Last month, the Trinity River Improvement Partnership (TRIP) sponsored a forum at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden to discuss the merits of the $900 million Trinity River Vision project and ask questions about where that money will come from, what the justification for the project is, and what it has to do with flooding and water quality issues. About 125 people showed up, but it was one person missing that stirred the ire of the citizens. J. D. Granger, executive director of TRV, had promised to sit on the panel and give direct answers to those important questions. But at the last minute, he cancelled. The only one to show up on the “pro-TRV” side was a gutsy Jim Lane, a board member of the Tarrant Regional Water District. Lane did his best to answer some of the questions, but the water district is handling only part of the project. The reason given for Granger’s backpedaling was that he realized the event would involve discussing policy, and, shucks, he’s just the hired hand (although he’d known about the format of the event for weeks). But the fact is that Granger is in charge and is one of the few people who can sort out where this multi-agency project is going. Canceling at the last minute just doesn’t cut it. Maybe voters should drop him from their holiday invitation list. Oh, wait. That’s right. He’s not an elected official.
Eww, Don’t Talk About That at Dinner
This past summer, the Trinity River Vision produced several concerts on the river, with the audience floating on inner tubes while listening to the music. TRV also promoted a wakeboard park, where boarders would be pulled around a retention pond on the river by a whirling cable. It was all part of an effort to get Cowtowners more comfortable using the river, which many thought of as a big ditch full of debris and bacteria. But did TRV test the water to see if it was safe? No, they said they were relying on state-provided data. Journalists at WFAA-TV/Channel 8 decided to do the testing themselves. They found that several sections of the river –– including the concert area for the tubers –– had double to triple the amount of harmful bacteria that the EPA considered a safe level.
Most notable was the presence of E. coli, which comes from, um, human waste.
TRV officials never really explained why they didn’t test before they urged people to jump in but indicated they would get to it at a later date. Warning: Don’t eat any turkey served up by these folks.