Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lake Closed

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers have determined Lake Texoma has a toxic algae caused by extreme heat and prolonged drought.

No swimming or fishing is to take place in the lake.  They say the lake is still open to boaters for Labor Day weekend.  WHO wants to be on a boat in 100 degree weather if you can't get in the water? 

There was a massive fish kill this week on Lake Grapevine. 

Seems like something is in the water...

Oh, that's right, WHAT water?

The Weekly tells you where to go

For the Labor Day Weekend. Take a TRIP out to Glen Rose.

Start Watching - from the Fort Worth Weekly

The Glen Rose Neo-Relix Film Festival has chosen Layla Caraway’s Up A Creek as one of the featured documentaries to be shown on Labor Day weekend.

Production of Up A Creek was sponsored by the Trinity River Improvement Partnership, a collection of local folks with varied political backgrounds who think the Trinity River Vision is just an enormously wasteful economic development project masquerading as flood control — and sucking up all the available local flood-control money along the way. (The price tag is now just over $900 million.)

The experiences that led Caraway to produce the film began in the summer of 2007, when weeks of rain and flooding caused her backyard to fall into Big Fossil Creek. In the same storm, a 4-year-old girl drowned when floodwaters ripped her from her mother’s arms.

Caraway wanted to know why the U.S Army Corps of Engineers couldn’t find money for well-documented flood problems along Big Fossil Creek in Haltom City but had hundreds of millions for the downtown Fort Worth project. Local filmmaker and photographer Bob Lukemon helped make the documentary, which will be screened twice during the Glen Rose festival —on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 2 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 4, at noon. For more information go to http://www.savethetrinityriver.org/.

Councils say the darndest things...

Critics have said for years, if it looks likes a tax, it's a tax.  Regardless if you call it a fee.

Now, some council members have caught up to saying the same thing. 

Some council members are asking how we got here.  We have been asking them the same thing for years, remember they have been driving the bus.

Critics have long said our infrastructure needs are being ignored.  Is the Fort Worth council finally waking up as it continues to crumble around them?

Critics have also said we shouldn't build things we couldn't pay for.  Sounds simple, right?  Council members have now pushed the Cultural District parking garage hike off till next year. 

Read about all of it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  YOU can't afford not to.

Council members said officials clearly need to find a way to fund all of the city's growing infrastructure needs, but they can't consider any new fees until the city delivers on road projects that are years behind schedule.

Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks said the transportation fee, which would have added $5.90 to a single-family residence's monthly water bill, would be another form of taxation. "We're not calling it a tax, but it is," Hicks said.

Almost all the council members agreed on setting aside the fee, but Sal Espino said the council must have "a frank discussion on how we got here." He said the city cannot continue to ignore its projected 10-year transportation funding gap of $1 billion.

"We are in an infrastructure crisis in our city," Espino said.

Mayor Betsy Price said the fee can be shelved for now and reconsidered again if the city gets its expenses under control and finishes the delayed road projects that have been promised for years.

"It is time to stop the excuses and build the road," Councilman Jungus Jordan said.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Restrictions...What Restrictions?

From Don Young...

A Fractured Fracking Tale

> August 30, 2011.

> Fort Worth, Texas.

> Worst drought in Fort Worth history is underway.

> Stage 1 water use restrictions went into effect yesterday.

> I took a little hike along the Trinity River today.

> Hundreds of gas wells and related infrastructure dot the entire length of river as it winds through town.

> Drilling companies are among the the largest contributors to Texas politicians.

> Fracking and drilling are exempt from water restrictions.

> Each frack job uses around 5 million gallons of fresh water.

> Prior to 2005 there were ZERO gas wells in Fort Worth.

> As of August, 2011, there are around 2,000 gas wells in the City of Fort Worth.

> Each gas well is re-fracked over and over again for many years.

> Each frack job produces millions of gallons of toxic wastewater.

> Hundreds of tanker trucks loaded with wastewater and drilling chemicals roam city streets day and night.

> Fort Worth is now one of the largest generators and exporters of toxic waste in the state of Texas.

> In late 2010, Chesapeake CEO claimed they had, thus far, only drilled about 20% of planned gas wells.

> Some Fort Worth City Council members received cash donations and gifts from the drilling industry for their political campaigns.

> Mayor, Betsy Price, was openly endorsed by the drilling industry.

> Remember to water you lawn and garden ONLY on designated days.

DY


Trinity River near downtown FW, 8/30/11.


Frack job underway for Chesapeake Energy.
Fish, turtles and other wildlife, beware!


River water being pumped with three huge diesel generators.


A non-English speaking worker kept watch nearby.


Be prepared!


Heavily used bike trail is still open for business.


These water pipes extend about a half mile to the pad-site
along the formerly scenic river bank.


It's all legal, of corse, and safely "stored" for a million years.


More diesel generators at the pad-site add to the already dirty air quality in FW.


We have been warned.


Enormous quantities of water, sand and chemicals pumped
into Mother Earth to make someone rich.


Meanwhile, back at Chesapeake HQ in downtown FW today,
workers are watering the big green lawn.
Restrictions? What restrictions?

Don Young
FWCanDo
P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147

Trinity River Irony

The Fort Worth Star Telegram has two articles - one titled, "TCC raises property taxes, tutition".  The other, "Classes begin at TCC Trinity River East Campus".  YOU do the math...

Tarrant County College trustees on Monday adopted an estimated $348.9 million budget for fiscal 2011-12 that raises next year's property taxes for the college district by 8 percent and tuition by 4 percent.

The 4-2 vote came after a public hearing at which five people urged the board to vote against the tax and tuition increases.

"Stop increasing your charges," said Randy Kressler, a Westworth Village councilman.

Several speakers criticized plans for a performing arts center at TCC's Northeast Campus.

"You should abandon it," taxpayer Bill Wright said. "You should lower the tax rate, not increase it."

Students started classes Monday at the Trinity River East Campus, Tarrant County College's new $185 million downtown facility for health professionals.

Bryan Stewart, vice president of teaching and learning services for the entire complex, said about 7,115 students are enrolled at both facilities, with 700 at Trinity River East.

Stewart said there were no traffic issues. College officials began greeting students as they arrived at about 6:30 a.m. to the parking lot off Belknap Street, which has 148 student spaces.

Stewart said that lot filled up at about 9 a.m. so students parked at a garage at the Trinity River Campus and a lot on Henderson Street. He said the nearby parking cycles out about noon, when a different group of students arrives.

Do YOUR job

A letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram makes a good point, we need a hero.  And a new Water District.

Cool, clear water

In his 1962 Farewell to the West Point Cadets, Gen. Douglas MacArthur sternly told them that their primary duty was to win their country's wars, that should they fail, the nation would be destroyed. To the board of the Tarrant Regional Water District, bullheadedly engaged in pursuing the moribund Trinity River Vision even while Texas is caught in the clutches of drought, I write in the vein of MacArthur's oration.

Through all the welter of change and development that has come to Fort Worth, your mandate stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night. It remains fixed, determined, inviolate -- it is to provide water.

Everything else is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects will find others for their accomplishment; but you are the ones who are charged with bringing cool, clear water with the sure knowledge that there is no substitute for water, and that if you fail, the city will be destroyed.

Superstar Gen. Douglas MacArthur. When cometh such another?

-- Don Woodard Sr., Fort Worth

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hold the phone...

Did we just agree on something?

Read Mitch's column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram concerning Fort Worth Tax abatements.

We also agree with Betsy - we'd like to know what's in the water too.  Better yet, WHAT water?

Contrast those deals with the small ball that the city was playing last week. The planning department proposed tax breaks for three projects, including one pledging to bring just 60 jobs to the area -- and to fast-growing Alliance at that.

Frac Tech Services, proposing the biggest expansion, is already in Fort Worth. Do you think a fracking company would leave the fracking capital of the world over a tax break?

Mayor Betsy Price said it was all good, too: "I've talked to friends around the state who want to know what the heck you put in the water in Fort Worth that everybody's coming to Fort Worth."

Several company executives were at the pre-council meeting, yet they weren't called upon. Is it unreasonable to ask whether the tax breaks are necessary to pull off the deal?

Council members don't have to grill anybody or cause embarrassment. But they should at least feign some due diligence.

Maybe they'll be more engaged when the abatements come up for a vote next month. Last week's session was so brief and perfunctory that I longed for the days of Clyde Picht and the late Chuck Silcox. Those former members opposed almost every tax break on the principle that everyone should pay a fair share.

Even Wendy Davis, a champion of economic development, could be counted on to ask about "the gap." She's a state senator now, but when she served on the council, she pored over spreadsheets and demanded to know why a taxpayer contribution was crucial to closing a deal.

"If Oprah Winfrey were moving to Texas, would we offer her an abatement to move to Fort Worth?" Picht said.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More Fort Worth Abatements

Fracing abatement's at that.

Back in the day, they called that "giving away the farm".

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Some of the other abatement's didn't meet their projections.  HOW are these companies going to be different?  Shouldn't the public (those paying for the abatement) make the call?

For the 10-year, 65 percent abatement, Frac Tech would invest $61.4 million and create 200 jobs by 2013 and 450 by December 2021.

The estimated total public investment would be $3.1 million.

Flood control scams?

White Settlement has a real flood control problem, one where homes actually flood.  They voted to spend money years ago to correct the problem. 

So, what happened?

Congress and the Corp of Engineers, that's what.  Read the excerpt below from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

In the meantime, the cost of the project, which is funded by White Settlement and the Army Corps of Engineers, has increased. After voters approved the $6 million, Congress placed a moratorium on the $7 million in federal funds that wasn't lifted until 2007 because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During that time, costs increased and the estimated cost for the project was $16.2 million, but now it is more than $18 million.

One of our sources tells us the same thing happened in Haltom City.  WHERE are the cities supposed to come up with the additional money?  If they call it a vision will that help?  If real flooding problems cost more than estimated, what will happen with the Trinity River Vision estimate?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How much more?

It's only the beginning.

The "City Council Brief" article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram could have been called "TRV wants more". 

Remember when our new mayor was on the campaign trail, one of the promises was Fort Worth would not spend a dime over the double digit millions (of OUR money) they already promised.  So, WHO will pay the $95 million for new facilities? WHY do we need new facilities?  Because the current ones are in the way of the Trinity River Vision.  WHO owns the land?  The Tarrant Regional Water District.  WHY?  YOU know the answer.  WHO wrote the Brief?  Bill Hanna, WHO else.

Kathleen Hicks says she is "worried" how the city will pay for it.  Isn't she on the TRV board?  And NOW she's worried?

Critics have long said the cost of the Trinity River Vision will be more than the $909 million dollars (of tax payer money) the project "leaders" have claimed.  The project pushers have called the critics "crazy".  Critics have asked the question about the fire and police training academy before.  Not so crazy now, is it? 

The current site was sold to the Tarrant Regional Water District as part of the Trinity River Project for $4.2 million, and the city bought four 250,000-square-foot warehouses at the Federal Depot in south Fort Worth for $6.4 million.

The city has an eight-year lease on the current site but doesn't have a way to pay for a new facility and could exercise options to stay a year or two longer, said Mark Rauscher of the planning and development department. But Rauscher noted that a new shooting range must be in place by the end of 2013. "At this point we have not identified a full funding plan for the police and fire training center," Rauscher said.

THE PEOPLE get it

WHY don't the "leaders"?  Oh yes, greed.

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

Water shell game

Public Relations 101, courtesy of the Barnett Shale industry: The issue should not be that we're quite frankly poisoning your water, but more that we welcome every opportunity to discuss air quality.

It's not that we're matter-of-factly poisoning your water, it's that we're paying people -- creating jobs -- to do it.

It's not that we are giving briefcases of cash to your politicians to feint laughable regulation, it's just that, by the time you wake up, we'll have scattered and be back selling you the greatest commodity in history: potable water.

-- Scott Krauza, Bedford

Affordable Education?

Not.

One of our favorite letter writers is back, read the letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  THE PEOPLE get it.  You know, the ones paying for it.

TCC priorities

The Star-Telegram reported that Tarrant County College trustees are contemplating raising tuition and their portion of the property tax rate in order to help build three additional buildings.

Watch your wallets! The last building TCC constructed cost about $700 per square foot, roughly four times the average cost of similar community college buildings.

In other words, they could have put up the existing building plus these three additional ones for what we paid for that Berlin bunker, an East Belknap Street underpass and a hole in the ground that we are assured will be nice to visit "when the weather is nice."

Where are the letters to the editor?

Millions for scholarships and teacher salaries and not one dime more for monuments to greed and bad taste.

-- Guelma B. Hopkins, Fort Worth

Old News Bandwagon

For a couple of years we (and Durango) have been telling you about water being removed from the creeks and river for gas drilling purposes.  Now that we're in a drought, someone is finally paying attention.  Reminds us of local flooding issues, no one cares, till the rain starts again.

Odd how it all comes back to water.

Thanks to the Watchdog, Don Young, for getting the "news" involved. 

Check it out on CBSlocal.com

While many North Texans are being asked to conserve water during a statewide drought, three large pipelines are pulling millions of gallons of water out of the Trinity River in Fort Worth, near West Seventh Street.

Where are the pipelines taking the water? Follow them past raised sidewalk sections and roadway crossings and you will end up at a natural gas well located just outside of Trinity River Park, operated by Chesapeake Energy.

There are several more "quotes" and so called "facts" in the article, but they all made us want to say, BS. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Congrats to TRIP!

Good example of what THE PEOPLE can do when they come together.  Read the message below from the Trinity River Improvement Partnership. 


Dear Friends of the Trinity River,

TRIP is pleased to announce that our documentary video project, Up A Creek, has been selected by the Neo-Relix Film Festival in Glen Rose, Texas. It will be shown as one of the featured programs at 2:00 Saturday, September 3rd, and at 12:00 Sunday September 4th.

Up A Creek is a story about the real dangers of flooding that exist in the Fort Worth area, and seeks to inform citizens about the misplaced priorities of our elected officials and their plans to spend close to one billion dollars of tax money to benefit the development community.

Our presentation begins with a heartbreaking, true story of flooding, tragedy, and a lack of local governmental foresight and accountability. Local critics of the Trinity River Vision Project then pick up the story and cover a wide-ranging series of topics, from eminent domain abuse to TIF financing districts, legislative manipulation, lack of local media scrutiny, where flood control is actually needed. It addresses the role of the Tarrant Regional Water District and where our local and federal tax dollars are going with this project. The video ends with a call to action, urging voters to educate themselves about the project and help TRIP to offer a more realistic alternative.

TRIP... Our Mission: Support public and civic organizations to achieve maximum balance in preserving property rights, the environment, flood control, and historical considerations, while achieving reasonable development and a clean and adequate water supply.

Please join us. Visit us at www.savethetrinityriver.org

Just say no

To fracking.  That's what the subject of another New York Times post is about.  This time in Andes, N.Y.

If a reporter calls something "inspiring", YOU might want to pay attention.

There might be limited short-term benefits to a few, but the boom will be followed by a bust, and when it is all over “people won’t want to live here anymore.”

There was agreement that regulation wasn’t the answer, first because no regulation could prevent the disasters that come along inevitably with a project this large, and second because the state couldn’t be counted on either to pass or enforce regulations: “I can’t trust an industry that has got itself exempted from the air and clean water act.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Being Railroaded?

Read the letter concerning the Railroad Commission from former DISH, TX Mayor Tillman.

Worth your tax dollars?

I recently spoke at an event with a representative from the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), which regulates and promotes the Oil and Gas Industry in Texas. After dealing with the organization for several years, I have little respect for them as a tax payer funded organization, as do most of the people that have been forced to deal with them. When I was mayor of DISH, I tried for years to get the RRC involved in our situation, and they did nothing. They would not respond to our complaints, and if they did return calls, they certainly would not show up on site. When you call after hours or on weekends, the person who responds will likely not be from your area, because they only have one person on call for the entire state. I bring this up, because the RRC representative stated that they respond to every complaint, and that is simply inaccurate. I am not saying the RRC representative was lying, but he was inaccurate. It is possible that the suits in Austin are quoting some general written procedure that no one follows, or perhaps they really could be lying about the situation.

It is further disappointing that the Texas State Legislator failed to take action to help improve this situation during the 2011 legislative session. Texas has a wonderful idea, and that is the Sunset Advisory Commission, which was created to eliminate waste and inefficiency in government agencies. The Sunset Advisory Commission agreed with me and most of the people who know anything about the RRC. You can read the entire report at: http://www.sunset.state.tx.us/82ndreports/rct/rct_dec.pdf. The RRC is led by three elected commissioners, which are kindly referred to by some as the Moe, Larry, and Curly. The only type of oil and gas experience required for the commissioners is to pay close attention to what the industry lobbyist tell them, and properly accept the envelope of cash slid across the table to them. The Texas Legislature failed to do their job and get rid of this sacred cow.

I suspect the organization has been given a reprieve to the next legislative session to clean up their act. However, it is clear that they are not going to clean up their act, but rather send their PR folks out to tell lies and mislead the public. One thing that shocked is that the RRC employees are paid very well to do very little, and in the case of the employee who was on the speaking panel, he is paid almost $100,000.00 per year. Now remember that the Texas education budget was cut by four billion dollars but the RRC was fully funded.

I am ashamed that our conservative legislature who is sent to Austin to get rid of wasteful spending, are still wasting tax dollars on this organization, but can not invest in our children's future. If the RRC simply went away, the average Texan would not know the difference, and certainly would not miss the organization. For the most part the average Texan does not even realize that the "Railroad Commission" has anything to do with the oil and gas industry, not completely convinced that the "Railroad Commission" is aware that they have anything to do with the oil and gas industry.

Another disturbing fact about this organization is that they have voted on thousands of occasions to take private property that belongs to a taxpayers in Texas and transfer this to a corporation without compensation. In Texas there are spacing rules that prevents an operator from drilling up against an unleased property line; however, the operator can request an exception to that rule and therefore put the drill bore against the property line. When the hydraulic fracturing takes place, the minerals from the unleased property are collected without compensating the mineral owner. This has been accomplished thousands of times in the Barnett Shale. The commissioners will attempt to state that this rule is need to prevent one person from stopping others from benefiting from their minerals. However, that is not how it is being used, but rather the operators no longer negotiate in good faith. They will simply make a low offer and if it is not accepted in a timely manner, they will simply move toward the exception. This was outlined in a recent local article which can be found at: http://www.fwweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4950:free-gas-for-drillers&catid=76:metropolis&Itemid=377

Once this trick had been sniffed out, the people in the Barnett Shale began protesting the exceptions, and therefore holding up the drilling process. Therefore, they have proposed to alter the current rule to notify the property owner only after the exception had been approved, which would prevent those annoying people complaining about their minerals being stolen. We have several instances in Texas where the surface owner have been pushed around by these companies, now they are doing it to the mineral owners also. This action completely destroys the theory of a free market system, and also destroys private property rights. The free market system in Texas, is directly related to the amount of money that is donated to a particular campaign, and you can own and peacefully enjoy your property as long as someone with more money does not want it. Not sure that is exactly how the founding fathers of this great nation planned it.

In today's economic climate it is imperative that we cut ineffective organizations. Every tax dollar counts, and we the taxpayers should influence what that money is spent on. So many of these organizations that are paid to protect our health safety and welfare, simply go through the motions and collect a pay check. That is exactly what the state officials want...the masses to think they are being protected, and that is simply not the case. In many of these organizations, the low level boots on the ground want to do the right thing, but are prevented from doing that by a political appointee. However, that is not the case with the RRC; their way of doing business has been going on for so long, that it is ingrained in their culture. Therefore, some ineffective organizations could change with new leadership, but with the RRC, we need to abolish the entire organization.

Those of you in other states, may not have this exact problem, but I would bet that your "regulatory agency", has the same problems that exist here. The organization is there only to give the perception that the state is trying to protect health, safety and private property rights, but are really in existence only to protect the industry. It is time that these organizations fulfill what the taxpayers are paying them to do, or get funded by a source other than taxpayers.

In Texas, the RRC is the entry level political office, for the above stated qualification requirements, however, many of these officials go on to further political careers. One current commissioner has announced a run for US Senate, while a recent former commissioner is running for a US Representative seat. I am betting that they will be rewarded for the thousands of occassions that they allowed the legal theivery of private property by corporations. We simply can not let this cycle continue. It makes no sense for us to spend millions or billions on organizations that simply make no effort to perform their intended functions.

"Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it"

Hello? Anyone there?

Part of another letter from a citizen to the City of Fort Worth.  Do they read their emails?  Concerened about lack of transparency? Gas Drilling? Budget?  Water?  It's all here...everything but a response.

Dear Mayor and Council Members:

The CITIZENS of Ft. Worth are not pleased with both the lack of advance notice for Tuesday's Gas Drilling Workshop, as well as the misleading dates and lack of opportunity for citizen participation.

The following facts will illustrate our concerns:

1. In previous information issued by the City, and in the City News (e-newsletter) issued in July, it was noted that this Gas Drilling Workshop would be part of the series of Budget hearings, and the date listed was August 30th.

Not only was the date moved UP a good 2 weeks, but the citizens were given absolutely NO advance notice of this change. (NOTE the emailed copy below that I received, showing that it was sent by the City on MONDAY evening, 8/15!)

Obviously, there were folks who probably did find out over the weekend (after the Council's Agenda's are posted on the previous Friday); however, due to the fact that this was scheduled for a DAYTIME meeting, it severely limited advance planning or contact opportunities for the CITIZENS.

NOTE: Citizens are currently preoccupied with returning from vacations, and getting their children ready to start school this coming week.

I will compliment Asst. City Mgr. Fernando Costa on the apparent very comprehensive lineup of speakers and presenters. We would have appreciated more ADVANCE notice of these presentations so that CITIZENS could have had time to contact the Mayor, Council and Staff with the questions that WE wanted

addressed with these critically important subjects.

Any feedback and information shared by the CITIZENS will still be important, but the optimum timing for conversations with each of you would have been prior to Tuesday's Workshop. May I remind each of you that YOU are focused on these issues because it is your JOB....... the citizens are not checking these sites 24/7, and deserve NO LESS than at TWO WEEKS NOTICE when critically important issues like the gas drilling.(and related budget items) ..... which impacts EVERYONE...... are up for discussion and decisions are being made.

2. Below is the copy from your "Budget Workshop - Day 2 Recap" of the upcoming dates for the four public Budget hearings. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? There's only ONE evening meeting, and this last week's Council meeting was also a daytime meeting! To schedule only ONE evening meeting and make it just ONE week before you are going to VOTE on the Budget is totally inadequate lead time for citizens to participate.

Obviously, it's too late for this Tuesday's meeting to be changed. However, we believe that the Mayor and Council should consider either adding another EVENING meeting for Aug. 30th ( a day workshop was originally scheduled for that date), or figure out some way that there will be an additional opportunity for an EVENING meeting (far in advance of your Sept. 20th vote) when Mayor, Council and Staff will be present. We are aware that folks can submit their comments via email, but it is not the same.

(from the City's website):

City Council will vote on the final budget Sept. 20, following four public hearings:

10 a.m. Aug. 16
10 a.m. Aug. 23
7 p.m. Sept. 13
10 a.m. Sept. 20

3. The GAS DRILLING issues, as you realized from your Tuesday Workshop, are far-reaching and not ones with "simple solutions." There are very serious threats to the health and safety of our NEIGHBORHOODS that need to be addressed.  You were able to hear and see presentations from representatives from these various entities, and know that there are changes that need to be made in both the Gas Drilling Ordinance, as well as Budget allocations.

In a year when the City of Ft. Worth is facing another LARGE BUDGET DEFICIT, it is time to face the reality of creating an EIF - Environmental Impact Fee - that will be assessed to ALL GAS DRILLING, PIPELINE AND RELATED COMPANIES doing business in Ft. Worth. Those fees should be placed in a separate Escrow fund , to be used ONLY to pay for things like the Air Quality Study, as well as BASELINE testing of any sites proposed for gas drilling & fracking, pipelines, compressors, storage tanks, and any related equipment or activity.

NCTCA has long advocated for this Environmental Impact Fee; it is a justified fee that the INDUSTRY should bear, NOT the citizens. We also believe that revenues from such a fee should be used to REIMBURSE the City accounts for the recently completed Air Quality Study. To pay the $1 MILLION-plus out of the Gas Drilling Revenues is to ROB the citizens and our City treasury of funds that should be directed to other much needed items....... oh, say, like POOLS or LIBRARIES!

4. As you can see from the noted items above, Friends, there is a PRESSING need to address and resolve these issues...... and not a lot of time to do so!  For example: In case no one's noticed, WE ARE IN A SEVERE/ EXTREME DROUGHT, AND TO CONTINUE TO GIVE THE GAS DRILLING INDUSTRY CARTE BLANCHE FOR WATER USAGE WHEN CITIZENS ARE BEING REQUIRED TO CUT BACK IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! Cities like Grand Prairie, Southlake and others have realized the URGENCY, and have issued WATER restrictions on the gas drilling acitivities for the duration of the severe/ extreme drought conditions. This issue impacts not only our CITY BUDGET, but also our Water Department and our "precious jewel" - Trinity Park ( Chesapeake has huge pipelines running through our gorgeous trees that are draining water from the Trinity River as I write this!)

Cowtown is seeing many farmers and ranchers in the area selling off large numbers of their herds due to the drought. We cannot wait til we get to an EMERGENCY situation and run OUT of water to address this issue!

You are proposing - FOR THE THIRD YEAR - another RATE HIKE ON OUR WATER BILLS, which, in essence, amounts to a TAX. The City should be RAIISING the fees on an industry that it using our TREATED WATER for fracking, and not being limited in their usage in any way! This is UNACCEPTABLE, and requires a change in the Ordinance, as well as City policy.

The Tarrant County Water Board has recently warned that they anticipate that as of Sept. 1st, ALL cities in the County will be placed under mandatory water restrictions during this drought period. CITIZENS have yet to hear how you plan to address both the fiscal and the physical issues related to WATER used by the shale gas industry.

Mayor and Council Members: I've cited THREE main areas of concern:

1. Scheduling another EVENING public hearing for the Budget.

2. Addressing the critically important issues, as outlined in your Tuesday

Workshop, at a public hearing to allow feedback from the CITIZENS. (and including many of these same presenters to answer questions).

3. Creating a written POLICY NOW related to the WATER usage by the gas drilling industry during this SEVERE/ EXTREME DROUGHT period, and, especially, if water restrictions are required of the citizens. We ask that you consider these three points, and make public announcements related to each, with advance notice to the citizens, on how you plan to address and resolve these issues.

We know that our new Mayor Price has had to "hit the floor running" (or, "peddle FAST on her bike"!), and that's required immediately jumping into the Budget challenges. All of the above issues require both TRANSPARENCY with the Citizens, and a willlingness to face and make the HARD decisions necessary for positive solutions that will protect the health and safety of the citizens and neighborhoods.

NCTCA - the North Central Texas Communities Alliance - continues to stand ready to help and serve as a RESOURCE as you make these hard decisions. Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss these matters further.

With best regards,
Esther McElfish - President
NCTCA - North Central TX Communities Alliance

Fracing up the river...

Seems we've mentioned this before...

Gas drillers removing water from OUR rivers and creeks.  Ultimately, WHO pays?  YOU do.

Read about it on FWCANDO.  Then, DO something.

Now, in the middle of a record-breaking drought and with the blessing of the Fort Worth Mayor and City Council, Chesapeake is preparing to frack the well with water from the river. As of last week, they began ramming water-sucking pipes through the park, right next to the duck pond and playgrounds where children play.

Hey Brother, can you spare some outrage?

Trinity River Safety

Another idea from THE PEOPLE.  These people should be involved in planning the Trinity River Vision.  Sounds like they need some help.

Read the letter in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

River safety

The next dime spent toward developing the Trinity River must include safety equipment to assist the rescue of people drawn to the river. State law requires a public pool to have a life preserver, rescue pole and phone; all inexpensive safety equipment, compared to a human life.

"Trinity Guardians" can be anyone who can throw a life preserver or extend a pole to save a drowning person. Reach out to fraternities, sororities, scouts, environmentalists and rescue groups. Install several small but strategically placed safety stations, sponsored by local businesses that donate the needed equipment. Float purple frogs in the water; just do something besides studying the issue.

I am ready to donate so that no other child will lose a parent and no other parent will lose a child.

-- Gail K. Tidwell, Fort Worth

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It worked on YOUR kids

So WHY wouldn't it work on you?

The NCTCOG (yes, the COG that held the TDML meeting last week and the Recreational Use Attainability Study meeting this week) is sponsoring a video contest with TREES and WFAA to solicit YOUR ideas to clean up the Trinity River.

Does that mean those responsible for doing so have no idea of their own?

While we support public participation in matters that concern the public, we ain't buying it.

The commercial for the WFAA Project Green is ironic and amusing.  It opens with pictures of trash in the Trinity River in Fort Worth, as they say "You may have heard about the problem."  Problem?  WHAT problem?  The local paper, city staff and elected officials, the Tarrant Regional Water District and the Trinity River Vision Authority say there's no problem.  If they say anything at all, it's jump on in, suckers.

(Isn't the local paper and WFAA owned by the same folks?)

The commercial for the WFAA Trinity River video contest goes on to say, "Now it's time for this generation to stop pointing fingers..."  Really, that is what they said.  "...to save the Trinity.  We can do it".  Where have we heard "save the Trinity" before?  Oh yes, the Trinity River Improvement Partnership.  www.savethetrinityriver.org. Those that recently made the video, Up a Creek. THE PEOPLE who are trying to save the river and YOUR money.  For YOU and YOUR kids.

If you have an idea, sounds like they need it.  YOU could win $1,500.  $1,500 is nothing, printing had to cost more than that.

Somebody help 'em out already, would ya? 


Due to the WFAA site asking us to disable security to view contest information, we didn't link to it in the above references.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reporting Reporters

We love them.

We learned about this one from the Fort Worth Weekly.  

Read about Lee Morris in the Fort Worth Weekly here. Then you'll know what's wrong with the local "news".

Once a paper loses its willingness to write the truth, poke sacred cows, and point out graft and corruption, it’s dead.

So Morris wrote a scathing column about the new owner and the new policies, predicted the “end of real journalism at the Times-Record,” changed his byline, and placed the story under a vague headline so as not to attract attention.

He managed to get the story published without his overseers catching on to his one-finger salute.

Then he resigned.

Calling Fort Worth back

We told you we'd post the response from the City of Fort Worth.  However, there wasn't one.

So we're posting the citizen follow up letter instead.  Below the follow up letter is the letter sent after the permit was issued without any of the questions asked being answered.  Scroll down to AND THEN to read that.

As a follow up on the Rutherford 1H Natural Gas Well site, I would like to provide the following information to support my request for not permitting this site and will add the following information.

The application site plan provided by Chesapeake (in violation of Ordinance) shows the gathering line as being less than 35 feet from an apartment which is a protected use. How can that be reasonable, it is a potential disaster waiting to happen with many lives at stake. Should the City want to be in a position for such an irresponsible act? It is an obvious hazard for which the city would have no defense.

There is supposed to be a Disaster Plan submitted (after all waivers are properly secured). The Disaster Plan Chesapeake submitted shows a line drawn from a fire station to the gas drilling site. Do you really consider that an acceptable disaster plan? I don't.

Even if the Fire Department is notified, their responsibility ends at the pad site boundaries or farther out. The Fire Department has stated they are not trained to deal with emergencies on a gas well pad site. Therefore the Fire Department is not an acceptable disaster plan for gas well sites and disasters. The City's acceptance of such a plan is a fraud on the Fort worth Citizens. It is no plan at all. A satisfactory plan is one whereby the citizens have an ability to secure a copy of the plan and could prepare for an emergency. The City does not have a plan.

The City is in violation of state law to permit this facility.

TEX LG. CODE ANN. § 253.005 : Texas Statutes - Section 253.005: LEASE OF OIL, GAS, OR MINERAL LAND

"(c) A well may not be drilled in the thickly settled part of the municipality."

This immediate area can not be a more thickly settled area as a community and with the placement of a well site literally in the middle of that community is contrary to Sec 253.005 of state law .

I will say again, this well site violates nearly every common sense approach and it also violates numerous legal regulations. The Rutherford 1H does not belong at the proposed location.

I must ask if this is the typical Natural Gas Well approval process for the City of Fort Worth? Is there any over site on the process?

How did this application go through the Gas Drilling Review Committee and no one caught any irregularities, particularly the one regarding no application is to be accepted without all of the waivers? I look forward to an explanation to all of my questions.

AND THEN -

FORT WORTH CITY COUNCIL

The permit was recently issued for the Rutherford 1H gas well site despite my questions below questioning its inappropriate location.

The City ignores the fact this location is inside a TIF which has a stated purpose to enhance the area and a natural gas well is an obvious detractor for this or any area. The City also ignores that with a TIF, there are partners such as Tarrant County and others that are required to be consulted in a certain manner and was not done.

The City acknowledges there is a resident that lives in the apartment within the main office building of the Woodhaven Self Storage, or about 75 feet from the pad site. The city acknowledges the need to have a resident manager located there for adequate security, yet nothing was done to protect the Woodhaven Self Storage business that has been in operation several years and a benefit to local residents or the Resident Manager. Chesapeake's waiver states there is not a permanent resident. None the less, there is a resident and that is not in doubt.

The Texas State law (Sec. 253.005) forbids a well being drilled in a thickly settled part of the municipality. If every square inch of an area is developed with residential or residential friendly shops, eating establishments or a grocery store, with one exception and that is one piece of property where the well is to be located in the very middle, how can that not be considered thickly settled? This is contrary to the intent of the State Legislature and wrong.

For all intensive purposes, the City is Spot Zoning for the gas drilling industry and that violates common sense and Texas Law.

The following is an excerpt from: An Overview of Zoning in Texas, THE ZONING ENABLING ACT ZONING AND LAND USE IN TEXAS by David M. Berman, Nichols, Jackson, Dillard, Hager & Smith, L.L.P.

Spot zoning.

Spot Zoning generally refers to a singling out of a specific tract of land for a zoning use classification that is different and inconsistent with that of the surrounding area for the benefit of the owner of the property and to the detriment of the rights of other property owners. "Spot zoning" was described in Pharr v. Tippett as connoting "an unacceptable amendatory [zoning] ordinance that singles out a small tract for treatment that differs from that accorded similar surrounding land without proof of changes in conditions. . . . Spot zoning is regarded as preferential treatment which defeats a pre-established comprehensive plan. . . . It is piecemeal zoning, the antithesis of planned zoning."

From PHARR V. TIPPITT: A common element present in all cases which have condemned spot zoning is that in each case a small area (in relation to all of the area affected by rezoning) was singled out for treatment which was different from that of surrounding land. See McWhorter v. City of Winnsboro, 525 S.W.2d 701 (Tex.Civ.App. Tyler 1975, writ ref'd n. r. e.). Spot zoning is legal only if justified by a change in conditions which affect the area in question, or where there is evidence of definite community need because of changed conditions which bear a substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals or general welfare which cannot reasonably be met otherwise. Thompson v. City of Palestine, supra; Weaver v. Ham, supra.

The City of Fort Worth appears to be playing outside of the bounds of Texas Law and common sense.

I am suggesting the City Council start requesting copies of the State Law be provided to them when the City legal department says you may act in a certain way when it doesn't make sense. Under State Law, it is presumed YOU know the law.

I requested information recently from the City about how it can justify questionable actions taking place within the city, like the ability of the City attorney to provide a definition of grandfathering that is different than what is stated in the Ordinance. It was refused. The State law says the words are to be used as they are written, if they are unambiguous. There is nothing in state law that says that the City Attorney can in effect, rewrite the ordinance behind closed doors in a manner different than what is clearly stated because she believes the intent was different.

Is there a reason I should not have access to how my City is being regulated? When I request what Ordinance or what State Statute authorizes the City to conduct itself in a certain manner, do I not have a right to know? I am not seeing open government; what I see is a City Government trying to hide something.

I would appreciate your comments or concerns.

Calling Fort Worth

A local resident had some questions concerning a gas drilling site in Fort Worth, so he emailed the Mayor and Council and many others. 

Watch for the response in the next post. 

August 12, 2011

City of Fort Worth

I wish to file a complaint regarding M&C G-17346 which is the Chesapeake Rutherford 1H proposed well site. The street address is 6699 Boca Raton Boulevard per the City Council Agenda.

This item was on the City Council Agenda for which I filed an on-line speaker card against. I received a phone call advising me it had been withdrawn from consideration. Upon arriving to speak on another item, I spoke with Rick Trice who informed me the reason it was withdrawn was that Chesapeake had all of the necessary waivers.

I informed Mr. Trice there was an apartment in the Woodhaven Self Storage main building that is about 75 feet from the proposed pad site and less than the 300 feet required by Ordinance. I was then told they would have to move as Chesapeake had a waiver or something indicating no one lived there.

I have a copy of what I think he is talking about and it does say there is not a permanent resident. However, there is an on site manager as advertised on their web site who lives there. I unaware of any resident of an apartment who is a permanent resident, they however are a resident. The only permanent residents I am aware are in the Cemetery.

Perhaps Mr. Trice was being facetious about there needing to move, but it would appear to me the City has an obligation to review the matter more and if there is a resident, which there is, the occupied building should have the right to correct any issues. The Storage Company has been in business for a length of time and part of their service is having an on-site manager for their customer’s storage security. The Woodhaven Self Storage is located within the Woodhaven TIF 13 and most TIF areas are not noted for security and safety, this TIF is no exception.

There are numerous reasons why a well site should not be allowed at this location, but I will begin with basic procedure irregularities.

The drilling Ordinance 15-36 D clearly states no application for a gas well permit will be accepted without ALL of the waivers having been obtained.

The last waivers were not obtained until August of 2011 and yet the application was submitted and accepted by the City in early May of 2011, or three months earlier.

15-36D. Permitting Procedures for a Waiver from Protected Use Property Owners.

1. No application for a Gas Well permit within six hundred (600) feet of a Protected Use by Waiver of Protected Uses shall be accepted unless the written notarized waivers are obtained from all Protected Use Property Owners within six hundred (600) feet of the proposed well site. Written notarized waivers granted by the all the Protected Use Property Owners within a six hundred (600) foot radius around the proposed well or boundary of Multiple Well Site must be filed, at the expense of the Operator, in the applicable county records. All waivers must identify the property address, block and lot number subdivision name and plat volume and page number. Copies of filed Protected number. subdivision name and plat volume and page number. Copies of tiled Protected use Property Owner waivers must be submitted with the filing of a completed application for a gas well permit within 600 feet of a protected use.

The next irregularity is that it was recently cleared, graded and removal of large light poles along with installing a chain length fence around the property. This was done before the City issued any gas-drilling permit and at the direction of Chesapeake.

This violates Sec. 15-34(A) Gas Well Permit Required.

A person wanting to engage in and operate in gas production activities shall apply for and obtain a gas well permit under this article and shall indicate what type of gas well permit is requested. It shall be unlawful for any person acting either for himself or acting as agent, employee, independent contractor, or servant for any person to drill any well, assist in any way in the site preparation, re-working, fracturing or operation of any such well or to conduct any activity related to the production of gas without first obtaining a gas well permit issued by the city in accordance with this article. Such activities include, but are not limited to re-working, initial site preparation, drilling, operation, construction of rigs or tank batteries, fracturing and pressurizing. A permit shall not be required for seismic surveys unless the survey is conducted on city owned property or city rights-of-ways unless such requirement is waived by the city.

The City still appears to be ready to move forward with permitting this well site for Chesapeake despite there being a protected use (residence) approximately 75 feet from the pad site even though the Ordinance requires a minimum of 300 feet from the pad site.

This well is closer than 300 feet from a protected use.

The Woodhaven Storage facility is right next-door with an on-site manager and an apartment on the second floor. I talked to Scott Haskins the General Manager who assured me the apartment is used. That apartment is about 75 feet from the pad site.

The definition of a residence:

Residence means a house, duplex, apartment, townhouse, condominium, city-inspected mobile home or other building designed for dwelling purposes, including those for which a building permit has been issued on the date the application for a gas well permit is filed with the gas inspector. Residence shall include assisted living facilities, nursing homes (both intermediate care facilities and skilled nursing facilities), residential board and care facilities, group homes, twenty-four-hour shelters, half-way houses, hotels, motels and jails.

The Woodhaven Self Storage building was obviously designed to provide a living place. The up-stairs has a balcony, a ceiling fan and patio furniture along with an outdoors grill. The living area is required for this facility to provide security and oversight by the on-site manager as advertised. I have driven past this location many times late a night and observed automobiles present and activity on the balcony.

There are many practical reasons why a well should not be at this location.

The location is within the boundaries of the Woodhaven TIF 13.

When the TIF was authorized and approved, the citizens of Fort Worth and Tarrant County were assured there would be a plan put in place to ensure the TIF area would increase property values and create a better place to live.

When you look at where this gas well is proposed, it goes against everything we were promised.

I don’t understand why the Council Person for District 4 isn’t demanding this well site not be allowed. He is on the TIF Board and his duty is to protect the Woodhaven TIF 13.

It is located at one of the few gateways into the Woodhaven TIF. That would be John T. White and 820.

History has shown a gas well only brings down property values and it creates a nuisance along with being a safety hazard to the residents.

There are already more well sites than should be allowed in and around this TIF, but this well site is located literally in the middle of an existing community. On several sides there are hundreds of apartments and on the other side there are neighborhood friendly businesses.

There is a major grocery store, several restaurants and other business the residents frequent often. These are all extremely close to the site.

The well site is out of place.

How do you plan to notify 1000’s of apartment residents within that 600 feet or even 400 feet if there is a major blowout or explosion? You can’t.

There is no safety margin and no time to develop a plan.

If there is a blowout or fire, there is no acceptable safe access to the site for fire and safety crews if the winds are from the Northwest, and which it most likely would be during winter months.

The City also has other obligations.

The City signed an agreement with Tarrant County that states

4.1. Amendment to TIF Ordinance.

All amendments to the TIF Ordinance shall be

approved by the TIF Board prior to approval by the City Council.

Due to the site location, that would be contrary to what was agreed in the contract with the County and they can stop making payments.

Has the TIF board approved anything or even discussed this as the contract stipulates?

Chesapeake doesn’t need this well; they already have a well site less than 1000 feet away and could drill anyplace they could from this one. They can drill over 5000 feet if necessary.

They appear to be grabbing land and destroying surrounding property values.

The City has the authority to say no to this gas well. It is in a TIF and as such the State grants the authority

Sec. 311.008. POWERS OF MUNICIPALITY

OR COUNTY.

(b) A municipality or county may exercise any

power necessary and convenient to carry out this

chapter, including the power to

(3) enter into agreements, including agreements with bondholders, determined by the governing body of the municipality or county to be

necessary or convenient to implement project plans and achieve their purposes, which agreements may include conditions, restrictions, or covenants that run with the land or that by other means regulate or

restrict the use of land;

I have provided several images to review that support my request to looking deeper into the permitting of the Rutherford 1H well site.

They include a copy of the TIF area showing the well site is inside the TIF.

An aerial of surrounding apartments and residential friendly business that creates a community

The location of another well site less than 1000 feet.

There are photographs of the pad site before clearing, grading and site preparation and after. One aerial photo clearly shows light poles on the location.

Woodhaven Self Storage Web page – “on site manager”

There are eating establishments with Food prepared within feet of site.

The well site should not be allowed at this location, it is not needed by Chesapeake Energy and certainly does not belong in a location so close to residents and other business without an adequate ability to fight a fire if one occurred.

Chesapeake Energy cannot say there is not another location for a drill rig since there is already a well site within 1000 feet of the proposed site.

The location of this site is right in the heart of a residential neighborhood and neighborhood friendly businesses area.

Placing a well site in the heart of any residential community will destroy the surrounding area and is contrary to the goal of the Woodhaven TIF 13.

The City has partners in the TIF such as Tarrant County and the school District along with others who were never consulted about allowing a gas well and this violates the partnerships agreed purpose.

Chesapeake Energy and the City of Fort Worth have violated the trust of the Citizens of Fort Worth in misrepresenting the truth or the facts. Numerous Ordinances were not followed as required and when they were pointed out, there was no action taken, except maybe on the little guy, Woodhaven Self Storage.

Due to the long list of discrepancies, irregularities, lack of safety considerations and not meeting the required setbacks of the Fort Worth Gas Drilling Ordinance, I request that no permit be issued to Chesapeake Energy for the Rutherford 1H well site location. I would also request penalties be asses for violations as provided by the city Ordinance. Chesapeake knows the regulations and should be required to obey them.

Sincerely

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trinity River Vision Unraveling

First, in Dallas.

And a man being threatened with his livelihood for telling the truth and saving lives.  Hey Fort Worth, any of this sound familiar yet?  Wait till they start asking questions on this end of the Trinity River.

Read, Drowning the Whistleblower on the Doomed Trinity River Wave in the Dallas Observer. 

Again, you can't make this stuff up.

For two weeks I have been trying to get someone at City Hall to tell me who is responsible for the unbelievably screwed-up man-made kayaking rapids in the river.

And then the money. The thing started out at a planned cost of $1.5 million. The city now has invested more than $4 million. The park board voted last week to spend another $76,000 to pay an engineering firm to find out what's wrong with it. Then I assume we'll have to pay some more to fix it.

 "The design was a team approach with various civil, structural, and hydraulic designers as well as planners and landscape architects, local and out of state."

Now what we have is a mess that can't be used, from which the public is barred, at a cost already four times the original estimate, with the cost of litigation about to be added to the tab.

The week before the wave was to be opened to the public, I wrote a column quoting Allen. I suspect the appearance of that column had a lot to do with the city's very belated decision to close the wave to the public the same day they held the dedication ceremony.

Since then, Allen, who earns his living renting out canoes and guiding, has been the target of what I can only describe as a City Hall vendetta. The city attorney recently notified Allen by letter that he will be arrested if he enters the park area around the Dallas Wave in order to launch canoeing parties downriver from a place below the wave.

You can't make this stuff up

We're not sure which of the Fort Worth Weekly Static stories we like better.  The Revolving Door Star-Telegram courthouse reporter, now working for the courthouse....or having your drillers spayed and neutered.  Read them both.  YOU don't want to miss them.

The application’s minimum requirements seemed custom-written for McDonald. The job required a bachelor’s degree in journalism, four years of reporting experience relating to criminal trials and the criminal justice system in a major metropolitan area, and an additional six years’ reporting experience with a daily newspaper or broadcast media.

In our last issue, Weekly scribe Peter Gorman wrote about another truck-sized loophole that the drillers have been using to avoid paying property owners for their minerals — Rule 37 allows a driller to take minerals from under property that is unleased as long as the Texas Railroad Commission lies down like a throw rug again and approves it. If a property owner has the temerity to show up to contest the action, just cancel the hearing! And reset it later after providing notice only in the tiniest-circulation newspaper the company can find.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Another Trinity River Tragedy

A devastating family tragedy.  Another one.  WFAA has reported a woman has drowned in the Trinity River.

A mother trying to save her child.  There are no words.

Wednesday's incident happened at the same location where a man died in July 2010 trying to save a child who fell into the water. In that case, the child was saved by a passing bicyclist.

It Can Happen Anywhere

Two more children dead due to an amoeba they contracted by swimming in a river.  A teenage girl in Florida and a young boy in Virginia.

Last year in Texas, a young boy died from the same brain eating amoeba, Primary Amoebic Meningoecephalitis (PAM).  This amoeba thrives in slow moving and stagnant water, including rivers. His parents have started a foundation in his name. The Kyle Lewis Amoeba Awareness Foundation.

Bless all these kids and their families.  And bless Kyle's family for trying to protect others.

Let's hope no one who's "Tubing the Trinity" (or Rocking on the River) contracts this deadly disease which has no cure.  Seems a "news" station was going to do a story on that very thing last year.  Wonder WHO told them not to?

Dogs and Ponies...

Streams and Valleys.

They will be the speaker at tonight's Greater Fort Worth Sierra Club meeting at the Botanic Gardens at 7:00.

Wear boots.

What's more important?

Flooding or recreation?

A program sponspored by the COG and TCEQ.  WHAT could possibly go wrong with that?

A public meeting to discuss the preliminary results of the Recreation Use-Attainability Analysis (RUAA) Study for numerous streams in North Central Texas will be held August 16, 2011. The meeting starts at 1:00 p.m. at the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), Centerpoint II (Tom Vandergriff Conference Center) Regional Forum Room, First Floor. The NCTCOG offices are located at 616 Six Flags Drive, Arlington, Texas 76011.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will be soliciting public comment on a Recreational Use Attainability Analysis Report for a project conducted on streams in the Trinity River basin in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. If you would like to comment on the report or have information on current or past recreation activities occurring on the water body, comments will be accepted until September 9, 2011. The report is located on the TCEQ website at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/waterquality/standards/ruaas/ multitrinity08. Comments can be submitted via email to Joe Martin at Joe.Martin@tceq.texas.gov or mailed to Joe Martin, MC-234, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711.

Please share this information with other interested parties.

List of Streams
Sycamore Creek, 0806E
Cottonwood Branch, 0822A
Grapevine Creek, 0822B
Walnut Creek, 0838C
Copart Branch Mountain Creek, 0841E
Cottonwood Creek, 0841F
Dalworth Creek, 0841G
Delaware Creek, 0841H
Estelle Creek, 0841J
Fish Creek, 0841K
Kirby Creek, 0841N
West Irving Creek, 0841U

Speaking of water...

A letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram makes another interesting point.  Protecting from flooding and supplying water, isn't that a water district's job?  WHAT are they up to instead?  Ask them.

Water pipelines

I totally agree with Friday letter writer Harry Kelly's logic about a water pipeline to Texas. This exact topic has been raised repeatedly among my engineering friends.

Water pipelines flowing south to Texas and other parched areas could have prevented the recent flooding of farmland along the Mississippi River. Similar pipelines placed strategically in flood-prone areas could be part of a network of pipelines nationwide to relieve drought-stricken areas as well as create new water storage reservoirs. There is no reason why our government cannot see the logic of moving the excess water from one place and send it to another that desperately needs it. This would also create thousands of jobs to build and maintain the life saving network.

-- Steven West, Arlington

Unacceptable

No, not just the new rating on the Trinity River levees in Fort Worth by the Corp of Engineers, but the relationship between the Corp of Engineers and the Tarrant Regional Water District.  You know, those that have partnered with the Trinity River Vision Authority and stand to make a billion or two.  Of YOUR money.

In 2003, the same Corp reported the levees were good, needing only $10 million dollars to fix those that weren't.  WHAT happened in the past 8 years?  Not much, except the cost of the Trinity River Vision skyrocketed.

Yet another ploy in the boondoggle to try and grab more federal money.  Hey project "leaders", the feds don't have any money.  Neither do the citizens that you want to pay for the rest.

As for THE PEOPLE, it's time to get YOUR head out of the sand, and their hand out of YOUR wallet.

Read the latest fluff piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Don't miss the comments from THE PEOPLE.  They speak volumes.

The Army Corps of Engineers rated most of the levees along Fort Worth's Trinity River floodways unacceptable Tuesday but said the levee system is among the best-maintained in the country.

Water district board member Marty Leonard expressed confidence in the partnership between the district and the corps.

"I think we've worked so closely with them through the years and still are continuing to do that that we will not have a problem resolving any issues," Leonard said.

Leonard said she believes that many issues brought up in the inspection may be directly addressed by the Trinity River Vision, the flood-control and economic-development project that will run along the Trinity from the near north side to Gateway Park.

Water WHERE?



While Grand Prairie cuts back on the water drillers can have during the drought/water shortage, Arlington says full steam ahead.  (The picture above was sent to us from Fort Worth last week, no surprise there).

Only one council member had anything to say, really??  THE PEOPLE are the ones bringing this up, WHY aren't the elected officials looking out for their constituents?  Don't they need water, too?  Or did they make a deal?

Read about it on WFAA.com.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

TCC and TRV

Read the latest about the Tarrant County College in the Fort Worth Business Press.  YOU and YOUR kids can't afford not to.

The campus on the bluffs was built more to meet the desires of the Trinity River Vision project than for educational purposes, say critics, including TCC trustees Robyn Winnett and O.K. Carter, as well as Picht.

It is the cost of the project – an estimated $1,200-$1,500 a square foot – that raises the most eyebrows. College officials said the actual cost per square foot is not yet available.

But $1,500 per square foot would far exceed the prices of many other community college and university buildings in the state. According to the 2011 College Construction Report, the median cost for academic buildings is about $339 per square foot.

Taxpayers are the losers, Picht said, as TCC’s board considers raising tuition over the next five years to pay for three new facilities.

“They would also raise the tax rate. They are blaming that on the Legislature,” he said. “If they had tried to stay within the concept of low-cost education, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

Guess that answers that...

Earlier today we asked, again, WHO owns the roads in Texas?

Terri Hall from TURF answers.

Rick Perry tied to Agenda 21, globalist policies.  Read it all below, YOU can't afford not to.

Property rights shredded

The Trans Texas Corridor, and P3s in general, represent an imminent threat to private property rights. While lawmakers repealed the Trans Texas Corridor from state statute only months ago due to the public backlash, the re-named corridor (‘Innovative Connectivity Plan’) and its threat to property rights lives on through P3s. Two such projects underway by a Spanish developer, Cintra, will charge Texans 75 cents per mile in tolls (nearly $13 a day while Perry claims he hasn’t raised taxes or indebted Texans to foreign creditors) to access lanes on two public interstates -- I-635 and I-820. A third project being developed by the same company for two segments on SH 130 is, perhaps, the only leg of the Trans Texas Corridor TTC-35 project that will ever be built.

Dan Shelley worked for Cintra, who had its sites set on developing the Trans Texas Corridor. Shelley lands a job as Perry’s aide, steers the $7 billion corridor P3 to his former employer Cintra, then goes back to work for Cintra. That’s how Perry does business -- pay to play.

Again, WHO owns the roads?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram article speaks volumes - HOV lanes in DFW being converted to tollways

"HOV lanes were a stupid idea to begin with, and in practice they have been a disaster," said Coughlin, a real estate broker who lives in downtown Dallas. He said he has never heard an argument in favor of HOV lanes, other than from "the bureaucrats, consultants and blow-up-doll manufacturers who defend it."

And there they are again...
 
"We have recognized over the years that HOV lanes have transitioned beyond their initial purpose," said Dan Lamers, senior program manager for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. 

"The economic advantage of HOV lanes has changed," he said.