Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's all fun and games

Till someone gets hurt, or goes broke.

Read about the Party in Fort Worth, sponsored by Chesapeake, on Durango.  Tickets were $200.00 for individuals and up to $25,000 for a table.  WHO paid for YOUR elected leaders to attend?

There were several in attendance, from Mayor Price to Queen Earmark

How much did that cost YOU?

Monday, February 27, 2012

WHO’s in charge?

Kudos to Chief Crowson in Arlington for standing up for the safety of THE PEOPLE, again.

We need more like this.

Read about the Arlington Fire Chief and his plan to keep his town, his team and his citizens safe in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Meet Don Crowson, Arlington's fire chief, who finds himself in a fight with five of those gas companies. He won't back down.

Crowson is right. He wants to build his department's staffing and expertise to respond to emergencies at gas wells in Arlington. It's a matter of public safety, he says.

What's more, he wants the gas companies that operate in Arlington to partner in that effort by jointly paying about $800,000 a year. That works out to $2,454 for each of the 326 wells in the city today.

Not a good idea at all, representatives of Quicksilver Resources, Chesapeake Energy, XTO Energy, Carrizo Oil and Gas and Titan Operating say in a Feb. 17 letter to Mayor Robert Cluck, the City Council and Crowson.

In short, the gas companies want the Fire Department to stay away and let them handle anything that goes wrong at their well sites.

Not gonna happen, says Crowson in his Feb. 21 response letter. Firefighters get the 9-1-1 calls and will respond, and his proposal will give them the training and expertise to do so in a way that will be safe for themselves and the surrounding neighborhood. When they arrive, the Fire Department officer in charge will be exactly that -- in charge.

Some council members are ready to adopt the plan right away.   Remember the names of those WHO aren’t.  There’s always a reason.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Give it up

Instead of saying, “we can’t add”, the Star-Telegram chooses to call the call out on them “grumbling”. 

And don't miss the comments on Durango's boondoggle post.  They keep getting better.

Drive-in grumbling

A "back to the future" drive-in movie theater promises to reap a profit of $1.7 million over a 10-year contract with the Tarrant Regional Water District. The enlightened Star-Telegram Editorial Board says this "sounds like a way to jump-start activity along the Trinity River -- and at no risk to the taxpayer."

A 1.8 percent return on $909 million may sound like a good deal to the dim bulbs at the water district, Trinity River Vision Authority and Star-Telegram, but it sounds to me like yet another departure from a flawed Trinity Uptown plan that includes a flooded wakeboard park (what is the profit from that?), and a no-bid, one-time good-deal restaurant lease. And at no risk to the taxpayer, you say?

A couple hundred million to remediate flood potential caused by a half-billion-dollar rechanneling of the river, all to return far less than it costs. That's visionary?

-- Clyde Picht, Fort Worth

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fort Worth Drive-In

Has everybody talking. 

Durango does it again.  YOU don't want to miss it, or the comments.

Yes. That sounds like a good plan, lease land to a startup business starting up a new business they've not started up before. Sounds like a recipe for success. Sort of like building the world's premiere wakeboard park where it can get wiped out by a flood.

The TRV Boondoggle Drive-In propaganda promoters are saying they anticipate around 300,000 TRVBDIT (Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Drive-In Theater) movie goers a year.

That works out to about 822 paying customers a day.

That sounds believable. Sort of like how the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and its propaganda co-horts claimed 7 to 8 million visitors a year to the Fort Worth Cabela's sporting goods store would make Cabela's the top tourist attraction in Texas. With apparently no one doing the math to see how unlikely was a daily average of around 22,000 visitors to a sporting goods store.

Three screens with up to 500 cars each? That'd be 1,500 cars running their A/Cs to keep cool on a HOT Texas summer night. That does not sound very eco-friendly to me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"BS responses"

Coming from Fort Worth.  How fitting. 

The subject today?  Injection wells.  Seems we aren't the only ones who noticed the "citizen input" meetings are similiar to those supposed "citizen input" meetings for other Fort Worth projects.  You remember, the ones where when the citizens started giving their input, the city shut the meeting down? 

Read the latest in the Fort Worth Weekly.  YOU can't afford to miss it.  Take note of the players, YOU need to know WHO they are.  

It sounds if the city is most concerned about "truck traffic".  Really?  That's your biggest concern?  And WHY would earthquakes need to be discussed on a national level when they are being felt in Fort Worth?

“You can tell the Planning Department has instructions to make this [lifting of the current disposal well moratorium] happen,” the longtime statehouse Democrat said. He’s clearly angry over how the disposal well issue has been presented. City staffers, he said, are giving “bullshit responses” to what he believes are very real concerns.

The league is not opposed to “safe drilling that respects the environment,” Wood said. “We are, however, opposed to the destruction of our most valuable and increasingly threatened natural resource — water — by its contamination and injection into disposal wells.”

Hogan said the weakness of the setback requirement is evident in the frequency with which the council has waived similar requirements for gas wells. In a substantial percentage of cases, he said, the council has allowed the standard 600-foot setback for gas wells to be  reduced even when drillers produced waivers from less than half the affected property owners.

The city staff presentation notes that having disposal wells in the city, served by pipelines, would cut down on the traffic of heavy trucks that damages city roadways and results in surface spills, including accidents involving tanker trucks.

Trice acknowledged that allowing injection wells within the city won’t stop operators from drilling other wells in the surrounding county. And it’s correct, he said, that having disposal wells in the city would reduce truck traffic only if the wells are served by pipelines.

Asked about the city staff’s views on seismic dangers, Trice said, “I’m not sure we have a take [on that issue].” The staff is concerned, he said, but “that dialogue is more appropriate at a state or national level.”

“We would hope if there is a dire safety question,” the Texas Railroad Commission or Environmental Protection Agency would address it, he said.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Of course they did

The Tarrant Regional Water District voted to open a drive-in theatre as part of the Trinity River Vision, you know, that "flood control" project downtown.

Don't worry, there is finally one aspect of this billion plus dollar boondoggle they say you aren't paying for.

You should read the comments from THE PEOPLE on some of these articles and Facebook. 


Don't kid yourself, YOU are still paying. 

 What a crock.  In June 2010, as Carl Bell faced foreclosure on LaGrave Field, the TRWD sweeps to his rescue with a $17.5 million gift by buying his parking lot.  His parking lot!  Of course, according to the always reliably forthright TRWD board, these 42 acres were direly needed for flood control for the futuristic boondoggle known as Trinity River Vision. 

Now stuck with a bankrupt LaGrave Field and FW Cats, the TRWD is saddled with a $17.5 million environmentally contaminated parking lot.  What can you do with a contaminated parking lot?  Why, put up a few screens and call it a drive-in theater.  Surely there will be enough suckers brave enough to shell out a few bucks to experience the thrill of making it home alive after spending a few hours after dark huddled in a car in this neighborhood, feasting on breakfast burritos from the handy dandy food truck. 

How many will come?  Well, according to the mathematically challenged scion of that truth in government pinup girl, Congresswoman Kay Granger, over 300,000 annually.  Really now?  That's over 800 a night every night all year.  Even when it's 110 in July and August.  Even when it's 32 in March.  But never mind.  JD said it so it must be true and the ST dutifully reports it as Gospel.  Welcome to the future of Fort Worth and the bold Trinity River Vision: environmentally contaminated drive-in theaters!  Please turn off your headlights.  You'll be glowing in the dark anyway.

Two Fort Worth's...


And everywhere else.

Way back in 2008, the Mayor and a council member stood on the side of the road and promised to fix streets in north Fort Worth if voters passed the combined bond.   

In 2010, residents were still asking WHEN?

Far north Fort Worth residents aren't so sure. They point out that downtown projects have already gotten their share of funding, while roads for their area have languished.

"I pretty much guarantee it went to the Trinity River Vision bridges, which is exactly what we said would happen," said Shirley Gansser, who analyzed the city's financial data for the North Fort Worth Alliance.

Residents' concerns about the Trinity River project prompted Moncrief to make his appeal in 2008.

The alliance wanted the city to split the bond election into two propositions, one for roads and one for the Trinity River bridges. Moncrief appealed to voters to support the whole package, and it passed with 68 percent of the vote.

The expansion of North Fort Worth in the Alliance area and beyond has caused many issues for those citizens.  Last year, THE PEOPLE informed us all of the lack of emergency response to that area.

In this week's Star-Telegram, seems the story is still the same.  What happens when you do nothing?  It just gets worse. 

As usual, the comments tell the story. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

More hidden costs of TRV 'Flood Control'

SUBJECT:  Authorize Execution of a Master Utility Agreement with Atmos Energy Outlining Cost-Sharing Responsibilities and Processes for Utility Relocations Required by Trinity River Vision – Central City Project (COUNCIL DISTRICT 2)

It is recommended that the City Council authorize the execution of a Master Utility Agreement with Atmos Energy outlining cost-sharing responsibilities and processes for utility relocations required by the Trinity River Vision – Central City Project.

On June 3, 2003, (M&C G-13989) the City Council adopted the Trinity River Vision Master Plan as a guide for future development along the Trinity River and its major tributaries. The Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD), in cooperation with Streams and Valleys, Inc., the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Fort Worth led the effort to prepare the Master Plan.

The Trinity River Vision – Central City Project will alter the flow of the Trinity River at the confluence of the Clear and West Forks near Downtown with a primary purpose of reducing Central City flooding threats. The Project will also better control the flow of the Trinity River so as to allow greater public access to the river, increased recreational opportunities, ecosystem enhancements and an urban waterfront that will enable economic redevelopment efforts. The City Council, the Tarrant County Commissioners Court, the TRWD Board and Streams and Valleys, Inc., have all endorsed the Trinity River Vision – Central City Project.

Over the past year, Atmos and the City have had multiple discussions with respect to who ultimately bears the financial responsibility for an estimated $9 million worth of Atmos utility relocations that are required as a result of the Trinity River Vision – Central City Project. The relocations involve facilities located in public rights-of-way and are necessary for construction of both the bypass channel and related street and bridge work. Due to the difficulty in pinpointing which party has legal responsibility to pay for the relocation of a specific facility and disagreements between the parties over those legal requirements, these discussions have culminated in an Agreement to equally split the cost of all necessary relocations on a 50/50 basis. This settlement has been reached with the primary purpose and intent of completing the project in a timely and successful manner without the need for either party to pursue legal action.

Atmos is expected to invoice the City as work under the Agreement is completed. Invoices will be paid for with funds advanced by TRWD. TRWD will be reimbursed for these expenses under its Agreement with the board of directors of Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Nine, City of Fort Worth, Texas (TRV TIF).  As a result, this Agreement will have no financial impact on the City's general fund or capital improvement funds.

This project is located in COUNCIL DISTRICT 2 and will benefit ALL COUNCIL DISTRICTS.

The Financial Management Services Director certifies that this action will have no material effect on City funds.


Submitted for City Manager's Office by: Fernando Costa (6122)

Originating Department Head: Randle Harwood (6101)

Additional Information Contact: Mark Rauscher (2446)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Latest in Flood Control

A drive-in.  On a river full of feces.

So far the Trinity River Vision flood control pork project has produced a wakeboard park (which flooded), Rockin' on the River (where you float in said feces filled river), a risk free taxpayer funded restaurant in the flood path of said river (built specifically for celebrity chef Tim Love), and a newly created LLC named after said project, purchased the Fort Worth Cats bankrupt baseball team, and now a drive-in theater in Fort Worth.

What does any of that have to do with flood control??    

An article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram actually makes some interesting points.  Not necessarily about the billion dollar, completely taxpayer funded, without a vote, earmarked, eminent domain, nepotism-laden, "flood control" project known as the Trinity River Vision, but interesting, just the same. 

The Tarrant Regional Water District next week will consider entering into a lease with Dallas-based Coyote Theaters for a drive-in theater on vacant land near LaGrave Field.

The drive-in would be there for about 10 years, potentially drawing 300,000 patrons a year to Trinity Uptown. It would also net the water district about $1.7 million in rent, according to information filed with the district.

The drive-in would be called Coyote Theater in Trinity Uptown and would be on part of the 34 acres that the water district bought in 2010 from LaGrave Field owner Carl Bell. The site is near North Calhoun and Northeast Fifth streets, north of downtown Fort Worth.

J.D. Granger, Trinity River development director for the water district, could not be reached for comment Friday. The district is scheduled to consider the proposal Tuesday.

Not much is known about Coyote Theaters, but the Fort Worth site will apparently be its first location. The company does not have a listed phone number.

Coyote Theaters filed incorporation papers with the Texas secretary of state's office Aug. 2 and lists its management as Todd Minnis, Brady Wood, Scott Wilson and Glenn Solomon.

To Preserve Our Rights, We Must Stand Up For Them

by Josh Fox on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 

This morning, the charge of "unlawful entry" brought against me was dismissed without condition.   The US Attorney dropped the case, finding it baseless and without merit.  Although this is a personal victory and I am very grateful and relieved at the US Attorney's decision, it serves as a painful reminder that we do not have rights unless we exercise them .

On February 1st, I was arrested, briefly jailed, and charged with "unlawful entry" for attempting to film a public hearing in the Science, Space and Technology committee.  I did not enter unlawfully, I lined up outside just as everyone else did and walked in when the room opened.  I set up my tripod and camera where cameras normally are set up in that particular hearing room and I was calm and peaceful.  I did not disrupt the hearing nor did I intend to do so.   I believed I was within my first amendment rights, as a journalist and filmmaker.  I was reporting on a case that is intensely personal to me, that I have been following for 3 years. 

The House had convened a hearing in the House Energy and Environment subcommittee to challenge EPAs findings that hydraulic fracturing fluids had contaminated groundwater in the town of Pavillion, Wyoming. I have a long history with the town of Pavillion and its residents who have maintained since 2008 that fracking has contaminated their water supply. I featured the stories of residents John Fenton, Louis Meeks and Jeff Locker in GASLAND and I have continued to document the catastrophic water contamination in Pavillion for the upcoming sequel GASLAND 2. It was clear that Republican leadership, including Chairman Andy Harris of Maryland, who ordered my arrest, was using this hearing to attack the three year Region 8 EPA investigation involving hundreds of samples and extensive water testing which ruled that Pavillion’s groundwater was a health hazard, contaminated by benzene at 50x the safe level and numerous other contaminants associated with gas drilling. Most importantly, EPA stated in this case that fracking was the likely cause.

When I was being led out of Congress in handcuffs, Representative Paul Tonko, Democracy of New York shouted out "This is the People's House!" in disgust.  Representative Brad Miller of North Carolina, moved to suspend the rules so that we could continue to film the proceedings stating "All god's children should be allowed to film this hearing!"  It was a surreal moment.   Later that day, Congressman Maurice Hinchey would write, "This is blatant censorship and a shameful stain on this Congress."

But if it is not now the "People's House", it is now, more than ever the "people's media".  I was able to watch my own arrest on youtube because members of the audience filmed it and posted their videos.  It was the citizen journalism that first documented people lighting their water on fire in gas fracking areas.  It was citizen journalism that posted videos of the recent mass arrest of peaceful protestors in New York and in California.  The people's media is our system of accountability and transparency and we must continue to practice it.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states explicitly “Congress shall make no law…that infringes on the Freedom of the Press”. Which means that no subcommittee rule or regulation should prohibit a respectful journalist or citizen from recording a public hearing.

I have huge respect for those who make the immense personal sacrifice to do public service and represent their constituents and the American people.  I believe we elect our representatives with good will and trust and the hopes that they serve us honestly and respectfully and I believe that we, as citizens, send them to Congress with love, pride and well wishes for the future of the nation.  However, I have no respect for or deference to those who would misuse the power granted them by the American people to upend the institutions of democratic government and the rights of the citizenship they have ben sworn to uphold for private gain, political leverage or because they are beholden to corporate influence or corrosive ideology.

The people of Pavillion deserve better. The thousands across the US who have documented cases of water contamination in fracking areas deserve their own hearing on Capitol Hill. They deserve the chance to testify before Congress. The truth that fracking contaminates groundwater is out, and no amount of intimidation tactics –either outright challenges to science or the arrest of journalists –will put the genie back in the bottle. Such a brazen attempt to discredit and silence the EPA, the citizens of Pavillion and documentary filmmaking will ultimately fail and it is an affront to the health and integrity of Americans.

We cannot take our democracy and the rights of our citizenship for granted.  Democracy is not handed to us from on high or guaranteed to us by battles fought by our ancestors.  It is perpetually under siege by those with power, money and influence who would rather our nation of laws becomes a nation of affiliation.  It is clear to me that I was arrested to serve the interests of oil and gas companies, whose interests often run counter to those of ordinary American citizens.

I was arrested because I refused to turn off my camera at a public hearing in the US congress.  I have filmed hundreds of public hearings around the country and the first amendment guarantees my ability to report on what happens in public. 

And I continue to refuse.  I refuse to let Congressmen blatantly attack science in the the Science committee without the light of the media shining out their transgressions.  I refuse to be silenced and not report on the misdeeds of those representatives who are clearly influenced by oil and gas companies beyond loyalty to their own citizen's health.  I refuse to stand down and let oil and gas companies lie about what they are injecting into the ground and emitting into the air.  I refuse to let the bill of rights collapse under the weight of a 250 million dollar lobbying campaign.  I refuse to let money, power and influence define the next American century over the will of the people.  I refuse to turn of my camera and sit idly by as huge areas in 34 states become sacrificial drilling zones.  I refuse to turn my back on the good and great people that have entrusted me with their stories of oil and gas contamination and walk away from the fight they have inspired me to wage on their behalf.  I refuse to let the oil and gas industry bury their cancerous secrets for us to unwittingly drink.  I refuse to bow and walk out of congress leaving it to the influence of those with money to peddle in its halls.  I refuse to relinquish my understanding of the law and of justice. I refuse to surrender my citizenship and my dignity, head bowed in submission, to the influence of corporate power. I refuse to forsake the American dream of the many for the financial gain of the nationless few.  I refuse to walk away, from my home and my country.

The fact that my case was dismissed so readily only attests to the ridiculousness and unfairness of my arrest, the US attorney has refused to pursue it.

I woke up one morning and declared myself a journalist.  I had to.  My home was under siege by the gas fracking industry.  I felt that I had to not only seek out the true effects of the largest natural gas drilling campaign in history on public health and the environment but also to report what I found to my community. 

The first amendment states that anyone can do the same.  Anyone can wake up in the morning, declare themselves a journalist and enjoy the protections of the First Amendment.   In the era of instant media, youtube and social networks, this becomes even more relevant and exciting; anyone with an iphone can rock the world.  It was citizen journalists who first posted police pepper spraying peaceful protestors in New York and California and it was citizen distribution that virally spread those horrific videos of police brutality until the whole world was infected with the truth of what is happening in the USA today.  It was citizen journalists who first documented water catching on fire at the kitchen sink as a result of gas fracking.  It was citizen journalists who woke up one morning and decided to show the water contamination and air pollution due to gas drilling in Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and in states across the nation.

This year we have seen severe repression of journalism in America.  Hundreds of journalists have been arrested this year simply trying to do their jobs.  Whether they were covering oil and gas issues or issues of economic inequality during the Occupy demonstrations. 

"Recently, Reporters Without Borders released its 2011–2012 global Press Freedom Index.  Due to journalist arrests and press suppression at Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests, the United States has dropped significantly in the rankings of press freedom, from 27 to 47." Truthout reports.

Having personally witnessed the outrageous police brutality and repression which was an unwarranted response to occupy protests and to citizens who were acting in defense of their towns and neighborhoods against gas fracking and other egregious human rights violations as the result of fossil fuel development, I feel it is necessary to stand with all of those who have had enough of inequality and enough of big business having undue influence over the government.

So please accept my invitation, and the First Amendment's authorization, to declare yourself a member of the Press.  Declare yourself a witness to history and a fighter for transparency and equality under the law.  And if you feel like it, go film a congressional hearing.  Don't bother to ask for permission, permission was just granted to you by the US Attorney.  You don't need credentials, you have your rights.  Assert them.

Josh Fox

p.s. I am very thankful to Reporters Without Borders, The Society of Environmental Journalists and the Independent Documentary Association and to the 30,000 people who signed the Working Families Party petition on my behalf and to all of my supporters for your help well wishes and statements of outrage and strength.  I am also very grateful to all of the reporters, news outlets and journalists who reported on this travesty.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Going nowhere, fast

THE PEOPLE outside of Tarrant County are standing up.  While the NCTCOG holds more private meetings.

Kudos to those "leaders" in Denton County for looking out for your people and their money.

Read about it in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The last line below made us laugh, YOU know exactly where they'll get it.

After years of enduring one toll project on top of another, North Texans are striking back and insisting that they get some new free lanes, too.

The county has saved $600 million to contribute to the project, but officials have told the Texas Department of Transportation that they won't play ball unless free lanes are included in the first phase of road work.

The I-35E project is different from other recent road work in North Texas in that there's a concerted effort to include free lanes in the earliest construction phase.

By contrast, in Tarrant County, the $2.5 billion reconstruction of Northeast Loop 820 and Texas 121/183 -- a project known as North Tarrant Express -- includes the addition of four managed toll lanes but no new free lanes until possibly as late as December 2030, according to the state's contract with the developer.

When initial reports surfaced that Denton County's $600 million would be enough to build only managed toll lanes on I-35E, residents revolted. Even elected officials who hadn't been involved in transportation issues began to ask questions.

The Transportation Department and North Central Texas Council of Governments are holding numerous private conversations to determine how much money can be added to the project. By some estimates, Denton County's $600 million could be combined with $300 million in unspecified state transportation funds and $600 million from the council of governments for a total of $1.5 billion.

But for now, state officials are keeping mum about precisely where they'll get the money, although they hope to decide within 30 days.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dear Fort Worth,

WHO's in charge?

Read a letter to the City of Fort Worth from a concerned taxpayer.  All taxpayers should be so concerned. 

Attend the Fort Worth City Council meeting February 14th, to find out what exactly what YOU are paying for. And remember that next election.

I would like to bring to the attention all in Fort Worth another atrocity by the Fort worth City Council and perhaps our State leaders.  It appears that a pipeline and a distribution facility by Devon Energy was allowed to be placed in the way of a runway at Alliance Airport.  In order to correct this blunder, Devon will be paid up to $3.66 million tax dollars.  Fort worth's portion will be 5% or $180,000.  Since Alliance is a Fort Worth project, why would the City allow this to happen?  Did they not know there were plans or might be plans for a runway?  If not, why didn't they.  Even though Fort Worth's portion is $180,000, the remaining 3.5 million is taxpayer dollars, of which we individually will end up paying part of that too.

This is similar to another blunder recently, when Fort Worth allowed a gas drilling facility to be placed in a location along I-35 in the Northern part of Fort Worth.  For a number of years the Highway Department and the City of Fort Worth worked on a plan to widen a highly congested portion of highway, I-35.  While this project was in the works, neighborhoods along the route had been assured the highway would not be relocated closer to their neighborhoods.  Someplace along the way in the City's need and greed or lack of concern, a gas drilling facility was permitted and allowed to be drilled in the location needed for the highway.  Despite the previous assurances to local residences, the highway now must be rerouted closer to the neighborhoods resulting in more traffic noise, pollution and hazards as a result of the high volume traffic being nearer to their homes.  How many tax dollars will be lost  as a result over the years, because residential property located closer to busy highways always loses value.  The well site will never produce enough to off-set the neighborhoods lost value.   The drilling facility could be moved, but the the price to do so is staggering. 

In a matter somewhat related, the City wants to place an injection well and place pipelines onto the Alliance Airport now, how stupid is that?  What happens when another expansion or runway for the Alliance Airport is needed, will the Injection Well or the pipelines be a hinderance or danger?  How much does it cost to move pipelines or an injection well?  Guess who will bear that entire amount?  

  Some of these things could be prevented if the City had a Comprehensive Zoning Plan.  Wait, they do, but the City Attorney's Office claims the Gas Drilling Ordinance regulates gas drilling and not the Comprehensive Zoning Plan, in essence the gas drilling is exempt from the the Comprehensive Zoning Plan.  My question is, since when does a City Ordinance overrule State Law?  It doesn't.  The State of Texas mandates all Home Rule Cities have a Comprehensive Zoning Plan that must be followed, with very few exceptions.  The City has no authority to disregard State Law and exempt the gas drilling industry from the Comprehensive Zoning Plan, but Fort Worth for some reason is placing itself above State Law.

The reason for a Comprehensive Zoning Plan is to protect the citizens from stupid or intentional blunders by individuals that seem to have an agenda or a City that doesn't seem to be able to plan or think past its nose.

Fort Worth's Top 15 List

Read Durango's Top 15 list.  Sad, but true. 

Do something about it. 

We won't give you the whole list, because YOU should read the whole post, but here are a few of our favorites.

I don't know if I can come up with 15 reasons Fort Worth is a strange city, but I will try...

1. The downtown park that celebrates Fort Worth's Heritage, and beginnings, is a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded eyesore.
2. A billion dollars is being spent on a public works project to build a little lake, some canals, an un-needed flood diversion channel and other nonsensical things, in a Boondoggle called the Trinity River Vision that the public has not voted on.
3. The freeway exits to Fort Worth's top tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, are un-landscaped, littered, weed infested eyesores.
9. Fort Worth is the world's experimental test tube for urban natural gas shale drilling, with more holes poked than any other city in the world.
12. Fort Worth allows Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the Trinity River in which raw sewage is known to flow.

Instead the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has not devoted any ink to doing any investigative reporting of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, the nepotism that gave J.D. Granger the job of running the project, J.D.'s mother Kay's use of earmarks to get federal funds for the project that gave her son a job or any of the other questionable aspects of the TRV Boondoggle that would be questioned by the newspaper in a town with a real newspaper.

All that glitters

Letter in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

Fool's gold

Letter writers and columnists are lambasting the new Museum of Science and History and nostalgically longing for yesterday's old museum. What if after a billion earmark dollars are spent on new-fangled Trinity Vision with its boondoggle of canals, condos and bridges to nowhere, Fort Worthers, suffering buyer's remorse, wake up, tax bills in hand, and long once more for the old nature-carved Trinity and its vanished West Fork-Clear Fork landmark confluence admired by Ripley Arnold, Robert E. Lee and Amon Carter -- the confluence where the deer and the antelope played and Indians pitched their tepees, a picture that no museum artist ere could paint.

An 1898 painting by Frederic Remington portrays Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado on his ill-fated quest in 1541 to find the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola. The expedition, which included hundreds of soldiers and Native American guides, lasted two years and traversed some 4000 miles of the American West. In the end, no cities of gold were found and Coronado returned empty-handed and in debt.

Coronado's Seven Cities of Cibola. Kay Granger's Trinity Vision. All that glitters is not gold.

-- Don Woodard Sr., Fort Worth

Sunday, February 12, 2012

So, which one are YOU?

Truitt campaign spokesman Bryan Eppstein said critics of the Legislature's budget-balancing "fall into the camp of the people that want to support raising taxes or they fall into the group of people that don't know what they're talking about."

So if you didn't agree with the unbalanced budget, you wanted to raise taxes or you don't know what you're talking about?  Says WHO?

Read more on the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  YOU can't afford not to.

Empower Texans, an influential conservative group, published a blog post recently, "Fix the Gimmicks."

"Rather than rearrange the furniture, Texans deserve the opportunity to clean up our fiscal house beginning with an honest budget free from smoke, mirrors, gimmicks and tricks," President Michael Quinn Sullivan wrote.

Texas Toll Roads, Freeway or free for all?

HOW many in Texas?  WHY?  ASK.


STOP tolls on FREEways! 
It's been 7 years since Congress passed the last federal highway bill. Now its racing through Congress at the speed of light -- why? Because they want to sell-off our public roads to private corporations, raise your taxes through tolls, and lift the ban on imposing tolls on existing highways. There are 500 toll projects being contemplated in Texas alone!

An amendment to allow tolls on ALL existing interstates in all 50 states is expected to be presented on the floor by Senator Carper of Delaware. Imposing tolls on existing freeways is a massive DOUBLE TAX -- charging motorists an additional tax, a toll, to use what they've already built and paid for!

The current House Bill, HR 7, only bans tolls on existing FEDERAL interstates. It GUTS the ban on imposing tolls on existing STATE highways -- like US 281 and Loop 1604 -- a ban that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison put in place for Texas since 2007.  The fate our public freeway system is under attack!

Call Senator John Cornyn and ask him to support the Hutchison  ban on tolling existing STATE and FEDERAL freeways and to STRIP PPPs & TIFIA loans OUT of the transportation bill .

Call Cornyn's office at 210-224-7485 & email him here.

Call your member of Congress and ask him/her to ADD the Hutchison "Freedom from Tolls" Amendment to ban tolling existing freeways - BOTH state and federal - to HR 7 and STRIP PPPs & TIFIA loans OUT of the transportation bill.

Find out who your member of Congress is or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Learn more here.  Don't be sheep.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hey, Hey, Hey...Goodbye

Mel LeBlanc is no longer an Arlington Council member and he's no longer in the running for the next election. 

Read about it on the ArlingtonVoice.com.

In response to allegations surrounding his recently cleared drug investigation, Councilman Mel LeBlanc submitted his resignation to the Mayor and City Council and will be stepping down effective Tuesday, February 14th.

Texas Eminent Domain Superheroes Unite

For the benefit of THE PEOPLE.  Monday, across the state of Texas, many will come together to save Texans property rights.

There are 80 properties in the way in Texas with the Canadian pipeline, up 90 in Tarrant County with the Trinity River Vision, how many due to the freeway projects taking place across the state, what about local pipelines?  WHO's next?

WHO's standing up for YOU?  Your "leaders"?  Of course not.  THE PEOPLE. 


In Texas Private Property a Growing Issue for Keystone Pipeline

A new statewide coalition of groups and advocates for private property rights is announcing its support for landowners along the path of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. The group charges that TransCanada, the company proposing to build the pipeline, has used eminent domain to bully landowners and condemn private property.

“Texas politicians talk tough on eminent domain
, but with Keystone we have a pipeline acting as a ‘common carrier’ and bludgeoning private property owners with eminent domain when there’s a real question whether it meets the legal requirements to do so,” said Debra Medina, former Republican gubernatorial candidate and director of We Texans.

WHAT: Press conference on private property and eminent domain issues facing Keystone XL

WHEN: Monday, February 13th (various times, see below)

WHERE: Dallas – Turley Law Center, 6440 N. Central Expressway, 10:30am
       Houston – Location & Time TBA
       Austin – Texas Railroad Commission, 1701 Congress Ave., 3:30pm
       San Antonio – Location TBA, 3:45pm

WHY: Landowners and prominent private property advocates uniting on Keystone XL

The coalition boasts a diverse group of advocates who are hosting press conferences around the state on February 13th. Press conferences will feature private property owners from East Texas who’ve had property condemned or been bullied into negotiated settlements and who say their story has not been told. The press conferences will be as follows:

Dallas – Calvin Tillman, former mayor of DISH, TX will present landowners Julia Trigg Crawford and Eleanor Fairchild
Houston – Debra Medina,executive director of We Texans and  former Republican candidate for governor, will present landowner Mike Hathorn
Austin – Linda Curtis, director of Independent Texans, and Jessica Ellison of Texans for Accountable Government will present landowner Julia Trigg Crawford
San Antonio – Terri Hall, director of Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom, will present landowner Eleanor Fairchild

The coalition of advocates points to more than 80 cases in Texas where TransCanada, a foreign pipeline company, condemned private property belonging to Texans. The group also points out that the company misled landowners, telling them the pipeline had all necessary permits and repeatedly telling individual landowners that they were the last holdouts, making the pipeline seem inevitable and securing more favorable terms for the company.

The groups advocates draw parallels between the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Texas Corridor, a proposed highway that many of them were active in defeating.

Debra Medina –  979.253.0220
Calvin Tillman – 940.453.3640
Linda Curtis – 512.535.7208
Terri Hall – 210.2750640
Jessica Ellison – 512.653.9179

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

There IS a reporter in the country

They happen to be at the Washington Post.

Check out what list YOUR Congresswoman made now.

Next time you complain about government spending in Washington, check your own city.

And is 'government spending' an oxymoron?  WHO's money do you think they are spending?

Don't be a moron.  Oxy or otherwise...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Smell that?

Durango shows you the mess left behind from the sanitary sewer line break at the Tandy Hills.

But, as we all know, we have more important things to worry about spending money on in Fort Worth than the water/sewer infrastructure. Or sidewalks.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle and its billion dollar price tag, that's the priority project for this town.

A town in dire need of having a little lake, some canals and an un-needed flood diversion channel to replace flood control levees which have worked fine for longer than half a century.

With all of Fort Worth's water main and sanitary sewer breaks I wonder if the town can lay claim to being the leakiest town in America?

HOW old?

We've asked this question before, finally some answers. 

YOU don't want to hear them, but YOU can't afford not to.

Read about the 119 year old water lines in Fort Worth.  In the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Water pipelines- Age of pipe by decade

Unknown: 296.3 miles

1910: 5.3 miles

1920: 60.1 miles

1930: 25.5 miles

1940: 116.7 miles

1950: 347.5 miles

1960: 265.7 miles

1970: 298.9 miles

1980: 531.5 miles

1990: 454.5 miles

2000: 990.0 miles

Source: Fort Worth Water Department

In fiscal 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, the city had 3,511 miles of water lines and replaced about 20 miles. For wastewater, it had 3,469 miles of sewer lines and replaced about 11 miles.

That's far less than the old goals of replacing 2 percent annually, but officials said those guidelines are unrealistic with the city's rapid growth since the mid-1990s.

In fiscal 2011, $35 million in pipeline contracts were awarded, while $126 million were awarded in fiscal 2010. A number of relocation projects in 2010 were tied to work on Trinity River Vision projects and on Texas 121.

In one of the most extreme cases, the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency went to federal court in August and obtained a consent decree against the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District that requires it to spend an estimated $4.7 billion over 23 years to deal with illegal sewage overflows.

"The risk of not making investment is twofold," Curtis said. "First, you spend a lot more in emergency repairs, and it's quite damaging in water and sewer breaks. And if you put off making improvements because of political or financial pressure, the costs only get higher. It is definitely a case of pay me now or pay me later."

In October, Fort Worth removed a 119-year-old valve from its North Holly water treatment plant that dated to the plant's opening in 1892. The city also inherited 7.71 miles of asbestos concrete when it annexed the Lake Country Estates area on the far west side. Gugliuzza said those pipes pose no threat to water quality as long as they are in the ground, but they could create problems if they are disturbed.

"If we had to replace it, that's when it would pose a concern," Gugliuzza said.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Help clean up Fort Worth- Literally

Saturday there are two free events taking place, the Brush Bash on Tandy Hills and the Candidate Fair in Hurst.

Do both!

At the candidate fair you can talk to the candidates one on one and get your questions answered.  No speeches here.

We're betting that means not many incumbents will show.  What does that tell you?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What else is in the Trinity River?

And then I saw the source of the flood. 

Water shooting out of a Fort Worth Sanitary Sewer manhole.

That explained the malodorousness.

Apparently this manhole has been spewing sewer water for over a week, flowing into Tandy Creek, and then the Trinity River.

Now, it is well known that untreated sewer water flowing into the Trinity River is no big deal in this part of the planet. Come summer, many of the locals think nothing of going inner tubing in the Trinity River's untreated sewer water.

Safety at Neighborhood intersections; disposal well meeting Thursday

The Fort Worth City Council is considering lifting its 10 year long moratorium on wastewater disposal wells (known also as saltwater disposal wells) which are used by the natural gas drilling industry to dispose of wastewater from the drilling and fracking process.  The Council is considering restricting wastewater disposal wells to zoning classifications J and K, industrial zoning.

Thursday, February 2                  
Lost Creek Country Club
4101 Lost Creek Blvd.
Aledo, TX 76008

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


It doesn't matter which side of the aisle you sit on or which side of this particular fight you are on -   If this doesn't outrage you, you might be more like "them" then you think. 

From the Huffington Post:

In a stunning break with First Amendment policy, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on a controversial natural gas procurement practice.

Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Gasland" was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing.

"It's an outrageous violation of the First Amendment," Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) told HuffPost. "Here we've got an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and it's an important subject and the subject that he did his prior film on for HBO. And they put him in handcuffs and hauled him out of there. This is stunning."

"I found it ironic that there was not a flood of cameras there," noted Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.). "There was the one camera and then before that, the ABC camera ... if you have a camera there to bring the issue home to the public, that's a good thing."

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) told HuffPost, “I have served in the House of Representatives since 1992, and I had the privilege of chairing the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties. In all that time, I cannot recall a chair of any committee or subcommittee having ever ordered the removal of a person who was filming a committee proceeding and not being disruptive, whether or not that person was accredited. It is a matter of routine that all sorts of people photograph and record our proceedings. Most of them are not accredited. I cannot recall anyone questioning their right to be there."

Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU in Washington, explained that "congressional committees routinely allow professional journalists to record hearings even when they don't have official press credentials, and excluding a journalist because he doesn't share the political views of the committee chair is outrageous. The Supreme Court has explained many times that censorship based on viewpoint is the clearest kind of First Amendment violation, and that seems to be what happened here."

Read the developing story and Josh Fox's response on the Huffington Post.  What was the charge?  Unlawful Entry.  To a public meeting??  How's that? 

Occupy Wood Shed today!

What would you say if you're elected leaders said they were going to spend a million of your dollars to build a restaurant?

That's why they dont tell you.

Come see us today!  Free shirts! Not purchased with your taxes! 

And check out what the UnHinged Homestead had to say today about Occupying the Woodshed.