Thursday, September 30, 2010

Trinity River Vision Cowtown Wavepark

The Trinity River Vision and its "Authority" claim the reason for the Vision is flood control. 

We can't find anyone "in the know" that can answer the question, what flooding problems will be corrected with this project?

We can however, find many examples of how the Trinity River Vision Authority plans to charge you in addition to the BILLION dollars you are already paying for the Trinity River Vision.

Just when we think Detective Durango can't top himself, he does.  Don't miss the boat, you'll need it to get out of here when the water begins to rise.

This just in...

From the Undercover Reporter, Detective Durango. 

Lots of happenings going on YOUR money and water.  Great pictures of the Trinity River Vision and the Tarrant Regional Water District signage and mess.  Good thing a trail system will correct all our flooding issues...oh, wait - it won't fix any. 

WHO approved them taking a billion of your dollars?  Did YOU? 
Some of your "leaders" will tell you the money for the Trinity River Vision is in the bank, rest assured they mean YOUR bank. 

Don't miss this special reportOr this one.  YOU can't afford to.

Trinity River Tubing Update

Thanks to Durango for reporting on the latest Trinity River development.   One of our local news stations should hire him.

Check it out here.  YOU have to see it to believe it.

"A very big, very noisy whirlpool forms when the Trinity River runs low at this location. This impoundment of the Trinity River is used as a boating location, with a boat launch tethered on the north side of the dam."

"Recently the Trinity River Vision, in conspiracy with the Tarrant Regional Water District, has been leading people to believe that it is safe and sane to go inner tubing, and swimming, in the Trinity River."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To the point

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

It would be interesting to have an actuary study of how many thousands of residents use the city golf courses and how many thousands of those same people will use the Trinity River project, especially older and retired residents.

-- G.J. Anthony, Fort Worth

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Conserving Water in Fort Worth?

Last week we asked if there was a reporter in the county.

Durango continues to answer the call.  Don't miss it!

Catching up in Fort Worth

Or not.

Over the past couple of days the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has started sharing part of the stories that the FW Weekly put out last week.  The Fort Worth Ethics Committee fiasco and the latest Housing Department questions concerning Councilman Danny Scarth's son. 

WHY would they not tell all of the info?  What happened to reporting?  Oh, we forgot, it's not about the truth, it's just business.

Read about how the Ethics Committee went ahead with their meeting even though there were not enough members present.  Keep in mind, the firing and hiring of the Ethics Committee was not done by the laws of the Charter either.  Think there isn't an ethics problem in Fort Worth?  Think again.  It's the Fort Worth Way.  Those of you non-Texans reading this - send help.  Hurry.

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Arlington Flood Information

From THE PEOPLE in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Good questions.  Any politicians want to answer?  City Staff?  Anyone??

Arlington flooding

Having family that has been flooded out of their home three times, rebuilt twice and now faces the onerous permit issue created by the city of Arlington, they are in financial limbo. The federal flood insurance only pays to repair the home from flood damage. It doesn't pay unless you rebuild. Further, it doesn't pay to raise it two feet above the mean 100-year flood elevation.

A simple solution would be to pay insurance proceeds directly to homeowners with the proviso that the home be removed and the land deeded to the city. Insurance proceeds from contents and flood insurance policies would put money in people's pockets and allow them to move elsewhere.

The amount of money being doled out by the federally backed flood insurance program grows with every flood. It seems prudent to make one final payout and be done with it.

Here's my two cents' worth after living in Arlington since 1954:

There are about nine weather stations in south Arlington providing accurate reports of rainfall every hour. They reported about 1 inch rain Sept. 7. At 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8, the rain increased rapidly to 2.5 to 3 inches an hour and continued for several hours, all of it heading for Rush Creek.

A station off Sublett Road reported a total of 11.33 inches; the average was 8.76.

Why didn't the city emergency management folks have knowledge of this (I did) and sound our tornado/flood sirens?

Next, we are all paying a hefty stormwater fee. Why can't Director of Public Works Bob Lowry's crew use these funds now to clean up Rush Creek so it will drain decently, instead of waiting for approval by the Corps of Engineers? Rush Creek is badly overgrown with trees and brush in south Arlington and probably a lot of other places too.

-- Howard Livingston, Arlington

Jeers: To area news stations for their lack of coverage of the recent flooding. Two of my family members live in a condominium association that flooded so badly that it took ladders to save them from the rushing water. Apparently the unrealistic happenings of soap operas superseded actual human lives.

Cheers: To the Euless Fire Department, public works and city officials who were quick to respond to the victims of flooding in Trailwood, bringing pumps, helping hands and encouragement. Thank you also for taking the time to make safety checks in those homes. To live here really is FabEuless!

-- Audrey Morrison, Euless


North Central Texas Communities Alliance

September 2010 - Emergency Notice


If you find it outrageous that our city council is permitting the conversion of the "horse farm" tract into what will be a noisy, dangerous, twenty-four-hour Heavy Industrial zone for months at a stretch every year, please attend this meeting and sign a card registering your opposition.  Also consider actually speaking against the permit for up to three (3) minutes.

For additional questions please contact Ed Pischedda, Northern Arlington Ambience (Naa!)

To give you a better understanding of exactly why the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) entire structure and procedural policies need to be reevaluated and changed, click on the link below and read an excellent investigative report that reveals the glaring "holes in the cheese" and why citizens have a high level of distrust of the TCEQ and their ability to protect our health and safety!


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More Fort Worth Video

We've showed you the best Trinity River footage and the Fort Worth take a look at last week's council meeting.

Starting at 32:00 minutes there are 7 speakers in a row you might want to watch.  While all of them have some different concerns such as Mary's Creek Sewer Plant, the treatment of Mr. Don Woodard by the Mayor, the damage gas drilling is doing to our air, water and property values, all of these folks mentioned the same thing.  OUR MONEY and the TRINITY RIVER VISION. 

WHY do you think that is?  THE PEOPLE want answers.  To questions such as, wouldn't $26 million go a long way in keeping city employees paid and city services running?  And WHY are WE paying $26 million dollars?  Did WE get a vote?  Remember, that's only the Fort Worth portion (so far), you still have the Tarrant Regional Water District portion and the Tarrant County portion.  Oh yeah, where do those Federal funds come from?  YOU.

ANYONE ever going to answer?  Keep asking.  They can't turn all the mic's off.

Watch it here.
While all the presentations are great, Linda Walsh Jenkins who serves on Gateway Park Board is excellent. (35:50).  And Clyde Picht's questions are as well - the cost, scope and plans for the project have changed greatly, WHY has no one told YOU?  It's YOUR money.

More Fort Worth Way Video

Don't believe it when you hear about the Fort Worth Way?  Watch this City Council video from July.  You only have to see a couple of minutes to "get" the "way things are done here".

Watch it.  Then send help Fort Worth's Way.

Go to 2 hours, 11 minutes and 25 seconds.

Trinity River Video

YOU don't want to miss this.

If you haven't seen the Trinity River Litter Flood, watch it below....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Trinity River Banks

The Trinity River Vision Authority, a political subdivision or semi-governmental group (WHAT is it again?) of the Trinity River Vision keeps inviting YOU down to float in the Trinity River or Tube the Trinity for their Happy Hour float.  They have said the Tarrant Regional Water District, you know, that group that gave themselves a raise last week, has done a good job of keeping the Trinity clear and free from pollutants.  Then why is the Trinity in the top third of the list for contaminated water ways?

Local news media has told a few of Lone Star's friends that the Trinity River Vision and the floating isn't really news. 

When people are being put at risk,  just as they are with the Trinity River Vision, WE think that's news.  What do YOU think?

Watch the best video we've seen on the Trinity River.  You tell us WHO's Vision is blurry?
WHO got the video?  Durango, of course.

Stay tuned.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What Environment?

The Fort Worth Environment.

Read Deborah Rogers special in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  It speaks volumes.  Revolving doors, botched air quality studies, ethics violations.  It's the Fort Worth Way.

Is there a reporter in the county?

Storm's Coming

And Arlington still needs help.

Read the Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Thanks to those orgainizations that step up to the plate and really do help people when they find themselves homeless within a matter of minutes.  Maybe FEMA should get some pointers from the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and area churches. 

After the flood

Thanks to the Chisholm Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the city of Arlington employees, elected officials and church volunteers who came to our aid after the Sept. 8 Arlington floods.

As affected residents, we are still dazed as well as homeless, facing many life-changing decisions about our future. We are grateful to the above-named people in their continued support while making decisions regarding our nearly destroyed homes. May God bless each and every one of you as well as the former residents of our condominium family.

-- Tom Clayton, Arlington

Also, check out the story on

Two weeks after flood waters from Tropical Storm Hermine devastated their neighborhood, residents along Rush Creek in west Arlington say they feel forgotten and need help.

Nearby, a complex of apartments and condos is all but abandoned. There's no power, and residents such as Diane Wade have moved out -- often with only the clothes on their backs.

In the same neighborhood, at least 60 homes were damaged and dozens of apartments destroyed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Letters from Fort Worth

THE PEOPLE, not the "leaders".

WHO serves WHO?

Read them in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Great questions.  Now if only someone would answer them.

Using natural gas money

Gasp! Fort Worth may have to close three under-performing city golf courses. (See: "City golf courses are in the rough," Friday) But one of our council members has a solution: Use some gas money to keep them open! They have already used it to pay off debt, so why not for course operations?

My only question is, if it's OK to expend gas money for golf courses, why isn't it OK to use it for the operation and upkeep of three under-performing libraries?

James G. Franklin, Fort Worth

The Tea Party message

The messages at the 9-12 Tea Party Convention Saturday were inspiring and motivating, but I saw nothing about the meeting on local TV news. Why? There were nationally known speakers such as Ann Coulter and Brigitte Gabriel, as well as local talk show hosts and candidates who all spoke with passion and dedication.

The organizer, Adrian Murray, was one of the most dynamic speakers of the day and made it clear that America has been the beacon of hope to all those who were lucky enough to have been born here and to those who chose to come here as legal residents.

We cannot now lose that hope as we see the policies being implemented by this administration that are leading us down the road to serfdom and destruction. We must be vigilant to what is going on in Congress and make our voices heard or we will never regain the system that made this country a "shining city on a hill."

- Clista Hancock, Arlington

More Moncrief Reviews

What do THE PEOPLE think of the way Mayor Moncrief treats those addressing the council?  Read another letter in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to find out.

By the way, THE PEOPLE still want an answer to the question.

The bottom line

In regard to Shirley Heller's Monday letter concerning a City Council meeting and Mayor Mike Moncrief not acting like a mayor but more like a pouting spoiled child, it has seemed to me for some time that Moncrief feels he is crowned royalty rather than just the working mayor of a large city. Maybe this is because he was the recipient of inherited wealth, unearned money he did not have to work hard for, as we mortals do.

In a democratic society, every man is equal, and resident Don Woodard should have been treated with the same dignity and respect as any resident standing before the council.

Woodard also deserved an answer to his question: "How much will the Trinity River Vision Project cost us, the taxpayers of Fort Worth?" I would like an answer to that question too, and I have wanted it for some time.

As Heller said, shame on you, Mike Moncrief.

-- Barbara Bledsoe, Fort Worth

Fort Worth Residents Disappointed

About flooding, lack of answers and funding.

You think?

Don't worry the Trinity River Vision will solve the flood problems by rerouting the river and building a city in the middle of it.  That should help.


Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Be sure and read the comments.

What happens when nothing gets done? It just gets worse.

Simmons said the city has looked at some obvious ways to improve drainage such as installing bigger pipes. Cost estimates for those solutions range from $30 million to more than $150 million per neighborhood, he said.

"Unfortunately part of the city was built along old streambeds," Councilman Carter Burdette told residents. "It worked perfectly well until the city started growing, and it's done a great deal of growing in the past few years."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fort Worth UPDATED Agenda

Anyone surprised by the timing?  BE THERE.


On Friday September 24, 2010 there will be two ETHICs hearings involving conflict of interest, regarding two Fort Worth City Council people, Danny Scarth and Jungas Jordon. These cases will be heard by the new and suddenly appointed Ethics review committee. The agenda is attached along with a copy of the complaint.

I am sure you will find it most entertaining to view and report how the City of Forth Worth views Ethics.



Please let this serve as my ethics complaint against Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordan in voting on, discussing or otherwise influencing any possible amendments to the gas drilling ordinance in light of their previous affidavits of substantial interest in XTO and Chesapeake as this would violate Division 1 of article VII. Code of Ethics.

On Feb. 2, 2010, when Councilman Zim Zimmerman raised the question about taking another look at improving the gas drilling ordinance at the Pre-Council meeting, both Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordan were quick to say we should not do so.

It is my understanding that both Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordan have filed affidavits recusing themselves from certain gas drilling votes:

1. Councilman Jordan recuses himself from votes affecting Chesapeake because he owns an interest or has a substantial interest in some property on which Chesapeake is developing resources; and
2. Councilman Scarth recuses himself from votes affecting XTO because he owns an interest or has a substantial interest in some property on which XTO is developing resources.

Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordan both appear to do so because of the City of Fort Worth City Code section 2-237 Definitions, Substantial Interest (1b)(3)(4) requires them to disclose a substantial interest or certain issues involving family members and not participate in those issues.

Sec. 2-237.  Definitions
(1)   A person has a substantial interest in a business entity if:
b.   Funds received by the person from the business entity exceed ten (10) percent of the person's gross income for the previous year (see Section 171.002, Texas Local Government Code)
(3)   A person has a substantial interest in real property if the interest is an equitable or legal ownership interest with a fair market value of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00) or more (see Section 171.002, Texas Local Government Code).
(4)   A person has a substantial interest under this article if the person's spouse or a person related to the person in the first degree by consanguinity or affinity has a substantial interest under this article (see Section 171.002, Texas Local Government Code). A person is related in the first degree by consanguinity to his or her father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter. A person is related in the first degree by affinity to his or her father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother's spouse, sister's spouse, son-in-law or daughter-in-law.

Sections 2-237,(4) and 2-238 of the Fort Worth City Code prohibit Council members from voting on matters in which they have a substantial interest and in certain cases involving family members.  Since Councilman Jordon and Councilman Scarth have declared they have a substantial interest in dealings with Chesapeake and XTO respectively, voting on or even influencing the City Council's decision to amend the city's gas drilling ordinance or regulations could violate the City's prohibition against Council members voting on issues in which they have a substantial interest or other situations as set forth in section 2-238 Standards of Conduct (a, 1, 3 a, b).
(a)   No city officer, employee or advisory board member, or their spouses, shall knowingly:
(1)   Accept any benefit from any business entity that might reasonably tend to influence him in the discharge of his official duties and Sec 2-238 (3, a, b)
(3)   Accept any benefit, of sufficient economic value that it might reasonably tend to influence him, in the discharge of his official duties, from any business entity:
a.   Who is licensed or has a substantial interest in any business entity that is licensed by any city department, agency, commission or board on which the city officer, employee or advisory board member serves; or
b.   Who has a personal financial interest in any proposed ordinance or decision upon which the city officer may or must act or make a recommendation.

Sec. 2-237,(4)
(4)   A person has a substantial interest under this article if the person's spouse or a person related to the person in the first degree by consanguinity or affinity has a substantial interest under this article (see Section 171.002, Texas Local Government Code). A person is related in the first degree by consanguinity to his or her father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter. A person is related in the first degree by affinity to his or her father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother's spouse, sister's spouse, son-in-law or daughter-in-law.

It would also violate
Sec. 2-239 (a).  If any city officer has a substantial interest in any business entity involved in any decision pending before such officer, or the body of which he is a member, such officer shall disclose such interest and shall not vote or otherwise participate in the consideration of such matter.

In other words, if Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordan recuse themselves from votes on matters involving XTO and Chesapeake respectively because of a substantial interest they have in gas leases with XTO and Chesapeake, then it would follow that Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordan recuse themselves from re-writing or deciding not to re-write or vote on the rules that Chesapeake or XTO are subject to under the gas drilling ordinance.

Such action would violate sections 2-238 standards of conduct
(a, 1)(3 a, b) and 2-239 (a) of the Fort Worth City Code.

(a)   No city officer, employee or advisory board member, or their spouses, shall knowingly:
(1)   Accept or solicit any benefit from any person, group or business entity that might reasonably tend to influence him in the discharge of his official duties;

(3)   Accept or solicit any benefit, of sufficient economic value that it might reasonably tend to influence him, in the discharge of his official duties, from any person, group or business entity:
a.   Who is licensed or has a substantial interest in any business entity that is licensed by any city department, agency, commission or board on which the city officer, employee or advisory board member serves; or
b.   Who has a personal financial interest in any proposed ordinance or decision upon which the city officer, employee or advisory board member may or must act or make a recommendation.

Sec. 2-239.  Disclosure of interest.
(a)   If any city officer, employee or advisory board member has a substantial interest in any person, group or business entity, or real property involved in any decision pending before such officer, employee, or the body of which he or she is a member, such officer, employee, or advisory board member shall disclose such interest as provided in paragraph (c) below and shall not, vote or otherwise participate in the consideration of the matter.

Additionally, on or about December 16, 2008 Councilman Jordon and Council Scarth both did vote on the gas drilling ordinance 18449-02-2009;

“M&C G16407 – Adopt an Ordinance Amending the Code of Ordinance of the City of Fort Worth, by Amending Article II of Chapter 15, “Gas” Entitled “Gas Drilling and Production” by Amending Section 15-31, Definitions Related to the Definitions of a Public Building and Section 15-34, “Gas Well Permit Required” to Amend the Requirements for a Multiple Well Site Permit.”

On March 3, 2009 they voted on Zoning Docket ZC-09-016 amending the zoning Ordinance with Ordinance 18504-03-2009.  This ordinance modified the City Zoning Ordinance to give all gas drilling companies, including Chesapeake Energy and XTO additional latitude where gas compressors were allowed.

These votes would violate Sec. 2-239 (a).  If any city officer has a substantial interest in any business entity involved in any decision pending before such officer, or the body of which he is a member, such officer shall disclose such interest and shall not vote or otherwise participate in the consideration of such matter.

The City Council also selected and appointed members to the Air Quality Committee.  The City Council, including Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordon then voted and adopted a resolution on March 9, 2010 to approve its formation along with charging the committee with the responsibility of;
 (a) Identifying the objectives and specific questions for the proposed study, (b) evaluate the qualifications and conduct interviews of the prospective consultants, (c) review the proposed scope of work of candidate consultants, (d) recommend a consultant and study framework to city council, (e) receive a briefing on the study results and provide feedback to the City Council.

The Air Quality Committee appointed by the City Council included three representatives who are employees of Gas Drilling entities. Two of the three representatives are employees of Chesapeake Energy and XTO and each did represent their respective company during the Air Quality Committee Meetings as such.

Any regulations that ultimately result from this committee will regulate all gas drilling operations in Fort Worth. Included in those gas drilling companies that will be regulated will be Chesapeake Energy and XTO, two of the largest operators in Fort Worth.

In Section 2-236. DECLARATION OF POLICY it is stated that no Officer should have any interest, financial or otherwise, direct or indirect of any nature, which is in conflict with the proper discharge of his duties in the public interest.  Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordon both have acknowledged having a substantial interest in Chesapeake Energy and XTO, with affidavits filed with the City Secretary indicating such.

These two companies represent the majority of the gas drilling and gas operations currently taking place in Fort Worth.  In essence, when the City Council, including Councilman Scarth and Councilman Jordon, voted on this resolution, they were creating how and by whom the regulations being formulated will regulate the gas drilling companies including Chesapeake Energy and XTO.  Mr. Scarth and Mr. Jordon have each acknowledged filing affidavits previously, saying they have a substantial interest in either Chesapeake Energy or XTO and as such a conflict of interest exists by their voting on this item.

This would violate Sec. 2-239 (a).  If any city officer has a substantial interest in any business entity involved in any decision pending before such officer, or the body of which he is a member, such officer shall disclose such interest and shall not vote or otherwise participate in the consideration of such matter.

I like Danny Scarth personally, but I am afraid the money associated with gas drilling blinds him, even though gas drilling has adverse impacts on health and neighborhoods.  I do not know Jungas Jordan.

I would refer to the affidavits of substantial interest filed by Councilman Jordan and Councilman Scarth in the City's possession in support of this complaint.

I, Jim Ashford, complainant, swear that I have knowledge of facts alleged in this complaint and that the information contained in this complaint is true and correct.

Signature of complainant                           Subscribed before me this                                                                    day
Jim Ashford                                            
6209 Riverview Circle                                ______________________
Fort Worth, TX 76112                                NOTARY


10:30 A.M.

1. Call to Order and Announce a Quorum is Present
2. Approval of the Minutes of the August 5, 2010, Meeting
3. Appointment of Temporary Chair (if necessary)
4. Cause No. 2010-01:  Hearing on Amended Ethics Complaint Filed Against City Council Member Danny Scarth, District 4,  and City Council Member Jungus Jordan, District 6, by Jim Ashford dated July 28, 2010:
a. Recusal on decisions to consider amendments to drilling ordinances (page 3, par. 3 of complaint)
b. Vote on M&C G-16407 on December 16, 2008 (page 4, par. 1 of complaint)
c. Vote on Zoning Docket Case ZC-09-016 on March 3, 2009 (page 4, para. 3 of complaint)
d. Vote on Resolution appointing members to Air Quality Study Committee on March 9, 2010 (page 4, para. 5 of complaint)

5. Cause No. 2010-03:  Hearing on Ethics Complaint Filed Against City Council Member Danny Scarth, District 4, by Louis McBee dated July 15, 2010
6. Executive Session:  To seek the advice of its attorney concerning the subject Ethics Complaints; such matters are exempt from public disclosure under Article X, Section 9 of the Texas State Bar Rules, and in accordance with Texas Government Code, Subchapter D, Section 551.071(LEGAL).

7. Adjourn

The Fort Worth City Hall and meeting room facilities are wheelchair accessible, and accessible parking spaces are available.  Request for accommodations or interpretive services must be made 48 hours prior to this meeting.  Please contact the City Secretary’s Office at 817-392-6150 or FAX:  817-392-6196 for further information.

Culture of Corruption Comment

A comment left on the earlier post about the FW Weekly article was too good not to share.

More examples of the Fort Worth Way. 
Don't forget Jim Lane serves on the Tarrant Regional Water District. 

Question - Is Norma Roby that was just appointed to this committee by Moncrief the same Norma Roby that is serving on the Superbowl host committee with Mayor Moncrief and his wife?

Also, is Francisco Hernandez, another new board member, the same Fransico Hernandez serving on the DFW Airport Board with Mike Moncrief?This is the same man that was special legislative council for Senator Mike Moncrief...

Small small no room for ethics...

Tarrant Regional Water District Corruptees Give Themselves a Raise

Did you get a raise this year?  Did your water bill increase?  Are your city taxes increasing?

Then WHY would OUR money go to giving those making $286,000 a raise?  And WHY would we loan $226 million of OUR money to the Trinity River Vision?  Interest free, no less. 

ASK YOUR City Council, Mayor, and Congresswoman. ASK the media.

Read about the latest developments at the Tarrant Regional Water District in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Be sure and read Adrian Murray's comments.  Excellent points.

The general fund budget is used to operate and maintain the district, which spans 11 counties from Jack to Freestone. It rose nearly $4.3 million from fiscal 2010, largely due to a $4.6 million increase in capital expenses for trailheads and parks.

Among the projects are $2.5 million for a LaGrave Field environmental study. In June, the water district paid $17.5 million for 42 acres around the field for the Trinity River Vision project, but much of the property must be cleaned up before it can be used.

In a separate action Tuesday, the board approved a $287,093 contract with Camp Dresser and McKee to start designing a remediation program for the site.

What's more important to you? Trailheads, parks and river floats or clean, affordable water and no flooding? What is the Water Districts purpose?

The water district is also projecting $30 million in oil and gas royalties in the upcoming fiscal year, down $5 million from the amount budgeted in 2010.

$30 million for gas drilling...royalties or water purchase? Ask WHO monitors their usage.

The budget does not include any funding for the Trinity River Vision project, which is a political subdivision of the water district. Tarrant Regional's $64 million contribution will be met with funds from the 2010 budget, Swinnea said.

However, the water district agreed in May to a no-interest loan to the Trinity River Vision Authority of up to $226 million until the tax increment financing district starts generating revenue. Swinnea said it is too early to say how much will be loaned in the upcoming fiscal year but doesn't expect it to exceed $40 million.

The Tarrant Regional Water District needs to refocus their water and flooding, where it should be in the first place.

Culture of Corruption Weekly Update

Hats off to the FW Weekly for telling it as it is, not spinning the Fort Worth Way.

If you live in Fort Worth, or know someone who does, DO NOT miss their latest ethics article.  Good quotes from THE PEOPLE. 

Without rules, the victors always get the spoils, might and money are always right, and ethical lines fade.

A resident complained about the city council putting gas industry executives on an air-quality task force. Allowing drillers to make crucial decisions on how the city’s air quality is tested at drill sites appeared to be a conflict of interest clearly forbidden by the city’s ethics code. The independent ethics panel agreed.

So how did the Fort Worth City Council, led by Mayor Mike Moncrief, respond?

They killed the messengers, scorned the resident who made the complaint, and fired the ethics panelists.

City leaders thanked the gas execs for serving on the task force and vowed to change the ethics code to allow industry insiders to participate as voting members on future boards. Then Moncrief appointed new members, including a couple of his friends, as the new ethics committee — possibly in violation of the current rules on how the committee is to be chosen.

Contrast that with what happened when the son of a city council member violated conflict-of-interest rules set by the federal government. In essence, Daniel Payton Scarth, 23, son of council member Danny Scarth, applied for and received financial help from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — routed through Fort Worth city government — to cover the down payment and closing costs on a home, under a program intended to help low-income citizens.

Scarth has faced his own ethical controversies. Before being elected to the council, he served on the city’s first gas drilling task force, which advised the city council on how to regulate urban drilling. Then Scarth accepted thousands of dollars from the gas industry to fund his city council campaign and rode to victory with the help of a Moncrief endorsement.

In general, however, the picks appear to have been made by Moncrief with little input from others. Newly appointed members describe being recruited by personal calls from Moncrief or an assistant. Among the new members are two attorneys the mayor has known for years, including former city councilman Jim Lane.

“My son Payton indeed owns the house and has been paying the mortgage since the sale,” Danny Scarth wrote in an e-mail.

However, neither Payton Scarth nor his mortgage company has been paying property taxes on it, according to Tarrant Appraisal District records. The reason, at least in part, appears to be a name change by the church, which caused a mix-up in TAD records.

She and the other former committee members are familiar with at least one of those chosen to replace them. Former city council member Jim Lane was accused along with Moncrief of unethical behavior six years ago. Eastside activist Louis McBee (who has run against both Scarth and Moncrief) filed that complaint against Moncrief, Lane, and then city-councilwoman Wendy Davis in 2004. The city leaders accepted a ride in a jet and minor swag (hats and t-shirts) when a sporting goods company was seeking — and ultimately received — millions in tax relief in exchange for building a store here.

Lane now serves on the Tarrant Regional Water District board, as well as continuing to practice law. “I thought what Mike — or Mayor Moncrief— was trying to accomplish was some fresh minds to look at the ordinance and see if it’s clear and if the conduct is exact as far as written,” Lane said. “We’ve got to do a review of the code. It may be expanded, reduced, supplemented, amended — I don’t know.”

Flooding in Arlington and Fort Worth


And what is to be done?

Well, TWO weeks AFTER the flooding, Govenor Perry has asked for help.  WHY would it take two weeks?  If everything you own is under water, you need help NOW.  Those waiting are told it will be a long process.  Arlington was working on plans to get some houses out of the flood plain, however they can't get federal funds released.  WHY?  ASK YOUR CONGRESSWOMAN.

And another Fort Worth flood next to a newly installed pipeline.  Animals dead, property ruined.    Just another day in Tarrant County.  We'd tell you the Trinity River Vision will fix that since the project is for "flood control", but it won't.  Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

And more in the FW Weekly.

“The land along the entire length of the pipeline has been raised two to three feet higher than it was in its natural state. And that has created a dam, leaving the water nowhere to drain off,” he said. “So instead … it’s just going to sit here until it evaporates.”

Kelleher said that when Enterprise first began laying the 30-inch pipe located just inside her neighbor’s property line, “they fueled their heavy machinery about five feet from my stock pond. And within a couple of days there was an oil slick, a sheen on my pond.”

That wasn’t the end of it. “Part of the pipeline was laid through a closed municipal landfill,” Kelleher said. “I watched them put that pipeline into the ground, and while they were excavating, they were pulling out huge pieces of trash. They said they removed and containered and disposed of it all properly, but they didn’t.”

Kelleher said that, in the process of trenching along her property line, Enterprise workers “compromised my pond, and my pond water began leaking into their trench where the trash was.”

She said she came home from work one day shortly after the pond was breached to discover that Enterprise workers had put a pump in their trench and were pumping the water back into her pond. “I told them to get it out of there, that it was contaminated water that would kill my animals. So they removed the hose from my pond and disposed of [the water] on my neighbor’s property.”

She’s convinced that the flooding, the most serious and most recent problem, isn’t going to go away until the pipeline company addresses the problem of changed water-flow patterns.

Bud Kennedy and Tea

Bud Kennedy's article on the 912 Tea Party Saturday gives someone exactly what they wanted, attention.  Read it here in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  We can only hope Larry Kilgore will be somewhere else... 

We never heard why Bud failed to mention the Trinity River Vision in his report about Fort Worth Police Department buildings.  Did you?

Property Values Continue to fall in Tarrant & Wise Counties

...unless of course, you own a stadium.

What happens when all the property is a fraction of what it was once worth?

Read more about it on FWCANDO.

Previously we told you how there was to be NO drilling under the Dallas Cowboys Stadium, did someone bend their own rules? 

We received this email today -

Did you guys know they are drilling under the stadium? A friend in the oil and gas industry told me about this. Apparently Dallas never had a shot at the Stadium and it had nothing to do with football. Jerry bought up a ton of land on the Barnett Shale (where the new stadium is), then got the city of Arlington to subsidize $600MM to build the stadium. The one catch was Jerry has to split the oil and gass money 50/50 with the city. He sold out the city of Dallas.

Why do you never hear about this stuff until its done. Here I am a die hard Cowboy fan upset that the team, isn't in Dallas and thought it was Laura Miller's fault. Its not- Jerry wanted to drill for oil or gas or whatever.

This video of a previous WFAA report raises more questions.
WHY would a city council vote against its PEOPLE and its Planning and Zoning Commission?  When you notify "property owners" (NOT renters) are they referring to surface or mineral? 

Mel Leblanc says it's the "will of the people".  Isn't  he the same politician who made up things Senator Wendy Davis said and made a tasteless joke of the drilling situation last month?  Do YOU believe him?

So WHERE are they drilling in Arlington?  And do wells go where they state they will?  Not in Ohio.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fort Worth Council Follow Up

Earlier we told you about how Mr. Woodard was treated at the Fort Worth Budget Hearing, we decided to show you.  Check it out on the Fort Worth City site here.  Fast forward to 1:53:00.  Mr.Woodard gets the last laugh, literally.

Be there tomorrow for the Fort Worth City Council meeting, we hear it's going to be good.



Royalty Value

Would your royalty checks make up the difference if your $250,000 house was now valued at $75,000?  You better hope so.
Check it out on Daily Kos.  It ain't the first one, it won't be the last.

And Kudos to NCTCA for the fantastic program last Thursday!  The Speaker line up was great!  YOU should attend the next one, you can't afford not to.

Jeers to OUR Water District

Saturday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cheers and Jeers we noticed one for the Tarrant Regional Water District.

This isn't the only reason they need a jeer.  And sorry, dear Jeer writer, they are too busy with the Trinity River Vision and partnering with "semi-governmental groups" to promote floating in the river they should be cleaning up.  Priorities.

Jeers: To Tarrant Regional Water District for not fixing a signage problem after a week's worth of calls, texts and photos of a dangerous construction site located on the Trinity River bike path.

-- Sherri Smith, Fort Worth

Woodard's Words

As our readers know, we have always been a fan of Mr. Don Woodard, this man is Mr. Fort Worth.  He has done more for the citizens for Fort Worth than most of your elected leaders.  He is an intelligent, kind, compassionate man who donates his time and knowledge to making Fort Worth a better place for ALL of the PEOPLE, regardless of color, status, or party affiliation. 

He is also in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Fort Worth Business Press today.  He didn't write either, they were written about him.  And about the way Mayor Moncrief treated him last week.  Too bad we can't convince Woodard to run, what a wonderful city we'd have if our Mayor was intelligent, kind, and compassionate.

Bad form, mayor

Mayor Mike Moncrief should be ashamed of himself. His passive-aggressive behavior at the Tuesday City Council meeting was appalling.

He treated all the citizen speakers in a kindly fashion until Don Woodard spoke. The mayor claimed a 50-year friendship with Woodard, but had I been treated in the manner he treated Woodard -- and in a public forum no less -- our friendship would not see 51 years. His reply to Woodard's question about how much the city will be paying for the Trinity River Vision was rude, flippant, sarcastic and disrespectful. Woodard asked a legitimate question that deserved an answer that neither the mayor nor any of the nine council members saw fit to give.

As a taxpayer, homeowner and citizen of Fort Worth, I'm entitled to an answer. So is every person at the meeting and all Fort Worth residents. The mayor allowed almost everyone to run over their speaking time with nary a word of dissent until Woodard's bell rang signaling his time was up. Perhaps the mayor did not appreciate the valuable input from Woodard.

-- Shirley Heller, Fort Worth

Letters: The Don

Don Woodard surely deserves to be designated letter writer of the decade, if not the last half century.

His words are incisive, penetrating, provocative, humorous, needling, courageous, timely, targeted, challenging, intelligent, reasoned, probing, lucid, educational, rewarding, firm, inspiring, measured, poetic, influential, illuminating.

Which, in a word, makes them a delight to see in the paper.

Write on, Don Woodard, write on.

– Roger Summers

(Roger Summers worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for MANY years).

Tea Anyone?

If you missed the Fort Worth 912 Project Tea Party Saturday, you missed a great event.  WHO all was there?  Check out the picture on Politex.  Who is that speaking?  Adrian Murray.  His speech was so stirring, someone asked Lone Star why he ran for the Tarrant Regional Water District instead of a State/National seat.  The answer?  He cares about people and he cares about Fort Worth.

Congratulations to Adrian and his group for putting on a well run show.

The Whited Sepulchre kept up with the party, check out his blog here.  Lots of posts on it so scroll down to Tea Party posts.

Here is the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article.

Here's a picture we were sent of the "small disturbance in front of the stage".  This jerk was throwing flags on the ground.  Not to worry though, we saw Adrian Murray and the Flood Queen of Haltom City, as Durango says, take care of him until the cops got to him.  There were many that wanted to take care of him.  The show went off without a hitch.  Congrats!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Real People, Real Flooding

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an article about the most recent Arlington flooding and what to do about it.  Some excellent points made in this one, also brings up some excellent questions.

Many residents are expressing an interest in being bought out of their flood-ravaged homes, with some blaming development for exacerbating the damage.

"There are a lot of unknowns," Lowry said. "The best-case scenario is 12 months to two years. But just with those condos, we're looking at 100-plus units. It could be a very lengthy process, and there are no guarantees."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Program can leave homeowners in limbo as they wait to see whether their homes will be part of a buyout.

Texas Lone Star - Shouldn't the agency named EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT be able to help people in an EMERGENCY? 

"When we bought the house, we weren't in the flood plain, but now we are. It's from years of unchecked development," Saenz said. "I don't know when this is going to become a priority with the city -- maybe when somebody loses their life.

Texas Lone Star - Don't hold your breath, Mr. Sanez.  A little girl lost her life three years ago in a flood in Tarrant County, guess what's been done to the creek since?

One other avenue that Arlington could pursue for buyouts is the Army Corps of Engineers, but that does "take some time," said Elston Eckhardt, branch chief for civil works in the Fort Worth District.

As an example, Eckhardt cited the corps' involvement in an effort, beginning in 2002, to buy out homes along Onion Creek in southeast Arlington.

It has received federal authorization and matching local funding but is still waiting for Congress to provide funding, Eckhardt said.

Texas Lone Star - If the Corp and FEMA are involved, WHY would it take so long?  If their priority is protecting people and property why is their time and OUR money being spent on the Trinity River Vision? The money for the "Vision" was said to be "in the bank" as recently as last week.  WHY would Congress not provide funding?  WHO appropriates the funds?  Ask YOUR Congresswoman.

"I think it's a combination of an overwhelmed storm drain system with not enough previous ground," Gittiban said. "There's more asphalt, more concrete and roof areas."

Some have questioned why the homes and town homes were built in a flood plain. But Arlington officials say the area wasn't in a flood plain when many of the homes and condos were built.

"The flood plain grew as development grew," Deputy City Manager Fiona Allen said.

Texas Lone Star - We are sure Gittiban's statement was PERVIOUS ground, not previous.  WHO is responsible for growing the flood plain?  The developers or the city/county/agencies involved that should be regulating that?

"Anytime you develop upstream in a watershed, runoff increases," Lowry said. "To qualify that, you have to talk to a qualified hydrologist. But we don't believe this storm was in excess of a 100-year flood."

Texas Lone Star -  Guess what's downstream of the Trinity River Vision?  PEOPLE, Property and Arlington.

Don't worry Arlington, help is on the way in 2016, right?  Ask Haltom City about that.  You might also want to find out what the local funding portion will be by then.  Then, ask WHY it's taking so long?


Why would Bud Kennedy not mention one of the new police buildings in Fort Worth that he is complaining about is due to the Trinity River Vision taking the land for their boondoggle?  Which YOU will also be paying for.  Even the cops aren't exempt from eminent domain here in the Eminent Domain Capital of the U.S., but at least they get a shiny new building out of it. 

Read Bud Kennedy's latest in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Texas Lone Star proudly supports local law enforcement and would rather see our tax dollars going to them than to the Trinity River scheme.


A Letter to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram speaks volumes. You could replace Arlington with Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Keller, Watauga, etc. Instead a billion dollars is being spent on the Trinity River where it does not flood.  YOU should ask WHY and WHO profits.

Arlington flooding

It is easy for Thursday letter writer Robert Baucom to sit at home with floors that are not covered with mud, sewage and a few snakes. (See: "Buyers, wise up") He is correct that a home is one's most major purchase; however, especially in this economy, making a down payment and qualifying for a long-term mortgage is hardly an impulsive process. No one "qualifies" to purchase a $175 sports coat. He may know that there is no state or federal requirement for a seller or landlord to disclose that one is living in a flood plain, but most buyers don't.

The Arlington flood issues have been escalated by growth of new homes, etc. Perhaps his "non-impulsive purchase" has helped drive this problem.

People will deal with the loss of their possessions and their memories, but the majority of 120-plus families cannot afford to leave their most major purchase and move to his dry area. If a tornado destroys his home, can he afford to "walk" away? Baucom seems to expect them to simply clean up, move back in and wait to be washed out again.

Next time, lives may be lost along with possessions. How would he like to live in fear each time it rains?

The Willows at Shady Valley Condominiums,
Sandi Ross, co-owner

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting Deep

And this time we aren't referring to the river.

If you went to see Gasland in Pennsylvania, you may have ended up on "the list".  The Homeland Security list, that is.  So now going to see a documentary makes you a threat?  To WHO?

Read the unbelievable on TXSharon.  Be sure to check out the links.

Then read about the federal lawsuit being planned by one of the movie goers on DailyMe.  Bet it won't be long before there are more.  Lots more. 

"When people's civil rights are trampled it's a federal issue," said Gene Stilp of Harrisburg, who holds a Virginia law license but does not practice as an attorney.

Gov. Ed Rendell , speaking Downtown this morning, said he does not believe activists' Constitutional rights were violated.

The statement was a reversal from what he said yesterday. Asked in Harrisburg on Tuesday whether monitoring activists was "tantamount to trampling" on their Constitutional rights, he said: "I would say so."

Rendell said he is "deeply embarrassed" by the disclosure that state Homeland Security officials included information about protesters on what was supposed to be a list of possible terrorist threats.

The list, which included information on public hearings that opponents of Marcellus gas drilling might attend, was sent to drilling companies.

Something for everyone

And YOU are invited!

Thursday -

North Central Communities Alliance Meeting (NCTCA) meeting

September 16th (Thurs) at 6:30 pm


Panel of Legal and Scientific Experts will be available to address our questions and concerns. This Critical Issue that Affects You NOW!

Dr. Deaton - Professor of Physics & Geology at TWU

Mr. David Ritter, Attorney

Mr. Kirk Claunch, Attorney

Focus on Clean Water

All monthly meetings are at the lovely Hotel Trinity - Inn Suites conveniently located at I-30 & Beach St. in East Ft. Worth.
Fort Worth Convention Center

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm- doors open at 12:00 [noon]

Ann Coulter is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers. She is a frequent guest on many TV shows, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Sean Hannity, The Glenn Beck Show, HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, and has been profiled in numerous publications, including TV Guide, the Guardian (UK), the New York Observer, National Journal, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle magazine. She was the April 25, 2005 cover story of Time magazine.

Other Speakers Include:

Mark Davis

Jeff Bolton

Chris Krok

Brigitte Gabriel

Pastor Stephen Broden

Debra Medina

Kathie Glass

Dr. Suzanna Hupp

Adrian Murray

Entertainment By

Lloyd Marcus

Krista Branch

Joy Omega

Jon David


Jon-David Wells, The Wells Report

660 KSKY News/Talk

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gas Leak in Haltom City

Where?  Near Haltom High School.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Fort Worth is listening?


Well, then we'll tell you what the FW Weekly and THE PEOPLE say.

“We are funding projects like Trinity River Vision, tourism-related programs, sporting events, and tax breaks, but we can’t find the money for core residential services,” Thomas said. She charged that cutbacks made last year in the city’s program for mowing on vacant private property and city-owned lands are already having an effect on property values, and further cutbacks will increase the problem.

Some local leaders are again questioning the city’s decisions on how to use its sizable gas drilling revenues. About $120 million in bonus money and royalties has come in thus far, but only about $30 million of that has been budgeted for spending, all on capital improvement projects.

Federal government policies restrict how some of the income can be used, particularly that from drilling under parks and at airports. However, it was the city council’s own decision to put about half the drilling income into trust funds, where the capital cannot be touched for 20 years. If that’s a “rainy-day fund,” as the council has said, many local activists believe the rainy days are here, and the money should be used to alleviate the current budget woes.

While the city is banking the drilling income, one activist said, neighborhoods are paying the price for the damage done to health, quality of life, and property values by the wells and other drilling activity.

“What is happening is that the city is getting all this money and not spending it on basic city services, and we in the neighborhoods are taking a hit,” he said. “We don’t have money for city street improvements and pools and a decent library system. People in the neighborhoods are just trying to keep their heads above water.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You've got mail...

Word on the street is that while Fort Worth has a $73 million dollar budget issue, they are still stashing money for the pipe dream of moving City Hall to the old post office.  This has come up before and it was determined that it was too costly and it didn't make much sense.

It still doesn't.


You been hanging out here all day and didn't tell us this?

Below is a letter to the Fort Worth City Council and Mayor from a CITIZEN. 

Brian Boerner with the City Environmental Management for the City of Fort Worth has taken a job with Chesapeake Energy. ---What a Shock!!!---

He is the same person who has supported the gas drilling industry at every turn in the review of air quality issues. This is another example of there being a conflict of interest within the city.(Revolving Door) There should have been a length of time that someone in his position could not go to work for companies they have regulatory issues or dealings with.

Most reputable companies have requirements for their employees in regards to this issue. The City of Fort Worth, seems to think that isn't important. They are wrong.

Revolving door (noun)
  • an entrance to a large building in which four partitions turn about a central axis.
  •  used to refer to a situation in which the same events or problems recur in a continuous cycle : many patients are trapped in a revolving door of admission, discharge, and readmission.
  • [usu. as adj. ] a place or organization that people tend to enter and leave very quickly : the newsroom became a revolving-door workplace.
  • used to refer to a situation in which someone moves from an influential government position to a position in a private company, or vice versa.

Trinity River takes to the Airwaves

We received an email this morning about a local radio station doing an interview with the TRVA on floating the Trinity River.  Shortly after we received the email, we started receiving calls.

Thanks for taking notes and sharing!  You can't make this stuff up.

Lone Star - Think her name was Shelby Lyon with the Trinity River Vision Authority.  They announced it as Trinity River Authority, humorously corrected later in the interview.  It was on 96.3 KSCS.  Here are the notes we took...

DJ - Did you float the last one?

Her - Yes!

DJ - Have you developed any rashes?

Her - No! Have you lost your mind? It's absolutely safe. People kayak it every day.

DJ - Kayak big difference from tube.

Her - Well, people fall out of kayaks.  (Then she talks about FW ski club using the river.)

Her - 1st float 40-50 people, this one already ran out of tubes for 200. Bring your own tube.

DJ - So TRA is a government organization?

Her - Semi governmental. TRVA.

DJ - So you're more of a group...

Her to him about the river "being dirty" - Those are old stories of the Trinity, the river has come a long way in last 20 years and Tarrant Regional Water District does a good job of keeping it clear and free from pollutants.

We have some concerns with some of the statements in this interview.  First, that this is "absolutely safe".   If you read all the comments from CITIZENS about the last Trinity River tube event, concerning snakes and hypodermic needles in the river, well that doesn't sound safe...or smart.  Also, just last month a child died in Texas from contracting a parasitic amoeba in a body of water.  Several children have recently died from this as well, you can read about it here.  So, will the TRVA be responsible if something happens to one of their floaters since they have assured the public it is absolutely safe?

If the Tarrant Regional Water District does a good job of keeping the river "free from pollutants", why does the portion of the Trinity River in Tarrant County have the highest levels of PCB's?

And how are you a semi-governmental group?  Anyone ever ask WHY the Trinity River Vision Authority was created or needed?  Remember why the Trinity River Authority was created?

As we have asked before, WHO profits?


Here's an email between some residents and the City of Fort Worth.  We have removed names.  It's from last week, did ANYONE answer?

To FW -
Who do we contact about truck traffic on Handley and Brentwoodstair from the gas well site. I tried the gas company and they stated they had a permit for the trucks. If so how could they get a permit to do what they agreed they would not do?

The diagram below depicts the transportation route that was shown to Council and was not modified. Concerns over congestion were expressed but the actual route was not amended. Is Chesapeake not following this route?


Citizen 2 -
Chesapeake has violated the agreed upon truck route from the very beginning of this crap on Ederville, and Danny Scarth has been aware that Chesapeake is and has been out of compliance from the very beginning........he just doesn't care.

Esther McElfish has made presentations to council with photos indicating that non-compliance concerning this truck route is a habit with Chesapeake....and again, Danny Scarth just doesn't care.

Hopefully you are beginning to see the common thread here....Danny Scarth doesn't care.

Fort Worth Money...WHO does it belong to?

Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods
Update: September 9, 2010

FWLNA City of Fort Worth Proposed Budget Review

In order to better understand the City of Fort Worth 2010-2011 proposed budget and the projected $73 million budget deficit, several members of the Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods' Board of Directors volunteered to read, analyze, and ask questions about the City's budget documents.  These documents include a 208 page proposed budget and a 437 page decision package document as well as budget priorities and other documents posted on the City's budget webpage.

Click here for the FWLNA budget review.

We noted that, unlike last year's proposed budget document, there is no detail of general fund revenue accounts in the proposed 2010-11 budget.  We asked for departmental budget detail and were told we would have to submit an open records act request to get it.

We approached the budget review as regular citizens, albeit ones who because of our neighborhood involvement may be more knowledgeable than most about certain City programs, services and practices.

We have not claimed to be City of Fort Worth budget experts nor have we thought that should be necessary.  It seemed to us that average citizens ought to be able to read,  understand, and get a reasonably complete, detailed picture of the proposed budget from the City's website.  We have watched many of the budget hearings and City Council workshops on the budget; however we are not privy to behind the scenes changes in the budget.

The public budget buzz since August 10 when the city manager released his proposed version has mostly been about 3 things:  1) the projected $73 million budget deficit; 2) the proposed closure of the Ridglea, North Side, and Meadowbrook branch libraries; and 3) the merging of the Parks and Community Services Department under the Library Department.

One observer noted that no one has challenged the assumptions of the $73 million budget deficit.  Various news outlets have cited the real problems as cost issues surrounding City employee pensions and City commitments to already in place police and fire contracts.  Those are the real issues they have said.

Other observers have noted the theory of the proposed budget -- that cutting services, maintenance and amenities in response to lower property valuations and tax revenue will balance the budget - will also only further lower property values over the long-term, creating a cycle of lower tax revenue and higher deficits.  They contend the proposed solution is illogical and averse to reversing the deficit issue, digging a deeper hole for
future budget years.

While acknowledging the big picture items, we took another approach as well.  Knowing that closing the 3 branch libraries (a service much demanded by neighborhood residents) will "save" the City between $516,000. and $1.2 million, we set about to find other information which might illuminate the budget priorities and choices inherent in the proposed budget document.

Our review set up a whole list of priorities and choices which are proposed.  If you read the document, you can find priorities which are funded, choices which are made.  So the question is, what is most important to the citizens?  What are they willing to live without and what are they not willing to live without?   When compared to stated citizen priorities, where do business development, the Super Bowl, funding for programming for the homeless, gas drilling, etc. land?  Are citizens aware of how much will be spent on big priority items such as these?  How do they feel about that when they compare those expenditures to basic services such as libraries and parks?

We also discovered a cash excess in the general fund of over $23 million, that according to the City's budget manager, will not be spent on general fund expenditures in
FY 2010- 11.  Why not?  What is it being reserved for?  If a community service such as libraries is so important to the citizens, would the citizens prefer that some of the $23 million in excess general fund revenues be spent to keep the 3 branch libraries (and a host of other services) open?

In addition to reviewing the budget and asking questions of city staff (for the presentation at the League's general membership meeting on September 2), we also compiled an initial list of budget revenue generators suggested by a variety of sources.  We did not include the idea of increasing the ad valorem tax although we are aware of at least one citizens group advocating that measure.

Click here for Disaster Recovery Deposit Concept
Click here for Economics Teacher Barbara Ellis' idea on investing in the city
Click here for opinion piece on voluntary taxes idea

 Our review of the City's proposed budget raised more questions than it answered.  Budget priorities were approved by the City Council in January 2010.  They set the stage for the drafting of the City Manager's proposed 2010-11 budget. What, exactly, are core City services?  Do the elected officials see these the same way the citizens see them?

Fundamentally, our review raised the question - what kind of city can Fort Worth residents expect Fort Worth to be next year and in the near term?  A city which can pay for fire and police (as valuable as they are) and nothing else? Is that the Fort Worth citizens - neighborhood residents -- want?

We hope our review encourages more citizens to review the City's proposed budget (at and make their priorities and choices known to the elected officials.  A list of their names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses follows.

The City will hold a budget hearing on Tuesday evening, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Fort Worth City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton.  Residents are encouraged to attend and express their opinions on the proposed budget.


Mayor Mike Moncrief
Telephone:  817-392-6118
Fax:  817-392-6187

Sal Espino, District 2
Telephone:  817-392-8802
Fax:  817-392-6187

Zim Zimmerman, District 3
Telephone:  817-392-8803
Fax:  817-392-6187

Danny Scarth, District 4
Telephone: 817-392-8804
Fax:  817-392-6187

Frank Moss, District 5
Telephone:  817-392-8805
Fax:  817-392-6187

Jungus Jordan, District 6
Telephone:  817-392-8806
Fax:  817-392-6187

Carter Burdette, District 7
Telephone:  817-392-8807
Fax:  817-392-6187

Kathleen Hicks, District 8
Telephone:  817-392-8808
Fax:  817-392-6187

Joel Burns, District 9
Telephone:  817-392-8809
Fax:  817-392-6187

About the Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods

The Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods was founded in 1985 by four neighbors: Chris Goetz, Dr. Glenn Kroh, Mary Palko and Ben Ann Tomayko who believed in the importance of neighborhood involvement in the civic decision-making process, especially when it directly impacted the quality of life in our communities.  17 charter member neighborhood organizations signed up to join in the pursuit of forming a citywide coalition to create a strong and coordinated voice at city hall.

Today, the League of Neighborhoods still promotes the same philosophy. Drawing on the collective experience of its 25-year long history as an institution, the League is recognized throughout the region as an umbrella organization advocating for neighborhoods at various levels of government and other nonprofits.  Our membership is made up of neighborhood associations, homeowner associations, property owner associations and neighborhood alliances. The League continues to provide education and guidance to its member organizations and the community at large.

The Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods believes that neighborhoods are the most basic organizational units in a city and is committed to ensuring that neighborhoods remain the strong and viable contributors they have historically been to the quality of life and identity of Fort Worth

The goals of Fort Worth League of Neighborhoods is to unite neighborhoods and to give them an effective voice in the critical issues facing them, from zoning and crime, to city parks and urban gas drilling. Our challenge is to support the diversity and stability of neighborhoods throughout the city.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Read about the latest oil disaster on TXSharon.

How many is it going to take?


Check out the article and video on

Remember, you can say there is no contamination, if you do no testing. 

Last week we told you about the misleading statement lots of folks make about fracing for 60 years...wonder WHO started that rumor?

"We've drilled over a million wells in the last 60 years," said Daniel Whitten, a spokesman for the American Natural Gas Alliance. "We think the process is safe."

We cannot take a chance on OUR water with what the industry "thinks" is safe. 

YOU are invited!

Bring a friend!

North Central Texas Communities Alliance September Monthly Meeting

BREAKING NEWS! Mark Your Calendar!

UPCOMING MEETING! Mark Your Calendar!

September 16th (Thurs) at 6:30 pm

The Critical Issue that Affects You NOW!

Panel of Legal and Scientific Experts will be available to address our questions and concerns
All monthly meetings are at the lovely Hotel Trinity - Inn Suites conveniently located at I-30 & Beach St. in East Ft. Worth.

What about YOUR water?

Keep an eye on it.  It's going fast.  WHY is it just now becoming a top priority?

WHO is using it? 

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Water conservation has become a top priority in North Texas, as the 50-year water plan calls for 23 percent of future water needs to come from water conservation and reuse.

And for many years Dallas-Fort Worth has battled the perception that it uses an inordinate amount of water compared with other parts of the state. Some Oklahoma legislators involved in the Tarrant Regional Water District's legal fight to obtain water from north of the Red River have also portrayed the region's communities as "water hogs" and given that as a reason for opposing the sale of water to Texas.

Public awareness campaigns have accounted for a 14 percent reduction in water usage by the water district's customers between 2002 and 2009.

Further reducing water consumption is going to take the cooperation of not only residents but industry and government as well.

The combined water consumption of Chesapeake Energy in Arlington, Grapevine and Mansfield -- 171 million gallons -- is enough to make it one of the top 15 commercial users in Tarrant County. Since the Star-Telegram asked only for the top 10 users in each city, that figure does not include how much water Chesapeake is using in other Tarrant County cities, including Fort Worth.

Floating with Trash

On the Trinity River...again.

Read about the Trinity River "Authority" scheme to get people in the river.  WHY would you want to float in THAT? (Picture was taken by Durango, last week!)

Doesn't the Corp have more important things to do?

WHO profits?

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Ask your City Council, Mayor and Congresswoman.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Moment of Silence

In honor of those lost on September 11th, 2001.

We remember.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flood Victims

In addition to the two deaths and three missing in the area from the recent storms, there are hundreds of victims.  Many people now homeless after the heavy rains this week.  Some folks lost everything they owned, literally.  And now must begin the long journey of putting their lives back together from scratch.

Take a look at their world in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram photos.


San Bruno, California is burning.  Why?  Rumor has it that a gas line exploded.  People dead, injured and homeless. 

Don't worry, Texas, we are told it's safe.

Read about California fires here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Help Friends of Friends save your parks!

Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area have joined with other "Friends" groups and many FW residents in opposition to the proposed merger of the FW Parks and Library departments. (see attached letter)

If you agree that this proposal that can harm Tandy Hills Natural Area and other parks, please contact the mayor and city council today.
September 7, 2010

Mayor Moncrief and City Council Members

City of Fort Worth

1000 Throckmorton St.

Fort Worth, Texas 76102

Dear Mayor and City Council:

Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area, Inc. (FOTHNA) is opposed to the planned budget calling for the consolidation of the Parks and Community Services Department with the Library.

One of the things that makes Fort Worth special is having more than 11,000 acres of parks and green spaces including the 160-acre Tandy Hills Natural Area. Our parks system is one of the brightest jewels in the City’s crown.

Preserving, protecting, maintaining and enhancing these park areas have been the responsibilities of the Parks and Community Services department for 100 years.

This is a huge and multi-faceted task that is critical to providing a superior quality of life for the citizens of Fort Worth. The most efficient and effective way to continue fulfilling this responsibility is for the department to report directly to the City Manager’s office rather than through another department such as the Library.

FOTHNA understands the difficult budget challenges confronting the City. However, the steps taken to eliminate the projected shortfall should not include the proposed consolidation. Instead, reductions can be taken elsewhere that will not cause such serious, long-term erosion of the City’s park system as will inevitably occur under this proposal. FOHTNA strongly urges the Mayor and City Council to pursue these alternatives.

Don Young

Director, Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area
cc: City Manager Dale Fisseler

Parks and Community Services Advisory Board

Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting Tandy Hills