Friday, December 21, 2012

Grapevine, not Fort Worth, says WTH??


Kudos to Grapevine for pushing for answers before committing to blow OUR money.  We can only hope they won’t be bought into selling us all out.

Questions all cities involved should be asking is WHERE does the money come from?

Keep in mind a federal grant is still YOUR money.  And we don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Feds are broke too.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports on Grapevine’s integrity vote.

A plan spearheaded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments to extend passenger rail service from southwest Fort Worth to Plano hit a snag in Grapevine this week.

The Grapevine City Council is not yet ready to support the plan -- or even to sign an agreement asking the council of governments to work on it, a requirement under state law if the project is to move forward.

The council balked for good reason. Council members decided that they did not have enough information, City Manager Bruno Rumbelow said in a Thursday interview.

The Grapevine-to-Plano segment depends on funding from a private entity, which would then take a share of revenue generated by development around stations along the line.

That last part stumped the Grapevine council, Rumbelow said. The council wants to know more about how the finance mechanism would work and to determine whether it might drain development revenue that otherwise would come to the city.

That's important information. The council was wise to withhold its support until it gets answers.

Read more here: Grapevine balks at rail project's lack of specifics

In what universe?


Does the Fort Worth Star-Telegram write a column that calls out elected and appointed officials spending millions without anyone knowing what’s really going on?  It could have only been better if they were talking about TRV…if you read between the lines, it reads like they are.  There are so many things wrong with these projects, it would take days to point them all out.  YOU need to read this.  These secrets could cost YOU more than you know.

And no surprise, NCTCOG is right in the center, again.  WHO gave them the money they operate with?  WHO gave them any power?

Thanks to the FWST for joining the party.  Better late than never.

Be sure and read the comments… YOUR kids can’t afford for you not to. Here was one of our favorites -

"Government Gone Wild" is the only way to describe what the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is doing.

Read more here: Private rail initiative gets $100 million in public money

All roads lead to …


Your pocket.  And your rights, or lack thereof.

Several interesting articles in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as of late.  Seems like they are finally starting to pay attention to what is going on with our roads.

First was the NTTA article by the FW Watchdog.

The NTTA is circulating a draft of its proposed bill for the 2013 Legislature. The Watchdog asked NTTA for a copy, but the authority declined. Instead, The Watchdog obtained a draft from another source.

I can exclusively report details of what may be seen by some as NTTA's leap above and beyond basic constitutional rights. Others, wanting violators to pay up, will see the proposed system as a way to offer violators a chance to tell their side of the story.

When I think of an NTTA-operated court, legendary Judge Roy Bean's courtroom in Langtry comes to mind: "Do you have anything to say before we find you guilty?"

The bill gives NTTA even more power than it already has. For instance, a guilty toll debtor must either pay the debt, fines and penalties or else satisfy "the authority in its sole discretion." That's pretty open-ended.

The Watchdog asks: Is the NTTA competent enough to create its own judiciary?

We all know the answer to that but Lieber gives you three examples.  Read them all, cause YOU could be next.

Right on, Clyde


Clyde sent us a copy of his letter that he sent to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  Too bad the big city folks don’t read…

Water is one of the most important issues having a bearing on our future. The Tarrant Regional Water District is on one hand engaged in obtaining water by court action and on the other maximizing gas drilling on TRWD property and using copious amounts of water. The second priority seems to be economic development.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments and member cities should lobby the Legislature to eliminate fiefdoms like TRWD and create a metropolitan water district serving north central Texas that is wholly engaged in providing an adequate water supply for the future.

The Fort Worth City Council is making a mockery of the code of ethics. Members are doing nothing less than writing themselves a free pass to avoid public censure. A major conflict of interest occurs when the city attorney, who is hired, fired and given pay raises by the council, is the one who rules on ethical conduct.

A code of ethics encompasses more than just conflict of interest, it addresses moral standards as well. If it doesn't look right to the public, it isn't right. Without impartial committee selection and adjudication of ethical conduct, the council is violating the public trust.

-- Clyde Picht, Fort Worth

WHAT Senators?


A letter in the FW Star-Telegram makes a valid point.  Does Texas have Senators?

Texas senators

The recent letter by Herman Morris about Texas' U.S. senators was in error. 

Texas has no senators. We do have two people in Washington, but the man represents the Republican Party and the woman represents herself

-- Don Prager, Fort Worth

Saturday, December 15, 2012

God Bless CT


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sold to the public...Fail

We were forwarded this note so we're not sure WHO wrote it, but we are sure they know what's up.  Too bad those river ruining, convention center building, public money spending folks don't.  Maybe they don't read...

"How many more cities are going to be duped by the convention center craze? I do not support any government owned businesses, but two facts make this a no brainer. One, convention business is declining, and two, construction of convention facilities has ballooned nationwide. More competition for a smaller pie. Yeah, let's jump right in.

The article even says that most convention centers lose money and require government subsidy (on top of the government building them). And their solution is to put $250 million into a new one? Plus they're already talking about the oh so critical convention center hotel. Where have I heard this story before?


Maybe they're thinking that Oklahoma City is such an amazing tourist destination that they will defy the national trend and all the fundamental laws of economics?

Oh, but it's worth building this loser because, "CSL claims that economic development from conventions would nearly triple with a new center." Every single city has been sold on these market studies that have proven to be bogus time and time again. Their self serving empty promises are just to give the illusion of legitimacy to the project. But in reality it is all about a tiny minority getting rich off of construction contracts and land deals. The development, if it comes at all, likewise has to be heavily subsidized due to nonexistent market demand, making it a triple loser for the taxpayers.

So that's my rant on this, but for a more academic approach, just Google Heywood Sanders. He's a professor of Public Administration at UT San Antonio who has been studying these things for years. They all follow the same pattern of how they're sold to the public and how they fail to meet expectations."

We usually only talk about Oklahoma when it comes to water and drillers.  This was too good to pass up.  Read more here

Monday, December 10, 2012

No ethics?

No problem.  It's Fort Worth.

Read the letter to the Fort Worth Mayor and council.  Then show up, tomorrow.  YOU are the only one that can save YOU.


UNDERSTANDING THE CODE OF ETHICS CHANGE

At the recent Fort Worth City Council meeting, the City Officials appear
to be in a rush to change the Code of Ethics. I was very disappointed
in the absolute lack of knowledge the City Council seemed to posses
regarding these changes on which they were voting at the December
4, 2010 meeting.


From the meeting, it was apparent the City Council wanted to rush the
change to the Code of Ethics Ordinance. But that shouldn't have
surprised me. The City Attorney addressed the Ethics Committee and
told them what the Mayor and City Council expected.

"Specifically, on August 19th, the council announced that
they definitively want the ability to appoint members to task
forces that have particular expertise in an area without those
members being subject to an automatic violation of the
ethics code simply because of their profession.

This was the directive from the former Mayor and Council at the time. I
had hoped the current Mayor and Council would have realized the
citizens expect more ethical behavior and not less.

At the December 4, 2010 Council meeting, the first of the comments
coming from the Council members, included, how the citizens were
confused about what the new Ordinance included and the confusion
was not on the part of the Council. The Council member insisted it
was a result of a news journal that printed half-truths, as the Ordinance
actually tightened things up according to that Councilperson. He then
explained that one example of what was tightened up, was how the
proposed Ordinance offered more protection for the Council and Board
members. The Council member failed to explain what was incorrect in
the news journal.

This Council member continued with his observations that in the Ethics
Code are many gray areas. Unfortunately, he is correct. The
Ordinance, as it is written is very cloudy and unclear in its meaning.
That is one of the many problems with the proposed Ordinance. The
Ordinance must be rewritten in a manner that is not gray, it must be
absolutely clear for the citizens to understand. An Ordinance is a law
that must be easily understood by all. When even the City Council
states it is gray, the Ordinance must really be confusing to many.
I have read what was written in the news journal he was speaking of,
and find the articles very accurate and not confusing. In fact, the
articles are amazingly correct.

It also appears the council member has not read enough of the Code
of Ethics and certainly doesn't understand its intent. In the preamble of
the Code of Ethics it explains what that intent is and why.

2-236 - Declaration of Policy
"The city council deems it advisable to enact this code of
ethics for all officers, employees and advisory board
members, whether elected or appointed, paid or unpaid, to
serve not only as a guide for official conduct of the city's
public servants, but also as a basis for discipline for those
who refuse to abide by its terms.

The Code of Ethics as it is written, indicates it is to protect the citizens
from improper actions of the City Council, employees and advisory
board members. It is not written with the idea of protecting the Council
members and board members from the citizens.


The City Council and Boards have a City Attorney for that purpose.

The Mayor also made the following observations about there being a
great deal of confusion.

I agree with the confusion, but it appears the City Council members are
the ones who do not know the true details.

She stated there was a great deal of citizen input.

I would question there being a great deal of citizen input on this matter,
as it appeared there are many citizens who were not aware of the
proceedings. If many citizens and neighborhood organizations are not
aware of a major Ordinance or policy change, shouldn't the city accept
some responsibility for that? Perhaps it wasn't publicized enough or in
the right places. Perhaps it was intentional.

The Mayor went on to say the following about the proposed Ordinance.
It doesn't mean they will meet behind closed doors.
The City will publically post these meetings and they will be subject to
Open Meeting requirements.
It has been said that all the meetings would not be subject to the Open
Meeting Act, is simply not true.
It clarifies when it is appropriate to appoint members, for short term
advisory only, Task Forces.
The truth is, no new "Advisory Only Committee" is required to meet
the Open Meeting Act requirements and the City's proposed Code has
no provision that requires it either.

The Code provides no clarification that explains when it is appropriate
to allow or require a committee or board to be called "advisory only" or
otherwise and what the distinctions must be. It refers to short term, but
it fails to explain how short term is defined. The Gas Drilling Task
Force and Air Quality Committee lasted over a year. I don't view that
short term and the City Attorney continues to insist they were "Advisory
Only".

The Mayor stated, "they have heard said, the City Attorney has the
power to give Absolute Immunity and that is not exactly true.
According to the new code there are provisions that require the
individuals follow the City Attorneys advice and receive it in writing.
Otherwise, the Ethics committee can still take it up."

At the beginning of the proposed Ordinance, Absolute Immunity is one
of the stated provisions. The new regulations of the Ordinance would
actually make the Absolute Immunity rule an unreasonable hurdle to
cross if one were filing a complaint. Additionally, if one files a complaint
when Absolute Immunity is the defense, it will most likely be dismissed
on its face due to the Absolute Immunity provision.

A horrible situation would arise if the advice the city Attorney provides
should be wrong. Not only will there not be a hearing to resolve the
issue, but the wrongdoer is allowed to continue the wrongdoing and
there is no recourse available to prevent them from doing it over and
over.

The attorney General has already provided an AG Opinion, "that a
City may regulate conflicts of interest involving City Council
members by adopting ordinance provisions that are not
inconsistent with Local Government Code chapter 171.
Thus, the city may not attempt to exempt its officers from
requirements imposed by Local Government Code chapter
171."

The Absolute Immunity provision is without a doubt, an
attempt to exempt its Officers from requirements imposed by
Local Code 171 and other State laws.
Additionally, there are various types of immunity recognized
in Law and Absolute Immunity has a legal meaning.
Absolute immunity means the official engaged in judicial, prosecutorial
or legislative acts within the scope of duty is absolutely immune not
only from liability but also from suit concerning the act. A valid claim of
this immunity is an absolute bar to the suit, and will result in dismissal of
the suit itself. No discovery or any other suit-related process is
permitted.

A defense Attorney would use this defense against any complaint filed.

When there is a Written Opinion that provides an Absolute Defense,
the complaint would automatically be dismissed regardless of what the
Ordinance states.

The Mayor also stated, "the change on Substantial Interest simply
supplements the State Statue and goes beyond what the State Ethics
require."

The City Attorney in their power point presentation "amended the
definition of Substantial Interest to be consistent with State law." There
is nothing in the Ordinance or that was said about going beyond State
Law, the City Attorney only said it was consistent with state law. In
other words, the new Ordinance actually ends up requiring less ethical
behavior of the public Officials than the current Ordinance.
The proposed Code of Ethics does not go beyond any provision
already provided by State Statute. The proposal regarding the ability of
the City Attorney to provide an Absolute Defense actually appears to
be an attempt to exempt Officers and committee members from
certain State Statues and would appear to be contrary to what the
Attorney General has stated in a legal Opinion.

An Attorney General Opinion basically carries the weight of law until it
is overturned in a court of law or rewritten. However, the City Officials
seem to downplay or ignore many Attorney General Opinions that
don't meet their needs.

On November 30th, I requested from the City Council, an explanation
or example of what benefit the proposed Code would offer the citizens.
There has been no Council Person willing or able to advise me of any
benefit to date.


The Mayor went on to say, "The Ethics Committee looked at other
Cities and these are standard practices in other large Cities."
The Ethics Committee did not look at any other City Ordinances.
The City Attorney advised the Ethics Committee they had looked at
other Cities and then "Cherry Picked" from certain other City
Ordinances. They also said that in many cases those City's Attorney
did not know where some of their Ordinances came from and in many
cases they had never applied them.

Our City Attorney advised the Council, That San Antonio and Dallas
had provisions in their Ordinance that granted immunity as a result of
their Ordinances.

Those two City Ordinances have additional provisions indicating, "that
other state and federal laws may apply" too. Absolute Immunity is not
a term they used in their Ordinance either. This is a case of "cherry
picking" only the part of other Ordinances the City Attorney wants to
meet their specific needs. It is much like taking "something out of
context". The Fort Worth Ordinance does not include other provisions
that should part of certain types of rule changes.

Mr. Danny Scarth provided his understanding of the Code change by
using the example of "having a friend who plays golf occasionally and
that person having an interest in golf, so should he be subject to a
violation if he votes on a rate change"? Mr. scarth then states his
opinion, saying, "That would be silly".

Mr. Scarth of all people should know about Ethics issues, but
apparently doesn't.

Taken from, 2010 Texas Conflict of Interest Laws Made Easy -
Office of the Attorney General

#8. What is the test for conflict of interest regarding a business entity?
State law provides a two-part test for ascertaining whether a local official has a
conflict of interest regarding a business entity that would prevent the official
from participating in a vote or discussion on that item. To determine whether a
conflict exists that would prevent that official’s participation, one should follow
the following two-step analysis:

Step one (substantial interest analysis): First, the official must determine if he or
she received more than 10 percent of his gross income in the previous year
from that business entity or if he or she owns 10 percent or more of the voting
stock or shares of the business entity or has some other substantial ownership
interest in the business entity. If the official has such an interest or a close
relative of the official has such an interest, the official must consider the second
part of the test for determining if a conflict of interest exists.

Step two (special economic effect analysis): The official must determine whether
the action that the local entity is considering would have a special economic
effect on the business entity that is distinguishable from its general effect on
the public. If it is determined that the official has a substantial interest in the
business entity and it is likely that the action would have a special economic
effect on the business entity that is distinguishable from its effect on the
general public, a conflict of interest would exist. If a conflict of interest exists,
the official is prevented from discussing or voting on an issue involving that
business entity.

There are certain thresholds to be met and are determined by law.
The City can write stricter requirements than required by State law, but
not less. Therefore if the golfer in question only has an interest in Golf
as indicated by Mr. Scarth, then by all means they should be allowed
to be on the advisory committee. On the other hand, if the interest
were financial, then the thresholds would be one of the determining
factors.

In my opinion, Mr. Scarth should be ashamed for deliberately trying to
mislead the citizens with this comment.

Virtually every issue the City Council addressed at the December 4,
2010 Council Meeting shows a complete lack of understanding of the
problems with the proposed Ordinance or even what it says.

The Ordinance must be rewritten in a manner that is not foggy as the
Council indicated and it must be easily understood by all to be
enforceable.

It will require individuals from both sides having input, for there to be a
reasonable Ordinance.

This Item will require time to get correct and it should be important to all
that it is correct this time.

This proposed Ordinance should be vetoed or at least delayed

Fracking Lousiana

Truthout shares the latest on the sinkhole forcing people from their homes.  Think it can't happen to YOU?  Think again...

And for those that claim the industry and their actions would never harm an aquifer...please, shut up.

On August 3, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a statewide emergency, and local officials in Assumption ordered the mandatory evacuation of about 300 residents of more than 150 homes located about a half-mile from the sinkhole. Four months later, officials continue to tell residents that they do not know when they will be able to return home. A few have chosen to ignore the order and have stayed in their homes, but the neighborhood is now quiet and nearly vacant. Across the road from the residential community, a parking lot near a small boat launch ramp has been converted to a command post for state police and emergency responders.

Geologists say they have never dealt with anything quite like it before, but the sinkhole has made few headlines beyond the local media.

According to Hecox and the USGS, the collapsing cavern shifted and weakened underground rock formations, causing the earthquakes and allowing natural gas and oil to migrate upward and contaminate the local groundwater aquifer.

From 2005 to 2009, Assumption Parish had the seventh highest breast cancer rate among Louisiana's 64 counties, according to the National Cancer Institute.

A moment of silence...



For Miss Betty.  Our hearts go out to her family and her Fort Worth Weekly family.  We'll be looking forward to their cover story and we'll be missing those done by Brink.

Rest in Peace.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hard hitting journalism...

Just kidding.  It's as soft as ever from the Fort Worth cheerleader, um, "news"paper...

WHY are they just now writing on the Fort Worth ethics fiasco?

Just when you think they might do the right thing, along comes a line like this -

Residents who have expressed alarm about the proposals have every reason to do so, though some council members say they're just trying to do the right thing.

Read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram "article" on the Fort Worth Ethics changes.  Though as usual, the best part may end up being the comments from the readers.

Here's a question, should a newspaper be granted full immunity for lack of transparency, lack of bias and lack of information?  If they lack those things, WHAT purpose do they serve?


That's nothing...

If they think this Fort Worth spending is ridiculous, they should come visit for a day or two.  They'd be amazed at what a city that can't pay its bills will waste money on.

Read about Texas making yet another list in the Statesman.com, Texas projects highlighted in national "wasteful spending" report.

Hey, Stateman writers, come on down!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Another conflict of interest?

In Texas?  Say it isn't so.

This time it's UT and their "Fact-based" Fracking Study.  How much drilling is done on the UT campus?  How much money has the industry donated to UT?  WHO would expect anything less?
Two more bite the dust.  WHO's next?

Review of UT Fracking Study Finds Failure to Disclose Conflict of Interest (Updated)

The long-awaited review of a controversial study on the drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” was released today, and it finds numerous errors and flaws with how the study was conducted and released, as well as University of Texas policies for disclosing conflicts of interest.

The head author of the study, Dr. Charles “Chip” Groat, has retired in the wake of the controversy, and the head of the Energy Institute that released it, Dr. Raymond Orbach, has resigned as head of the Institute, the University announced today.

After similar issues at the University at Buffalo over a report on fracking that also lacked scientific backing and failed to disclose industry ties, the Univeristy shuttered its Shale Resources and Society Institute, which released the study, last month.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Word of the Day...

School.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has two front and center articles that if weren't so sad, would make us laugh.

"North Texas classrooms getting crowded as districts seek waivers" and "Lieutenant governor says Texas needs to speed up process for closing failing schools".  Yes, we saw the irony.  Read the articles, you will too.

More than 600 districts are suing the state, saying the school finance system is not adequately funding the education system and thus is unconstitutional.

Then there is the school article in the FW Weekly that has more comments than we've seen on their articles.  Harrassment at Haltom? reads like a Lifetime movie...a new principal who was put on leave at another school, changed his name and now students and long time teachers are complaining and leaving, due to bullying.  The BISD school board meeting is coming up December 13th.  Sounds like it may be standing room only.  Sometimes that's what it takes to get answers.





Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/12/06/4467238/north-texas-classrooms-getting.html#storylink=cpy

Are you really that dumb?

The Trinity River Vision Authority has used YOUR money to send out their latest propaganda piece.  If you read between the lines, you have to ask yourself, are you really that dumb?  And aren't you just a little insulted they think you are?

Durango breaks it down for you.  For those Fort Worth history and Heritage Park fans, YOU don't want to miss it.  Really, you can't afford to.

Our favorite might be the the blurb below, as you know, the Trinity River Vision was touted as a "flood control" project, to secure federal funds. WHERE do you see the words flood control in this statement?

In the Trinity River Vision's website we get to read what I think must be the Trinity River Vision Mission Statement:

The Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) is the organization responsible for the implementation of the Trinity River Vision (TRV) - a master plan for the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas. It is underway now - connecting every neighborhood in the city to the Trinity River corridor with new recreational amenities, improved infrastructure, environmental enhancements and event programming. The TRV will create Trinity Uptown, a vibrant urban waterfront neighborhood, expand Gateway Park into one of the largest urban-programmed parks in the nation and enhance the river corridor with over 90 user-requested projects along the Trinity Trails.

MONDAY!

Worried about fracking?  Worried about the impacts gas drilling has on your kids and their health?

Your chance to do something about it is Monday.  Don't miss it.

Get the scoop in the Fort Worth Weekly.  We couldn't find any mention of it in the Barnett Shale spewing Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  (We couldn't find any mention of the Fort Worth Ethics fiasco in there either...)

The Texas Railroad Commission, a supposed regulatory agency that does more shilling than the industry’s own paid lobbyists, is undergoing its sunset review this month at the capitol in Austin.
But before legislators decide what, if any, reforms to bring to the agency during this crepuscular review, which occurs once every seven years, a couple of them will stop in Arlington on Monday to listen to any concerns residents might have about fracking, leaky pipelines, disposal wells that cause earthquakes, and a drilling industry that contributes mightily to local air pollution –– you know, nitpicky stuff.

Anyone who’d like to see the sun set on unregulated pollution of Texas air and water should show up in Arlington on Monday and, if possible, in Austin on Dec. 19. Otherwise, says Tom Smith of consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, expect little to change.

“Politics is a contact sport. We’ve all been a little too nice, thinking that the government is going to help us instead of the companies lining their pockets,” Smith said. “People can complain about fracking all day, but until they actually go down and complain about it, it will continue.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Snowball Express

Snowball Express will be bringing children of our fallen military hero's to the Fort Worth Stockyards, Sunday December 2nd at 10:30 a.m.
 
Come out and give them a Texas welcome.  Show your appreciation for their sacrifice.
 
Bring your flag, bring your family. 

 

 

Friday, November 30, 2012

YOU should be too

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the main lobbying group for ranchers, takes no position on fracking, but some ranchers are beginning to speak out. “These are industry-supporting conservatives, not radicals,” said Amy Mall, a senior policy analyst with the environmental group, Natural Resources Defense Council. “They are the experts in their animals’ health, and they are very concerned.”

The industry just keeps fracking along acting like there won't be fallout... 

WHAT will it cost them?  WHAT will YOU eat?

WHO wrote the article YOU need to see

This report was produced by the Food & Environment Reporting Network, an independent investigative journalism non-profit focusing on food, agriculture, and environmental health. A longer version of this story appears on TheNation.com.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More MUD in Trophy Club

With all that money, you'd think they'd have more sense....

Trophy Club MUD customers will get a strong sense of deja vu as they look through the MUD's November 20, 2012 meeting agenda. 
  
The Wallace Group, a consultant hired by the MUD to evaluate the wastewater treatment plant after the TCEQ issued it an enforcement order and a $50k fine in July, estimated upgrades to the facility to meet permitted limits will cost between $1.5 and $3.0 million dollars.  The MUD is preparing a bond package for voter approval.
  
This sounds like a rerun of  May 18, 2001, when the EPA issued the Trophy Club MUD an Administrative order requiring $3 million dollars in upgrades to meet permit limits. Subsequently, a bond package was passed by voters to pay for these upgrades. One has to wonder now how that $3 million was actually spent.
Customers and taxpayers have to be asking themselves how much longer this Trophy Club MUD parody of the movie Groundhog Day will continue.  They are probably also asking themselves what factual basis MUD Directors Jim Thomas and Kevin Carr had for claiming repeatedly over the last 4 years that these permit violations were all resolved. 

You don't have to boat on Grapevine Lake or drive down 114 to smell something really fishy at the Trophy Club MUD, all you have to do is follow the money trail.

Morally Bankrupt



Be there, December 4th.

Or kiss your city goodbye.

WHERE'S the money?


Ask TXDot. Or your elected officials.

Then ask your local news WHY they aren't asking.

Remember Fort Worth's Streetcar named Conspire? 

This ranks right up there...

Cato scholar slams street car as obsolete 'fantasy'.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thank you, may we have another?

Do people not know WHO pays for a TIF?

Those selling it to you (not like you had a choice) will tell you, the TIF pays for itself. 

That's code for, get your checkbook out.  You ever notice, it's usually a lot of "conservatives" pushing these projects?

And we love the comment on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about the new TIF at 820 and Trinity (you know, where it floods and has for decades...remember Mary Kelleher ?)  Wouldn't it make sense to pay for the aging, inadequate infrastructure already in place?  Wouldn't that provide jobs? 

The TIF, which will divert money from property taxes over 20 years to pay for an estimated $62.45 million in public infrastructure improvements in the Trinity Lakes development,

The property is bounded by Loop 820 on the west, the TRE on the north, Trinity River on the south and Bell Helicopter to the east, and much of it is in a flood plain.

Comment of the day:
Humans are the most destructive and invasive species. Nobody cares. We pave the area over and wonder why it floods.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

What a difference a year makes...

Just last November, Frac Tech made the news for a lawsuit and a Fort Worth abatement

This November it's for a $21 million dollar loss.  See the blurb in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

FTS said that it billed oil and gas producers for 4,420 hydraulic fracturing stages, down 8 percent from 2011, and that average revenue per stage fell 26 percent to $98,000.

The company has $551 million in long-term debt.


Good investment, or bad business? 

Keep it classy, Fort Worth.




Friday, November 16, 2012

Young, but not dumb

Seems the Young Conservatives of Texas have figured out, just because someone says their conservative, doesn't make it so.

These young 'uns caught on to the Bryan Eppstein act and they are calling him out on it. 

Wendy Davis won Senate District 10, again.  Her last opponent hired Eppstein.  He lost too. 

Here's hoping the YCT looks at "conservative" candidates Eppstein helped get elected in the past, and calls them out too. 



Monday, November 12, 2012

Protest and Death


130 in Texas is making news.  Again.

Seems they started charging the tolls on the most controversial Texas toll road to date.  They also had their first fatality.  Could that be due to that stretch having the highest speed limit at 85mph? The way the speed limit came to be is also controversial, just in case you were wondering.  Yes, it's also the same freeway that is so empty, a plane landed on it recently.  You can't make this stuff up. 

In addition to tolls and death, Texans are now starting to protest the toll road.  YOU need to know why, because you're next.

Do yourself and your kids a favor, pay attention.

Here's the latest incoming email from TURF.  If you drive 183 or 820, or think you will when it's complete, be sure and read this.

Texans call for boycott of first foreign-owned toll road
Private tollway threatens right to travel, smacks of cronyism

(San Antonio, TX - November 12, 2012) Today marks the first day Spanish toll operator, Cintra, starts charging Texas commuters tolls to use SH 130, which doesn't sit well with ordinary grassroots Texans who care about our right to travel and keeping Texas sovereignty over public infrastructure. San Antonio-based Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom (TURF) and Austin-based Texans for Accountable Government (TAG) object to Texas' first foreign-owned toll road, especially since SH 130 is actually part of the original Trans Texas Corridor TTC-35 (See under 'current route'). Though Cintra invented an innocuous sounding name, SH 130 Concession Company, Cintra controls SH 130 (segments 5 & 6).

The groups believe public private partnerships (P3s) will usher in the new railroad robber barons of our time -- private toll companies operating state-sanctioned monopolies and charging Texans a premium to drive. TURF & TAG also encouraged Texans to boycott Cintra's toll road.

"Vote with your cars and your wallets and just say 'No' to foreign-owned toll roads in Texas," urged TURF Founder Terri Hall. "Money is the only language our politicians and Cintra seem to understand, so let's make sure they get the message loud and clear that Texans don't want a corporate takeover of their public roads. Texas roads belong to Texans and no politician should ever have the power to sell them off to private corporations. It threatens our sovereignty and right to travel, which is offensive and unacceptable."

Speed Limit Manipulation
Cintra bribed TxDOT into increasing the speed limit to 85 MPH. The agency concurrently lowered the speed limit on the adjacent free road, US 183, from 65 MPH down to 55 MPH. It's obviously a move to keep speeds on alternative free routes artificially low to make the tollway more attractive. The company offered TxDOT $100 million for setting the speed limit to the maximum 85 MPH, and TxDOT took it.

"It's an absolutely sickening example of throwing public safety under the bus out of pure greed. Things like speed limits should NEVER be manipulated for money, and certainly not to benefit a private corporation. If Cintra was willing to part with $100 million to bribe our highway department to jack-up the speed limit, they think they're going to cash-in. TxDOT has demonstrated time and again it'll do anything for a buck, and this time, they've gone too far," Hall concludes.

There's a reason they've dubbed I-35 a NAFTA superhighway considering the explosion of truck traffic into Texas since the agreement took effect. The cross border trucking program giving the green for Mexican trucks , officially enacted by the Obama Administration last year, has only added to the problem. With the expansion of the Panama Canal coming next year, it's going to get even worse. Enter SH 130. It's supposed to be the road savior to get trucks off of I-35.

But trucks, a key target market for SH 130, won't take it, says Hall. They've deemed it an unsafe speed for big rigs and driving such high speeds guzzles too much gas. Truck trade groups say the speed is too dangerous, and the American Trucking Association and the Governor's Highway Safety Association have urged the Texas Transportation Commission to reverse its decision. But they won't, says Hall.

"They've boxed themselves into this reckless speed, because even going 85 MPH, the tollway barely beats taking I-35, and in some scenarios, takes longer. If they lower the speed, they'll never make a dime off that toll road."

TxDOT has skin in the game contends TURF and TAG, since they have a revenue sharing agreement with Cintra.

"No matter how you slice it, their decisions are being made out of profit and greed, not the public interest. This agency has hopelessly lost its way -- to the point that its now endangering the lives of Texas motorists by making decisions based on financial incentives instead of for the public good," Hall said with regret.

Contract guarantees Cintra won't have competition
Not only is a private company's interests trumping the public interest in regards to speed limits, but decisions about future roads, and where and when they should be built or expanded are being based on TxDOT's contract with this private entity. The contract contains a non-compete clause that prohibits the construction and expansion of free routes surrounding Cintra's tollway (see Exhibit 17 here). The idea behind a non-compete is to protect the private developer's investment. If the state builds a competing free road next to Cintra's tollway, it won't make any money. They have to ensure the free routes are slower and more congested or no one will be willing to pay $13 (one way) to take a toll road.

Last year, the Texas Transportation Commission also dual designated parts of free interstates I-410 and I-10 as SH 130 in order to drive more traffic to Cintra's tollway. It's a form of entrapment to deceive people into taking a route that starts as a freeway only to get them out in the middle of Seguin with no way north but Cintra's tollway. It's clear public road policy is being dictated by a private developer, not the best interest of Texans.

Cronyism in plain sight
The genesis of how Cintra got chosen as the developer of SH 130 smacks of cronyism. Cintra lobbyist, err 'consultant,' Dan Shelley, landed a job in Governor Rick Perry's office in 2005 as Perry's legislative aide where he secured Cintra the development rights to the Trans Texas Corridor, then went back to work for Cintra.

"Good 'ol boy Texas politics has struck again," said Heather Fazio, Executive Director of Texans for Accountable Government (TAG), an Austin-based watchdog group. "And, as always, it's the people who suffer from the revolving door of politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate big-wigs."
"Cintra's involvement has been scurrilous from the beginning. They bought their way into Governor's office and they not only snagged the development rights to the Trans Texas Corridor, they've been awarded every single public private partnership in Texas ever since (North Tarrant Express and LBJ, see here). With Perry, you name your price, and he'll sell you Texas," Hall noted in disgust.
Cintra's chief public face in Texas, Spokesman Chris Lippincott, came straight from TxDOT, giving Cintra another inside advantage with the agency on the publicity front, too. The press coverage has largely been all positive, and it reads like a Cintra press release.

Taxpayers on the hook for plenty
Not only did a $430 million federal TIFIA loan fund the construction of the road, but also $210,000 in state taxpayer dollars have funded EnviroMedia's marketing and publicity for Cintra's tollway to convince Austinites and San Antonians that it's worth paying $13 one way, and blowing through your tank of gas to bypass I-35 congestion between the two cities. Not to mention the mounds of free publicity it received from the eye-popping 85 MPH speed limit and being dubbed the fastest road in America.

But the road is being marketed to Lockhart area residents, too. Yet, the Lockhart City Council and Caldwell County Commissioners have asked for special toll discounts for Lockhart residents who commute into Austin as well as asked the Commission to restore the 65 MPH speed limit on US 183. Neither have happened.

There's another way the taxpayers are footing the bill for the losses, and that's reimbursing Cintra for the tolls of out-of-state and foreign drivers. TxDOT has no way to enforce the collection of tolls from out-of-state drivers or those from out of the country since SH 130 is completely electronic tolling. So if they don't pay, the taxpayers are on the hook for any loss in toll revenue to Cintra. By contrast, if Texans don't pay, TxDOT could yank your car registration until you do.

"What they call a 'credit enhancement' (the taxpayer-backed TIFIA loan), we call a rip-off. Taxpayer money is subsidizing this toll road for private profits. Once again, our politicians from the President and Rick Perry on down are socializing the losses and privatizing the profits. It's not only corporate welfare, but crony capitalism and it stinks like the carcasses of the dead hogs slaughtered on SH 130," declared Hall.

"Already struggling Texas taxpayers have been coaxed into subsidizing, and now advertising for, a toll road that will make Cintra millions," decried Fazio. "Working through the Legislature hasn't provided a remedy to this corporate plunder. Now it's time for Texans to influence public policy with what has proven to be the most powerful political tool, their money, and BOYCOTT SH 130!"

TURF is a non-partisan, grassroots, all-volunteer group defending citizens' concerns with toll road policy, public private partnerships, and eminent domain abuse. TURF promotes pro-taxpayer, pro-freedom, & non-toll transportation solutions. For more information or to support the work of TURF, please visit www.TexasTURF.org.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

This Should Be Fun....


We can barely stand the wait to hear JD Granger give us an update on his Trinity River Vision with its river walk, pond and waterfront neighborhood...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wendy Wins Again


With folks like Senator Cornyn, Kay Granger and Joe Barton supporting her opponent, some would say it’s easy to see why.

We like Wendy, apparently we aren’t alone.  There were Republican’s all over town supporting her, even former Republican Lt. Gov Bill Ratliff endorsed her.

It was so evident that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram even noticed, “It wasn't uncommon to see yard signs touting Mitt Romney's presidential bid next to a Wendy Davis for Senate sign.”

So cheers to Wendy, someone willing to fight for our kids education, no matter what the bullies say.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Go Big or Go Home

Seems that's what they told Tim Love on the first episode of Iron Chef.

We guess there are some places where political connections don't help after all.

We're suddenly in the mood for pineapple.

Cheers!

Friday, November 2, 2012

JFK Tribute Dedication Ceremony - You are invited!


Downtown Fort Worth Inivitatives, Inc. invites you to celebrate the dedication of the John F. Kennedy sculpture to the City of Fort Worth's public art collection and the official unveiling of the JFK Tribute in Fort Worth.

Thursday, November 8
9:00 AM

General Worth Square
Main and 8th Street
Downtown Fort Worth

On-street and garage parking are available nearby. Valet parking will be offered at the Hilton Fort Worth.

More information at
www.jfktribute.com 
www.dfwi.org 

Event is free and open to the public.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Again, WHAT royalties?

Lots of folks showing up here looking for the information on the WFAA.com report about gas drilling companies not paying THE PEOPLE as promised.

(Their next one should be, those WHO did get paid, HOW much was it?)

It's our understanding WFAA.com made a video that shows you how to look up your well on the Texas Railroad Commission to find out if it has been producing, for how long and how much.

Shouldn't the TRC do that?  WHY does a news outlet have to get involved to help the people get what they are due?  Isn't that the job of TRC?  To oversee gas drilling?  To protect the public?  (Okay, that last question went to far...)

While, WFAA has dropped the ball more than once protecting the public, on this one they hit a home run. 

Go, Brett, Go.

How quickly they forget...

In 2011 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram picked their People of the Year, one was the head guy from the National Weather Service.  His "standard line" for Texas weather is -

"Episodes of drought punctuated by periods of catastrophic flooding."

The Fort Worth Weekly does a good job at reminding the local politicians about all those water restriction promises they were making just a few short months ago.  You know, when we were in a drought.

As an advocate for water conservation measures, including restrictions on homeowners, Burgin knows from experience that politicians often talk tough on water and then avoid real action.
Which is exactly what happened in North Texas.

The mayors of Fort Worth, Dallas, Irving, and Arlington met in April to demand mandatory watering rules by the end of the summer.

Soon after, Fort Worth’s council discussed water restrictions at a pre-council meeting. They never made it to a vote. Same thing happened in Irving.

A spokesman for Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said there would be a public hearing during the summer. That never happened either.

The four Metroplex mayors were all too busy to return calls for this story. Dallas is sticking to its toughened regulations, despite the rest of the region’s unwillingness to follow suit.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two-faced?

This silly blurb in the Star-Telegram made us laugh.  It also made us wonder, if you're a Democrat turned Republican, but you have a "Republican look"  what does that mean?  A commenter summed it up eloquently.

Kay Granger was a Democrat, does that mean she is "two faced" ?

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/10/13/4333692/if-theres-a-republican-look-she.html#storylink=cpy

Also, if a Tea Party is endorsing a Democrat candidate for Commissioner because their tired of the reckless Republican spending, how long will it take for them to do the same in the Congressional races?

Kudos to the Boiling Point for being open enough to listen to a candidate, not a party.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WHAT media? WHAT jobs?

If you believe the TransCanada pipeline is good for us...well, there's a name for that, but we'll refrain.

We've read three articles on it today, by far the best being Fort Worth Weekly.  No surprise there.

Eminent domain, unsafe practices and does the word export ring any bells?

The first article talks about the New York Times reporters that were detained for trying to report on the protesters that have been in the tree tops (literally) since September 24th, and the tactics used by the Keystone cops to stop them.

The next was in the Star-Telegram where no reporter bothered to find out WHY...
WHAT do they pay you people for?

TransCanada shut down the 2,100-mile pipeline Wednesday after tests showed possible safety issues. Company spokesman Shawn Howard said Friday that no leaks have been detected but declined to provide more specifics until the pipeline is inspected.

And the Weekly, tells you the scoop.  Be sure and check out the text message from Judge Bill Harris.

But the blockade group includes Texas ranchers, property owners, business owners, and environmentalists — some of whom have endured pepper spray, dangerous Taser jolts, and chokeholds administered by local law enforcement officers in attempts to remove them from the path of the pipeline construction.

The oil extracted from those sands won’t be used to lower gasoline prices in this country because, the blockaders charge, it’s all going to be shipped overseas. The pipeline’s intended southern terminus is Port Arthur, a designated foreign trade zone where the oil products can be loaded onto oceangoing tankers.

Most importantly, the protesters say, TransCanada has already shown itself to have a terrible record on pipeline safety, as have other tar sands pipelines already in operation. The blockaders say it adds up to a Canadian company seeking to transport the most dangerous and difficult-to-clean-up oilfield product across thousands of acres of land, much of it being taken by eminent domain or the threat of eminent domain, with almost no benefit being derived by the U.S.

However, that reassurance was quickly undermined in the first Keystone line’s initial year of operation. The pipeline had 35 spills in the U.S. and Canada, a figure that Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute put at “100 times higher than TransCanada forecast.”

“The reality is that the Keystone XL is a pipeline through the U.S., not to it. We will simply be allowing the transport of the dirtiest source of oil on the planet for a foreign company, a product with environmental risks that don’t exist with conventional crude.”

 TransCanada had the right to acquire land by eminent domain only if the company could prove that its pipeline was a “common carrier,” which means the company would sell capacity on the line to other companies to carry their petroleum as well as TransCanada’s own. If TransCanada was a private carrier, carrying only its own petroleum products, it wouldn’t have the right to take land through eminent domain in Texas.

The decision meant the judge was taking TransCanada’s word that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a common carrier, although the company had presented no evidence to back up that assertion.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/10/18/4346227/transcanada-temporarily-shuts.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fort Worth PD & TRV

If you have Facebook, you should check out the posts being left on Betsy Price and the Fort Worth Police Officer's Association page. 

Seems not all Fort Worth citizens are blind to the fact that the Trinity River Vision and friends are soaking up all the money in Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth City Council voted today, all of them (but the member who abstained) voted against the FWPD retirement. 

Now we know there are some cops out there that give PD's a bad name, we also know there are hero's on each force, and heaven forbid, should you ever need to dial 911 - it ain't the council WHO will show up.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bridges for sale

Don Woodard does it again. 

His recent piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asks Susan Combs some good questions.  WHERE is the response?  Maybe some of our elected and appointed ones should answer.  Perhaps they are too busy following the Fort Worth ship around the country.

Meanwhile back on the ranch, crickets are chirping as Fort Worth debt grows by leaps and bounds.

State Comptroller Susan Combs is alarmed about the growth in state and local government debt in Texas during the past 10 years. Alarmed? Rightly so. (See: "Scary numbers on local government debt," Sept. 28)

In Fort Worth, the city's general bond debt, serviced by property taxes, grew by 102 percent from 2002 through 2011. The total went to $574 million, up from $284 million in 2002.

Twenty-six million of that figure can be attributed to the city fathers' gung-ho embrace of the $909 million Trinity Vision Rube Goldberg boondoggle with its hydraulic dams, three bridges to nowhere and a silt-collecting, unfishable stock pond called Town Lake.

That is just the beginning, Susan. What will it be like in 2020?

But not to worry. One lone councilmember, Mayor Pro Tem Zim Zimmerman, says $26 million is our limit. Not a dollar more.

Believe that? I'll have three bridges in 2020 I'll sell you.

-- Don Woodard, Fort Worth

Fay for Prez

One of our favorite letter writers is back.  Read Betty's latest in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Keep in mind, there are no jobs where there is no water and no air...

The rocks that our homes are built on are being cracked apart, water underground is poisoned, and across Texas, Canadian oil sludge is piped to the gulf. Nuclear waste that is trucked through towns all the way from Vermont is now dumped on our state to pay more dollars to billionaires.

All the while, politicians worry about babies not being born. I worry about those that are born.

-- Betty W. Fay, Fort Worth

Thursday, October 18, 2012

WHO didn't see that coming?


The company from Spain owns the roads in DFW.

Does that mean they own YOU?

How's that for conservative?

Didn't all these same groups meet with a 'conservative' recently?

How'd that work out for ya?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Still voting for a RINO?



WHY?

Check out Dave Robinson. .

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For whom the road tolls...

A few days after Terri Hall spoke at several events around town, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram actually said something about toll roads. 

Don't be fooled by all the highway construction you see around you in Tarrant County. Texas roads are in bad shape, and there's not enough money to fix them or build all the new ones needed.

Wasn't it just today Mayor Price was thanking lucky stars that we're going to start construction on I35 next year?  From Fort Worth to the airport...torn up and tolled. 

 The three big highway projects in Tarrant County -- the DFW Connector in Grapevine, the North Tarrant Express along Northeast Loop 820 and the Airport Freeway in Hurst, Euless and Bedford, and the Chisholm Trail Parkway from near downtown Fort Worth to Cleburne -- all have been made possible because they will be a toll road or include toll lanes.

Tolls on the North Tarrant Express will go to the private company that put up money to help build it. The North Texas Tollway Authority will collect the tolls from the Chisholm Trail Parkway. Only for the DFW Connector will the Texas Department of Transportation receive the tolls.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/10/05/4315213/the-rising-cost-of-bad-roads-in.html#storylink=cpyThe three big highway projects in Tarrant County -- the DFW Connector in Grapevine, the North Tarrant Express along Northeast Loop 820 and the Airport Freeway in Hurst, Euless and Bedford, and the Chisholm Trail Parkway from near downtown Fort Worth to Cleburne -- all have been made possible because they will be a toll road or include toll lanes.
Tolls on the North Tarrant Express will go to the private company that put up money to help build it. The North Texas Tollway Authority will collect the tolls from the Chisholm Trail Parkway. Only for the DFW Connector will the Texas Department of Transportation receive the tolls.

The Doctor is in.

"An election based on merit?"

Not in Texas.

But a letter writer to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram gets it.  It's good to know someone does.

As a physician in Tarrant County for more than 30 years, I'm embarrassed by the attack on Sen. Wendy Davis by a colleague from my profession. The accusation of corruption against her and the prestigious law firm where she works is absurd. Why now? Must be losing! When are we ever going to have an election based on merit? I am tired of electing go-along, party-line representatives. I will vote for Wendy Davis!

-- Lee S. Anderson, Fort Worth

Saturday, October 6, 2012

When will 820 be complete?

Better yet, what's it going to cost YOU?

Those lanes in the center of the picture above are what the new "managed lanes" will look like.  What is a "managed lane"?  Read it and weep...

Managed lanes are toll lanes in the middle of an existing freeway, unlike traditional turnpikes that are brand new roads where every lane is tolled. Congestion pricing is where the toll rate varies based on the level of traffic using the road. If the speed of traffic slows below 50 MPH, Cintra can hike the toll rates for the purpose of bumping cars out of the lanes in order to guarantee a speed of 50 MPH. So the price of the toll varies based on the time of day.

Since it costs so much to drive in those lanes, people can't afford it.  So what is the Spanish company that owns them doing?  Partnering with people like the NCTCOG to use taxpayer dollars and make commercials.  Not to worry, they say it's "educational". 

Where does Texas rank in schools again?

Pay attention, people. 

See the article on the Cintra commercials here.  And here's a good take on the Terri Hall meeting from last week

Notice the names of the players never change. 

TxDOT and the North Texas Council of Governments (NTCOG) and its Regional Transportation Council have been promoting the contest using taxpayer resources. Amanda Wilson, Communications Supervisor for the Transportation Division of the NTCOG said the contest is also “an educational effort, not just naming the lanes.”

Still don't believe it?  Check out the North Tarrant Express site.  Read between the lines.  You'll see it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

WHO is Eleanor Fairchild?



She's the 78 year old Texas grandma who was arrested, with actress Daryl Hannah, for trying to protect her own land.  In Texas...

We know some Texas grandma's like that. 

Tell us, what would YOU do if they came to take your land?

Better call grandma.  Or Hannah. 

"I was peacefully protesting the unwanted advances of Trans Canada on Eleanor Fairchild's land. She has stated very clearly that she doesn't want them there and they insist on bullying her and taking away her land through eminent domain," Hannah explained to KLTV, adding, "We just sort of stood in front of them and held our hands in a stop motion. I'm holding my wrist because there was this private security guard hired by TransCanada and he injured my wrist."

For the scoop on the pipeline from those in the know, click here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A "culture of deviance"



Sound familiar? 

These are the boys up north, in Canada, that are taking land from Texans.  They sound like the ones that are already here...


Occupy Canada

October 1st - A TransCanada pipeline engineer, the man responsible for ensuring that pipelines were constructed safely, has come forward with shocking information about TransCanada’s unscrupulous safety practices. In his own words: "Someone is going die and they just don't know it yet."

"Drawing on examples from the records of Enbridge and Kinder Morgan, Vokes is going public with his concerns about an industry facing unprecedented growth and what even the National Energy Board (NEB) describes as "an increased trend in the number and the severity" of pipeline incidents.

Vokes has stellar company. In particular, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has accused Enbridge, a Canadian company jointly regulated by the NEB and the U.S. Pipeline Hazardous Materials Standard Administration (PHMSA), of nurturing a "culture of deviance" on safety and integrity issues after a dramatic Michigan pipeline rupture in 2010. That debacle caused the largest and most expensive onshore oil spill in U.S. history.


In addition to "multiple findings of non-compliance and non-conformance" with regulations, the NEB also documented that Enbridge didn't have a process for "defining and evaluating the level of qualification and competence of contractors and consultants."

The company also didn't know how valid and effective its assessments of corrosion and cracking were in its pipeline safety program."
 
http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/01/Cracks-In-Pipeline-System/

-- Kris

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What does PBS stand for?



We thought it was 'public'...

After the exchange in the Dallas Observer between KERA and John Jay Myers, one has to wonder.

John Jay Myers, Texas' Libertarian Senate Hopeful, Barred from KERA's Debate.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fracking Texas

Oh wait, that's North Dakota.

Same story, different state.

The drillers dump their stuff into creeks and waterways, or private land.

Those that oversee are elected or appointed by the industry. 

Therefore, it's YOUR problem. 

"It's happening often enough that we see it as a significant problem," he said. "What's the solution? Catching them. What's the problem? Catching them."

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stupid is as stupid does...


This guy gets it.  You better.  It's here.

We've witnessed it in Fort Worth and the surrounding cities.

- As a side note, Texas Lone Star does not agree with all points below and we are not endorsing a national candidate.  This email was forwarded and posted due to it's content concerning what is happening locally and the need for you to be paying attention, no matter your political affiliation.

If you don't think Agenda 21 is real, or it's a "theory", you might want to think again. (Here's another crash course for you, called the U.N. Conquers Texas)

By the way, WHO is telling you that?  The media?  Really??  Have we taught you nothing?

 Stupid Ideas Require Lots of Money
 
Thursday, September 6, 2012
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
The love of money, the Bible says, is the root of all evil, and we say the coming lack of money may be our salvation when applied to an environmentally delusional government.
 
The soothsayers of “sustainability,” the gurus of “green,” and the sages of “smart growth,” the Chicken Littles of global warming, all claim the way we live our lives isn’t “sustainable.”
 
So what, according to them, is not sustainable?

•Cars (need to switch to foot power and bicycles)
•Fossil fuel use (convert to renewable)
•Air conditioning (wastes too much energy and unfair to nations that lack it)
•Homes with lawns (replace with lower carbon-footprint apartments)
•Golf courses (use too much water and are elitist)
•Eating beef (cow flatulence adds to global warming, etc.)
•Urban living (we need to be concentrated in hive cities and return the land to nature)
•The ownership of private property (government can manage the land better than you or I)
•Pets (have no place in government-run apartment cities envisioned by 2050)
 
What’s to prevent government, including our own city government, from pushing these silly notions?  The answer is lack of money—national bankruptcy.  It takes money to fund good plans.  It takes a lot more money to get people to do stupid stuff—in this case more money than there is in the world.
 
But reality never slows down those who never bother to think. The federal government, Austin, AND our own city government, have been dumping money into environmental-driven insanity for some years now.
 
We’ve all seen examples. Locally, Arlington’s $61 million bike plan, curb side recycling, and the aborted effort to needlessly abridge citizen rights with permanent water restrictions, all are elements of what comes under the catch phrase Agenda 21.  And Arlington just happens to have possibly the most restrictive pet ordinance in the nation.
 
Agenda 21 is not only real, it is real stupid.
 
It doesn’t take much reading (plenty of information on the internet) to see how impossible and unnecessary hysterical environmentalism is, but people who believe these absurdities can be sold the Brooklyn Bridge.
 
In approving the $61 million bike plan, Mayor Cluck and his cronies—none of whom bothered to read the bike plan—did indeed buy the Brooklyn Bridge.
 
Why on God’s green earth would Mayor Cluck want to line every street in Arlington with bicycle lanes?  After the $61 million plan passed, he complained that it still wasn’t big enough!
 
Two answers suggest themselves, one based on stupidity, the other on greed.
 
The answer is stupidity if our City Council really believes we’ll soon be walking or riding bicycles instead of driving cars.
 
But if Mayor Cluck and his cronies don’t believe that nonsense, then why are they spending $61 million on bicycle lanes when street lane repair is $426 million behind schedule?
 
Greed is the answer.  We attended a City Council meeting where Mayor Cluck talked about going to a meeting of mayors where he learned that other cities were raking in big federal grants for bike lanes. “So I came back and said, why aren’t we getting any of that money?”  And so the bike plan was born, not out of stupidity—at least not entirely—but mainly out of raw lust for federal funding.
 
In Gastonia, Georgia, we have a friend and fellow opponent of bad governance. I recently told that friend that the wasteful insanity at large in every level of government would be brought to heel by a thing called reality.  In the end, it simply isn’t possible to keep spending money that doesn’t exist and expect no consequences.
 
We here at Opinion Arlington are not smart enough to predict how and when the crash will come, but we’re not dumb enough to think it won’t happen.  And when the crash comes, no level of government will have a dime left for foolishness.
 
In response to my comments, Cheryl said, “I'm not so sure about money drying up....the feds have the printing press and just keep borrowing and printing, so they will keep coming at us.  I wish I thought it would eventually dry up, but thinking we are way past that point with $16 Trillion debt.  Plus, the more broke the cities and counties get...the easier it is to bribe them with Fed money.  Just drives me crazy.
 
“Here in Gastonia, the city manager, county manager, and full time planners + MPO + UDO...all of them spend every waking moment looking for grant money from the state and the feds to implement all of this that we do NOT want. 
 
Maybe Romney and Ryan can pull off a miracle and get some of this out of our lives.  Fingers crossed....but not counting chickens.  We'll see.”
 
Yes, we’ll see, but our money is on the people of this nation, in Arlington, in Gastonia, everywhere.  We have the vote and with it we can take out the idiots wherever we find them, and put in their place men and women of sound and sober judgment.
 
Sincerely,
Buddy Saunders
Publisher - Opinion Arlington

912 Project Fort Worth


912FTW GENERAL MEETING 
Monday, October 1, 2012
 6:00 pm Social Hour
[hamburgers and beverages available for purchase] 
7:00 General Meeting
Elks Lodge
3233 White Settlement Road
Fort Worth, TX

 ***** 
Please welcome...
 TERRI HALL 
Speaker, Trainer, Activist

Terri founded the San Antonio TOLL Party, in 2005, when she discovered that TX DOT was converting her only access to San Antonio (Hwy 281) into a tollway. She also founded the 
Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom [TURF]
which defends property rights and our freedom to travel.
Terri has organized marches and rallies in Washington DC and Austin, appeared on the Lou Dobbs Show, CNN's American Morning, MSNBC and Fox News
*****
Terri will share information on..... 
* Will the Toll Roads bust our budgets?
*Can the International Trade Corrider [known as Trans Texas Corrider] be stopped?

* Are we selling our highways to the highest bidder
 by privatizing themand handing them over to foreign companies? 
* Eminent domain...what happens to our private property?

***** 
Find out how you can help stop runaway taxation without representation
and abuse of private property rights. 
Q & A to follow.
Co-Sponsors hosting this meeting include:
Texas Patriots TEA Party [Johnson County]
Northwest Republican Club
Parker County TEA Party 

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PATRIOTS, ARM YOURSELF WITH INFORMATION
 AND REMAIN ENGAGED!
See you Monday, October 1, 2012
  
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 God Bless America!
God Bless Texas!