Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WHO's listening?

THE people...that's WHO.

Check out the Letters in the FW Weekly.  Send them to your friends, write your own.  Make some noise Fort Worth, this is YOUR town.

The Weekly staff did a fantastic overview (“Who’s Listening at City Hall?” June 16, 2010) of our esteemed city hall leaders and their collusionary tactics to have things “their way,” no matter the consequences to our communities or environment.

Mayor Moncrief couldn’t pass the litmus test to be hired as dog-catcher. His ego and his cronies have bullied Fort Worth long enough. Not informing the public prior to ordinance changes and then passing them under the table without public comments or recommendations in city hall’s “backroom” should serve notice that these money-hungry “public servants” are due to be voted out come next election. There’s power in the people’s vote, and they need to exercise it to its full potential and show Moncrief and Company there’s another angle to the “Fort Worth Way!”

So, very grudgingly, they came back to our monthly neighborhood meeting and essentially said, “We know that the majority of the neighborhood is against the closing of Galvez Avenue, but we are proceeding anyway.”

The Oakhurst community is correct: The city, under the direction of Mike Moncrief, has become a tone-deaf fiefdom.

This city has rapidly returned to the “bad old days” of closed-door, good-ol’-boy dealings, and the taxpaying citizens of any neighborhood east of downtown are locked out — all while Mayor Mike screams for civility.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hey local media!

TXSharon has a question for you concerning OUR water and YOUR help (or lack thereof). 

And we have to ask WHY no one picks up on WHY there are so many wells near creeks?  They will.  Question is, will it be too late?

What do you know?

Not enough when it comes to YOUR water. Check out the Region C Water Planning info here.

Notice no mention of the millions of gallons used for fracing. Instead YOU need to conserve. Also, take note how many times an "aquifer" is the main source of water to large areas. What happens when that water is contaminated?

Monday, June 28, 2010

WHO's paying attention?

Gas drillers blaming city for rejecting its drilling plans.  WHY would they be rejected?  Maybe because they weren't what they were cracked up to be?

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Chesapeake says it will invoke a contract provision that will give the company another year to resolve permit issues without additional compensation for mineral rights, the residents said.

Residents also say Chesapeake is ignoring a verbal commitment to drill in a less-populated area north of the highway. That promise was made by another gas company that drew up the leases three years ago and sold them to Chesapeake, residents said. They said they weren't aware that Rush Creek was the target site until Chesapeake told them in April.

"If they had gone to the site that was originally promised, they wouldn't have this problem right now," said Cathy Meachum, chairwoman of United Neighbors, a coalition of a dozen neighborhoods and 1,100-plus homes that signed leases but opposed the new site. "The concerns that are there now will still be there in a year."

Chesapeake officials did not return several phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment on their drilling plans.

"They waited until the 11th hour knowing this lease was going to expire this fall, thinking they could ramrod this thing through and nobody would have anything to stop them with," said Bill Campbell, a member of United Neighbors' leadership committee. "I guess they thought this was in the bag."

"That's part of the problem," Cluck said. "If they drill one well, they don't have to drill again for several years."

Chesapeake told residents after the council vote that it would send them letters invoking " force majeure" -- French for "major force." Historically, this provision is a legal defense inserted into contracts because of major, unforeseen events such as acts of God, war, riots and labor disputes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Coming Soon?

To a yard near you..
It ain't just Fort Worth selling its people out.
Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Listening now?

Thanks to TXSharon who pointed out the Dallas Morning News article on the TCEQ meeting last week. And thanks to those who posted comments on the site...they are great. Keep up the great work!

People who gathered Thursday night at Arlington City Hall were mad about smog, and they were even madder about the state agency in charge of fighting smog.

At a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality meeting about the latest round of strategies for cleaning up the air in North Texas, about 200 people cheered and applauded calls for tougher pollution rules.

They jeered – and coughed in unison, holding up paper masks that looked like gas masks – when state officials couldn't answer their questions.

Be sure and read ALL the comments, they are excellent!  (The shills must have taken a day off).  Here's part of a comment from a parent who was in attendance with her daughter...hard to explain to your kids WHY no one was listening....)
My daughter has more of a vested interest in this meeting and what the future holds for her North Texas air than Susana Hildebrand.

I struggled with how to explain to her that we drove an hour and a half one-way, and stayed long after the one who is charged with protecting her did.

“I’m sorry, honey, there goes the person that is supposed to protect you. There goes the person that is supposed to care about your well-being. She works for you, yes we pay her salary, yes she is in a position that is supposed to protect your environment. She must not have noticed that you were here. I’m sure she wouldn’t have walked out at exactly 9:00 p.m. if she had known that you were here.”

Friday, June 25, 2010

Only in Texas...

Would a sentence about a State agency read like this....

State environmental regulators "absolutely" will consider Barnett Shale emissions as part of a new plan to bring North Texas into compliance with federal ozone standards, an official with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Thursday night.

So is it "absolutely" or will consider?

"We are particularly concerned about those emissions in Tarrant County," Hildebrand said. "I'm telling you, we are looking at those monitors. Our plan will look at those sites."

"Are you here to protect the citizens, the people who came out here today, or are you here to protect large corporations?" Tillman asked. "Because frankly, I don't know whose side you're on."

One of the few speakers not critical of the agency was Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, an industry group. He praised TCEQ for installing air-monitoring systems and encouraged the agency to install more.

He said the air-monitoring sites in Dish and other locations have shown that the air near gas drilling sites is safe.

And let us get this straight, TCEQ is now concerned about the air in Tarrant County but the head of the Energy Education Council is not.  Isn't he paid not to be? 
Read about the TCEQ meeting in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram here.

Someone's listening?!

Finally.  Congratulations to Jim Ashford!  Read the article about ethics in Fort Worth, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

It may be an inherent conflict of interest to allow gas company employees to serve on committees that oversee their industry, the city's Ethics Review Committee ruled Thursday.

The panel made the ruling in a case about the makeup of the city's Air Quality Study Committee, which was formed to examine potentially toxic emissions at natural gas sites.

If upheld, the ruling could have far-reaching ramifications because most of the city's regulations on gas drilling were written by committees that included representatives from the gas industry. At least one of the companies plans to appeal the ruling to the full Fort Worth City Council.

The council appointed the air quality committee in March to find a way to determine the level of toxic emissions around gas sites, and its findings could lead to new gas drilling regulations in the city.

The 10-member committee includes three representatives from major drilling companies: Devon Energy, XTO Energy and Chesapeake Energy.

Chesapeake Vice President Julie Wilson said the company will vigorously appeal.

Jim Ashford, an east Fort Worth resident who is suing Chesapeake over noise and air pollution from a compressor station near his house, filed the ethics complaint in the spring. He said it was improper for the gas companies to have representatives on a committee that is studying pollution potentially caused by their industry.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Holy Cow - Update

Earlier this month, we asked if it was going to take kids getting killed to get the truth.  Looks like the answer is yes.

Is the Texas Railroad Commission railroading another "study"?  Read about it on TXSharon.

Sounds like...

The FW Weekly wants to know how you get public records from the Tarrant Regional Water District.  Yeah, us too. 

Cry me a river. Maybe the Trinity River, where the Tarrant Regional Water District, in the midst of a controversial jillion-dollar project, is equally stingy about releasing public records.

They also want you to know about the EPA fracing meeting in Texas.  Don't miss it!

Finally (well, not really — there’s always more on this topic, but Static is out of ink), the EPA has scheduled four “public information meetings” on its proposed study of gas drilling and water pollution. They run from July 8 to Aug. 12, but only the first one is in Texas (“fraccing” having become a major concern in many parts of the country), and the results will help determine the design of the study. The EPA wants “stakeholders” to register at least 72 hours before the meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Fort Worth, 815 Main St. For more information, check the agency’s web site at And then go plant your stake.

Something is very wrong here...

Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Short and to the point. 

Wrong priorities

For this native, longtime resident of Fort Worth, the June 16 Star-Telegram front page was sad reading.

How did we become a city able to vote $10 million-plus to RadioShack yet unable to scrape up enough money to keep even one public swimming pool open for the benefit of average tax-paying residents?

Something is very wrong here.

-- Mary M. Hagar, Fort Worth

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

You are invited to Arlington to tell TCEQ what you think...

On Thursday, June 24 the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is holding its first meeting in four years about Dallas/Fort Worth Smog.

The meeting is to take place from 7 to 9 pm in the City of Arlington City Council Chambers at 101 West Abram Street in Arlington.

This is a Public Meeting. You are invited to show up and tell TCEQ what you think.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

They get it...


With all of the talk lately about air quality in north central Texas, we tend to forget about the many ways in which the oil and gas industry can and does contaminate our water. 

The question no longer remains, "have we seen the worst this industry can do?"

Go to the links below and view acutal citizen video evidence. You will soon learn that these are NOT isolated incidents of contaminated drinking water.




What you need to know about the theft of your mineral estate

In recent months, the gas drilling industry has increased their use of both of these procedures, and what you don't know CAN hurt you!  NCTCA has adoped the position that "Forced Pooling" is a defacto eminent domain "taking" of your mineral estate for private gain, and a Rule 37 Waiver is in fact legally sanctioned THEFT of your mineral estate.  Whether you have signed a mineral lease or not, your personal property and mineral rights can be overridden........

and it's already happening! 

We call BS!

The morning after Josh Fox's movie Gasland aired on HBO, TCEQ claims the air is safe.  Again.  How convenient.

Do they think we believe them?  We didn't the first time, and for good reason.  What did they say caused the air issue in the first place?  Equipment problems.  WHY would new gas rigs have equipment problems?

When our air looks like the water in the gulf, maybe they'll admit they should have been more proactive in protecting THE PEOPLE instead of the industry.  Don't hold your breath...oh wait, maybe you should.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram here.

The state environmental commission has been under fire in recent weeks after admitting last month that it suppressed test results showing higher-than-normal levels of benzene and other toxic compounds at sites in Fort Worth.

Agency officials have repeatedly said that gas drilling doesn't contribute to Dallas-Fort Worth's pollution problem but that it didn't conduct any tests until December -- years after the drilling boom began.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is Mitch Schnurman turning tide on TRV?

We aren't going to comment too much on this as several of our contributors are writing Letters to the Editor.  We'll post those as soon as we have them as well.  YOU NEED to read the article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Don't miss the comments from THE PEOPLE.  WHO's listening?

The water board has become the ultimate can-do agency, because it's empowered by a gusher of gas revenue from the Barnett Shale. The water district has $160 million in surplus funds from its mineral rights and forecasts $30 million more in annual royalties for the next five years or so.

More than a decade ago, the water district threw its weight behind the TRV, an epic project that aims to reroute the Trinity, provide flood control and turn a depressed area into a vibrant collection of new residents and waterfront properties.

But it bets heavily on private companies creating dozens of acres of dense development, an idea that sounds like something from an earlier go-go era. In this climate, it's good to know that the key funding mechanism is in place for 40 years, if necessary.

Local government will provide almost half the costs, with the Army Corps of Engineers and federal sources filling in the rest. Naysayers have long predicted that the TRV will grind to a halt, but the water district is proving to be a creative backstop.

It puts roughly half the land in the central city project under the control of two public entities, the water district and Tarrant County College.

"If we didn't have the gas money, this probably wouldn't happen," says Vic Henderson, president of the water board.

A project as large as the TRV needs more than a champion. It needs a rich uncle.

Clyde's Call Out

Clyde Picht has been busy pointing out inconsistencies with the Trinity Uptown project...and YOUR money.  Read his letter to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram here.

J.D. Granger, Trinity River Vision Authority director, claims that the purchase and cleanup (at public expense, of course) will jump-start development. It shows unequivocally that Trinity Uptown is a development project having nothing to do with flood control. As such, it is illegally using eminent domain, or the threat thereof, to acquire property that will not be used for the public good. Rather, it will be used to line the pockets of private interests and at great public expense.

And here's his letter in the Fort Worth Business Press.  We bet his phone ain't ringing.

Cleanup costs

Frequent letter writer, Don Woodard is right on concerning the cost of environmental remediation in the Trinity Uptown area. The original cost of clean up in the Uptown plan was $22 million. More recently the cost of clean up of just one sector has risen to $43 million. Now the Tarrant Regional Water District has bought a portion of Carl Bell’s property for $17.5 million and TRVA Director, J D Granger says the clean up (at public expense, of course) will give a jump start to development. Excuse me? I thought this was a flood control project. Of course it isn’t and never was.

In the back of my mind I had this notion that the primary mission of the TRWD was to provide water to the region and to provide flood control. Their grand plan for water seems to be through lawsuits against Oklahoma. The main flood threats along tributaries like Big Fossil Creek that feed the Trinity River are being ignored. So why is the TRWD putting $226 million into the Trinity Uptown TIF and now another $17.5 million into a land purchase when neither has anything to do with flood control or providing a future reliable water source for the region? Does anyone remember these two expenditures being a part of the Trinity Uptown proposal back in 2005?

The $17.5 million is a bailout for Bell, pure and simple. TRWD board member, Jim Lane, has been a super fan of Bell, the Cats, and LaGrave Field. Jim is a great guy but as he said after the collapse of another public/private venture, the Mercado project on North Main that cost the city a few million, “I’m a visionary, not a businessman.” No doubt Jim and the board were having vision problems when they decided to help out Carl. The Water District’s contribution to the Uptown TIF is double the 20 year TIF contribution they committed to in 2005. The expectation for completion of this colossal boondoggle is up to 40 years. Would anyone in their right mind expect the cost to stay at the current projected $909 million? Up from $260 million in 2005, by the way.

It’s understandable that John Q. Public has a hard time comprehending what a corrupt process this Trinity Uptown is evolving into, but the grand question is – how can the Fort Worth business community watch so much money being sucked down a black hole (with a surprising similarity to the Super Collider) and not raise holy hell with their elected representatives? Maybe I’m missing something. If I am, call me, my number is in the phonebook.

– Clyde Picht, Fort Worth

What might have been...

Read Don Woodard's latest about the Trinity River Vision (scheme) in the Fort Worth Businsess Press.   Wake up people!  It's YOUR money.

Cost, cost, cost

The estimated cost of Trinity Uptown has tripled over the years from $300 million to $909 million.

Will the next estimate push it over a billion?

The cost of the boondoggle is calculated on Congress coughing up 50 percent, a Tax Increment Fund 25 percent and local taxpayers 25 percent. Who is to say that the bankrupt Feds will ante up? Or who will guarantee that the TIF will not come a cropper like the Radio Shack TIF did? That leaves it all to the locals! Woe! Woe! Woe!

In lamenting not having the funds to tear down the eyesore barnacle that clings to the Court House,

County Administrator G.K. Maenius said that “If the economy and Radio Shack TIF hadn’t turned south, we probably would have had the money! Probably would have had the money!”

When the wished for Trinity Uptown money disappears into thin air like Bing Thom’s designer bridges, and the chickens come home to roost, I can hear the mournful lament: “If we had only known about this or that turn of events, we probably would have had the money.” In his poem Maud Muller, John Greenleaf Whittier spoke eternal truth:

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

– Don Woodard, Fort Worth


Is the day.  Josh Fox Gasland on HBO. 

He's been making the rounds.  Check it out at FWCANDO.

YOU can't afford to miss it!

Friday, June 18, 2010

We've said it before

We'll say it again.  What they don't buy or steal, they pollute.  Read about Canada's water issues with the gas industry on TXSharon.  

Once it's gone, it's gone.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Durango mentioned the three council members that voted AGAINST giving Radio Shack millions.

Are some council members wising up?  Getting braver?

If you want to remain on council, what's worse?  Pissing off the Mayor or THE PEOPLE?

We'll see in May.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WHO's Listening?

Lots of folks now.  Love the FW Weekly article title.  YOU have to read it all, especially if you live in Fort Worth.   If you don't beleive this is how things are run here, attend a council meeting or watch one online.  Then GO VOTE in May.   Rumor is Moncrief will be bailing by then, so that when this mess of a city explodes (literally) he'll have already ridden off into the sunset with his gas millions.  Regardless, LISTEN and VOTE.

One of our contributors told you about the last Riverside Park meeting and we filled you in when Mayor Moncrief rudely addressed Libby Willis.   The FW Weekly tells you what you didn't hear about conflict of interest, silencing of citizens and neighborhood groups, backroom deals, deals with the gas industry and pawnshops, CCPD shell game, deals cut for the Trinity River Vision...the list goes on and on.  It would be comical if it weren't all true.

Many neighborhood representatives now say they believe they and their views are less welcome at city hall, that important decisions affecting their areas are being made without consulting or in some cases even informing them, unless it’s almost too late for them to organize effectively. And when the neighborhood folks show up at city hall anyway, no one is listening.

Some see an organizing principle at work here. From gas drilling regulation to pawnshops to park protection, these leaders say they see city hall as protecting the interests of money –– drillers versus the people who live near wells, the rich part of town versus the not-so-rich, pawnshop corporations versus the people who end up paying enormous interest rates for payday loans –– rather than the interests of citizens.

In the Riverside area, the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association has been fighting the city on a variety of issues, the foremost of which is their effort to save Riverside Park, which the city has proposed to use as floodwater storage as part of the Trinity River Vision project.

“Riverside is being carpet-bombed by the programs that the city has decided to push,” said attorney and neighborhood resident Robert Gieb.

The group has had numerous meetings with city officials, including their own council representative, Sal Espino, only to be told they don’t really represent the area.

Gieb believes city officials have targeted his neighborhood because they are too scared to take on the wealthier West Side, where the new flood storage area originally was supposed to go. However, when that portion of the plan was revealed, the very rich landowners who were targeted to lose their properties raised such hell, threatening lawsuits, that the floodwater storage area was suddenly diverted to the East Side.

When the excavation of their park was proposed, Espino at first vowed that the project would not proceed without the approval of the Riverside neighborhood associations. In three of the four open meetings, the Riverside Park project was voted on, and the majority of those voting opposed it, according to the League of Neighborhood’s president Willis.

“We didn’t toe the line with the city, so the city realized that [the splinter group] would do anything that [city officials] want them to do,” said Gieb. “They hooked onto them and declared that they are a real organization.”

But the city staff told the association that the apartments were not specifically for the homeless but would be “affordable” housing for those employed. It was only through questioning at a public hearing that Councilman Jungus Jordan and city staff acknowledged that the housing project was going to be used for the chronically homeless.

Maybe it was the gas drilling, she said, an issue that put the city council at odds with thousands of its citizens who felt –– and still feel –– that the city has failed to protect their safety and health from the environmental dangers of drilling, compressor stations, and pipelines.

When the city council appointed a panel to study the situation, only one of 10 members was from a neighborhood association. The rest represented downtown business interests, chambers of commerce, and the convention and visitors bureau.

Eastside activist and former president of the Brentwood-Oak Hills Neighborhood Association, Rita Vinson pointed out that night that just before the issue came to a vote, Cash America donated a strip of land near its headquarters on West 7th Street to the city for expansion of a Trinity River bridge. It may have been Cash America just doing business “the Fort Worth Way” as Moncrief said that night, referring to the pawnshop giant’s just being a “good neighbor,” but, Vinson said, “For those representing the interests of the public, the perception of a conflict of interest is as damaging as a real conflict.”

Some observers see what is happening with neighborhood groups as part of a wider power grab by the mayor and council. In February, the council angered a wide cross-section of the community when council dissolved the citizen-appointed board of the city’s Crime Control and Prevention District and named itself as the new board.

That move was opposed by the Fort Worth Police Officers Association as well as members of the volunteer Citizens on Patrol, one of whom, Camille Drinan, said that she felt “betrayed” by the council decision — especially since the taxpayers had just been asked last November to reauthorize the district and its dedicated tax income for five more years. Opposition to the change was heated, with accusations flying that the city, facing a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall, just wanted to get its hands on the lucrative income from the crime-control tax district, an accusation that council members just as heatedly denied.

So much for the “Fort Worth Way,” Vinson said. “I would be happy never to hear the term again,” she said. “[It] began as a genteel expression to characterize the way we Fort Worth folks want to conduct business — polite and respectful –– but it has become degraded to the point of seeming smarmy or even worse: a tool for controlling and silencing opposition.”

Fort Worth Water Wars Continue

The FW Weekly is back on the Water Wars, someone tell them THANK YOU!

Read the article about Mary's Creek Sewage plant here.  Or as Fort Worth calls it "water recycling center".  Article points out more shining examples of the Fort Worth Way...

Some of  us recently met Amy Reed, great spokesperson for this group.  Keep up the great work!  Elections are just around the corner!

City officials have assured residents that “livability” and quality-of-life issues are a top priority when selecting the site. Those claims ring hollow to residents questioning the openness of the process and the sincerity of city officials.

The neighbors worry about creek flooding and erosion from the plant’s water discharges. They worry about bad odors and falling property values.

The Mary’s Creek plant is expected to discharge millions of gallons of “gray water” into nearby waterways each day to be carried downstream.

Sabo and others question whether this is another example of Fort Worth officials catering to developers with deeper pockets while ignoring the concerns of current residents.

“They did this as far under the radar as they could without the public knowing about it,” said Cindy Creswell, another resident living near a proposed site. “When Fort Worth decides to do something, they do it, and then the residents hear about it later.”

Come on honey, that's the Fort Worth Way!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pay up

We took bets back in  December when JD Granger said "Trinity River Vision has no desire to own LaGrave or the entire 58-acre tract."   We asked again in February.

Why then did they purchase it?  Note "at their price". 

TCEQ and TRWD working together to clean up the environmental issues, that should go well. 

And someone please tell us, is Bill Hanna on the TRWD payroll too?  Read his latest about the Tarrant Regional Water District buying out Bell in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The $17.5 million will paid from the water district's mineral revenues.

It isn't the first time the water district has chosen to go that route. The water has already pledged to loan Trinity River Vision's tax increment financing district up to $226 million from its mineral revenue until the TIF can start generating money. The TIF was extended to 40 years late last year, far longer than most tax increment financing districts.

Tsk, TIF

Another example of another failed TIF. WHO thinks these are a good idea?  YOUR elected officials gambling with YOUR money.  The Trinity River Vision wants a 40 year TIF.  How long was the Radio Shack TIF?

WHO will be around when YOUR kids are paying for something else that fell apart and didn't go as planned?

Read an example in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Two years after the civil courts building was scheduled to be demolished, Tarrant County officials say they don't have the money to raze the monument to bad 1950s architecture and give the historic courthouse some breathing room.

Another factor is the loss of funding from a tax increment financing measure connected to the former RadioShack campus, Whitley said.

"The TIF was supposed to do two things: RadioShack was going to spend $9.8 million in improvements bringing utilities over there," Maenius said. "Part of what we were to receive compensation for was to help us with the acquisition of the Technology Building from RadioShack and part of it was to generate enough money to take the old civil courts building down."

Under a new incentive package that goes before the City Council today, the TIF agreement would change to pay RadioShack $4 million more over the next five years.

At any cost...

North Richland Hills already has flooding issues. Soon, they will have more.

Read about last night's city council meeting in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sounds like they are taking notes from Fort Worth, soon it will be the NRH Way.

The City Council listened to more than two dozen residents Monday night who asked them to slow development near Little Bear Creek, but the council voted unanimously, and with no discussion, to approve a developer's plans to add houses in the Thornbridge subdivision.

Before the 6-0 vote to approve the plat of 7 acres just west of Precinct Line Road, Mayor Oscar Trevino and Mayor Pro Tem Ken Sapp lectured the opponents instead.

The Monday night agenda item was a request from developer John Barfield, a significant player in North Richland Hills,

The creek ordinance, passed in 1996 to improve drainage and to protect the natural qualities of the waterway, was modified in 2004 at Barfield's request. He submitted an engineering plan to reclaim the land in the flood plain, which Morrow said should not have been allowed given other environmental restrictions.

Many of the speakers contended that Little Bear Creek is stressed enough from runoff and flooding properties downstream. But Trevino told them that they must "understand development is going to happen."

Wonder if those new homes will require flood insurance since they are in the flood plain, but since the developer has cash, now they are not.  Remember the flood insurance in Texas has lapsed due to another group of elected officials.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Leave it to Congress

To leave its citizens Up a Creek...Last week 20 dead in flood in Arkansas.  Today flash floods in Oklahoma.  Texas leads the nation in deaths due to flooding. 

Read the letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Business Press.  YOU can't afford not to. 

Up a creek

Due to inaction by Congress, on May 31 the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) expired and has not been reauthorized. Without the NFIP, property owners in designated flood zones across much of Texas cannot obtain flood insurance to protect their properties. As a result, those seeking to purchase property in a flood zone are not able to obtain a mortgage, without purchasing flood insurance.

This lapse in judgment on Congress’ part could have devastating results for the recovering Texas real estate market as families and homeowners seeking flood insurance are left without an option to purchase and those with expiring policies are left unprotected and unable to renew.

June marks the official start of Texas’ hurricane season, and many Texas homeowners are left with the added worry that their property may not be protected. If we have learned anything in the wake of Hurricanes Ike and Rita, it is flood insurance is a necessity for Texas homeowners. Hurricanes are not the only source of flooding as Central Texas, Houston and Dallas have all experienced flash floods in recent years.

For some time now, Congress has been approving a series of short-term extensions of the NFIP but this is the third time the program has lapsed this year. Previously, on March 28, the NFIP expired for several weeks due to Congress’ failure to agree on how to pay for extensions of other government programs and subsidies that were combined with the latest short-term NFIP extension.

As a Texas Realtor, I urge Congress to take immediate action on a lasting NFIP extension to protect a recovering real estate market and the millions of taxpayers that rely on the program for flood insurance.

– Bill Jones
Chairman, Texas Association of Realtors, Austin

WHO knew?

Everyone, including the greedy, they just choose to ignore the facts.  After all, it's YOUR money.  Read Mr.Don Woodard's latest about the Trinity River Vision Boondoogle scam in the Fort Worth Business Press

Does the Shadow know?

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of environmental demons lying in wait in the path of the Trinity Uptown boondoggle? When the Build–it-at-any-cost, Damn-the-taxpayers eminent domaining-economic developers start digging in the can of worms known to be contaminated by a century of heedless chemical and industrial disposal, will they come to rue the day? Only the Shadow knows!

Five years ago a far-seeing observer of the Fort Worth scene wrote me a letter discussing the environmental hazards of digging in the soil of the Trinity Uptown project. I quote: “It seems to me that if the Vision is going to be realized as anything like Bing Thom’s Venetian’s model suggests, the diversion channel and canals will be excavated through an ocean of buried pollutants releasing contaminants into the Trinity River causing environmental problems from here to the Gulf of Mexico.

“It would be interesting to know what chemicals were manufactured, used and their residue buried by American Cyanamide, McKinley Iron Works, Southwestern Brass, Texas Refinery, Texas Electric and many scrap metal concerns.” I remember that two or three years ago the city conducted water tests in the area and sounded the alarm at what was found.

The letter writer ended with this prediction: “The TRWD is going to get well into this project and two things are going to happen:

1. The pollution remediation bill is going to come home to roost and the costs will go through the roof.

2. Congress is going to withhold funds that Granger was counting on when her party was in the majority and her earmarks are going to end up on the sausage maker’s floor, and the City/County/Water District will propose higher taxes.”

I might add to the writer’s eerie predictions that Bing Thom with his designer bridges and the debacle of his costly unbuilt Tarrant County College Bridge over the River Trinity has long since fled the scene with his bag of taxpayer gold.

– Don Woodard, Fort Worth

No #@$!

Read about the pipeline craze in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
WHY is Fort Worth the guinea pig?  Ask your city council.

"Fort Worth is certainly kind of the guinea pig in this level of urban gas drilling going on, and with all those wells, you're certainly going to generate a whole spider web of new pipelines," said Carl Weimer, executive director of Bellingham, Wash.-based Pipeline Safety Trust, an advocate for stronger regulation of pipelines nationwide.

Weimer said state and federal regulations in Texas have created a patchwork system of oversight that could be improved.

"What if that accident happened two blocks from an elementary school?" state Rep. Lon Burnam said. "I feel like what we've learned between the disaster in the Gulf and these two accidents in Texas ... is that regulation has been entirely too lax."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coming soon to a creek near you

WHO thinks gas wells in flood plains are a good idea?  No one.  WHO is allowing this to happen and WHY do they continue to be put there?  Free water?  Free waste dump? 


And read about just one reason it's a bad idea on TXSharon.

Burgess jumps on the Bandwagon

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess is calling out TCEQ now too.  Where are the rest of our "leaders"?

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"The larger issue is why TCEQ officials waited weeks after finding out this data was suspect to come forward and correct their earlier statements," Burgess wrote in a letter to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission.

"TCEQ's response to discovering that its equipment was not able to properly detect certain levels of toxins calls into question the agency's credibility," Burgess wrote. "Texans must be able to rely on their state agencies to fulfill their responsibilities, in this case, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the state's residents."

Air pollution has been an issue since natural gas drilling began to push into urban areas in the last few years. The gas industry has maintained that it causes only negligible amounts of pollution, but the agency didn't conduct any tests at natural gas sites until late in 2009.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What's in YOUR water?

Read about what's in the water in DISH, TX in the FW Weekly

WHO is responsible?  What would YOU do without water?


Tarrant County and surrounding area leads the way in gas wells and the dirtiest air in Texas.  We're sure it's just a coincidence, aren't YOU?  

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In 2009, Tarrant County had an 8-hour average ozone reading of 86 ppb at two locations, one in far north Fort Worth near Keller and another at Eagle Mountain Lake. Both were the highest readings in the state and well above the 2008 revised standard of 75 ppb and much higher than the proposed rule changes.

Jim Schermbeck, head of the environmental group Downwinders at Risk, questioned TCEQ staff about whether any ozone monitoring devices would be placed in Wise County since the highest concentrations of ozone in the Metroplex have consistently been found in northwest Tarrant County, near the Wise County line.

The Sierra Club has threatened to file a lawsuit if the EPA fails to make Texas comply with the Clean Air Act.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You are invited!

To the Shale Energy Forum in Fort Worth next week.  Details in the Fort Worth Business Press.

Also, in the Fort Worth Business Press, more information on the TCEQ blunder.

“I have worked diligently to be certain that TCEQ will do its job to protect us, and I am extremely disappointed that they have damaged their credibility so badly,” State Sen. Wendy Davis, District 10, said following the revelations that an anonymous fraud complaint filed led to the investigation and new data analyses showing benzene – although nothing was disclosed to the public.

“It is disappointing that TCEQ has violated the public’s trust and now local officials are being forced to spend scarce local dollars to perform their own air quality tests,” she said.

Not if...when...

Luckily this pipeline was not in a residential area (like front yards on Carter Avenue or next door to a school).  Read about the pipeline explosion on Durango.

Our thoughts are with the families of those lost in this tragedy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Common Sense

See why we love this guy?  Mr. Woodard has an excellent Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  YOU can't afford to miss it.

A shell game

The Tarrant Regional Water District approved a funding agreement May 18 for the Trinity River Vision project, allowing it to loan up to $226 million interest free to the project's tax increment financing district until it starts generating revenue. Isn't this like taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another? What kind of razzle-dazzle shell game is this?

There is no guarantee that the TIF will ever generate a sufficient amount to repay that loan, and even if it does, that money will sound for 40 years like a giant sucking sound flowing out of the city's general fund.

We are told that the TRWD loan is not tax money, that it's coming from the water district's natural gas revenue. What fools do they take us for? That natural gas revenue belongs to the taxpayers.

Instead of squandering it on the earmark boondoggle Trinity Uptown, TRWD could invest it in a fund to build a future Marvin Nichols dam.

I resent it being said that the TRWD is spending money like a drunken sailor on shore leave. I was in the Navy. Every drunken sailor I knew stopped spending when his money ran out.

- Don Woodard Sr., Fort Worth

Friday, June 4, 2010

Holy Cow

More cows dead, this time in Palo Pinto.

 Read about it on TXSharon.

What happens when it's our kids??

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Of course they do...

Title of an article in the Dallas Morning News  - "Texans in Congress say drilling support not tied to oil industry donations."  Put your boots on, then read the article.  Be sure and check out the chart of how many millions YOUR representative has received from the industry.  If someone gave you $2 million WHO would you vote for?

Texans in Congress – many of whom have received hefty campaign contributions from the oil industry – are standing firm in their support for offshore drilling as oil gushes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal campaign records show that nearly a third of the Texans in Congress get more donations from oil and gas companies than from any other industry.

"Companies do not give contributions out of an altruistic feeling of supporting the democratic process," said Tyson Slocum, energy program director of the consumer protection group Public Citizen. "They expect a return on their investment. Their return is access. Their return is favorable treatment."

What do the TRV and the NBA have in common?

We are told we can't survive without the economic impact of both.  What was the projected economic impact of the NBA All-star game? $152 Million.  What was the actual?  $0.   Imagine that. 

Read the article on WFAA.com  You can't afford not to.   Remember the Super Bowl is coming, Fort Worth wants to spend $4.5 Million on that.   Yes, the same Fort Worth who is currently $77 Million short on their budget.  Sounds like the Fort Worth Way.

That raises new questions about the consultant who produced the study — the same man who says next year's Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium will deliver a $600 million boost to the region.

But the State of Texas set aside $15 million in taxpayer money to get the whole party off the ground. About $2 million of that has already gone to cities for costs they incurred.


Be there.
Your health depends on it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Say it ain't so...

Mayor Tillman can't go.

He's the only HOPE we know.

Check it out on Durango.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Catching on...

THE PEOPLE are catching on to their politicians, guess what that means?  For some of you, your days in office are numbered.  Let's hope you can count something besides other people's money.

Seems like Keller took a vote, then ignored it. Is that legal?  WHO should be held accountable?  Reminds us of the bond passing for roads, promised by Mayor Moncrief, instead the money is being used to fund the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, the one in which no one got a vote.

Hats off to Mr. Souder  for his Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram!

Ignoring 'no' vote

In the Tarrant County city where I live and work, our elected city and school officials have defied the will of the constituency on numerous occasions in recent years.

The latest and most glaring example of this indifference to the electorate is the new Keller Library.

I recall no less than two elections for a library that were soundly defeated at the polls. It appears that our city leaders took a page out of the Keller school district playbook (the million-dollar artificial turf after a "no" vote) and scammed the citizenry to build a new library anyway by paying for a plan to "refurbish" the old library.

I encourage all registered voters in Keller to visit the "refurbished" library and let our city leaders hear about it. The planners and contractors did an excellent job, and our "new" library is first-rate, but that is not really the point. Was this really the best use of our tax base? How can the city leadership so brazenly execute its own agenda against the will of the people?

It will only get worse unless all residents get involved, attend a City Council meeting, a school board meeting or make an appointment with the leadership to discuss concerns. Demand transparency, fiscal responsibility and ethical conduct and take your city back!

-- Timothy J. Souder, Keller