Friday, February 26, 2010
What budget priorities?
Mayor Mike Moncrief and some city staff spent $31,000 on a Super Bowl vacation. Are you kidding me? Yet the city of Fort Worth is furloughing staff and laying off others, city land is not being kept clean and Code Compliance is gutted among other harsh measures adopted by Moncrief and the City Council to balance the budget.
This is despicable. Why does Fort Worth need to spend more money than the host city of Arlington? For the Star-Telegram to write about this junket without noting that we are in a budget crisis is irresponsible.
This mayor and council always seem to find money when they need it, but what about the taxpayers? Enough with pork-barrel spending!
-- Cissy Hernandez, Fort Worth
Read the comments left by real citizens living in the real world.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"There is no protection for the citizens," said Tim Lane, a University of North Texas psychologist who is dealing with fumes, noise, lights, runoff, and other concerns from a disposal well next to his small ranch in Cooke County. "From everything we see, their [the Railroad Commission's] purpose is to protect the oil and gas industry from the public."
If there is fear of the big companies, there's an even bigger fear of the unknown - about whether it's safe to drink the water, to breathe the air, and what the company on the other side of the fence is putting into the ground.
On East First Street in Fort Worth, in the Trinity River bottoms and not far from city ball fields and Gateway Park, a line of trucks leads the way to the city's only current disposal well. The trucks could eventually be replaced, at least in part, by a "significant" pipeline to carry the so-called "saltwater" from up to a hundred Chesapeake Energy gas wells strung out along the Trinity from Beach Street east to Arlington.
"How do you fix an aquifer" if it becomes contaminated, asked Louis McBee. "What are we going to do, react after it happens?"
By then it will be too late...
Read the Mayor's wonderful letter about his recent trip here. Thanks to all those who welcomed him and treated him so kindly!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Is anyone listening?
A man in Ohio bulldozes his home, believing his bank has treated him unjustly in upcoming foreclosure proceedings, while a man in Austin takes extreme measures with his issues with the IRS.
Our own institutions are not working. The government will bail out Wall Street without blinking an eye, but the common man receives no break or relief on his mortgage. Meanwhile, we have one of the most inequitable and burdensome tax codes anywhere. It must benefit the government or someone, as no politician makes any real effort to overhaul its complexity and make it more reasonable and fair.
Regardless of human behavior and emotions, in tough times like these, coupled with an unresponsive government and do-nothing politicians, these kind of actions may likely increase since no one is listening.
-- Michael E. Holland, Fort Worth
The new EPA regional administrator, Al Armendariz, brings science to his job, with a doctorate in environmental engineering. Another advantage is that President Barack Obama favors reducing pollution, unlike George W. Bush, who hampered cleanup efforts.
Texas produces more carbon dioxide, which is a major greenhouse gas, than any other state.
However, Gov. Rick Perry is squandering Texans' tax dollars in a lawsuit to keep the EPA from forcing him to reduce our emissions. Perry has a misguided belief that global warming is a myth. Despite the recent record snow, the last decade was warmer than any other since records have been kept.
I hope that the next governor, whoever she may be, will recognize the existence and danger of carbon dioxide and work with the EPA to reduce our output.
-- Ann Chambers, Fort Worth
Read about it in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
City officials are essentially powerless to regulate where the pipelines go because gas companies are considered utilities, just like Oncor and Atmos Energy, which means they have the power to condemn private property.
"We've seen in the past that if a pipeline bisects a major property, it can be difficult to redevelop it," Pitstick said.
"We're fairly happy with the alignment, based on our lack of control over the situation."
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
J.R. Labbe's Jan. 13 column, "So many budget demands, so little money," asserted that Fort Worth might have to raise taxes to balance the budget. Yet just a few days later, we taxpayers learned that the mayor and his entourage were going on a junket to the Super Bowl at a cost of $31,000. This is the same mayor and council that want to raise our taxes, take away homestead exemptions and bring us yet more fees.
They tell us we need to live within our means. How about Mayor Mike Moncrief and the Fort Worth City Council live within theirs?
--Jesse Carr, Fort Worth
Missing in action
Glad the Editorial Board is happy with "our" representative. (See: "North Texas needs Granger," Sunday)
A few years back, Fort Worth attempted to annex unincorporated Tarrant County. We had involvement from county commissioners, the Fort Worth Police and Fire Departments, Texas legislators, even the governor. Where was Kay? Ducking us. Why? Because of her tax-abatement giveaway to Alliance and Texas Motor Speedway -- the reason Fort Worth was desperate to increase the property tax base. We won without her!
In recent years, Interstate 35 grows to six and eight lanes wide north and south of Austin and just about everywhere -- with one exception: north of downtown Fort Worth. Where is Kay? Ducking us!
Granger's support of defense jobs is a given for this part of the world. She only does what serves her interest.
What has she done for the thousands of folks who live in her district and have to park, daily, on Interstate 35W? Not much.
-- Jim Munkittrick, Fort Worth
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Retiring Senator Bayh is fed up with the American political system. He ain't the only one, though he may be the only one speaking up. If the Senators are fed up, how do you think THE PEOPLE feel?
Voting against things that will help THE PEOPLE for political reasons is only one of the issues he points out. There are several...
He noted that the need for constant fundraising made it nearly impossible to focus on passing legislation.
Read all about Senator Bayh's disillusionment with the dysfunction.
Monday, February 15, 2010
The city of Fort Worth also has declined to cease issuances of drilling permits, as have other municipalities, making the chance of a moratorium even slimmer.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Now what, Fort Worth?
DISH has been leading the way...big city should take a hint from small town. Read about DISH, TX 90 day moratorium in the Denton Record-Chronicle.
Or watch on WFAA.com.
Monday, February 8, 2010
FORT WORTH, Texas, February 8, 2010 -- The United Conservative Coalition of Texas – an organization representing over a dozen Tea Party, 912 and other conservative groups in North Texas – will be conducting the largest pre-primary Get Out The Vote rally in Texas history on February 20, 2010 at the historic Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Every candidate on the Republican Party ballot has been invited to attend. The highlight of the event is the highly contested Texas Governor’s race. Of the three candidates, Debra Medina, the insurgent candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor, has confirmed her attendance. Over two dozen other candidates for national, state and local offices have also confirmed.
Adrian Murray, local businessman and president of the Fort Worth 912 Project and a member of the UCCOT, said, “2010 will be the most critical election in this nation’s history. While there is a tendency for hyperbole each election cycle, there can be no doubting that who controls the US House and Senate, as well as the legislature in Austin, will set the agenda starting in January 2011. That agenda will either be more big government takeover of our lives, more wasteful spending, more shredding of the Constitution or it will not. The only way to ensure a return to fiscal and governmental sanity is by nominating and electing principled conservatives to office.”
The aim of the rally, according to Murray, is give voters an opportunity to meet and listen to all the candidates to make an informed decision. “The event will be right in the middle of early voting and we will encourage voters to go straight from the rally to the polls. The key to victory is motivating and mobilizing voters, especially those who normally sit out primaries. Don’t complain in November if you’re not satisfied with your choices.”
The Cowtown Coliseum has seating for 2,300 plus room for another 700 on the arena floor. Murray expects every seat to be filled. “Since the presidential election in 2008 and the relentless assaults on freedom and liberty that have ensued, particularly with health care and cap and trade, people who have never paid attention to a primary in their lives are now alert and highly motivated. Those attending this event will be part of history. Never before has a group of private citizens attempted an undertaking of this size and complexity. But if we are going to save this nation and return to constitutional principles we have to be willing to try things that have never been tried before.”
HIGH NOON IN COWTOWN begins at 12:00 pm on Saturday, February 20, 2010.
Representatives of the drillers, most notably WilliamsProduction, smiled and assured everyone that they had the best interests of the community in mind. But they refused to answer probing questions, while forging ahead with plans for at least 100 more wells, many in close proximity to homes, schools and businesses.
Meanwhile, Mayor Jody Smith and her allies on the Town Council fiddle while Flower Mound is pillaged.
Despite pleas from their constituents to tap the brakes and assess the long-term consequences, certain officials continue to accede to the drillers' demands. Recently, roughly 600 residents packed a hearing to voice opposition to controversial new zoning ordinances requested by Williams, just as a similarly irate group had advocated a moratorium on new drilling permits in December. In both cases, three of the five council members thumbed their noses at the crowd and sided with the drillers.
Check out the Flower Mound Cares website.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Remember, it's our air and our water...
And some of the highest poisonous readings of polychlorinated biphenyls -- or PCBs -- were found at sample sites in Tarrant County.
"I think we've done irreparable damage," Brian Smith, who owns about 700 acres of preserved ranchland along the river in Navarro County south of Dallas, said during a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality meeting Wednesday in Arlington.
Among the highest PCB readings were results at testing sites in Fort Worth -- one near North Beach Street, the other near Handley Road -- and another near Farm Road 157 near the Fort Worth/Arlington border, a consultant explained during the Arlington meeting.
Another spectator, Libby Willis, president of the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association, raised a concern about plans to use Riverside Park in north Fort Worth to store excavated soil during the proposed Central City/Trinity Uptown project, which includes relocation of a portion of the river for flood control.
"If there are PCBs in the soil, why would you put it in a park, of all places?" she asked.
Willis also noted that signs warning that fish in the Trinity River should not be eaten had been removed. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the signs most likely had been stolen.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
On December 2, 2009, you Co-Hosted a Public Meeting regarding the status of the gas drilling pipeline down Carter Avenue. Your Co-Hosts for this meeting were State Senator Wendy Davis and State Representative Lon Burnam, both of Fort Worth.
Also, present at the meeting (at your invitation) were your respective legislative aides, Fort Worth City Development Staff, TxDot Representative Meribel Chavez, Fort Worth City Engineer Rick Trice, Chesapeake management, engineering and PR staff, Carter Avenue residents and property owners and various other Fort Worth neighborhood leaders. Our NCTCA Officers and Members were also present to hear the information.
During the meeting, a PowerPoint presentation was made by Chesapeake about the status of the "alternative route" along the I-30 corridor which they proposed as a viable alternative to the route down Carter Avenue. During the question and answer period, the Chesapeake representatives and Engineer made it very clear that they were working towards this viable solution, and everyone there was lead to believe that over a period of the ensuing months, all parties would be working out the details with that goal in mind.
Thus, we (and particularly the Carter Avenue residents) were alarmed and shocked to learn that not even ten days after your meeting, Chesapeake (Texas Midstream) was continuing their condemnation legal proceedings against Carter Avenue resident Steve Deuong. Why? If Chesapeake Energy is sincere in their desire and efforts to work cooperatively with both the Carter Avenue residents and the City.....then why are they HARASSING this resident again, and WHY would they need to continue to PUSH for this condemnation? As of this writing, Chesapeake is still engaging in an active pursuit of Mr. Doeung’s property, with another hearing scheduled for March 4, 2010!
It's been a full two months since your Public Meeting, Kathleen, and no one has been able to get a "straight forward answer" about the status - any status - of the proposed alternative pipeline route presented at your meeting, or the previous alternative route directly across IH30, that was forwarded to you my me over a month ago.
As you are aware, when our nonprofit organization “North Central Texas Communities Alliance” was formed in late 2009, the Carter Avenue pipeline situation was a galvanizing community issue. We have steadfastly supported the residents in their OPPOSITION to this pipeline. As I’m sure you do, we consider the Carter Avenue pipeline situation to be a litmus test for every residential street and every neighborhood in Fort Worth….and in the Barnett Shale.
Therefore, (if you cannot personally attend our meeting) we are requesting a written update from you and/or city staff regarding the current status of this pipeline, or the previous route directly across IH30. We will be hosting our monthly NCTCA meeting this coming Thursday, February 4th, and our members are expecting an update regarding the status of Carter Avenue and that of the pipeline. Please email current updates to my email address at your earliest convenience. We will be discussing the subject of Carter Avenue and it's residents with our members, and would like to be able to report something positive regarding pipelines in and through residential areas.
We believe that both the residents of Carter Avenue and the citizens of Ft. Worth deserve better, clearer, and more frequent communications on such an important issue that, quite literally, has a potential impact on EVERY neighborhood in our City. We ask that you, as the Council Member representing this District, work to insure that the citizens receive communications in a more timely and straightforward manner.
Thank you in advance for your help with these matters, and finally would like to extend a personal invitation to our next meeting on Thursday, February 4th. We will be given the opportunity to discuss serious issues with Dr. Al Armendariz, the new Region 6 Director with the EPA. This meeting could prove to be very important to our city, in that we cannot rely on the information from TCEQ as being anything but mildly informative.
Louis McBee - Treasurer
2320 Oakland Blvd., Ste11
Fort Worth, TX 76103
cc: NCTCA Pres: Esther McElfish
NCTCA-VP; Gary Hogan
State Senator Wendy Davis
State Rep. Lon Burnam
Monday, February 1, 2010
Together we Bargain, Divided we Beg
North Central Texas Communities Alliance is a broad-based coalition of individuals, organizations and communities throughout the Barnett Shale area working on local, state and national levels for positive solutions to the problems related to natural gas drilling and production.
To facilitate our goals, we strive to Communicate, Educate and then to Mobilize citizens to action in north Texas and their own unique communities.
EPA Region 6 Administrator
Next Meeting: Thursday, February 4, 2010
Where: Hotel Trinity - Inn Suites
IH30 @ Beach Street
Doors will open at 6:30pm for coffee, networking
and news interviews.
Meeting will begin at 7:00pm and end at 8:45pm
Dr. Al Armendariz was appointed by President Obama on November 5, 2009 as the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, in Dallas. As Regional Administrator he is responsible for managing the Agency's regional activities under the direction of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
The region encompasses Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribal Nations. Prior to his appointment, for eight years he was a professor in the Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he received several outstanding faculty awards. For the past 15 years, Dr. Armendariz has worked in a variety of research and academic positions including, for a short time in 2002, in the Region 6 EPA offices.
Before joining SMU, he was a chemical engineer with Radian Corporation in North Carolina. During and after college he worked as a research assistant at the MIT Center for Global Change Science at their Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory in Massachusetts.
Throughout his career, Dr. Armendariz has spent countless hours volunteering his time to help the environment through various environmental groups and the Volunteer Center for North Texas. He has a proven track record of addressing complex environmental and public health challenges in everything from solid waste landfills to community and Tribal priorities.
Dr. Armendariz  received his doctorate in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Pubic Health where he was also selected as a Royster Society Fellow. He holds a M.E. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. Al is a chemical engineer by training, with an undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.).
Al is a third generation Texan, descended from Mexican and Mexican-American grandparents who settled in the border city of El Paso. Born and raised in El Paso, he graduated from Coronado High School in 1988. He has also lived in Houston, Albuquerque and New Orleans. Al currently lives in Dallas with his wife Cynthia, a public school teacher in Irving ISD, and two sons, Ferris and Simon.
Mayor Tillman's video remarks
Mayor Calvin Tillman - Dish, Texas
Mayor Tillman has been on the front lines of the battle to keep his town safe and clean from the effects of uncontrolled pipelines and gas drilling within the city limits of Dish Texas. Much of the time he has been the Lone Ranger in he battle to save some of his town, and by default some other communities who are facing the same problems without their elected official's support.
His views and unique experiences with these very important issues are a must to hear in his own words. Just Google his name for a wealth of information.
As the time honored saying goes, you can be a part of the solution or continue to be a part of the problem. Only by working together for the common good can we even begin to protect our communities from unwanted and/or unneeded industrial activities that continue to harm the air we breathe or the water needed to sustain our quality of life.
Please join with us to help protect our future and the continued safety of our families BY FORWARDING THIS MESSAGE to your school administrators, your teachers, your church leaders, the PTA and other community contacts. Ask them to learn how this expanding heavy industrial activity called gas drilling is affecting our most vulnerable citizens....our children!
North Central Texas Communities Alliance
Esther McElfish, Pres.
Gary Hogan, V.P.
Louis McBee, Treas.
NCTCA Web Site
Downwinders at Risk
EPA Region 6
Senator Wendy Davis
Fort Worth Can Do
MORATORIUM OR NOT?
Take the Survey
Gas Drilling Moratorium - You Can Decide
Dangerous levels of cancer causing Benzene found in 48% of gas facilities tested.
Chanel 11 News Report
The most at risk for even low to moderate levels of Benzene are children and pregnant mothers. If we continue to "drill baby drill" without fully knowing and understanding the risks involved, the drillers will be long gone before our citizens begin to show symptoms of exposure to Benzene and other harmful byproducts of gas drilling.
What are the health risks?
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a credibility problem!
Tarrant County may be eminent domain capital
In Tarrant County, eminent domain is a way of life.
“It really goes to the growth of the region,” O’Brien said. “Meaning the infrastructure that is needed now to support that growth has to be built and it’s happenstance that TxDOT has gotten its funding for this region. Then when you add in Trinity River Vision and Barnett Shale, you have a lot of eminent domain coming this way.”