Friday, September 30, 2011

Fort Worth Watchdogs

WHO won Durango's Best of for 2011?

TRIP

Congratulations river watchers!

Check out Durango's other picks here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Money Pit

Fort Worth Fire Training Center
Two years ago, Clyde Picht asked WHO was going to pay to move the Fort Worth Police and Fire Training Academy that needs to be moved because of Trinity Uptown and the Trinity River Vision.

Think he knew the answer?

YOU do.

Calling Trophy Club

Trophy Club Clock Tower
You paying attention out there?

You better be.  A developer wants to develop and side step the council and planning and zoning commission.  Read the story and the letter to the editor (from a citizen who's paying attention) in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

To Town Manager Mike Slye, the 26 acres east of the clock tower are "our golden nugget" that could reduce residential property taxes if the owner is allowed to develop the land for commercial and other uses.

What has some residents concerned are the prospective uses, the owner and a proposed new way of approving zoning changes.

Rumors arose last week after a joint meeting of the Town Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission to discuss an 88-page proposal by Scott Beck, whose family once owned much of Trophy Club, to develop land bounded by Texas 114 and Trophy Club and Indian Creek drives.

At Monday night's council meeting, about two dozen residents sought assurance that Beck's plan would not be approved without their input.

"I'd like to see the whole concept so we can let you know if we think it's right," said Jodi Ashby, who said she opposed the 12-story buildings in the plan.

If approved, Slye said, the town's staff could authorize changes to the Beck development without having to take it back through the zoning commission and council. The changes would have to meet the restrictions of the original plan, he said.

Slye said the council and commission will have a workshop Oct. 10 and a public hearing Oct. 17. The plan could go for a vote Oct. 17, he said.


Planned development

I attended a Trophy Club workshop on Monday about a rezoning document for the development of the 26 acres by the clock tower entrance of our town.

I know we have a lot of new residents who don't know the history of Trophy Club, but the ordinance change is being presented so that the site developer is not required to get full independent review of his development by our Planning and Zoning Board.

The Planning and Zoning Board is made up of residents and is in place to protect us from letting a developer do whatever he wants with only minimum guidelines. On Monday I heard our city manager mention apartments, brownstones, town homes and possible hotel sites.

Residents of Trophy Club should contact City Council members to inform them that all developers should have to go through full independent review with the Planning and Zoning Board for everything. No exceptions. It's not that we don't want development; we just want to be sure that all precautions are made to keep Trophy Club as beautiful as it is at this time.

-- Jennifer Winmill, Trophy Club


UPDATE - For the latest on Trophy Club corruption, go here

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Best of Fort Worth

The Fort Worth Weekly has released their Best of Edition for 2011.  Pick one up, check it out.

In addition to finding all the best spots in town, you can read about groups and people we've told you about - NCTCA, Clyde Picht, Ann Sutherland and Layla Caraway, just to name a few.

WHO was the politician most likely to sell grandma to the highest bidder?  YOU know WHO.

Oh, and Readers Choice for Locally Made Film - Up a Creek.  Congratulations to Bob Lukeman and TRIP and to all those out there making a difference.   Like the Weekly.

Lone Star salutes you all.

Negligent omission

Did YOU and your family Tube the Trinity at the Rockin the River event on the Trinity River? 

Did you find it odd you had to sign the following to do so? 

Notice 'the District' isn't responsible for their own negligence or omission.  WHO is?

Good thing someone tested the water.

Event Name: ROCKIN’ THE RIVER SUMMER TUBING & MUSIC SERIES
Event Date: THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2011
RELEASE AND INDEMNIFICATION

In consideration of Tarrant Regional Water District, a Water Control and Improvement District (“the District”) granting me, and/or minor persons in the company or under the control of the undersigned (collectively, the “Undersigned”), access to property owned,  operated, leased, used or controlled by the District (the “District Property”), the Undersigned hereby releases, relinquishes, and discharges and agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the District, and the District’s officers, directors, agents, contractors, contracting parties, and employees, including, if applicable, Streams & Valleys, Inc. and the City of Fort Worth, and their respective officers, directors, contractors, contracting parties, agents and employees (collectively, the “District Parties”), of and from any and all claims,  demands, liabilities, suits, causes of action, obligations, damages, injuries, losses, penalties, costs, charges, and expenses (including, without limitation, attorney’s fees, court costs, consultant fees, expert fees, and other litigation-related expenses) of whatsoever kind or character directly or indirectly resulting from, arising out of or in connection with, or relating to (1) the presence or attendance of the Undersigned at the event described above (the “Event”) and travel to and from said Event; (2) any condition of the District Property; (3) any use or occupation of the District Property by the Undersigned; (4) any act of negligence, whether of omission or commission, of the District Parties or of any third party; (5) any damage to or loss of the property of the Undersigned which may arise in connection with the Event, the District Property or District Parties’ operation and maintenance of the Event or District Property; (6) any accident, injury, or damage whatsoever caused to the Undersigned or any person, firm, corporation, or property. This release and indemnity extends to and includes any and all claims for bodily injury, death, sickness, disease, property damage or destruction, consequential damage, or economic loss caused to or suffered by any person or property, including, but not limited to the Undersigned, and any officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, contractors, subcontractors, or any other person acting on behalf of the Undersigned, or any other person or entity. In case of any action or proceeding brought against a District Party by reason of any such claim, including by minor children or wards of the Undersigned, the Undersigned, upon notice from the District, agrees to defend the action or proceedings by counsel acceptable to the District at the sole cost of the Undersigned. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS RELEASE AND INDEMNIFICATION SHALL REMAIN AND BE IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT EVEN IF ANY CLAIM, DEMAND, LOSS, LIABILITY, DAMAGE, OR EXPENSE, OR CLAIM THEREFOR, BY ANY PERSON OR ENTITY, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY RESULTS FROM, ARISES OUT OF, OR RELATES TO, OR IS ASSERTED TO HAVE RESULTED FROM, ARISEN OUT OF, OR BE RELATED TO, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, ONE OR MORE NEGLIGENT ACTS OR OMISSIONS OF ANY DISTRICT PARTY, THE PARTIES INTENDING HEREBY TO SATISFY THE EXPRESS NEGLIGENCE DOCTRINE. This Release and Indemnification shall survive termination or expiration of this Permit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's wrong with Texas?

You wouldn't believe how many people google that phrase each day.

Most of us here at Lone Star are all lifelong Texans, the rest got here as quick as they could.  We love Texas  though sadly, these days, we can relate to WHY people would be asking that question.

Here's a few things just to get the ball rolling -

We have some of the worst air in the nation.  Instead of working with the EPA to correct it, some Texas politicians are fighting them claiming, "we'll lose jobs".  Uh, dead people don't need jobs. 

You want to drill next to homes, rivers, creeks, schools? No problem, make a donation to a  campaign, church, library or museum and it's yours.

We can't afford to give money to our schools.  Though we can apparently afford to give some of those air polluting friends of our politicians tax rebates.  That means WE are paying the refineries. Did we mention we can't afford to fund our schools?


We are in the top 5 in the nation for horrid traffic messes.  Mind you, we're building freeways all around, however they ain't free.  Most of those will be toll roads and we'll be paying our politicians friends in Spain to drive on them.

The Fort Worth Business Press once said, "Tarrant County may be the eminent domain capital ..." If you live here or own a business here, tread carefully as it could be taken by our politicians friends, such as the gas drillers, the Tarrant Regional Water District (or Trinity River Vision Authority) or even Jerry Jones. Don't forget TXDOT.

Our water supply is dwindling faster than you can frac a well.  Our plan?  Sue Oklahoma, again.  We've already lost several times, but you can't tell a Texan no...no matter how much it costs taxpayers.

And don't get us started on the "news" in Texas.  They've been bought and brought to you by you-know-who...

What's all this costing YOU?  More importantly, what is it going to cost YOUR kids?  Do something.  Anything.  YOUR kids will thank you.

Texas Water Wars

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cheers and Jeers this weekend shows WHO’s paying attention.  Maybe YOU should.  Before it’s too late.

Remember, they are only paying for what they use when a meter’s running.

Jeers: To the gas well drillers of Barnett Shale and their TV commercial on water conservation.  If they truly mean they are conserving and protecting our water supply, then why are they using it like there is an endless supply in their drilling operations?  Get real, people!

Jim L. Burden, Crowley

Jeers: To Chesapeake Energy for using 4 million gallons of city water to fill the lake on Bryant Irvin Road.  As water supplies dwindle and restrictions are put in place, how did this happen?  A poor example of conservation, but a typical action by the company we are forced to live with.

Bourke Harvey – Fort Worth

Monday, September 26, 2011

Maybe no one will notice

The Fort Worth Business Press has another article on the Trinity River Vision, the article talks about a meeting held a month ago.  Makes you wonder WHY would they be covering that now?

The $909 million dollar taxpayer funded project seems to have risen in cost again.  At this point, it's just another million of YOUR money.  Maybe they thought sheep can't count. 

Reminds us of how they thought no one would notice they were floating with feces.
How do you clean up a river?  Ask them.

The article talks about what the project promises.  Do YOU believe them?  Notice 7th street bridge isn't part of the project, that just means it's like the Fire and Police academy - NOT included in the price tag.

Project timelines and budget estimates remain unchanged since the Fort Worth City Council heard an update at its Aug. 23 regular meeting.

The mammoth undertaking promises flood control, infrastructure upgrades, economic development opportunities and recreational development, including public access to trails and riverfront. Federal funding is $488 million, with local funding at $422 million.

Reconstruction of the West Seventh Street bridge is not part of the Trinity River Vision project. But utility relocation already has begun and will continue into next year, when precast bridge elements are placed. The bridge itself will topple in July 2013 and reopen just four months later.

Tell it like it is

Trinity River Vision's Cowtown Wakepark
Not just what they want to hear.

That’s what a letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram did.

A few weeks ago they asked for your opinion (as long as it matched theirs).  Kudos for Libby Willis to pointing out the obvious.

Shared sacrifice in the quest for federal fiscal sanity

Easy: Cut remaining earmarks and other federal funding for the Trinity River Vision project. And yes, that affects me personally. The project impacts negatively on Riverside Park, six blocks from where I live, and other city parks. We just learned that the city of Fort Worth must find $95 million to build a police and fire training facility because the old one is in the way of the TRV. And the $95 million will be unavailable for other city needs, including street construction and repairs, and that affects all of us.

When 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty, when unemployment is at 9.1 percent, when teachers, policemen, firemen and other public servants are being laid off because of budget cuts, it is obscene and morally repugnant to spend federal dollars on things like TRV's Cowtown Wakeboard Park. Let the private sector pay for the lavish real estate development known as TRV.

Hard choice: Incrementally raise the minimum age for Social Security retirement benefits to 68. That would affect me personally since I would begin drawing benefits three years later. Folks now have a longer life expectancy than when the 65-year age qualification was set.

-- Libby Willis, Fort Worth

Friday, September 23, 2011

FINALLY - A reporter in the house?

Lots of them.

Join the Trinity River Improvement Partnership and the Society of Professional Journalists to ask questions from those on both sides of the Trinity River Vision.

YOU aren't going to want to miss this.  YOU can't afford to.  After all, it's YOUR money and YOUR river. 

Please join us -
October 12th @ 6:30 p.m.
Botanic Garden, Fort Worth  - Lecture Hall


Panelists include:

Jim Lane - Tarrant Regional Water District Board member and former Fort Worth City Council member.

J.D. Granger - Trinity River Vision Authority Executive Director.

City of Fort Worth Representative - to be announced.

TRIP Board Members and guests  - to be announced.

TRIP would like to thank the SPJFW for cosponsoring this important community event for the citizens.

Enough already!

The Tarrant Regional Water District is suing Oklahoma for their water.  Again.

After millions of dollars and many futile attempts.  Hello Boys, it's Oklahoma, not Tarrant County.

Jim Oliver is quoted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about wanting to do what's right for the citizens.  Yes, you read that right. Maybe a good place to start would have been testing the Trinity River before having the citizens float in it. 

Maybe spend some of OUR money researching proven water planning options instead of suing our neighbors. 

Read the article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Then stock up on water.

Are you Fracing serious?


Grapevine to promote gas drilling as tourist attraction

Now we've heard it all.

Beware folks...dont drink the water, we hear it's loaded with koolaid.

Boondoggles and Earthquakes

Waxahachie Supercollider Boondoggle
Go hand in hand.

Reports coming out of Waxahachie of a 2.5 earthquake.

You know what their famous for, an expensive boondoggle.

What will Fort Worth be famous for? Time will tell.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Collect Call from District 4 - Fort Worth

After the post concerning Danny Scarth (credit belongs to the Fort Worth Weekly, we just share the word) we received an email from one of his constituents.

Seems the voters don't like being sold down the river.  Or to the gas drillers, whatever the case may be. 

They ask good questions too - WHY didn't anyone know before the election?  Welcome to the team, Mallard Cove Resident.

Another neighborhood needs help.  They probably thought it couldn't happen to them either.  WHO's next?  YOU?

Dear Editor,

I am so happy to read your website which uncovers what Danny Scarth has done and I am so regretted about not reading it before the election. He is now our District 4 councilman and he is very likely to vote yes on building a large scale gas compressor station right next to our Mallard Cove neighborhood at Randol Mill Road in Fort Worth. I feel so unfortunate that our district representative does not represent us.

Barnett Shale will hold a open house meeting on Sept 27 (Tue) from 6 to 7:30pm at Comfort Suites Hotel (643 Northeast Loop 820, Fort Worth, TX 76118).

Zoning Commission Hearing will be held on Oct 12 (Wed) at 10am at FW Council Chambers at City Hall.

City Council Meeting will be held on Nov 1 (Tue) at 7pm at City Hall.

I hope your team will cover this matter and stop greedy council men from destroying the Fort Worth.

Mallard Cove Resident

Again?!

Fort Worth, City Council, taxes, Danny Scarth...

The same council member who's son was wrapped up in a conflict of interest/ethics last year

Read about the latest in the Fort Worth Weekly.  Don't miss the comments from the readers.  Seems Lone Star isn't the only one thinking the FBI should come visit Cowtown.

So boys, what's it going to take?

But afterward, Scarth wasn’t so eloquent — and not nearly as long-winded — when Weekly muckraker Jeff Prince asked him about the $2,632 in overdue property taxes that the elected official owes. The sum represents about $2,017 in unpaid taxes from 2010, plus $614 in late charges.

The conversation went like this:

Prince: Why do you owe unpaid taxes?

Scarth: Just do.

Prince: Do you plan on paying them?

Scarth: Yes.

Prince: Do you have a plan in mind?

Scarth: Sure do. Thank you.

Scarth then rolled away in his wheelchair before Prince could ask his last question: Should an elected city official be behind on his taxes?

So the reporter instead posed the question to Peter Fletcher, an Eastside resident who lives in Scarth’s district. Fletcher thinks it’s “a shame” that someone who’s helping balance the city budget can’t or won’t pay taxes (this isn’t the first time Scarth has let his tax bill go overdue).

“He seems to have done this sort of thing a good deal over the years,” Fletcher said. “This raises the question, how he can be expected to be involved in ‘leading the city’ in regard to the city budget and other fiscal matters? In just three months he has added 30.47 percent to the amount he owes. No wonder little gets done for District 4 if he can’t get his taxes paid.”

Corrupt Connections

The LBJ freeway project is now headed by a former John Cornyn staffer.  How much experience do political staff members have building freeways?

Now, former Fort Worth Mayor, Kenn Barr has been appointed to head the Tollway Authority.

WHY did someone new need to be appointed?  Oh that's right, the past Chairman felt there may be conflicts of interest that weren't in the public's best interest.  Sounds like he thought maybe the chosen few getting the contracts weren't the best option.  Someone going against the Fort Worth Way?  Kudos Victor Vandergriff.  As for Clemson, who agrees with Vandergriff - the board is trying to have him removed.  Surprised?  No one else is either. 

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  YOU can't afford to miss it, after all, it's YOUR money. 

Vandergriff has pushed the board to stop relying on a small number of engineering, legal and other consulting firms for nearly all its professional services. Those firms have been paid tens of millions of dollars during the past couple of decades, and Vandergriff and Clemson have sought to bring in fresh blood.

The issue of conflict also has swirled around discussions of tollway authority contracts.

Barr disclosed this year that his brother had been an attorney with Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, the firm that for years has handled much of the agency's legal consulting work. Barr clarified that when he joined the tollway board he sought advice from the agency's legal counsel before voting on items involving the firm.

But other board members, including Vandergriff, have sought changes in board policy that require a more public process for board members to disclose potential conflicts.

In 2009, Barr created a consulting partnership with Brian Newby of the Newby Davis legal firm in Fort Worth, records from the Texas Secretary of State's office show. In March, Barr and other tollway board members approved a legal services contract with Newby Davis in conjunction with Cantey Hanger, to provide legal services for buying right of way for the Chisholm Trail Parkway.

On Wednesday, Barr said the partnership with Newby, a limited liability company, was created for a specific business deal that never materialized. He added that no money changed hands and that he had forgotten about the arrangement until reminded of it in an interview.

Barr also entered into a partnership with David Chappell of Cantey Hanger in 2010, records show. Barr said he pays Chappell rent for office space.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's about damn time

Finally...Last year our readers asked Channel 8 why they would promote tubing in the Trinity River, during the same newscast that they honored the child who died from bacteria in the Paluxy River. Since the Trinity River Vision (headed by JD Granger, son of our Congresswoman, Kay Granger) and the Tarrant Regional Water District were urging people to Tube the Trinity without 'testing the water' so to speak.

Nothing was ever done. You know the rest, it just got worse. All summer long those appointed to protect you and YOUR water spent your money to advertise to you to 'Jump on in'. Do sheep swim?

Channel 8 tested it, finally. And guess what? The river is kind of like the Vision, full of fecal matter. Didn't TRIP (www.savethetrinityriver.org) tell us that? We heard some of the same things at their meeting last week. We hear their about to tell you something else. YOU won't want to miss it. We also hear the TRVA and the TRWD will now start testing the water, that's what we need, more special interests regulating themselves. That's going to cost us, in one way or another.

WHY has the river not been tested till now? Timing is everything.

Bullies Beware



The Fort Worth Weekly is coming for you.

Read the latest on the FWISD fiasco.  WHO's next?

WHO comes first in Fort Worth?


YOU or THE industry?

Durango knows.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Southlake says...

Wait a darn minute.

Too bad other communities weren't willing to do the same (Fort Worth).

Read the article concerning the City Council gas drilling vote in the Colleyville Courier.

Southlake's current ordinance has a 1,000-foot setback, but some drilling opponents want a 1,500- foot setback like in Flower Mound. They also want a 25-percent limit on variance requests. For example, in Flower Mound, the closest a gas well can be to a home is 1,125 feet, 25 percent of 1,500 feet.

Drilling supporters say that would prevent drilling at all potential sites in Southlake. Earlier this year, XTO Energy requested variances to the city's current 1,000-foot setback because both its proposed drill sites were close to homes or businesses. The energy company withdrew both requests after one was rejected by the council and another was challenged by a lawsuit.

Does it count if no one's looking?

Yesterday we watched a Non-potable water tanker filling up from a fire hydrant in our drought stricken area.  When we inquired with city personnel we were told if there is no meter attached there is no way to determine how much water was taken.  So, WHO pays for that , exactly? 

if there is no meter tracking fire hydrants or river sucking pumps, do you believe what they tell you they use? 

How well do YOU regulate yourself?

Timing was good on the WFAA report last night, we had the same questions. Notice WHO alerted Arlington to the water taking, a citizen.  Watch your hydrants, folks.

Also notice what the FW water dept has to say about the situation 'quote about it's hard to police'

Monday, September 19, 2011

What's new in Cowtown?

Not much.  New Mayor, same strings.

Read about the "Land of Pretend" on FWCANDO.

WHO owns YOUR city?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oakhurst being runover

By TXDOT, the City of Fort Worth and the gas drillers.

Sounds like a bad joke, but it's true.  Just another day in paradise.

WHO is in charge??

Read about it in the Fort Worth Weekly.

Residents in the Oakhurst neighborhood feel like they’re living a scene out of Cool Hand Luke — “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” They say a disconnect between city officials, the Texas Department of Transportation, and Chesapeake Energy is causing the planned expansion of I-35 to encroach on their historic area just northeast of downtown.

The city approved a drilling permit at the northwest corner of I-35 and Northside Drive several years ago, and Chesapeake built its pad site in the path of the proposed expansion of that traffic-clogged highway. So TxDOT recently altered its longtanding plans, moving the project to the east (neighborhood) side of the freeway, to avoid 10 wellheads on the west side of I-35.

The reason the state agency is favoring the drillers over the neighborhood? Existence of the wells means that the cost of expanding the freeway on the west side may have vastly increased.

TxDOT project manager John Tillinghast said he didn’t know why city officials allowed Chesapeake to build wellheads in the highway’s path.

“We never were informed by the City of Fort Worth that this property owner wanted to develop the property,” he said. “We’ve never encountered this before.”

Oakhurst resident David Collyer said it’s just another example of the gas industry’s influence at city hall.

“The city is going to let Chesapeake have first rights, even if they have to run the highway closer to the neighborhood,” he said. “Chesapeake has got the city council in their back pocket.”

“That never came up,” Espino said. “It was my understanding that the highway would be widened away from the neighborhood. No one from city staff or TxDOT brought this up.”

“This is the reality of having drilling in your city and how it affects your land-use plans,” Bradbury said.

Arlington Hero

Fire Chief Crowson is wanting security cameras at all gas drilling sites.  What a concept, someone concerned with the safety of the citizens and the emergency responders instead of the industry and a dollar.

We salute Chief Crowson.  Read about him in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

WHO is Mel looking out for?

Though some drillers already monitor their sites, an ordinance amendment proposed to council members Tuesday could make security cameras mandatory for natural gas facilities within 1,000 feet of homes or other protected areas.

Fire Chief Don Crowson said the security equipment could help deter vandalism and more serious crime, as well as help identify whether a mechanical failure, operator error or storm was behind a gas release.

"The industry is going to be here for a long time, and we want to take the necessary, proactive precautions that help keep the sites safe," Crowson said. "Having something that watches those sites is a good thing. People who live near those sites would believe it's a good thing, too."

"The more security we can provide, the better," Cluck said. "We do something very dangerous. As long as we respect that and treat it appropriately, that's OK."

This year, Arlington firefighters have responded to natural gas releases at two sites caused by weather or equipment issues.

Though Councilman Mel LeBlanc is concerned about how much surveillance cameras might cost drillers, he said, he applauds the city for working to maintain a balance between "underregulating and overregulating" the industry while protecting residents' health, wealth and safety.

"There is a median path we should be taking here to make sure we don't strangle or retard the efforts of the natural gas industry or make the environment difficult for them to operate in," LeBlanc said. "At the same time, we want to protect citizens."

Political Hog

Interesting letter to the editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Good question.  If she ever attended a town hall, you could ask her.

Hogging the wealth

On Sept. 2, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger wrote to her constituents: "... the House is working to foster job creation by reducing the regulatory burden on small and large businesses. ... We have consistently voted on measures to repeal job-destroying regulations in order to empower businesses to create more jobs."

Wow! Business has been consistently deregulated for the past 10 years. And what do we have to show for it?

Seventy percent of the national assets are owned by the top 1 percent of our citizens, and the bottom 70 percent of the wage earners account for only 10 percent of the economy.

In 1976, the top 1 percent controlled 22 percent of the economy.

What does it take for Granger to learn? Is she a shill for big business to control 90 percent of the economy?

An entire generation of massive wealth creation has been strategically withheld from 99 percent of the U.S. population.

-- Barbara Rubin, Fort Worth

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Reporter in Washington

One of many abandoned Federal buildings in Fort Worth
What could be better than that?

A reporter in Texas.

What about a reporter from Texas? One who is now a small business owner and willing to take on the "powers that be" and their political consultants. 

From the Grant Stinchfield for Congress website (watch the video below)...

Fort Worth Federal Center is home to 17 of more than 12-thousand federal properties dubbed as “excess.” The 75 acre property just of 35 in southern Fort Worth consists of more than 1-million square feet of warehouse space that mostly sits empty. It is a giant waste. Fort Worth Federal Center is part of a massive pool of properties that the federal government considers useless. Sadly, the United States General Accounting Office found that all those “excess properties” cost American taxpayers more than 5 billion dollars a year to maintain.

Fort Worth Federal Center needs to be sold off. The government needs to unload the one million square feet of empty space it is forced to upkeep. President Obama announced he had plans to sell of the properties but months after that announcement I could only find 56 of the 12-thousand excess properties actually listed for sale on the governments own website. Let’s return common sense to Washington, let’s get back to the basics and stop the wasteful spending!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What is a Vision?

Blurry Vision
Well, that depends on what dictionary you use.

Guess Trinity River Hallucination doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Dictionary.com has several to choose from.  

a vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation: visions of wealth and glory.

As for synonyms...

2.  perception, discernment. 4.  apparition, phantasm, chimera. See dream.

Living in Shale



Don Young has made an excellent video detailing his experiences with the Barnett Shale and the invasion of natural gas drillers in what he calls "Dirty Ol' Town."

Watch the video below and learn some of what has been polluting Fort Worth from 2004 til now...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All fun and games...

Til someone gets hurt.  Last night on the local 'news' It was reported a child was struck by a car on Buttonwood in Fort Worth.

The 'news' went on to say that residents had contacted them and the city 5 months ago.

Really, WHY wasn't something done then?  The 'news' didn't mention if the residents ever received A response.  If we were betting, we'd say no.

Remember what happens when nothing is done, it just gets worse.

Rabble Rouser Round Up

We've told you about Teri Hall and Layla Caraway.  The FW weekly gives you an update.  

Water

There are the Oscars and the Emmys and the Grammys and now, down in Glen Rose, the Rellies. That’s what Layla Caraway and Bob Lukemon brought home over Labor Day weekend, from Glen Rose’s Neo-Relix Film Festival. Their documentary, Up a Creek, about the curious uses of flood control money in Tarrant County, won a “Rellie” in the conservation category. The film’s production was sponsored by the Trinity River Improvement Partnership or TRIP, a group with major objections to the Trinity River Vision project.

Not to rest on its laurels, TRIP is holding a session on Wednesday (Sept. 14), at 6:30 p.m. at 2501 Ludelle, just off Beach Street and Lancaster Avenue to talk about Tarrant County water supplies (as we watch area lakes continue to shrink) and about the levels of PCBs in the Trinity, and other topics guaranteed to make you appreciate more than ever the wonders and the work behind a tall glass of cool, clear water.

Just because you build it...

Fort Worth's Mercado Boondoggle
Doesn't mean anyone will show up.

Mercado in the news again.  Still empty. Still talking about it.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Business Press.

The ultimate success of the project may be determined by the area’s Community Development Corp. or CDC, currently called Northside Inc., and the organization’s ability to raise money and hire an executive director, said Sal Espino, who grew up on the Northside and now represents the area on the Fort Worth City Council.

When the Mercado itself last made news, it had just landed its first tenant after more than five years of sitting empty and neglected.

What was supposed to be the pillar of a $6.5 million Northside redevelopment – an authentic Mexican marketplace – had failed to ignite the expected growth along North Main Street.

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Bring economic development to Fort Worth’s near Northside by developing an area of shops, restaurants and stalls – a Mercado, reflecting the heritage of the mostly Hispanic residents of the neighborhood – and, in the process tie the touristy Stockyards District to downtown.

When Legaspi came forward with an offer, the city accepted with little objection. At the time of the sale, the city was on the hook for about $5 million that had been invested in the building via a local development corporation loan and other costs associated with the property. Legaspi bought the building for $2.5 million in cash, with a refundable $700,000 down payment. Many at the time said taxpayers were left holding the bag.

“If you look at the area between us and downtown, most of that is going to go for the Trinity River Vision. There’s not going to be a lot there,” Navejar said. “Much of the land between North Main and downtown will be covered by the town lake. The Historic Marine Urban Village will become Fort Worth’s front door.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Does that say FORT WORTH??

The City council wants to look at the gas drilling ordinance?  OUR city council?

Somebody pinch us, we must be dreaming.

Read it in the Fort Worth Business Press.

At the Pre-council session of Tuesday’s regular City Council meeting, some council members raised objections to issues related to multiple-well site permitting, grandfathering and other factors related to gas well drilling.

WHO owns the news?

We can't click on anything on the local paper website, without accidentally clicking on a Barnett Shale ad.  Top and bottom of the page.

Then today when our new Fort Worth Business Press arrived, the Energy Report magazine fell out.

WHAT happened to "news"?  Oh yes, it's now "ads".

In the end, WHO do you think really pays for that?

You Are Invited

Join the Trinity River Improvement Partnership (TRIP) Wednesday, September 14th @ 6:30 PM @ 2501 Ludelle, Fort Worth.

Get updates on the increased costs of the Trinity River Vision and how it will impact you.  Then, take a look at some alternative plans.

We'll have many guest speakers - -You won't want to miss this one!

Over the past ten years, North Texas has seen record population growth while our water supply levels have consistently fallen.  There seems to be no real plan to solve the problem and as we're beginning to see the dry lake bottoms baking in the sun, it can only get worse.  But this is nothing compared to what we're facing.  Where is the money that can be used to solve this problem - and where should it be going?  John Basham will tell you.

Also - What is TMDL and what's the status of our TMDL?  TMDL is the Total Maximum Daily Load.  Sounds like just another government alphabet soup acronym, but it actually refers to the levels of PCBs in the Trinity River. PCB or Polychlorinated biphenyls, are highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical compounds that river tubers, wake-boarders and others enjoying a dip in the Trinity have been exposed to.  The North Central Texas council of Governments is involved in a study of the maximum allowable levels of PCBs in the Trinity.  Since they hold their "public" meetings during business hours (when most people are at work), we attended for you and will give you the lowdown. Of course, you can ask US tough questions!  Because we like asking tough questions ourselves.

And remember - our water is a non-partisan issue!

Sincerely,

Your Friends at TRIP

P.S. You will find 2501 Ludelle by exiting I-30 at Beach Street and heading south a short distance til you come to Ludelle Street on your right.

Monday, September 12, 2011

$3,767,522

Marvin Nichols Reservoir
That's what the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting the Tarrant Regional Water District lawsuit against Oklahoma cost the taxpayers.  Don't forget the $889,890 paid to 8 Oklahoma lobbyist.

Their back up plan?  They still claim the Marvin Nichols Reservoir.  Remember, folks that told you this lawsuit wouldn't work, also said Marvin Nichols wouldn't either.  Those people in that part of the state don't take kindly to the big city folk taking what they've worked their entire lives for. And they have environmental concerns.  It ain't Tarrant County.

But after a ruling Wednesday by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of Oklahoma, the district appears no closer to getting water from north of the Red River than it was when it started the costly legal battle in 2007.

Judging by the comments from district officials after the ruling, they may be thinking about changing course.

General Manager Jim Oliver said last week that the lawsuit was "only one possible path to an agreement -- and quite frankly -- not the preferred path in our view."

The district board is tentatively scheduled to meet next week to discuss the matter, but board member Hal Sparks said it's premature to say what the board might do.

Waging the lawsuit hasn't been cheap: The district has paid $3,767,522 in legal fees to two law firms and $889,890 to eight Oklahoma lobbyists. At the end of the case those costs will be shared with the other parties in the lawsuit: Dallas Water Utilities, North Texas Municipal Water District and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District.

If Oklahoma water isn't an option, it will likely speed up the use of water from the Sulphur River Basin in Northeast Texas. Among the possibilities are building the controversial Marvin Nichols reservoir or raising the level of Wright Patman Lake in Northeast Texas. A multiyear feasibility study of the basin with the Sulphur River Basin Authority is still being conducted.

"We're going through the permitting process right now with Lower Bois D'Arc reservoir," Hickman said. "We filed five years ago and still have several years to go. One as big as Marvin Nichols would be even more difficult."

And there's the uncertainty of political opposition.

When Dallas tried to build Lake Fastrill along the Neches River in East Texas, environmentalists rallied against it. They eventually won when the area was designated a national wildlife refuge. Now Dallas is re-evaluating its long-term water plan. But Dennis Qualls, a senior engineer with Dallas Water Utilities, said officials there know that anything that includes new reservoirs is far from a sure thing.

They're kidding, right?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is calling for THE PEOPLE to write in about what they would cut from the budget.

However, they don't really want to know.  Their snide comment about what they don't want to hear is below.

Now, before anyone dashes off a memo saying, "Scrap earmarks for the Trinity River Vision" or "End all family-planning subsidies," here are the parameters:

Any cuts you recommend must affect you personally. Are you willing to give up the mortgage deduction on your vacation home? How about paying Social Security taxes on more of your wages and working longer before collecting benefits? Will you share more of the costs for your prescription drugs or your federal pension?


Now we usually don't engage or promote name-calling, but we have to ask, WHAT moron thinks the Trinity River Vision doesn't personally affect them?  If you live in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, United States of America - YOU are affected.  You're footing the entire bill, and that's just for starters.  Do we have to remind you we are running out of water?  The Tarrant Regional Water District is too busy losing law suits in Oklahoma, taking private property by eminent domain, promoting floating in a highly toxic river and dumping OUR money into the TRV to be concerned with things like WATER.

This just goes to show how out of touch some of the "news" is.  This isn't the first time they've told their customers they don't want to hear about the Trinity River Vision.  WHY would that be?  We're working on other out of touch examples, YOU won't want to miss them.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More Texas "Toll Roads"


We asked, What did he say?

Watchdog, Don Young tells you here.

Remember, in one way or another YOU are paying for them.

Places please...

The connections in Fort Worth run deep.  Especially in the Culture of Corruption.

A local Chesapeake employee was recently named one of the top "Forty under Forty" by the Fort Worth Business Press.  He was also just added to the Fort Worth Leadership board.

Wonders never cease.  Or do they??

We will never forget.


God Bless America.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What did he say??

Did a former city councilman just blame the residents for the streets not getting repaired??

This while in the Business Press another council member says "Hicks and other council members expressed frustration at gaining constituent support for past bond propositions only to see the fruits of those promises delayed or disappear."

Read the letter in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Then, write your own.

Mayor Price wants someone for a Transportation Project job.  Wonder WHO that will be?  Surely no one with ties to the 7th street gang...

Street improvements

The Star-Telegram's Sept. 1 editorial ("Street monster threatens to eat FW council alive") was interesting. Bemoaning the city's $1 billion need for street and road improvements, and blaming prior City Council inaction, the editorial proceeded with the opinion that today's economic climate should excuse residents from being subjected to taxes or fees necessary to solve the problem.

Road neglect is due in large part to residents' previous cries for other services and a lower tax rate. The council's responses were budgetary policy decisions that confirm that you can't have everything. Couple that history with the fact that city costs continue to increase each year, and it becomes obvious that even the same city services cannot be continued at the same tax rate forever.

Hence last year's proposal for a dedicated transportation utility fee (tax) in order to remove the risk that such funds could be diverted to satisfy nontransportation demands.

Hopefully, those complaining tomorrow over transportation needs will remember the council's recent decision to spare them from more taxes, a dodge that will cause the city to pay more in the future when an improving economy will push construction costs 15 percent to 20 percent higher. The "monster" will not get easier to slay.

-- Carter Burdette, Fort Worth

3,000 Dams...


"Fracking near dams could cause catastrophic event per US Army Corps Engineers".  Duh. 

Read about it on TexasSharon.com.

Rush Creek - One year later

Read about the flooded Arlington neighborhood in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Stagner lived at the corner of Woodland Park and Woodridge Drive for 41 years until last Sept. 8, when Tropical Storm Hermine sent several feet of floodwaters raging through her neighborhood. Stagner remembers worrying that she and her son and daughter would have to retreat to the attic for safety after the swiftly rising creek burst through her windows and began filling her home chest-deep with muddy brown water.

It will be Stagner's turn to be comforted this month when the wrecking crew comes for her former home. The city bought it and 48 other flood-damaged houses and The Willows at Shady Valley condominiums this year as part of a $16 million program to address chronic flooding along Rush Creek.

City officials have repeatedly said that no amount of dredging will stop the creek from flooding and that tearing down the homes and apartments to create green space to absorb storm-water runoff is the only practical solution.

"I feel very strongly there is nothing we can do to hold that back," Mayor Robert Cluck said. "We have to get people out of harm's way. We have accomplished that to a large extent."

So far, 17 homes have been razed, and 16 others are scheduled to be demolished by early October, city officials said. The 100-unit Willows condos, which the city bought for $4.5 million, are set to be torn down by the end of the year.

Once cleared, the land will be regraded, reseeded and maintained by the city. The new green space will be incorporated into existing parks.

The city issued bonds to pay for the flood-control project, which will be repaid over 20 years using storm-water fees paid by water utility customers.

"It's a very efficient way to make this whole thing work," Cluck said. "Had we not had that, I'm not sure where we would have gotten the money to do it."

"We lost everything but essentially the clothes off our backs," said Lowe, whose family spent three months living in a hotel before buying a new home in south Arlington. "It was very easy to sell [to the city]. We would not have gone through this again for anything."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Watauga Waves

The budget for Watauga did not pass through the council as it always has before.

Three new council members are being blamed by the old council members.  Three new council members are being thanked by the citizens.  Be sure and read the comment.  It gives you a side the "news" forgot to.  The side of the people that the council is elected to represent.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Wednesday night's vote was 4-3 in favor of the budget, but a two-thirds majority was required for passage.

It was the first time a proposed budget has been rejected in Watauga, city officials said.

"I wish we could have reached a better level of consensus in the previous [budget] workshops," Clements said.

"My only objection was to the tax increase. Overall, I agreed with the budget, except for hiring new people."

Mayor Harry Jeffries said he was disappointed in the council.

"We've had enough work sessions for people to ask questions, and they weren't asked," he said. "I have three people who don't want to raise taxes. I don't want to raise taxes, and the other councilmen don't want to raise taxes. But you come to a point where you look at the loss in [total] property valuation and something has to happen to make that up.

"Either you cut services or you raise taxes."

Watauga has lost considerable taxable property value in the last several years. Between 2010 and 2011, the total property value in Watauga dropped about $10.2 million.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What now?

What happens when your plan to supply water for millions of people hinges on suing your neighboring state, and you lose?

Ask the Tarrant Regional Water District.
Ask them how much that cost YOU.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Tarrant Regional Water District suffered another blow in its lengthy legal battle to obtain water from Oklahoma on Wednesday as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that has the little-known Red River Compact protects the Sooner State from any claims on its surface water.

"It's disappointing," said Tarrant Regional's General Manager Jim Oliver who said the water district will continue to explore its options. The water district could ask for a rehearing before the 10th Circuit, file a writ with the Supreme Court or simply accept the court's decision.

In its ruling, the 10th Circuit said "we hold that the Red River Compact insulates Oklahoma water statutes" from a legal challenge.

At the same time, the district sued the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Oklahoma Water Conservation Storage Commission to keep its permit applications from being dismissed while the matter was in court.

In July 2010, an Oklahoma federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, but the water district appealed the case to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

History Lesson

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

YOU can't afford not to.

Wasting water

Someone once said, "Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!"

There is an extreme lack of drinking water throughout the world, and we in the U.S. are a wasteful water nation -- homes, lawns, industries, water parks etc. And yes, the Trinity River Vision costing millions that should be spent for water projects 10, 20 and more years coming!

Think ahead not for ourselves but our future children's children!

Not meaning to be biblical, but if the Earth once was destroyed by water could it be destroyed by a lack of water?

-- George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One boondoggle after another...

It's the Fort Worth Way.

This very same writer once told you - "Don't be afraid of the rising cost of Trinity River Vision".  Now he's pissed about the rising cost of TCC?

Really?  Didn't see that coming?

Nothing costs what the "leaders" of the projects say they will.  WHO pays the price?  All of us.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

TCC's psyche and credibility are still recovering from the fiasco on the bluffs, the downtown construction project whose soaring costs gave the district a black eye. That project, the Trinity River East Campus, finally opened to students last week.

TCC is running away from that number as fast as it can. The figure was a placeholder, not a true estimate, spokesman Frank Griffis said. Indeed, a footnote in the CFO's slide show states that the "construction amounts are only for discussion purposes."

Then how about discussing the original budget number while they were at it?

The three public anchors were supposed to be finished by 2005. But the project hasn't delivered as expected, not with the economic shocks of the past decade. The city extended the time frame, waiting for more development and tax revenue.

But there's no guarantee. And it's more important, politically and economically, that TCC live within its means. If it can't build a nice hall for $8.3 million, it could ask North Richland Hills to throw in a little more.

Maybe, but the problem here isn't the idea of a performing arts center. It's the rising price.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Happy 129th Labor Day America

The first big Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland reconciled with the labor movement. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation's trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers' Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair, which it had been observed to commemorate. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made Labor Day a statutory holiday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Promised Road

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram made us laugh.  The "street monster" is coming...

For more than two years, a big, hungry monster has dogged every meeting of the Fort Worth City Council. Only occasionally have council members talked about it, but the monster's low growl and hot, heavy breath have been a constant part of their lives.

The monster is a $1 billion gap between what's needed for major street repair, maintenance and construction and what's anticipated to be available next year and in future years.


Next question, how much is the gap with drainage?  Several years ago, it was a billion, too.

Previous councils share the blame for creating this monster. Since 1995, they reduced the share of the property tax rate that goes to pay off debt.

If we're not paying our bills and we're not fixing roads and infrastructure...WHERE is OUR money going??

Councilman Sal Espino, whose north side District 2 has probably the city's worst street problems, sided with other council members against the new fee, but he was clearly reluctant.

Housing growth in District 2 boomed before the national recession hit. As Espino put it, "We allowed these massive subdivisions to be built on two-lane county roads."


WE did?  WHY would WE do that?  Wasn't Sal out on the side of the road with the Mayor asking for money and making promises to fix it years ago?

"Town Hall's are for rookies"

Maybe the term was freshman, but you get the drift.

WHO works for WHO, exactly?

Read it in the Fort Worth Weekly.

Normally in August, lawmakers go back to their districts to make nice with constituents. This year, though, an estimated 40 to 60 percent of members — from both parties and both houses — are planning none of the town hall meetings usual for the season.

When they skip recess, you know they must have dropped the Dippity-Do in a bad, bad place.

Here in U.S. Rep. Kay Granger’s district, for instance, we expected her to come home, press the flesh, be seen, answer questions, just be available.

But Granger is nowhere to be found. I and others have tried to find out when she will make an appearance. We called her office. We checked everywhere we could think of for events she might attend. No luck.

It reminds me of the “Where’s Waldo?” game. She isn’t in her office. Staffers said she had no town halls scheduled, though they did say she would be doing some “by phone.” Her workers let folks concerned over the budget/debt fiasco sign a sheet in her office.

Then there are those public servants who have the audacity to charge voters for the privilege of  attending a town hall. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s only public recess meeting will be with the Rotarians, where the fee (“for food”) is  $15 to ask questions of the House Budget Committee chairman. 

Granger’s folks said they didn’t know when that telephonic town hall would be scheduled. Then last week I received a notice of an “Alzheimer’s Association Town Hall Meeting,” set for Aug.31 at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. It listed Granger among the distinguished guests. Those who attend will have the “opportunity to ... give your input” regarding the disease.