worth

On behalf of Joe Rogers, PLEASE SEND HELP.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fort Worth City Council Tonight

Where were you? Let's see what the media says at ten.

Actions speak louder than words

Yesterday dollar amounts were released in the Texas Governor campaign. Kay Bailey Hutchinson has about $12 million while Rick Perry has about $9 million.

Let's think about this for a minute, if candidates can rally that kind of money, what would happen if they spent it on something Texas needs of instead of commercials, mailers and more fund raising parties? If a candidate spent their money to make an actual difference, we'd vote for them instead of listening to the same old rhetoric and getting the same old nothing in return. Seems like it would be a great return on investment for all involved.

And if you wondered why the Special Legislative Session was so short, remember no campaigning can happen during session.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Moment of Silence

We are saddened to learn that local news reporter, Brett Johnson has died. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram article describes the "off camera" Brett well.

"-but he got back to Fort Worth as soon as he could, and lived a block away from the station where he worked, on the east side where he grew up.

Friends and colleagues recalled Johnson's love of music and of Texas, and of Fort Worth in particular. Johnson's love of music was such that NBC-5 co-workers said he'd often come into the station with a guitar or even a ukulele, and sing songs.

"He could sense when somebody was having a rotten day," Snyder said. "He could show up at your desk, quote you a line from a song ... or have that little impish grin of his, and he knew just what to say to turn your day around."

"He was a hard worker," Gordon said, "but when he was in Fort Worth, sometimes he didn't have to work that hard, because he knew everybody. No matter what the story was, Brett had a phone number in his cellphone. He knew the mayor on down.

"It seemed like he knew everybody," Gordon added. "He was Mr. Fort Worth."

Texas Lone Star couldn't agree more. Brett did know everybody... we've heard him play a tune or two and crack some jokes, to try to turn the day around. We are thankful for that. We have a feeling a lot of people across the metroplex feel the same.

He was one of the good guys...his loss will be felt far and wide in this great state he so loved.

Goodnight Brett,
Texas Lone Star

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dodge City by Don Young

Top 10 Green U.S. Cities and...,um,... Fort Worth

After suffering through another unhealthy ozone day in Fort Worth, Texas, I turned on Turner Classic Movies to watch the old classic western movie, Dodge City. When a group of pioneers first arrived in Dodge City, one of them said,

"Well, well. So this is Dodge City, huh? Sort of smells like Fort Worth, don't it."

Naturally, he was referring to the sweet perfume of the sacred icon of Cowtown, not the odor of hydrocarbons.

Many non-Texans don't realize that, before 2005 when the Barnett Shale was just cow-pie in the sky, Fort Worth was NOT and had NEVER had been an oil & gas town. No way! They call it Cowtown for a reason.

Times have changed.

In a 2009 report, Fort Worth (Tarrant County) received a grade of "F" from the American Lung Association with ozone data collected before the urban gas drilling boom. (The forecast for 2010 is grim.) In only three years Cowtown has nearly caught up with Houston in the number of unhealthy (Yellow, Orange, Red & Purple Alert) ozone days per year.

Because of sharply increased emissions from Barnett Shale gas drilling operations (to hell with the TCEQ), Fort Worth will never make the Top 10 list of green cities. Quite the contrary.

However, elected officials in north Texas can and should minimize the damage by intensifying green initiatives. As you will see in the link below, cities like Chicago, Austin and San Francisco have already shown how it's done.

Fort Worth's mayor advocated for urban drilling, he shamelessly cashed in on a personal level and he set a poor example for other cities to follow. For those reasons alone,

Fort Worth has a moral obligation to the people of north Texas to use ALL gas drilling revenue to go above and beyond the green examples set by the progressive cities who made the list.

Not all of us can afford to get the hell out of Dodge (or bail the shale, as we say in Cowtown), just yet.

Mayor Moncrief and others claim they are saving the revenue for a rainy day. That day arrived when Dirty Ol' Town permitted the first gas well.

Check out the Top 10 Green US cities, here:

Don Young
P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147

"God bless Fort Worth, Texas. Help us save some of it."

Friday, July 10, 2009

More Cleburne Earthquakes

Another quake rocked Cleburne this morning.

Let's hope the SMU study is speeding right along.

Yesterday Durango was out hiking in his favorite location, he took an interesting picture and as usual asks good questions.

"Yesterday I read that the Dallas Cowboys, well Jerry Jones, somehow got Barnett Shale gas drilling banned for some area around the new stadium. The reason being that the stadium is very heavy and drilling under it might wreak havoc.

Different type concerns were unable to stop Chesapeake Energy from drilling off Carter Avenue at the west end of the Tandy Hills Natural Area.Today, around noon, I did my regular Thursday inspection of the Tandy Hills. I noticed large earthquake-like fissures have appeared. Is the ground rumbling under the Tandy Hills?"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Right or Wrong

June 4th the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper had an article that said,

"State environmental officials say that an SMU researcher was correct: Gas drilling in the Barnett Shale contributes about as much air pollution to the Dallas-Fort Worth area as car and truck traffic".

Today the same newspaper has an article that says the state believes that the Al Armendariz study is flawed. How quickly they forget.

"As debate continues about how much gas drilling contributes to air pollution in North Texas, state regulators want to make sure it’s clear that they disagree with a study that concluded that drilling creates about as much pollution as car and truck traffic.
The study by SMU professor Al Armendariz used data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s inventory of air pollution. Commission officials say that although his numbers might be correct, Armendariz took them out of context, and they think his conclusions are flawed.
"I don’t know that we agree nor disagree with the numbers,"
agency spokeswoman Andrea Morrow said. "We certainly don’t agree with the conclusions."

Say what? First he's right, then he's wrong. His numbers are correct but they don't know if they agree with them or not. Who are these people???

Is this about face due to the fact the state is taking heat over saying Al is right but they aren't going to do anything?

Or is it once again, all about the money?

Thank goodness for people like Al and Wendy Davis, she was quoted in the article as well,
"State Sen. Wendy Davis, a frequent critic of the commission, said it is ignoring the fact that a lot of Barnett Shale gas production is taking place inside Fort Worth. She said the agency might be hurting the effort to fix the Metroplex’s ozone problem.
"For TCEQ to respond that they are simply going to ignore those numbers when we are in a nonattainment area — doing everything we can do to get into attainment — it’s absurd," Davis said."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Texas is a big state"

A local news channel questioned Senator John Cornyn on his travel expenses, being as they are higher than any other Senator, including Texan Kay Bailey Hutchinson (good timing for her).

He’s now known as the U.S. Senate's biggest spender on domestic travel, according to official travel records found in The Report of the Secretary of the Senate.

"His excuse is, ‘Well, it's a big state,'" said Tom Smith, of the watchdog group Public Citizen. "I agree senator. It is a big state, and most big cities where he's spending most of his time have real good airline service. He should be flying coach with the rest of us."

CORNYN: I think it was a little bit of a cheap shot.

NEWS 8: In what sense was it a cheap shot? They were using the Secretary of the Senate information.

CORNYN: Oh yeah, not every state is the same. When you represent a state as big as Texas and traveling home from Washington D.C. every weekend, it unfortunately costs some money.

But, Texas' senior senator, fellow Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison, only spent $88,000 during the same time period. That’s a little more than half of Cornyn’s bill.

You can read the entire article on here.

Anywhere but here, Part 2

So what do the Cowboys have that the kids on Carter don't?

Media Attention

WHO's Next?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Anywhere but here...

Where can you drill in Texas? Just about anywhere, except under the 8th Wonder of the World, known as the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

How is it safe enough to run pipelines through yards and drill in residential neighborhoods but not where the Cowboys play?

You can read the entire article from here. We'll give you the highlights...

City Attorney Jay Doegey said that standard language in contracts with the Dallas Cowboys probably would prohibit drilling under the team's new stadium. He said there are concerns – although they are remote – that drilling could affect the building's structural integrity.

"We don't want the ground to give and cause it to crack or sink," Doegey said about the rock beneath the stadium.

The language was put in the contracts long before five small earthquakes shook Cleburne in a single week in early June. Researchers are looking into whether those and many others recently were the result of extensive gas drilling in the underground Barnett Shale formation.
Earthquakes have been rare in North Texas until recently. Thousands of wells have been drilled in the western areas of North Texas in recent years.
Doegey said the city hasn't conducted any research to calculate potential dangers of drilling underneath a megastructure like Cowboys Stadium. But he said there has to be a concern about drilling beneath a structure that expensive ($1.15 billion) and that heavy (more than 805 million pounds).

Doegey said that when he lived in Southern California, oil extraction had caused some surface collapses and seawater had to be injected into the rock to mitigate that.

While gathering the land needed for the stadium, Arlington bought some property and condemned other tracts. Instead of taking the straightforward route, the city dropped its eminent domain cases against Sodd's clients. He then had a portion of the mineral rights deeded to a company owned by his law firm, according to county records.

The "Fort Worth Way"

The Star-Telegram daily newspaper had an Editorial concerning the Rainbow Lounge raid.

The Fort Worth Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission are learning in a high-profile way that slow and steady no longer is an approach that works when it comes to controlling the message.

Outrage and negative assumptions about law enforcement actions taken early Sunday morning at the Rainbow Lounge literally circled the globe, carried in digital word and video on the World Wide Web before Police Chief Jeff Halstead made his first public statements.

Now, a week later, and after criticism for being silent, the Mayor is calling for a federal review.

That's the trick, the "Fort Worth Way" doesn't work so well when the rest of the country is watching and demanding answers. If the rest of the world is watching, it's not as easy to silence the citizens or ignore them completely.

Durango recently blogged about the "Fort Worth Way".

It was also recently discussed in the FW Weekly here.

And here during an article about the zoo.

You want answers in Fort Worth? Well, you've got to make some noise.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mayor Where? Part 2

During the campaign this year, it was said Mayor Moncrief didn't attend the dozen or so forums because "he was busy taking care of city business".

He didn't celebrate our veterans on Memorial Day, instead we were told he was posing at City Hall for an Eric Fox endorsement card.

Last Saturday while the Fort Worth police and TABC were getting ready to raid bars and make national headlines with the Rainbow Lounge, Mayor Moncrief was climbing out of a monster truck, welcoming people to "HIS town". We're glad the city business is all under control, unlike two months ago when he wasn't able to appear and answer citizens questions about their town.

Supercross legend and current TORC off-road truck driver Ricky Johnson got the evening started by tearing into the purpose-built venue with a special passenger - Fort Worth Mayor Michael Moncrief, who welcomed the fans to the second-straight Red Bull X-Fighters held in his town, followed by members of the Red Bull Air Force, who made a high-speed drop-in onto the course.

Citizens Speak

Yet another gem in the Letters to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper.

If only all were as concerned as our concerned citizens, someone might be held accountable.

No fan of TCEQ

I was very glad to read Mike Lee’s article saying an SMU prof was right about Barnett Shale pollution. (See: "State officials back professor’s pollution data," June 4) But for those of us struggling to breathe dirty North Texas air, it was certainly no surprise.

Also no surprise: The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality showed its true colors when TCEQ spokesperson Andrea Morrow said it’s more efficient to tackle the Metroplex’s air problem by going after other sources of pollution, such as cars and trucks.

What I think TCEQ was really saying is it can’t do a thing about gas drilling pollution, ’cause the oil and gas companies are too powerful to fight.

You can see, smell and feel the adverse effect natural gas drilling is having in our North Texas towns and cities. TCEQ is failing in its mission to protect our environmental quality.

God help North Texas, because our government sure as hell ain’t!

— Linda Yarbrough, Arlington

Thanks to Linda Yarbrough!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

North Richland Hills Police Fourth of July

Yesterday we saw a North Richland Hills police officer on the side of the road in 101 degree heat changing a flat for a teenage girl. We were reassured there are still good guys out there and some wear a uniform and a badge.

Thanks to that officer for taking care of one of our kids, it takes a village...and sometimes a hero.

Thanks to our troops and those that have contributed to our freedom in this spectacular country. Remember why we celebrate, and appreciate the fact that we can.

Happy 4th to all.

Moral Courage

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper had yet another Letter to the Editor that speaks volumes about the greed that is affecting us all.

Pollution killing us

I wonder how much longer we’re going to run away from making the hard decisions on the environment and global warming. We’ve made half-decisions and passed half-measures since the ’70s that have not solved our problems but made it easier for companies and utilities to kill and sicken hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and levels of health in the name of "jobs" and "the economy." How many more people will have to die or be made seriously and permanently ill in the name of "business breaks"?

If we don’t solve this problem now, if we just keep passing it on to our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, we’ll be condemning those innocents to shorter and harder lives, not only economically but also physically. We’ll be continuing to pass on the decisions we should have made long before now to make ourselves, but not our heirs, more comfortable.

There should be no "right to pollute" in the name of "jobs and the economy." Polluting should be so economically and morally costly that no one can get away with it.

But we lack the moral courage to do any differently.

— John Hightower, Fort Worth

We salute Mr. Hightower.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A 4th of July note from Don Young

While celebrating your freedom and independence this weekend please take a moment to recall that red-blooded, Greek philosopher, Socrates, the famous war hero, revolutionary and defender of truth who proclaimed...

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

If Socrates were alive today and a Citizen of the Shale he might ask questions like:
"What matters most?
"Have we done enough to protect our children and families?"
"Why do we keep electing the same crooks to public office?" and most importantly,

"Why aren't we raising hell instead of eating hot dogs and watching baseball while the enemy is at the gate hiding in a red, white and blue Trojan horse?"

In 1776 it was the Bloody British who got people riled up. Today, "King George" is embodied in the owners and shareholders of corporations like Chesapeake, XTO, Shell, Devon, Encana and Range Resources who are spending record amounts of dirty money to buy-off your local, state and federal elected officials so they can keep polluting our Earth. Does that rile you?

Consider the Fort Worth-Dallas Shale-O-Plex that gas drillers invaded just 5 years ago:

Gas drilling operations now produce half of the dirty air in north Texas.
Gas drilling is essentially unregulated in the State of Texas.
Gas drillers continue lying to the public.
Gas drilling is exempt from the Clean Air Act.
Gas drilling is desecrating the natural world from coast to coast and border to border.

ACTION Item for this weekend.

---Contemplate what matters most to you.
---Examine whether or not the state of our environment deserves an emotional response.
---Ask yourself if apathy has stifled your righteous anger.
---Teach your children that activism against environmental tyranny is a duty.
---Work on your passion. The world needs more hell-raisers, Paul Revere's, rabble-rousers and gadfly's like Mr. Socrates

Light a Roman candle on the 4th of July to symbolically ignite your passion. Use your logic to aim it in the right direction, year-round.

Gnothi seauton.



PS: Need inspiration to fire your passion? Check out this new video from filmmaker Josh Fox...

Don Young
P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147

"God bless Fort Worth, Texas. Help us save some of it."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Who knew?

While we usually participate in Texas only issues, this is such a glaring example of the "Nothing was ever done, it just got worse" scenario we couldn't help but share.

Seems someone tried to warn them about Madoff, too bad some were too busy to listen. Now lots of people are out lots of money and Madoff will be in jail for 150 years...

Below are some highlights from the Washington Post article, you can read in its entirety here.

An investigator at the Securities and Exchange Commission warned superiors as far back as 2004 about irregularities at Bernard L. Madoff's financial management firm, but she was told to focus on an unrelated matter, according to agency documents and sources familiar with the investigation.

Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, a lawyer in the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, sent e-mails to a supervisor, saying information provided by Madoff during her review didn't add up and suggesting a set of questions to ask his firm, documents show. Several of these questions directly challenged Madoff activities that much later turned out to be elements of his massive fraud.

But with the agency under pressure to look for wrongdoing in the mutual fund industry, she wasn't able to continue pursuing Madoff...

Walker-Lightfoot's supervisors on the case were Mark Donohue, then a branch chief in her department, and his boss, Eric Swanson, an assistant director of the department, said two people familiar with the investigation. Swanson later married Madoff's niece, and their relationship is now under review by the agency's inspector general, who is examining the SEC's handling of the Madoff case. (Madoff boasted at a business roundtable discussion about his close relationship with SEC regulators, saying "my niece just married one." )

The SEC's inability to detect Madoff's fraud was a high-profile embarrassment for the agency, which was already under scrutiny for the collapse of investment banks under its watch, helping fuel the financial crisis. SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro, who took over shortly after the Madoff case came to light, has acknowledged that the agency's performance was a failure, saying the SEC needed to improve enforcement and its surveillance of financial markets.

At least five times over nearly 20 years, the SEC has investigated Madoff's business, but it never discovered the tremendous fraud. In 2007, for instance, the agency reviewed his activities after warnings from a one-time rival, Harry Markopolos, that Madoff was probably running a Ponzi scheme.

She asked, "Should we just focus on mutual funds and return to Madoff when we're done?"
The next morning, Donohue responded: "Concentrate on mutual funds for the time being."

Walker-Lightfoot left the SEC in 2006 after filing a complaint with the agency alleging that she'd been subjected to a hostile workplace. A person familiar with the complaint said it was settled in Walker-Lightfoot's favor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lon & Wendy at it again

State Representative Lon Burnam and Senator Wendy Davis are at it again. Calling out for what is right. They have requested an independent investigation of the Fort Worth gay bar raid. The outpouring from the gay community has spread across the country and put Fort Worth in the negative media limelight.

CBS 11 talked to city leaders this week:

Many at Fort Worth City Hall worry there is a rush to judgement against Fort Worth. After all, some city leaders say, the photo from the raid apparantly shows TABC agents on top of a man, and that agency remains silent. And city leaders say, many of the online articles quote people demanding an investigation that is already underway.

"I'm concerned that people are getting the wrong impression," said Fort Worth mayor pro-tem Kathleen Hicks. "Obviously, we called for an investigation and that's exactly what's occuring. We will get to the bottom of this. And I don't want anyone to feel like they are not welcome in this city and we're not an inclusive city, because that's simply not the case."

One other worry city leaders express is that the officers are being judged in the public eye before an investigation is complete. Lounge management doesn't share that concern. "They know they did wrong," Norman said. "There's no question in my mind that they did wrong. So, I can't see them coming back and saying that at all."

We don't really understand why you raid a new gay bar. After hearing witnesses and seeing pictures, we don't want to be raided in any bar. Thanks anyway.

We respect officers and the job they do each day, however, if they were out of line, it needs to be addressed by someone other than themselves.