Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wyoming Water

What do Wyoming and Texas have in common?  Their water is being threatened too, and we're not just talking about the supply.  We're talking about the safety.  The players and the story are the same - the industry, politicians, EPA, Enviormental Quality for the state...the only difference is the location.  Oh and in Wyoming, the state controls mineral rights.  So WHO profits exactly?

The PBS video on TXSharon is lengthy, but those of you needing water to survive (yes, that's YOU) should take time to watch it.

YOU can't afford not to.

Monday, August 30, 2010

North Central Texas Communities Alliance Newsflash

August 2010

Texas Commission on Environmental Questions 


We are forwarding this important information regarding the Webcast that TCEQ is offering at their offices throughout the State on Tuesday, Aug. 31st.  Unfortunately, CITIZENS did not receive notice of this event until FRIDAY and the end of this last week! We feel certain that INDUSTRY groups had notice well in advance of the time of our notification, and THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

We know that various environmental and  citizen advocacy groups around the State are doing our best to get the word out about this, and  encouraging our Members and contacts to participate as much as possible.  However, since most of these organizations are run by volunteers, the majority of whom have work and family schedules to consider and are not attending because they are on the industry's payroll,  We believe that the scheduling of this event hinders wider CITIZEN participation, and we are the folks that the TCEQ REALLY needs to hear from!

Whether you are able to go in person or not, here's what we are asking that you do, as a  CITIZEN: 
  • Send an email to the TCEQ Headquarters office expressing your concerns over their disregard, once again, for the Citizens' schedules. Please copy NCTCA on your email:  nctcalliance@yahoo.com
  • Suggest that for any such future events, webcasts, etc., that the TCEQ consider the schedules of working citizens and at least extend the hours of such events to 6:00, 6:30 or 7 pm to allow time for citizen participation.  REMIND them that the TCEQ is under SUNSET REVIEW during the upcoming Legislative Session, and these are the kinds of things that are important to the CITIZENS of Texas!
  • Mark your Calendar for our NCTCA Oct. 7th (Thurs) meeting; our Program will be:
Texas Railroad Commission
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

What YOU Need to Know & Do NOW!

BP AIR spill

Another BP spill has caused a small Texas town to make the New York Times.  Any of this story sound familiar?

Read about Texas City residents and their problems with BP.  YOU can't afford not to.

Trinity River Vision Boondoogle

Ain't all it's cracked up to be.  And contrary to popular belief among the politico's...not everyone wants this billion dollar tax payer scheme.

Lots of folks don't want a scrap yard moved to their area either.  Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  This is what eminent domain gets you.

 As the Trinity River Vision project moves forward, the relocation of the Commercial Metals Co. scrap yard is drawing opposition from those who don't want it moving into their area.

"Basically, we're opposed to them putting in an eyesore. No matter how they decorate it or how they try to put lipstick on a pig," said Mac Churchill, chairman of the I-35W Coalition, which is working to widen the freeway and beautify the corridor that they see as the gateway to Fort Worth.

"The project is devastating to surrounding property values and forever prevents any meaningful redevelopment of this inner-city neighborhood," Randolph said. "While we have been supportive of the Trinity River Vision, the manner in which they are taking a troubled area and simply moving those problems to other areas in our city does not represent true redevelopment."

The Trinity River Vision Authority, a political subdivision of the water district, negotiated the purchase of Commercial Metals' current scrap yard. Its executive director, J.D. Granger, said he has looked for alternate sites.

To residents of Oakhurst, who have been battling the city over the shifting of flood storage to nearby Riverside Park, the scrap yard would be another undesirable thing the city is sending to their part of town because of the Trinity River Vision.

"It's all the same thing," said Ginger Bason, president of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association. "The whole thing is tied to that Trinity River thing.

"I'm not against it, but I don't think it's right to do something better for someone while making other things bad for others."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Where the money is...

There's been a lot of questions about ethics (or lack thereof) in Fort Worth lately.

Here's another one - does anyone find it odd that in the heart of the Barnett Shale, "more oil and gas-related federal political donations have originated in Fort Worth 76102 this election cycle than in any other U.S. ZIP code"? 

Read about it on OpenSecrets.org.  YOU can't afford to miss it.

Trinity River Trash

The portion of the Trinity River in Tarrant County is said to have more PCB's (toxins) than any other portion of the river.  And don't get us started on the trash in the river.

That's not stopping the Trinity River Vision Authority from looking at ways to make money off of it.  They want to make the Trinity a tubing destination.  Yes, you read that right.  Read about the latest scheme in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Don't miss the comments from THE PEOPLE. 

And for those who question the wisdom of swimming in the Trinity, officials say it is safe for tubing. While there are warnings against consuming fish from stretches of the Clear and West forks through Fort Worth, there are no advisories against swimming.

The Trinity is not a spring-fed river like the Comal or the San Marcos, but Rockin' R thinks that plenty of others like Burnett and Schultz might be willing to go tubing in Fort Worth.

"I think it would be good for a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon, regardless of what the perception is," Wolf said.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Watching OUR Water

Another good Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Where is YOUR water going?  And is YOUR water bill increasing?

Recycling drilling water

Almost every day there are media ads urging us to conserve water as our supply is not unlimited and we'll eventually run out. We've even negotiated to import water from Oklahoma.

Several area cities have enacted some very strict yard watering rules and some even require rain meters on automatic sprinkler systems. This is good.

What isn't good is that these same cities allow the gas drillers to use all the water they need for drilling and fracking their wells.

These operations require several million gallons or fresh water per well. After fracking, the contaminated water is, in most cases, injected back into the ground in disposal wells that are about 2 miles deep. This is bad and a waste of water.

I understand that a small percentage of this contaminated water is being purified and reused on other wells. Apparently the technology to recycle the used, contaminated water is available, although it's probably more expensive than the disposal well method.

A deadline should be set to require that all drillers recycle their waste water. Drillers are making tremendous profits and have the monetary resources to build recycling plants. The extracted chemical residue could also be recycled. This would be a "green" solution for some of our potential water problems. This would be good.

-- Larry McGuire, Crowley

Mayors ask Granger for money

However, there is none.  Maybe we should take the Trinity River Vision money and spend it on things cities and citizens really need.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Read the comments too.

North Texas has benefited from earmarks, such as those set aside for the $909 million flood-control and economic-development project known as the Trinity River Vision. An earmark places a certain amount of money in a funding bill and tells a federal agency specifically how to spend it.

Granger said the federal government may be too big to work well, something she hopes can change if Republicans regain a majority in Congress.

"We are so big and so out of control," she said. "I think it will take major changes. ... It's going to be one tough job and one that won't be popular."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There's still time...

Fort Worth City Council meeting at 10:00 this morning
Be there!

Mayor Tillman asks

Texas Lone Star answers.  Mayor Calvin Tillman of DISH, TX needs YOUR help.  As much help as he's been to the residents of the Lone Star State, please take this opportunity to help him (and YOU)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

YOU (THE PEOPLE) are invited!

TOMORROW - AUGUST 25th - Be there!!!

We received this email concerning the Fort Worth City Council Ethics fiasco (it is actually one of many fiasco's in Fort Worth, though this one is generating lots of attention from lots of folks...Finally).


Last week, the Fort Worth City Council, acting as the appellate body for a recent Ethics Commission decision to disallow drilling industry employees to sit as voting members of the Air Quality Study Committee, overturned the Commission's decision. The mayor announced that new members of the Ethics Commission would be appointed and that one of their jobs would be to review the Ethics Code.

However, what is not widely known is that TOMORROW, Tuesday, August 25, the Council may vote on proposed changes to the Ethics Code which were only posted to the council's agenda last Friday.

We are urging you to contact your Council members and/or attend tomorrow's 10:00 a.m. City Council meeting to urge the Council to DELAY for a significant period of time making any changes to the Ethics Code. These proposed changes could affect not just the Air Quality Study Committee, but potentially all commissions, advisory boards, study committees, task forces, etc.

Council meets tomorrow:

Fort Worth City Hall

1000 Throckmorton

City Council Chambers

10:00 a.m.

To protect our democratic process, the citizens need time to 1) know about proposed changes to the Ethics Code; 2) understand the implications of any changes; 3) offer their own suggestions; 4) have the opportunity to participate in the public hearing on changes at a NIGHT meeting of the Council when more could participate.

Please see below an opinion piece about the proposed changes, news articles about last Thursday's special City Council meeting to hear the appeal of the Ethics Commission decision, and the content of the Mayor and Council communication about the proposed changes to the Ethics Code.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial, Aug. 23, 2010

Fort Worth ethics inquiry focused on the wrong people

It's unfortunate that an ethics brouhaha at Fort Worth City Hall has focused on three people who are employees of energy companies.

John Satterfield of Chesapeake, Darren Smith of Devon and Nina Hutton of XTO should not be labeled as unethical because of anything they've been shown to have done while serving on the city's Air Quality Study Committee. They are among the 10 voting members named by the City Council, charged with making recommendations about testing for hazardous emissions from Barnett Shale natural gas facilities.

The three may have been in technical violation of the city's ethics ordinance, although the council decided unanimously on Thursday that they were not. Any blame lies not with them but the council.

They did exactly what the council, at the urging of Mayor Mike Moncrief, asked them to do: represent their employers on the committee, which the ordinance forbids. Moncrief and the council should have known that.

"No member of a city board or commission shall knowingly represent, directly or indirectly, any person, group or business entity ... before the board or commission of which he or she is a member," the ordinance says.

Satterfield, Smith and Hutton acted honorably after the Ethics Review Committee ruled in June that their service violated the ordinance, an allegation with which they disagreed. They removed themselves from voting on important Air Quality Study Committee matters, which they were not obligated to do before the City Council heard their appeal.

What should be of more concern than the actions of these three individuals are those of Moncrief and the council, who not only are defending the appointment of people to represent the views of their employers with voting seats on advisory committees but now are fighting on behalf of the practice. The mayor and council want to revise the ethics ordinance to make that OK.

It's not OK. As the ordinance says, "no officer, employee or member of any board, commission or committee should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect ... which is in conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest." (Or her duties. Gender-reference anachronisms die hard.)

The sole allegiance of these people should be to the public.

In discussions of this issue, it has been pointed out that the Star-Telegram was represented similarly on an advisory committee a few years back when the city was considering limits on newspaper racks on sidewalks. It wasn't OK then, either. Shame on us.

Moncrief argues that such appointments are the best way to tap the knowledge of "subject matter experts." That goal would be better accomplished by asking people whose employers might be affected by a committee's actions to serve as nonvoting members.

Finally, the council clearly has not concentrated its attention on the ethics ordinance or the Ethics Review Committee itself in some time. The committee rarely meets, and it has vacant seats as well as members who have served for two decades.

The council should approach any ordinance rewrite with extreme caution. In particular, although it caused problems in this case, the focus on the actions of individuals should not change. The best way to enforce ethical behavior is to hold individuals responsible for it.

In this case, the council should not have asked people to do something they would have been better off not doing.

Mayor and Council communication on proposed Ethics Code Ordinance changes



SUBJECT: Adopt Ordinance Amending the City's Code of Ethics to Clarify when Certain Advisory Board Members Must Disclose Interests or Recuse from Participating in or Voting on Certain Matters, to Address Various Sanctions under the Code, and to Address Appointment of Ethics Review Committee


It is recommended that the City Council adopt the attached Ordinance amending the City's Code of Ethics to (i) clarify when a particular advisory board member must disclose certain interests or recuse from participating or voting on certain matters before the board to which the member has been appointed; (ii) provide that a person does not violate the Code of Ethics for conduct undertaken by that person in reliance upon an opinion of the City Attorney that such conduct is permissible and would not constitute a violation of the Code; and (iii) address the appointment of the Ethics Review Committee.


The City Council regularly creates task forces to make recommendations to the City Council regarding a variety of issues that are highly technical, specialized and complex. The members of these task forces are citizens who are volunteering their time in response to a request by the City Council for assistance and service.

In order for such task forces to be able to address these issues in any substantive and effective way, members of these task forces often need to have personal or professional knowledge, insight and expertise with respect to the issues before their committees. Therefore, it is sometimes inevitable that a member of one of these boards will be an employee of, or have some other remunerative relationship with, a business or industry interest that is, in some way, tied to the issues before the task force. In fact, these professional connections typically are not only known by the City Council at the time of the member's appointment to the board, but are actually prerequisites or a primary basis for the appointment.

Accordingly, at a special meeting of the City Council on August 19, 2010, the City Council requested the City Attorney to prepare an amendment to the Code of Ethics which clarifies that individuals serving on these task forces will be permitted fully to participate in and vote on matters before the boards to which they have been appointed. In doing so, the City Attorney has also noted that the Ethics Review Committee, which is appointed by the City Council to rule on alleged violations of the Code of Ethics, has authority to sanction a person for conduct, even when that conduct was undertaken in reliance upon an opinion of the City Attorney that the conduct was permissible and would not constitute a violation of the Code. For example, if the City Attorney's opinion is that a task force member may participate in and vote on a particular matter before the board to which the member was appointed, the Ethics Review Committee (and the City Council in its appellate authority) could interpret the Code differently and sanction that individual for violating the Code of Ethics, even though that person's actions were based entirely on the City Attorney's guidance or opinion. In the interest of fairness, the City Attorney recommends that the Code of Ethics be amended to provide that a person does not violate the Code to the extent that the person's conduct was consistent with an opinion of the City Attorney that the conduct was permissible.

In addition to the Ordinance amending the Code of Ethics itself, a copy of the Code is attached and redlined to show how the amendments are integrated into the Code.

Section 1 of the Ordinance clarifies that the policy declaration of the Code of Ethics, which is essentially a preamble that explains the purpose of the Code, is not a part of the Code itself. In other words, a person cannot violate the Code of Ethics unless that conduct is clearly prohibited by the Code. This amendment is reflected in Section 2-236 of the redlined Code.

Section 2 of the Ordinance simply adds terms and definitions for "City Attorney", "resident", and "task force", all of which are necessary for reference in other parts of the Ordinance. The most important term is "task force", which is defined as an advisory board that is intended to address a specific issue on a temporary or short-term basis. This amendment is reflected in Section 2-237 of the redlined Code.

Section 3 of the Ordinance merely addresses a housekeeping matter. It corrects a previous reference to members appointed to advisory boards established "by ordinance, charter or state law." Often, advisory boards are established by City Council resolution or vote. This amendment clarifies that the provision in question applies to all advisory board members, regardless of the method of their appointment. This amendment is reflected in Section 2-238(a)(6)d. of the redlined Code.

Sections 4 and 5 of the Ordinance amend the Code to allow a task force member fully to participate in and vote on any matter before the task force to which the member has been appointed. These provisions recognize that task forces are intended only to address specialized, and often complex, issues in a short amount of time, and that their members are often appointed because they have specific professional expertise connected to the issues the board is considering. Because these task forces are advisory only, any professional connections that the members may have can be taken into consideration by the City Council when the Council receives recommendations from the task force; they should not disqualify members from participating in matters that the Council desires. These amendments are reflected in Section 2-238(d)(5) and Section 2-239(d) of the redlined Code.

Section 6 of the Ordinance amends the Code to specify that a person does not violate a provision of the Code for conduct undertaken by the person in reliance, either directly or indirectly, upon an opinion of the City Attorney. Whether specific conduct was undertaken in reliance of the City Attorney's opinion is a factual question that is to be resolved in a preliminary hearing of the Ethics Review Committee, as addressed later in the Ordinance. This amendment is reflected in a new Section 2-239.1 of the redlined Code.

Sections 7 and 8 of the Ordinance are minor amendments that address the appointment process and terms of service of the Ethics Review Committee. These amendments are reflected in Sections 2-241 (c) and (d) of the redlined Code.

Section 9 of the Ordinance addresses another housekeeping matter. The Code currently stipulates that the Ethics Review Committee is to meet on a quarterly basis. In the past, there has not been enough business before the Committee to warrant quarterly meetings. This amendment specifies that the Committee shall meet as necessary to carry out its duties. This amendment is reflected in Section 2-243 of the redlined Code.

Section 10 of the Ordinance fixes another perceived shortcoming in the Code. Currently, in order to have standing to file a complaint under the Code of Ethics, a person must be a registered voter, if eligible, of the jurisdiction where he or she resides. As a result, a Fort Worth citizen who is not registered to vote is ineligible to file a complaint, while an eligible voter who lives in San Antonio, for example, could file a complaint. Because the Ethics Code focuses on purely local matters, it is recommended that all residents of Fort Worth have standing to file a complaint. Non-residents would not have standing. This amendment is consistent with the current eligibility requirements for members of the Ethics Review Committee, which is that they be residents of the City. This amendment is reflected in Section 2-247 of the redlined Code.

Section 11 of the Ordinance requires the City Attorney to review all complaints and to notify the Ethics Review Committee if he or she believes that the conduct asserted in the complaint was undertaken in reliance upon an opinion of the City Attorney. This amendment is reflected in Section 2-249(c) of the redlined Code.

Sections 12 and 13 of the Ordinance provide for a preliminary hearing to be held by the Ethics Review Committee if the City Attorney notifies the Committee that he or she believes that conduct asserted in a complaint was undertaken in reliance upon an opinion of the City Attorney. The City Attorney's written notice and testimony that conduct was undertaken in such reliance constitutes prima facie evidence that the person complained against did not violate the Code of Ethics. This amendment is reflected in Section 2-251(b) of the redlined Code. The amendments reflected in Section 2-251(a) are simply resulting clerical changes.

Finally, Sections 14 through 17 of the Ordinance delete the provisions in the Code that allow the Ethics Review Committee and the City Council to impose sanctions against an individual whose conduct is found to have been undertaken in reliance upon an opinion of the City Attorney that the conduct was permissible and would not constitute a violation of the Ethics Code. These amendments are reflected in Section 2-255(a) and (b) and Section 2-256(i) and (j) of the redlined Code.

Sections 18 through 20 of the Ordinance are standard savings, severability, and effectiveness clauses.

Fort Worth Example

And no, it's not a good one.  The Ethics fiasco in Fort Worth has been used as an example of what not to do on CityEthics.org.

Thanks to our readers for passing on the info!  Keep it coming.  Someone is listening...

Anyone see a pattern here?

Another Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  You should ask your Congresswoman and Mayor these questions.  IF you get a response, share it.

Do people lose their common sense when voted into a political office? Or do they become so power-hungry that they don't consider what is best for their constituency?

Fort Worth City Council members are spending $821,000 on a study about streetcars at a time when they are talking about closing libraries. The council also is spending millions of taxpayer dollars on the Trinity River Vision boondoggle.

They seem to have lost track of priorities. It is a disservice to the north-side community to close a well-utilized and vibrant library in a lower income area. Each time I enter the Northside branch, it is full of people. The computers are all being used. People are reading and checking out materials, and the employees are helping patrons.

I am sure there are other areas where taxpayer money is wasted that can be sacrificed to keep vibrant neighborhood libraries opened.

-- Susan Blume, Fort Worth

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cities vs. Big Gas - Continued

Why would a city gift 167 acres to a neighboring city?  At least it is Flower Mound!
The Bartonville story continues on TXSharon

Cities bending over for Big Gas

Yesterday we told you about some cities standing up to the gas companies that are taking over our towns.  Today we tell you about one that is jumping ship.  The city of Bartonville just dumped 167 acres in a special council meeting on Sunday.  Yes, you read that right, Sunday.

Some concerned citizens went to the "public" meeting to learn why.  They learned nothing. 

WHY is Bartonville giving up almost 200 acres of their land?  In today's economy, isn't throwing away land/tax revenue a no-no?

Read about it in the Denton Record Chronicle.  Spread the word, the air ain't the only thing that's dirty out there.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cities standing up to Big Gas?

Seems like some cities in Tarrant County are waking up to the game.  Of course, Fort Worth wasn't mentioned.  Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Then write your city and ask what they are doing to protect you.

What do THE PEOPLE say?

More Letters to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Don't miss them!

The people's money

Thursday's editorial about a streetcar system in Fort Worth again brings up the question of federal money that we must grab before it's offered to someone else. (See: "Streetcar plan is all cart and no horse")

Many people appear to be upset about the national debt and pork, yet here we are, ready to take other taxpayers' money. I doubt people in other parts of this state, or any other state, give a darn whether Fort Worth has streetcars or, for that matter, a Trinity River project.

-- Jody Thompson, Fort Worth

We have heard about the $73 million gap between income and expenses for the city of Fort Worth's next budget. About 65 percent of the city's general budget goes to support the police and fire departments, including retirement benefits. That leaves only 35 percent for all the rest of the employees and city services.

Recently, there was discussion that the gap could be closed without raising taxes. But the price is going to be paid by the ordinary residents of Fort Worth who use the swimming pools and libraries and enjoy the arts.

A monthly "transportation fee" of $5.87 could be added to water bills. My neighbor has five cars but will pay the same fee as I do because the assessment is made per household, not the number of vehicles per house.

The streets need fixing; the transportation fee needs to be equitable. Homeowners who do not own a car would be exempted. If the city can discern who does not have a car, then it can figure out which households have more than one car and assess the fee proportionally.

Bottom line? Water bills are going up, and it's not for water! Higher taxes to follow.

-- Audrey Remley

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fort Worth Lack of Ethics Part 2

Yesterday we told you about the City of Fort Worth overuling and firing their Ethics Committee.  You should read the comments on FW Weekly Blotch from THE PEOPLE who attended the show.

It was revealed that there are supposed to be 5 members serving two year staggered terms, but the commission has been neglected by Moncrief’s Council and that before him. Clyde Picht, former councilman, as a parting recommendation when Moncrief was first elected, said that the commission should be revitalized and made active again. Moncrief responded that an Ethics Commission was not needed.    

Today, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting on the fiasco.  Even the opening sentence would make people outside the Tarrant County corruption bubble say...WHAT??

City officials decided Thursday that it is not a conflict of interest for gas company employees to serve on committees that oversee their industry.

Is that like saying it is okay for the City Council to determine they are not in a conflict of interest because they profit from gas drilling and don't recuse themselves from voting on gas drilling items?  Or that turning over the Ethics Committee finding against themselves is ethical??? 

The comments on their article are quite telling as well.  What are THE PEOPLE saying?  Below are just a few examples, be sure to read them all, and tell your friends.

It's time for a recall election. This is an OBVIOUS conflict of interest.

Ashford's problem is he doesn't understand how the FW city council works. He lost because he brought facts instead of money.

The good ole city of FW continue to amaze me! They allow gas company employees to sit on a board that is to be the watchdog for potential violations of law (epa or health quality issues). Mayor Mike continues to have the world largest mud hole dug and spending money all the while the city falls apart. The current budget has over 85 million dollars set aside for the purchase of land for the Trinity River project. I think this money could be used to offset the deficit. Plus, the city gave Radio Shack a 10 million dollar tax break. Plus, we build a 65 million dollar hotel that the city owns that the voters rejected. (non binding referendum on the ballot) The city non-leaders need to wake up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fort Worth Lack of Ethics

It wasn't said today (for once) but the "Fort Worth Way" is in full swing, again.  The way things are handled in Cowtown are an embarrassment.  The Weekly does a good job of putting it in perspective.  You have to see it to believe it. 

Read about  the Ethics Committee being overruled, then FIRED in the FW Weekly, then send it to your friends near and far.... 

"But the circus of doublespeak didn’t stop there.

Moncrief thanked ethics review committee members for their long service and their “interpretation” of the ethics code — and then fired them all.

After the meeting ended, I called Rebecca Lucas, one of the ethics committee members who had been dumped. She was surprised to hear about today’s appeal hearing — she didn’t know anything about it. This seemed odd to her because Moncrief had called her just this morning to tell her that she and the other ethics committee members were being canned but hadn’t mentioned the appeal hearing.

Lucas stood by the Ethics Review Committee’s original decision. When asked why she thought Moncrief fired her, she said, “The mayor didn’t give a reason, but the timing speaks for itself.”

Last month, Lucas had even predicted her fate. After the ethics committee ruled against the gas executives — or, in other words, questioned the city council’s method of doing business — Lucas told Fort Worth Weekly that her “days might be numbered.”

She was right — 21 days later she was given the ol’ heave ho.

One final thought from Lucas: While the city council is reviewing the ethics code, they might consider revising the loophole that allows city council members to have the final say on ethics violations even when they are the ones being charged with unethical behavior.

To Lucas, it seems unethical for city officials to be defendant, judge, and jury all at the same time."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When the well is dry,

We know the worth of water...is what Benjamin Franklin said.  Now he'd be saying, WTH?!

They say nothing is being contaminated.  Really?  Then what happened in Pennsylvania last week?

Read about it in The Times Leader.  YOU can't afford not to.

Three drinking-water wells near a Chesapeake Energy gas well in Bradford County were found to be polluted with methane gas after the lid blew off one of the water wells last week.

And what happened in Wyoming?  TXSharon has the info.

Weekly reporting the BS

Great job by the FW Weekly reporting on the BS Barnett Shale testing. 

YOU can't afford to miss it.

Critics pointed to many potential problems with the study methodology, starting with two basic ones. First, gas operators were given plenty of notice that their sites would be tested and when the tests would be. And second, none of the tests were done when actual drilling was going on.

And the skeptics noted that, despite the “no harm” conclusion, TITAN’s researchers did find that dangerous chemicals were being emitted. In one case, involving the carcinogen formaldehyde, TITAN scientists reported that the levels found were problematic — but said they saw no reason to believe that the chemical was coming from the well or compressor station.

“TITAN Engineering has close financial ties to Chesapeake Energy. They are the testing firm of choice for Chesapeake whenever Julie Wilson [a spokesperson for the energy giant] wants to prove that a person’s contaminated property isn’t the result of Chesapeake drilling,” Rogers said. “Even more importantly, Doug Canter of TITAN, the person in charge of the recent testing, told everyone at a recent Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods meeting that he gave all of the owners of the sites to be tested a three- to four-week heads-up on when and where the testing would occur. Now you can clean up a lot with that kind of notice.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


A resident was doing some research and came across some interesting info, thanks for sharing!

Chesapeake uses surgical anesthetic for fracturing.

Preparing for Council to convert Westridge into a gas production workplace requiring OSHA regulations to protect the people who live in the workplace, I researched Chesapeake Common Uses Main Compounds in the Fracturing Fluid.

Google: OSHA+ethylene glycol? Press enter

A medical doctor uses ethylene glycol for surgery as a general gas inhalant anesthetic. Also used as local anesthetic. Chesapeake uses ethylene glycol as a scale inhibitor. It works by removing oxygen and people lose consciousness. Glycol is refined out for surgery, but gycol is a double alcohol which also removes oxygen. Scale is killed by removing oxygen. This is empirical evidence that ethylene glycol removes oxygen from open air which makes people feel bad, hard to breathe, sleepy, asthma. Long term exposure kills by slow asphyxiation. Fracturing is open to the air and the odor can cover a large area. (Been there, done it with Chesapeake Nov 2009.)

Combined some of the ingredients the same way OSHA+ingredient+ingredient? Press enter. Remarkable intensity of chemicals that are open to the air combined with uranium from the rocks! (And our background pollution includes New Mexico past atomic energy stuff blowing in from the west. Guest polluter.)

In an attempt to explain Common Use of Ingredients, Chesapeake has confused residential use with industrial use. Residential use is in small amounts and low concentrations like a pinch of salt or a ¼ cup of laundry bleach. Industrial amounts are highly concentrated requiring protective clothing and are used in large amounts like 55gallon drums, l00 lbs., ( 150,000 gallons of additives - Star Telegram.)

Rule of thumb water supply.

For every 25 gas wells drilled and fractured 2 times using 3 million gallons of drinking water each time, a 2 day water supply for Fort Worth will be lost based on FW Water Dept figures of 108 million gallons average daily supply. For the 3,000 wells permitted by FW, 128 days of water supply will be lost. Roughly 1/3 of a year. (FW Water Dept reports 108.5 million gallons average daily sewer supply if you figure exact math. Same numbers in Star Telegram reporting water. They are prepared to pump up to 166 mil gallons a day, as needed.)

Rule of thumb for safety from Kirk Claunch, atty, who wins benzene exposure based on DNA reports.

If you smell it, you are in danger.

Low-dose long-time exposure causes cancer.

High-dose short-time exposure causes cancer.

Continuous monitoring.
Gas Mask Photo by Shannon Bruns

We hear ya...

Maybe you should see to it your "leaders" do.  And not just local "leaders".  Another Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.   Keep making noise...and sense.

Misplaced priorities

I hope your juxtaposition of the Thursday stories on the Trinity Uptown and closing Fort Worth libraries was intentional. It certainly points out the absurdity of the penny-wise, pound-foolish Fort Worth City Council.

While I realize less than $30 million of the $909 million for Trinity Uptown will come from the city of Fort Worth, it is certainly $30 million that can keep a lot of libraries and swimming pools open.

Those bridges over nothing will stand as monuments to the same kind of thinking that built the Mercado, a city-owned Mexican market that cost the city nearly $5 million to construct and sat empty until it was sold for $2 million.

With the current crisis in the federal economy, there is no way the federal dollars are going to come through to finish this boondoggle that will destroy the confluence of the Trinity River. That train has left the station. Forget the bridges. Spend it on the libraries, swimming pools and city services.

-- Barbara Rubin, Fort Worth

Monday, August 16, 2010

Imagine that...

Citizens want to know WHY our money is being committed to the Billion Dollar Boondoggle otherwise know as the Granger Trinity River Vision.

Read what THE PEOPLE have to say in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram letters.

Questionable spending

There it was in black and white in Thursday's paper.

The Fort Worth city manager is proposing library cuts of $1.2 million while the Trinity River Vision Authority approved $80.7 million for its 2011 budget.

The article didn't specify how many millions Fort Worth is paying annually to keep this project (Rep. Kay Granger's despotic federal earmark that provides her son an annual six-figure salary) alive, but it's probably more than enough to keep all its libraries and swimming pools open, and to keep their respective personnel with jobs.

Yes, we all know how Granger decries our billowing federal deficit, but it's obvious she can easily turn her head to this $909 million white elephant while the quality of life for her constituents, the people of Fort Worth, continues to steadily decline.

-- Preston Matthiesen, Fort Worth

Budget blues

Opening the Metro section on Thursday, I was aghast at the arrogance of the Trinity River Vision Authority to approve an $80.7 million budget. This boondoggle under the guise of flood control smacks of continuing capital corruption. This bottomless pit of money from the residents of Tarrant County is shameful during these financial turbulent times.

Did I mention that on the same page was, "Library backers ready for a fight"? Not counting the closing of public pools for lack of funds, "the economic downturn has eaten into city revenues so deeply that city officials want to concentrate on core services: police, fire, water, sanitation and roads."

Is anyone listening?

Raise my taxes! Keep my library!

-- Jennie Paget, Fort Worth

Friday, August 13, 2010

Keep your eye on the money

After all, it's yours.  The Fort Worth Crime Control Prevention District is still in the spotlight.  That happens when you try to keep things in the dark.  So do voter revolts.

Read about it in the FW Weekly

“It was a money grab — it’s that simple,” said a former board member who did not want to speak on the record.

Clyde Picht views the crime district’s $50 million as a slush fund for city officials.

The board meets Aug. 24 for the second time since Mayor Mike Moncrief led a coup in February to dissolve the volunteer board that had overseen the program since its 1995 inception. The mayor and council members then made themselves directors.

Many local leaders and council-watchers were shocked by the council’s move, only a few months after voters, in November, re-authorized the half-penny sales tax for another five years. Since then, several said, they have learned that Moncrief had planned the move for months and intentionally waited until after the election to avoid a taxpayer revolt.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


 Westridge Drilling Permit withdrawn!

This is a solid victory for the CITIZENS of Ft. Worth! We want to CONGRATULATE the citizens of the Como Community as well as the Ridglea/ Westridge area for banding together in a strong, united effort for this success! It shows  what informed, caring citizens can accomplish!

And, it proves that citizens who truly care about their Neighborhoods can't
be bought off!

Read about it on Durango.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's that Smell?

DISH, TX -- A permanent air monitor installed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in DISH, TX near a massive natural gas compressor complex, is giving inaccurate readings. The Town of DISH contracted independent testing near the permanent monitor, and the independent testing showed level of the carcinogen benzene at triple the levels detected by the state's permanent monitor. For the carcinogen toluene the levels detected during the independent testing were 50 times the monitor's detections. Additionally, there were several other chemicals detected that the permanent monitor does not sample for.

DISH is located in the epicenter of the Barnett Shale gas play and is home to a megacomplex of compressor stations, as well as pipelines, metering stations, gathering lines and gas wells. The town of DISH spent nearly 15% of its annual budget on a comprehensive air study after months of complaints to the state regulatory agencies and the operators of the compressor sites, gave the citizens no relief.

DISH mayor Calvin Tillman says that "we really thought our air quality was improving, this is devastating to find this information is inaccurate. The TCEQ permitted this facility, and they have no idea how to clean it up to to protect public health. It is also very disappointing that the State of Texas has spent a million dollars on equipment that is not accurate".

The monitor has been running since mid April and has detected no major problems with the air quality in the community. It is unclear whether the monitor is not capable of producing accurate results, or if the results are being manipulated. The TCEQ has not given the Town of DISH any explation for the false readings, or any plans to protect the health of the citizens of DISH.

For More Information Contact
Calvin Tillman, Mayor, DISH, TX(940) 453-3640, tillman4council@aol.com.

Friday, August 6, 2010

WHO's listening?

Folks in Bedford and Forest Hill.  Sound at all like your city?

Cue the clowns

A July 25 Star-Telegram news article reported that the Bedford City Council is reluctant to issue a special-use permit to the business owner for operation of a haunted house in Bedford. Are council members afraid of competition to their "circus performance" at City Hall on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month?

-- Bob Stewart, Bedford

Forest Hill's challenges

The Star-Telegram's July 26 editorial was correct in saying that whenever Forest Hill is ready to move forward, somehow it reverses and remains in political turmoil.

Are Mayor James Gosey and the city administration arrogant? Yes.

Do the mayor and the council show callous disregard for residents? Yes.

Do the mayor and the council violate governing rules? Yes, city and state.

In their July 30 column, Mayor James Gosey and Mayor Pro Tem Dulani Masimini ask for the "truth." Now that would be enlightening. The residents seldom get the "truth" from most of our City Council.

Councilman Gerald Joubert can be trusted to listen to the taxpayers and attempt to act on their behalf. The others do sometimes, but only if it is to their advantage. When most votes are 6 to 1, the people of Forest Hill have no voice.

Add deceitful to arrogant and callous disregard.

It's like the old shell game -- move fast, talk fast and change direction to keep from getting caught.
Jo Pirtle, Forest Hill

Worth the cost?

Another project THE PEOPLE were told they HAD to have.  The Lewisville Lake Toll Bridge was expected to have 2.1 million people travel it.  The reality? 1.1 million.

Another reminder to be very cautious when a politician tells you that you need something.

Check it out on NBC5.com

Thursday, August 5, 2010

News from NY

What do New York and Texas have in common?  Hopefully soon, our water will be protected too.  Read about NY on TXSharon.

YOU are invited.

TODAY.  Be there.

NO FRACKING WAY! Voices from Gasland Rally

Voices from Gasland: Rally and
Speak-Out Against Fracking
& VOC Emissions
AUGUST 14, 2010 11a.m.
Recite a poem, sing a song, beat a drum!

Make some noise and be heard!
This is your opportunity to Speak and be Heard!
Stay for a Group Photo! Be Part of this Historic Event!

Just like the gas industry, there are no rules, however we do ask
that you respect the rights of others, make no defamatory remarks
and do not use profanity (I know it will be hard). Remember there
will be children present and we want to represent ourselves as
responsible citizens, not roughnecks.

You've got up to two minutes to be heard. Then you must yield to
the next speaker. This is an opportunity to be heard by people who
will listen since pleas to our law makers and state regulators fall on
deaf ears.

There will be security on site and anyone not respecting the peaceful
rights of others will be asked to leave.

News media may be present and (after all it is a media event) your
words and image will be recorded. We anticipate this event to last 1
hour- perhaps a little longer.

If you want to stick around, we will be having a large group picture
made to be used in a press release.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

YOU are invited

The Congresswoman's son is inviting you to float in the most contaminated part of the Trinity River in Texas.  He'll even give you a ride back on the bus WE own.  Ask for a ride in the helicopter while you're at it.

Read about it and the investors coming to town in the Fort Worth Business Press.  We couldn't agree more that the Trinity River Vision needs to go "national". 

“This will be the site of a future canoe launch and we thought it would be a great spot for a tube float,” Granger said. “We own a bus so we’ll take people back to their cars after they float our river, just like in San Marcos.”

We hear Durango had something to say about tubing the Trinity, we'll let him tell you here.

Weekly Accolades

To the FW Weekly and their way with words.  Check out Static about Dirty Air and Hot Air in Fort Worth.

Were you aware that TCEQ has adopted the Fort Worth Way?  Or that we have the dirtiest air in Texas?  Don't forget, Tarrant County claims the top spot for the Trinity River being the dirtiest too. Are you proud?

Who’s number-one in Texas for ozone air pollution? Hint: It ain’t Houston anymore. Yes, folks, Dallas/Fort Worth has unseated the Bayou City to become the state leader in lung-searing, asthma-inducing ozone. Just breathe normally.

And here you thought all that brown stuff you’ve been seeing and breathing for the last few years was just the smokescreen being emitted by Fort Worth City Hall to cover its Barnett Shale see-no-evil/smell-no-evil strategy!

Of course, the Fort Worth City Council insisted on putting drillers on the committee despite protests from residents. An ethics review panel later cited the conflict of interest, but by then the air quality committee had named a contractor.

Moncrief refers to the “Fort Worth Way” so often in meetings that it’s become a joke –– and a potential drinking game. But he seldom uses the phrase in instances when it’s apropos –– such as when kowtowing to the oil and gas industry, throwing ethics out the window, striking insider deals, and ignoring constituents.

Monday, August 2, 2010

NO News

THE PEOPLE are catching on.  

Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Look for the facts

I am so grateful to be living in a country where I can think what I want to think and believe whatever I choose to believe about the issues.

As do most concerned citizens, I get information about what is going on in the country and world from the usual sources: television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the Web and so on.

However, I have become suspicious that those sources of news and information are often not giving me facts.

Are they intentionally omitting information they do not want me to know? Is the information they provide skewed in a manner that supports their own point of view, rather than giving me known facts about an issue and allowing me to use my own judgment in forming my own opinions?

Freedom of the press is a wonderful concept, originating with the Founders. However, in this 21st century, all of us should view the so-called news with skepticism, pending verification from other sources.

Each of us interested and concerned about what is going on in the country and around the world should be careful that we are not merely cherry-picking the "news" and so-called facts that tend to support our own preconceived opinions.

-- Bob Bartles, Fort Worth

NO Water

Lack of water shuts down Weatherford.  Restaurants, businesses, schools closed. 

"We saw it on the news, but I didn’t think much about it until we got here," she said. "You don’t realize how much it effects you until something like this happens."

Shut down is due to a water main break on a 15 year old system.  HOW old is the system your water is on?

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Tea at the EPA

While we like the Tea Partiers and their mission, matter of fact some of our favorite people are Tea Partiers, we were disappointed with what they (one group of them) did today.  Protesting the EPA meeting, really?  

The air belongs to all of us.  And no matter if you are Republican or Democrat, YOU need air and water.  Money won't save you.  Educate yourself.  Please.  If not for your own good, for the sake of your children.

Prosperity is the word of the day, alright.  Check out the flow chart on TXSharon.