Monday, June 21, 2010

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

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