Sunday, August 30, 2009

Put your boots on, it's getting deep - Part 1

Last week the Fort Worth Business Press did yet another article on the Trinity River boondoogle. (See what Durango had to say about that here.)

There were several things that stood out to us too - last month the Trinity River Vision was blurring the lines of reality with their new $880 million dollar price tag. This month it's at $909 million. Not to worry though that's in 2021 dollars. No one knows what a dollar will be worth this year, let alone then.

And why would a project that spends thousands upon thousands for promotional parties with slick shiny brochures, and travels to see and steal other city ideas, be increasing the cost of their project when they are downsizing the scope? The lake has shrunk, the designer bridges are gone and yet the price continues to rise.

Why? Well the following could be one reason:

The board was interested in adding in bypass channel improvements – trees, landscaping and other architectural enhancements – that would add about $29.4 million to the project cost.

These improvements would be the responsibility of local funding and would increase the costs of the project to $909.6 million in 2021 dollars. According to J.D. Granger, executive director of the project, TRVA board members have said they want to push forward with the improvements.

So the board wants to "push forward with the improvements" that cost nearly $30 million dollars and they want local funding to pay for it? What if those locally don't want to pay for it? Some things never change here.

We've also mentioned before that everything seems to be "in the way" of TRV (90 businesses and Carter Ave) . Now its Union Pacific Railroad. They got out of the way for $5 million. Hey, it's only your money.

We love how the "trained" journalists continue to call this project "flood control", when they know as well as the public, everything that floods now, will flood when the boondoogle is done. And then some.

The Biz Press article says in May 2008 the Corp of Engineers decided to combine the river project with Gateway Park (wait, the same Gateway Park Don Young just told us about becoming a gas field? Ah, the smell of revenue). However in a January 2008 article the Fort Worth Business Press stated that on January 4th of that year, the Corp of Engineers released its SEIS detailing the combination. Randle Harwood, Trinity River Vision Director for the city of Fort Worth (how much does he make and WHO pays it?) claimed he asked the Corp to look at combining. "Harwood said the new SEIS solves many problems, one of the largest being flood water storage". He goes on to say"...but in 2006 we realized the flood storage benefits of Gateway and asked the Corp of Engineers to look into it".

So WHO asked for WHAT, WHEN exactly? WHY? Because funding wasn't available without the word "flood"?

J.D. Granger goes on to say that the public wants it. What public? WHO? When did the public get a vote?

Of course Kay B. Hutchison is a key supporter, she is running for governor. She wants the downtown 7th Street crowds support. That's how things work in Cowtown, it's the Fort Worth Way.

Why do you think no reporters have cracked this wide open and told the truth yet?

Comparing Alliance to TRV was a stretch as well. Alliance didn't build anything in the middle of a river.

Bolen claims there are a few very vocal people against public money for private development. We can assure him, there are more than a few.

He then goes on to say “And the same is true for the Trinity River Vision. It will make that property at the north end of the city so valuable. You won’t believe how much that property will be worth when it’s finished".

Huh, and all this time we thought this project was about flood control?

She's back...

We recently posted about Guelma Hopkins and a letter she wrote to the editor last year that is still relevant today.

Well, she's back. And we are glad.

Here's to Ms. Hopkins!

The City Council is closing the Wedgwood library because it’s little and it’s old. Well, so am I! But we oldies aren’t alone this time. We have a high school hero collecting signatures to save our little old branch. When I’m gone, I hope he’ll still be around to vote against any incumbent rash enough to run.

An Aug. 26 article telling us how sorry the City Council was to be closing the library was adjacent to a brief detailing the council’s vote to give $250,000 to an unnamed affiliate of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., presumably a nonpublic outfit.

That’s a quarter-million dollars taken from the public and given to one more downtown boondoggle.
What promises to be the mother of all money-down-a-rat-hole projects is the Trinity River Vision, whose motto seems to be, "If it ain’t broke, break it." The Trinity River has not flooded since the 1950s. Leave the Trinity alone that the Father of Waters may flow unvexed to the sea (Robert Stone).

Burnett Park is being ripped up and re-landscaped — the second time that I can recall — and yet community park swimming pools are being closed.
Before the next election, council members need to compare the number of voters in their districts to the number of voters downtown.
— Guelma B. Hopkins, Fort Worth

TIF'd off

We weren't the only one who enjoyed Martha Walker's explanation of the TIF for TRV and what it means for the community.

Another letter in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today.

Tarrant County needs more Martha's.

It was rewarding to see Martha Walker’s Aug. 19 letter about tax incremental financing. Martha is the kind of "straight arrow" that local government needs so very much. Her views on TIFs are informed and forceful. It is a shame that most elected officials will give away their tax power to private interests and then claim budget shortfalls and crises. Martha knows the inside story.

— Jerry Pikulinski, Arlington

Gateway to where?

Read Don Young's latest. Trust us.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A way with words

As usual, we enjoyed Durango's honest opinion about the Trinity River Vision Boondoogle. You will enjoy it, along with the interesting picture.

Read all about it on Durango's blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

They did it again...

The FW Weekly has done an outstanding job reporting on The Big Takeover of Fort Worth by the gas industry.

As usual, we have to ask WHO is listening???

Some highlights below, the entire article at the Weekly here. Don't miss it or the pictures!!

14 new wells are planned for a Fort Worth park within 600 feet of a proposed elementary school and community center. Oh, and a gas industry lobbying group has been given the right to put a class in a Fort Worth public high school, with full control of the curriculum.

But during the hashing-out of the most recent Fort Worth gas-drilling ordinance, Mayor Mike Moncrief took environmental issues out of the hands of the task force designing the ordinance. City staff later left the green completion of wells, with vapor recovery systems and closed sludge pits full of toxic waste, up to the discretion of the gas companies, rather than requiring any such measures in the ordinance.

Chesapeake has another public relations disaster about to happen. Its Murkat site drilling plan calls for up to 14 wells to be drilled directly adjacent to neighboring Rosemont Park on the Fort's South Side. "And that plan now collides with a Fort Worth school district plan to build a combination elementary school/community center right across the street," said Gary Hogan, a member of both of the city's drilling ordinance task forces.

"When you look at the whole picture," Young continued, "it's as if the gas industry got together to say, 'We're going to own this city.' And to some extent, they do. They've taken over city hall, no question about that. And they've taken over the parks department, which has given them every waiver and variance they've asked for. They've gotten into the libraries, and now the industry is running its own program with its own curriculum in one of our public schools.

Our hats off to the Weekly!

Those of you reading outside of Texas, PLEASE SEND HELP!!

Another day, another coupling

Another coupling is the reason for another natural gas explosion, yet Atmos says it's not their fault. Of course they do. Has anything ever been the fault of a gas company?

The couplings have been known to be likely to cause explosions since the 1970's. No one has done anything about them. Sound familiar?

There are 800,000 of these timebombs in the area.

WFAA did an excellent story last night, you can click to watch it.

Blowing Smoke

We hear Kay Granger spoke at TCU earlier this week. When asked about Fort Worth's budget deficit, she stated local government needs to control their spending, federal government won't be bailing Fort Worth out.

She then went on and on about her Trinity River Vision.

Maybe this is where Fort Worth should start controlling their spending. By not spending money they don't have on a project they don't need.

Here's a thought,let's use the "local" TRV money to keep the after school programs and library's open. What do you say kids?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Another excellent Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper.

Thank you Mr. Hulvey, for saying what everyone is thinking.

Back-thumping on our dime
An article in the Aug. 22 Star-Telegram said the Fort Worth City Council is considering increases in 25 fees and, in some cases, decreases in service to make up for the shortfall in funding, which was its fault to begin with.

The residents do not make the budget and do not spend the city funds. The City Council made the decisions to spend the money, in some cases money it didn’t have, and now it wants taxpayers to pay for its mistakes.

At a time when money is tight and unemployment is still high, the city is going ahead with participation in the Trinity Uptown project just to satisfy a few people’s egos. The cost is going to go out of sight, just like the Tarrant County College District’s Trinity River Campus did.

We need the Trinity Uptown project about as much as Fort Worth needs another politician. That money could be used more effectively than for some back-thumping project the politicians can brag on.

— Edward A. Hulvey Sr

Monday, August 24, 2009

Gas Everywhere...

If you haven't been reading TXSharon lately, you should.

In the past week she's written about the leaked memo in which the industry stages their employees as rallies, the death of many animals due to contaminated water, owning your mineral rights, the millions spent on lobbying by the industry, Railroad Commissioner Williams seeking a senate seat and why a major public relations firm is stalking her blog.

As always we salute Sharon and her efforts to protect our air, water and sanity.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"It's a sham"

The best editorial we have seen to date in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper. It was written by an Arlington business owner, community panelist writer. We should get more of those, real people.

Highlights below, though you will want to read the entire article.

Our government has never been more dysfunctional than it is today.

Well, maybe it has, but I wasn’t paying attention until a few years ago.

Many of you still aren’t. I’m taking it upon myself to point out that your failure to keep abreast of what is really happening in Austin and D.C. is costing us dearly.

The people we elect know that we are not paying attention. They know that they can get away with almost anything just short of pedophilia.

The failures of our elected people can be pinpointed if you pay attention. If you don’t, the bragging and excuses they give in their newsletters and the brief bits you read on the Internet and in newspapers will make sense.

Please think about this and get involved. If you don’t, you can expect more of the same.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sqeaky Wheel

WFAA has done an ongoing investigation about unsafe HOV lanes are causing more crashes and deaths. They continue to point out how safety is being ignored. It has been the best reporting we have seen of late.

There will be a public meeting Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

Where? At the "COG" office in Arlington, 616 Six Flags Drive. We have told you about the NCTCOG before. They seem to come up often.

In the past 3 days DART police (WHO exactly are they?) have written 150 tickets in the HOV lanes. Last year through this time, they had written 71.
Six cops writing tickets the day before the Safety hearing.

If you would like to see all the reports go to

If you go to the meeting, let us know the outcome.

Although we have a feeling we already know what it is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who pays TIF?

Another letter to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper that you can't miss. Ms. Walker, a former JPS board member, makes many excellent points.

Enough is enough

Thank you for the insightful comments in the Aug. 2 editorial about the Trinity Uptown plan, particularly as regards the use of tax increment financing as a vehicle to encourage public-private development.

While some projects may have been successful, TIFs have rewarded large corporations and developers, ultimately placing a heavier tax burden on ordinary taxpayers. As you pointed out, 80 percent of the new taxes collected in the Trinity Uptown TIF will go directly to the TIF, not to the general revenue fund of the taxing entities.

There are TIFs in Tarrant County in which some taxing entities have pledged 100 percent of new tax revenue to the TIF. This leaves the burden of maintaining the infrastructure and the public safety needs of the TIF area directly on the taxpaying public.

The Tarrant County Hospital District is a taxing entity that is forced to participate in TIFs. Other public hospital districts in the state have requested, and received, legislative exemption from forced participation. A public hospital serves the neediest and poorest of the community — that is its only mission. Public hospitals are in the healthcare business, not the development business. In 2008, the Tarrant County Hospital District paid the various TIFs in which it participates more than $7 million. Incrementally, over time, the payout will be astronomical and detrimental to the hospital district and to the people whom the district is pledged to serve.

Enough is enough. Our elected officials must pursue legislative exemption from any further participation in TIFs. It is unconscionable to do otherwise.

— Martha B. Walker, former JPS Health Network board member, Arlington

More Water Whoa's

Water is not the only thing rising in Tarrant County. The drainage fees are once again.

Since 2006 the fee has been raised three times. Does it still flood in the same places when it rains? Do people still drown in these locations? The answer is yes.

Last week the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper stated "Fort Worth will have to delay $142.7 million in roads, drainage projects and other long-term capital spending until at least 2011 and maybe as late as 2015 because the city can’t afford to take on that much long-term debt."

Today the Star-Telegram says the city wants to increase the fee, again.

"When it was installed, it probably wasn’t big enough to carry all the rain that fell in the neighborhood. And as the city grew, the problem only got worse. More rooftops, more roads and more parking lots mean more runoff. These days, parts of Arlington Heights flood whenever there’s a heavy rain.

The biggest factor in the fee increase is the cost of fixing existing flooding problems, many of which were caused by imprudent development and made worse by neglect.

But the city lacked modern standards for handling storm water from new development, even as the city’s size and population nearly doubled during the 1990s and early 2000s.
"They hadn’t been revised since like, 1964, and here we are one of the fastest-growing cities in the country..."

Fort Worth has $1 billion dollars worth of backlog flooding issues. Isn't $1 billion dollars about what the unnecessary Trinity River Vision is costing?

Thank our lucky stars

For people like Don Young, Jerry Lobdill and TXSharon. Read TXSharon to see why.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

And the answer is...

Less than 24 hours.

Yesterday we wondered how long it would take for "someone" to say they didn't think drilling was causing earthquakes.

Today there is an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper where Cheseapeake doubts it...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fault Lines

Chesapeake shutting down two wells near fault lines due to earthquakes.

You can read entire article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper here.

We wonder how long it will be until they say the findings are false and drilling starts again? It's all about WHO you know (and how much money you have).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Another pattern?

Or just the Fort Worth Way?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram daily newspaper tells of a "bumbling Fort Worth office" in which more folks "jumped into action only after it was clear that the Rainbow Lounge incident was getting extensive media attention."

Do you see a pattern here?

We recently blogged about Ms. Betty Fay again. Seems she's not the only one that has issue with a certain columnist and his praise of boondoogles. Read this letter from September of last year from Guelma Hopkins to the Star-Telegram daily newspaper. Some things here, just tend to stay the same...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Earlier this week it was reported that office space vacancy in downtown Fort Worth is at a 25 year high. All hope this will change, however they agree it could get a lot worse before it gets better.

On the national news it was reported in Fort Meyers, FL, one couple are the lone occupants of a brand new thirty-two story condo. They say it's like living in a ghost town.

Aside from the fact building anything in the middle of the river is a bad idea, why do we need more empty offices and high rise condos no one can afford?

If the Homeless program can hold out until then, maybe they can use the condos at Trinity Uptown.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Texas Earthquakes

Those of you living in the Cleburne earthquake zone might want to read TX Sharon today.

Speaking of

Don Young. He sent us a video on supposed "clean" fuel in the Barnett Shale.

Since Durango already has it up and running, drop in and watch it. You don't want to miss it.

Also, The Denton Record-Chronicle has a very informative article as of late. It's another item you can't afford to miss.

Hold your breath.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


To one of our regular contributors, Don Young. Don won a Fort Worth Star-Telegram contest about the most inspiring places to stand in North Texas.

Grand-prize winner: Don Young: Tandy Hills Natural Area

3500 View St., Fort Worth

Don, who lives in Fort Worth, writes: "Tandy Hills Natural Area is a special place simply because it is still here.

"Over 99.5 percent of all the native prairie, in the U.S.A., is gone — even more in the Metroplex. For this oasis to survive adjacent to I-30 and surrounded by a neighborhood in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas — a place crawling with developers and gas drillers — is more than remarkable. It’s a precious gift.

"The 160-acre natural area is a living, postage-stamp-sized snapshot of what the entire region once looked like before settlers arrived . . . The spring wildflowers are more breath-taking here than anyplace else in the Metroplex, attracting lovers, families and butterflies. In the fall, tall native grasses sway mysteriously in the wind, inspiring poets, painters and philosophers. The sunsets and moonrises seen from the tops of the many hills are often jaw-dropping. The sky above THNA is filled with birds and migrating swarms of Monarch butterflies. If you’re lucky, you can even spot rabbit, fox, lizard, wild turkey, roadrunner and bobcat . . . .

"All this and it’s only 5 minutes from downtown Cowtown.

"The price? Free.

"Tandy Hills Natural Area was donated to the people of Fort Worth in 1960. 2010 is the 50th anniversary of this public parkland.

"Keep it like it was."

Here, here, Don.

We salute Don and his efforts to help save Fort Worth!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trinity River Swells...

We don't agree with everything stated in the Trinity River Vision editorial in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today. Though we do agree all should read it.