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

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

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.


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 

Event is free and open to the public.