Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Water Texas a No Show

The cross partisan event hosted in Bastrop this weekend sounded a lot like the forum TRIP put on a couple of years ago, that the City of Fort Worth and the Trinity River Vision Authority bailed on.

WHY would those who are looking to spend millions of taxpayer dollars not answer questions of the taxpayers?  Anyone else see a pattern here?

Read about it in the Dallas Morning News.

Don't miss the comment from the event organizer!

Only in Texas

'If a U.S. President attempted such a maneuver, angry mobs would march on Washington.'

'TRWD lawyers plan to keep the suit held up in court past next year’s election cycle, by claiming governmental immunity (which was denied), and by making a jurisdictional plea (which doesn’t even make sense).  In other words, TRWD is willing to waste taxpayer dollars to defend their own shell-game, purely for short-term political insulation.'

These are quotes from the most recent Empower Texans article on one of the Tarrant Regional Water District's current lawsuits.

Read it, it will piss you off. Hopefully enough to make you show up at the next water board meeting.  Better yet, the next water board election.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Define Boondoggle.

Durango does, in true Durango style........

Googling "Boondoggle" and clicking on the Wikipedia Boondoggle article, in the first and second and third paragraphs we read....

A boondoggle is a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations.

The term "boondoggle" may also be used to refer to protracted government or corporate projects involving large numbers of people and usually heavy expenditure, where at some point, the key operators, having realized that the project will never work, are still reluctant to bring this to the attention of their superiors. Generally there is an aspect of "going through the motions" – for example, continuing research and development – as long as funds are available to keep paying the researchers' and executives' salaries.

The situation can be allowed to continue for what seems like unreasonably long periods, as senior management are often reluctant to admit that they allowed a failed project to go on for so long. In many cases, the actual device itself may eventually work, but not well enough to ever recoup its development costs.

The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has been boondoggling for over a decade. After that passage of time the Trinity River Vision's executive director has clearly stated that only about 20% of the project has been completed.


With the other 80% not expected to be completed until 2023.


Completed if federal money can be acquired to pay for about half the current almost $1 billion price tag.


Three bridges are supposedly going to start being constructed in 2014, bridges spanning where a flood diversion channel will be built if those federal funds can be found to pay for it.


In the meantime dozens of business owners have had their property taken via the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's eminent domain abuse. In many other parts of America taking property in this manner is not allowed. In other parts of America property can be taken by eminent domain only for projects for the public good, like roads, hospitals, schools. Not economic development projects or for an un-needed flood control project.


In other parts of America not only is this type of eminent domain abuse not allowed, using eminent domain to take property for the public good would not even be considered for a project for which the public has not voted. There has been no public vote to fund the Trinity River Vision.


The lack of funding is one of the reasons this project's construction timeline covers such a long time. And will likely grow longer. For years in to the future Fort Worth will have an un-finished construction mess, sporadically worked on, awaiting funds.


For the job of running the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle project the TRV could have conducted a nation-wide search for a person with the engineering credentials to run such a project. Instead the TRV found an assistant district attorney named J.D. Granger, whose qualification for the job was his mom is Fort Worth Congresswoman, Kay Granger. Kay Granger was thought to be key to getting those much needed federal dollars. But, that has not quite worked out as planned.


If the Trinity River Vision was a legitimate public works project, addressing a legitimate flood control problem, along with bringing needed development to a blighted part of town, why is there no urgency to build the project? Why is there no attempt to convince the public to vote to tax themselves to build this project,  if this project really did provide a big benefit to the people of Fort Worth?


Witness the vast amounts of delusional propaganda spewed by the Trinity River Vision. Check out the bizarre signage at Gateway Park's Fort Woof touting the imaginary wonders the Trinity River Vision will bring to Gateway Park and East Fort Worth. Check out the quarterly propaganda mailing from the Trinity River Vision. Make note of all the Trinity River Vision propaganda signage one sees at various locations. Check out the Trinity River Vision's website for more propaganda.


In addition to its main website the Trinity River Vision also has a Panther Island website. At the Panther Island website we read--- © Panther Island Pavilion - A Product of Trinity River Vision Authority. How many taxpayers dollars are being spent on all the Trinity River Vision propaganda products?


Anyway, I hope I have managed to somewhat illuminate some of the reasons I, and others, refer to the Trinity River Vision as the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle....

You're Invited to a Pubic Meeting on Water Services Privatization Study

Water Utility Task Force studying privatization of City water services to Take Public Input, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 6 p.m., City Hall

Please plan to attend and speak up on this very important issue.

On the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 24, Fort Worth water and wastewater customers have the opportunity to provide their feedback to the Water Utility Task Force at Fort Worth City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton Street. The task force is studying potential public-private partnership opportunities for the operation of the utility.
The City Council appointed the task force in March. It has met four times since early April. Two more meetings are scheduled before it finalizes a recommendation to the City Council.
The task force will host a one-hour open house with informational displays, starting at 6 p.m. in the area outside the City Council Chamber. At 7 p.m. the event moves into the City Council Chamber, where the public can provided comments after a brief presentation.

Speakers are asked to limit their remarks to three-minutes. Written comments can also be submitted either that evening or by e-mail to

The Sept. 24 public meeting will be televised live on Charter Cable Station 27 and streamed on the city website.

Friday, September 20, 2013

This is what a "news" article looks like

The Fort Worth Business Press wrote a real news article on the growing lawsuits against the Tarrant Regional Water District.

We've enjoyed the factual, seemingly non biased writing of the Biz Press.  If they'd stop hiring former FWST writers to write their stories, they'd be way ahead of the game.  Those were so slanted, we didn't bother to finish reading them, let alone post them.

Kudos to the Fort Worth Business Press for printing news.  It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.


The Fort Worth Star-Telegram never ceases to amaze us. Their most recent editorial made us LOL.

Decision by Army Corps of Engineers shortsighted, costly and hurtful 

Though it sounds like they are talking about the Trinity River Vision, it's the FWST, so of course, they aren't.

If the editorial board needs something to read, they might check out the book and the article both by the same name, "Par for the Corps".  One is by Greenwald and the other by Michael Grunwald.  A winner of multiple, prestigious journalist awards.  Below is an excerpt from a real journalist, YOU should check it out.  YOU can't afford not to.

If those YOU sent to Capitol Hill won't supervise the Corps, it's time to send someone WHO will.

In 2000, when I was writing a 50,000-word Washington Post series about dysfunction at the Army Corps of Engineers, I highlighted a $65 million flood-control project in Missouri as Exhibit A. Corps documents showed that the project would drain more acres of wetlands than all U.S. developers do in a typical year, but wouldn't stop flooding in the town it was meant to protect. FEMA's director called it "a crazy idea"; the Fish and Wildlife Service's regional director called it "absolutely ridiculous." 

Six years later, the project hasn't changed -- except for its cost, which has soared to $112 million. Larry Prather, chief of legislative management for the Corps, privately described it in a 2002 e-mail as an "economic dud with huge environmental consequences." Another Corps official called it "a bad project. Period." But the Corps still wants to build it. 

It came up occasionally in 2000, when Pentagon investigators, the Government Accountability Office and the National Academy of Sciences were documenting the agency's ecologically disastrous, economically dubious, politically inspired water projects. 

Then the Corps failed to protect New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, despite spending more in Louisiana than in any other state. Last month, the Corps commander acknowledged that his agency's "design failure" led to the floodwall collapses that drowned New Orleans. So why isn't everyone asking questions about the Corps and its patrons in Congress? 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's failures didn't inundate a city, kill 1,000 residents and inflict $100 billion in damages. Yet FEMA is justifiably disgraced, while Congress keeps giving the Corps more money and more power. A new 185-point Senate report on what went wrong during Katrina waits until point No. 65 to mention the Corps "design and construction deficiencies" that left New Orleans underwater. Meanwhile, a new multibillion-dollar potpourri of Corps projects is nearing approval on Capitol Hill. 

That's because the Corps is an addiction for members of Congress, who use its water projects to steer jobs and money to their constituents and contributors. President Bush has opposed dozens of the most egregious boondoggles, but Congress has kept funding them and the Corps has refused to renounce them -- while New Orleans has remained vulnerable. 

Even Prather, the agency's public representative on the Hill, complained in that private e-mail that the Corps has sacrificed its credibility by defending its indefensible projects -- he called them "swine" -- just as the Catholic Church defended its wayward priests. 

"We have no strategy for saving ourselves," he wrote. "Someone needs to be supervising the Corps." 

It came up occasionally in 2000, when Pentagon investigators, the Government Accountability Office and the National Academy of Sciences were documenting the agency's ecologically disastrous, economically dubious, politically inspired water projects. 

TRWD thinks it can not be sued while TFGT thinks otherwise

From Mr. Durango's blog---

Incoming tonight from Texans For Government Transparency regarding their ongoing attempt to teach the Tarrant Regional Water District that Soviet Union style governing is long gone from the planet and that the TRWD is operating in a place called America where dictators extending their terms of office, arbitrarily, is frowned upon......

TRWD Says, “NO! We Won’t Have Elections, And You Can’t Sue Us! We’re Exempt!”

Fort Worth, Texas) Attorneys for the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) last week filed paperwork trying to dismiss the TFGT lawsuit against the board. The TFGT suit contends the TRWD board is unconstitutionally skipping elections and illegally extending their own terms in office. This suit was filed by Texans for Government Transparency (TFGT), John Austin Basham, and Darlia Hobbs.

The TFGT suit asks the court to intervene requiring the TRWD board to comply with Texas’ law and the state constitution. In court documents TRWD attorney Lee Christie asserts the TRWD and the board are immune from being sued by the people they govern. The court papers filed by Mr. Christie on behalf of the board also state Mr. Basham and Mrs. Hobbs as property owners and taxpayers have no “standing” to sue the TRWD for this blatant violation of the law. 

TFGT President John Austin Basham responds to Mr. Christie and the TRWD’s assertions “Imagine a President, or Congressman, or Governor declaring they would skip the next election and give themselves more time in office. That is exactly what these directors are doing.” Basham goes on to say,” They’ve done this once before with not one single member of the public present for their vote. The TRWD board continues to operate as if they are above the laws and constitution of the State of Texas. I say they’re not, they work for us.” TFGT entered this court action when property owners and taxpayers subject to the TRWD found no relief by addressing the board directly. 

The TRWD recently lost a very similar plea in Tarrant County District Court where they are being sued by a landowner for over 600 violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. In that case the TRWD argued they are exempt from the open meeting laws of this state and like their response in the TFGT case they claim the plaintiff also couldn’t sue, again saying they are exempt. After hearing the TRWD’s attorney’s pleas Tarrant County District Judge Susan Heygood McCoy disagreed striking every part of their motion and pleas.

“I fully expect the court will rightfully side with the taxpayers and the law on this issue. The fundamental American right to have and election and choose your leaders can never be curtailed”, says Basham. “It is a shame however the TRWD will continue to spend hundreds of thousands dollars of taxpayer’s money to fight the rights of those very same tax payers.”

The water district has attempted other constitutional abuses in court with disastrous outcomes. Earlier this year, similar delay tactics and unwillingness to recognize they couldn’t steal Oklahoma’s water, cost the TRWD taxpayers over $6 million in legal fees in a stunning 9-0 loss in the US Supreme Court.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tubing the Trinity Cancelled

Apparently there was a lot of crap talked at the Tarrant Regional Water Board meeting yesterday.

How would the General Manager not know that the Floating with Feces / Rocking the River on the Trinity was cancelled?

WHY would board members not vote to spend money to protect public health?  WHY would the paper not say any of it but say there was a unanimous vote when there wasn't?

Mr. Dickson, I attended this entire board meeting and was pleased to see Director Kelleher vote on a number of issues, BUT, she DID NOT vote to approve money for Trinity Uptown. In fact, She spoke about moving funds to issues she found much more important. One of which was an independent study to find a way to clean up the TRWD's recreational water (including the Trinity). As she put it, "Since we are inviting people to get in and tube in the river, shouldn't we make sure it's safe?" Director Kelleher also noted that at least twice the "Tubing the river" had to be cancelled due to high levels of fecal matter in the water. Mr. Oliver (General Manager TRWD) said he was unaware of this, but Mr. Thomas (Assistant General Manager TRWD) indicated they indeed have cancelled people getting in the river due to the E.Coli levels. But while Director Kelleher's vote was wrong in this story on "economic development" this article is silent on her moves at the board to bring forward a real public health issue. By the way, No other member of the TRWD board would second Director Kelleher's motion for a $200,000 study to identify was to make the TRWD water safe for recreation. I guess we're just stuck looking at the "Don't eat the fish" signs put up by parks and wildlife as we watch our children and friends wade into the river. But then again, maybe I just have my priorities wrong.
John Basham · Fort Worth, Texas

Define Unanimous

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is at again. And the readers they have left are paying the price.

There are several definitions online for "unanimous"

1. Sharing the same opinions or views; being in complete harmony or accord.
2. Based on or characterized by complete assent or agreement.
 3. Unanimously - of one mind; without dissent.

The ST said the Water Board voted "unanimously" to give the Trinity River Vision millions of your dollars.

Seeing how Mary Kelleher abstained from voting on this ridiculous money/land grab, does that really make for a unanimous vote?  True, she didn't vote "nay".  But is leading your readers to believe she voted "yay", the best way to run a business or educate the public?

We didn't think so either.

If they didn't tell you the whole story here, what else are they leaving out?  Wouldn't YOU like to know?


Right on, Clyde

Read the latest Letter from Clyde in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  If they won't tell you the truth, he will.

James Clawson wonders where the money is going since the city seems to be in a perpetual budget crunch.

Here’s where a bunch of it is going, James. The Trinity River Vision (TRV) Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) has spent $56,177,987 on the TRV and budget estimates rise to $320,000,000.

The TIF includes property along West Seventh Street over to University Drive, which gives up 80 percent of the tax revenues that have accrued from increased property values since the TIF was established around 2005.

That means that less tax revenue returns to the city’s general revenue budget. That also means less money to pay police and firefighters.

But remember, James, you voted for it in the 2004 bond election that included $5 million for Henderson Street bridge engineering. No, that didn’t include the $1 billion dollar price tag, but maybe it was implied.

Spending over a billion dollars for less than a billion in return only makes sense to government. As long as city government gives away more and more tax dollars in TIFs and abatements, expect less and less in public services.

— Clyde Picht, Fort Worth

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

You don't say...

Flooding and fracking media blackout in waterlogged, Gasland, Colorado.

How many wells are fracked in the flood plains of Tarrant County? YOU don't want to know.

As Forrest says, Stupid is as stupid does.

See Gasland 2 in Fort Worth, Saturday the 28th @ 7 p.m.

In the meantime, view a video of the Colorado frack-site flooding below---

What's in a name?

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is at it again. Free advertising for their beloved boondoggle. Again, what's in it for them? Or do they just not want to be cut from the cocktail party invite list?

This time it's all about the name, though they just wrote about that a day or so ago.  At least they recycle.

The editorial drones on about the name Panther City vs. the name Trinity River Vision or Trinity Uptown or Central City, whatever they call it today. The best name yet? In a comment left on the article - "Granger's Folly". Let's get an online petition going. What do you say?

If nothing else, history will show the name originated from a Dallas story. Way to be original Fort Worth. Let sleeping panthers lie already.

Amid ongoing controversies about the cost of the project, its use of eminent domain and whether it’s more for taxpayer-financed economic development than flood control, officials of the visionary Uptown plan have come up with the new name after having spent years trying to sell the public on the old one.

Somewhere just froze over

Thanks to all those behind the scenes WHO made this happen.  Now, where can those WHO work to pay for water go see it when they get off?

September 17 TRWD Board meeting to be streamed live.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A boondoggle by any other name -

Is still a boondoggle.

Changing the name of the Trinity River Vision because of its negative connotations won't get them funding either.

The article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram asks Could the TRV become Panther City Island, maybe?

The article then goes on to tell you it's pretty much a done deal.  (So do the new mailers from the TRVA).

It says they are gauging the new name but in it's closing sentence, it negates all that.  

“This plan is known by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) simply as ‘Central City,’ but to most of the public it is called ‘Panther Island’ (formerly Trinity Uptown).”

By the way, we don't know anyone who calls it that.  They have much more colorful names for it.

Bridges to Nowhere

The latest update in the Fort Worth Star Telegram on the Trinity River Vision Central City Panther Island Boondoggle had a few telling sentences.  We're telling you again, pay attention.  YOU can't afford not to.  YOU are the one paying.

In case you missed it the first read through, we bolded it for you below.

Building the bridges without securing the millions needed to complete the project is putting taxpayers at risk, they say.

Fort Worth is counting on Congress to eventually provide about half the $910 million needed to finish the sweeping project.

But it’s not clear when — some say if — all the federal funds will come.

“In this constrained funding environment, we must focus on projects that have the greatest impacts on life safety. The result is, we have insufficient federal funding to continue the project at this time,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Kula, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Southwestern Division, which includes Texas.

Kula said his agency has a $60 billion backlog of projects nationwide.

Congress has banned earmarks for the past three years and will likely do so for several more. That makes it hard for supporters of Trinity Uptown/Panther Island to make their case for federal funding when judged against so many other flood control projects needed nationwide, said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington group that opposes earmarks.

“I don’t see the earmark ban being lifted in this Congress or anytime past that because it’s politically unpopular,” Ellis said. “It’s going to be challenging to be the first member of Congress to say, ‘Yeah, I think we should go back to that parochial spending.’”

Many local, state and federal agencies are chipping in for the Trinity Uptown/Panther Island project, which is expected to cost about $910 million. Below are funds budgeted for the project:
Fort Worth: $26.6 million
Tarrant County: $11 million
Tarrant Regional Water District: $64.4 million
Tax increment financing district: $320 million *
Texas Department of Transportation/North Central Texas Council of Governments: $66.3 million
Army Corps of Engineers: $411.6 million
Federal economic development/housing: $10 million
 Total: $909.9 million
* Includes a loan of up to $226 million from the Tarrant Regional Water District’s natural gas funds
Source: Trinity River Vision Authority

Thursday, September 12, 2013

WHAT did they say?

The title of the latest Business Press article, is---

How can anyone type that with a straight face?

The readers don't buy it.  You can tell from their comments.  Maybe the author should go back to working for the ST...

What's $60 million among friends, and there's no better friends than the TRWD Board and the Fort Worth City Council, whose former mayor, Kay Granger, has a son running the Trinity River Vision Authority and whose former member, Wendy Davis, has a business partner whose wife is the finance director for TRWD and is quoted in the above story. We can grow our way out of these problems. We just need more vision. Let's start by issuing more tax abatements and TIFs so we can pack more people into Fort Worth. Forget the Lawn Whisperer. By the time Mayor Price and the TRWD are finished with us, we're going to need the Toilet Whisperer to tell us when we can flush. (Please don't censor this comment like you did the previous one, BizPress.)


Oh my, I am impressed! A tax rate of .02/$100 assessed valuation. So tell me Mr. Smith, how much have the water rates increased over the last 15 years. TRWD loans gas revenues to the TIF that may or may not be able to repay the debt. And it's all tax payers' money. How dumb are the politicians (and reporters) who buy into this shell game? A billion dollar boondogle that won't pay for itself, a 2.3 billion dollar pipeline that won't supply water to Tarrant County, a flood control project that increases the cost of flood abatement downstream, and the highlight is the tax rate? This tax funded project will make a bunch of private individuals rich but as water projects go, the taxpayers are getting soaked. 


Raise water rates. However the 2.3 billion pipeline does not bring the water to Tarrant County.


Raise water rates to FW? Pipeline doesn't bring water to FW? Do we pay for Dallas water? 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"The city has an excellent gas ordinance"

Said no one ever.

Okay, maybe a paid representative from the gas industry who doesn't live in the city, let alone the state.

Last night actual Fort Worth residents packed the Fort Worth City Council concerned about THEIR property, neighborhoods and quality of life.  Isn't that what the council is there to protect?  Come election season, some should be reminded of that instead of this - Bob Manthei of XTO Energy told the council, “We need language that protects our investments.”

Residents of Fort Worth should thank their lucky stars for women like Mary Kelleher and Libby Willis.

Mallard Cove residents triggered the ordinance review after it fought off an industry attempt to locate a compressor station on agriculturally zoned land in their neighborhood. The city’s ordinance currently allows compressors on agriculturally zoned property by right.

Mary Kelleher, a Mallard Cove-area resident who recently won an upset election to a seat on the Tarrant Regional Water District board, reminded the council residents have been “begging” the city for two years to act on the compressor issue.

“We’re tired of begging in three-minute increments,” she said.

Libby Willis, chairwoman of the gas drilling committee of the Fort Worth League of Neighborhood Associations, told the council that the league favors the 1,000-foot setbacks and opposes compressor stations by right in any district besides industrial.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram takes its final plunge

Ever heard of the Voice of the Customer? Apparently Jim Witt hasn't.  Not only does the "news" paper not like views that differ from theirs, now they only want you to leave a comment if you have a Facebook account.  Um, isn't their customer base mostly from another generation?  One that doesn't use Facebook?

The best line in Witt's column is this -

Because everything in the paper is edited, we bear the ultimate responsibility for statements that appear there.

One could only hope the paper will bear the ultimate responsibility for statements that appear there.  Does that mean they'll be held accountable for untruths published?

(Before their Gladfly starts whining wanting proof, read Controversy Over Water Districts, then ask Tarrant Regional Water District Board Member, Mary Kelleher, if she visited the Water Board's hunting lease with Gordon Dickson.  While you're at it, ask Dickson.)

As usual, the comments were the best part of the column (we've listed a couple of our favorites below).  At last count there were 95.  When you alienate your customer base, you lose them.  When you lose your customers, you lose your job.  Good work, boys.

Hey, Hey, Hey - Goodbye!

This is a political move, not a journalistic move.  It is being done to try to gain more control over the message.  Anonymity is a problem for a lot of people.  For example, if you are a business owner, it can be bad for your business to admit you are a democrat in Texas.  Many people can be attacked financially for voicing an opinion.  I've been increasingly disappointed in the quality coming from the Star.  Many of the big news items I have to go to National papers to find.  Star just isn't reporting on much of the big local news.  


We are paid subscribers as well.   The Star Telegram has my name, my address, e-mail, home address, and even my credit card number.


I'm just not comfortable, for safety reasons, with putting my full name onto public posts.  Any kind of kook could look me up on the web and show up on my doorstep. I may rethink that paid subscription, truth be told.   The ST has always been somewhat left of center, and I can live with that.  But since they sold, the quality of the reporting has degraded to the point where I usually have to consult other sources to get the full story.  Their online local events directory is worse than useless. Honestly, the comments are the main reason I come here.  I've been called names by both left and right.  I'm a grown up and deal.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Panther Island Pipe Dreams

If YOU ain't got the money, sit down and shut up already.

Changing the name of the Trinity River Vision won't help, if it walks like a boondoggle...

From the Fort Worth Business Press---

Moving Forward: Schedule, name in flux, but TRV work rolls on

Friday, September 6, 2013

Gasland Part II

Working Films Reel Power - Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project - Texas Drought Project - North Central Texas Communities Alliance - FWCANDO and director, Josh Fox, bring myth piercing documentary on fracking, "GASLAND 2", to the historic Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth.

Director, Josh Fox and other stars of the film will be in attendance.

September 28, 2013
Program begins at 7:00 pm. (doors open at 6:00 pm) Admission is FREE. Donations are welcome.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Save YOUR Firetruck

We received a copy of this letter that went to the Fort Worth Mayor and councilmembers, along with other members.  YOU might want to read it.

No one ever thinks about firetrucks, until they need one.

Save My Firetruck

As if we didn't have enough problems in getting the FW Council to be more than a rubber stamp for the gas drillers and a tool of the industry that off-loads the unacceptable risk of urban gas drilling on us, the City is now considering a plan to save money that involves cutting back our fire protection.

Some genius has come up with another idea that will save our tax dollars by cutting back on basic services that we are supposed to receive through our taxes, yet they have been spending our tax dollars on a faux gas drilling and production "regulation" scheme that allows the drillers to get whatever they want through a costly (to us) process in which they end up getting desired permits through a waiver obtained on each individual exception to the phony rules they live by. Then the City practically gives away gas leases on city-owned property so that far less revenue is collected than is necessary to support all the largess they give the industry.

This new brilliant plan is to decrease the cost of fire protection by $1.9 million by cutting services using a "rolling deactivation" scheme wherein 2 of the 44 fire trucks in the city will be deactivated each day. They'll just sit there in their fire stations, and the two companies of firefighters that now stand by to answer emergencies will be on unpaid leave. The result of this not only decreases our fire protection, it will be felt in our pocketbooks too. Since our city will be less well protected, the national insurance rating of FW will be degraded, and that will translate into higher homeowners insurance rates.

Clever plan, huh? Have you noticed how much attention taxpayers have to give to scheming governments at every level these days? And we are losing the battle too, because people won't take the time to inform and defend themselves against these corporation-based attacks on the public purse.

Any City Councilperson (or mayor) who supports this should be recalled. Further, the genius who proposed this should be outed and made to pay a price for scheming against the taxpayers.

The question is - WHO?

There have been some interesting Letters to the Editor in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since they told you don't blame the city for raising YOUR water rates.  (What kind of "news" paper does that?  Oh yes, our kind).  Maybe the paper, who tells you WHO to vote for, should be to blame?

If the city of Fort Worth isn’t to blame for raising our water rates, who is?

Who’s to blame for allowing the energy companies to pump city water from hydrants directly into behemoth fracking operations and allowing them to take unlimited amounts from our rivers, lakes and reservoirs during a drought?

Who’s to blame for limiting the times and the days residents are allowed to water, while permitting the energy companies to take million gallons of our drinking water without recycling a single drop?
So instead of punishing Fort Worth residents for conserving water, isn’t it about time that the city force the energy companies to recycle their water, monitor their wells and, during a drought, “just say no to fracking”?

— Sharon Austry, Fort Worth

Many months after the grand Tarrant Regional Water District signs went up along the Trinity Trails, the rusted-out, non-functioning hulk of a water fountain at the Southwest Boulevard trailhead was finally replaced with a shiny new one.

Curiously, a gravestone-type hunk of rock, engraved with verses from the Bible, was installed beside it. I’d love to know if this is the work of the TRWD and, if so, why is it appropriate to promote a specific religion on a public trail.

— Anne Clements, Fort Worth

Did YOUR rep pass?

Or did they just pass bills that screw you?

Seems our freshman group from Tarrant County scored pretty high.

That should send a message.

We're coming for the old guard.  We're coming, for THE PEOPLE.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

They're here...

Remember all those times when you wished there was an entity that would stand up for the people?

Your wish is granted.

Texans for Government Transparency are on it.  And by it, we mean the Water Board.  Wonder what they'll be on next...

Texans for Government Transparency

TRWD Loses Key Court Decision on Case about Violating Texas Open Meetings Law

(Fort Worth, Texas) This past week, a key decision was handed down in a lawsuit against the Tarrant Regional Water District for violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act allowing the suit to move forward in court. The judge struck down a motion from the TRWD where they asserted they were not only exempt from being sued due to jurisdictional issues, but did not have to comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act in any matters before the court. Judge Susan McCoy of the 153rd judicial district denied the TRWD’s motion on August 26, 2013 clearing way for the case to be heard.

The suit filed by East Texas ranch owner and businessman, Monty Bennett, alleges the TRWD violated the Texas Open Meetings Act over 600 times in making key decisions. This suit also alleges these decisions were made behind closed doors and away from public oversight. In these meetings millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money was awarded to contractors and individuals. Perhaps the lawsuits most damaging allegation contends in these same secret meetings people’s land and properties were marked to be taken by eminent domain without owners ever having been told of any meeting of the TRWD. Mr. Bennett’s family ranch in East Texas, where they raise exotic wildlife and endangered species, is one of the properties the TRWD has marked for the taking and prompting him to action. 

“The Texas Open Meetings Act is there to ensure oversight of government agencies by the citizens of Texas.” says John Austin Basham, President of Texans For Government Transparency, “The idea of our government meeting in secret and planning to take someone’s family ranch, home, or property is outrageous!” Basham adds, “The argument the TRWD puts forth that they are exempt from any oversight under the Texas Open Meeting Act speaks to how little regard they have for both the law and the people they purport to serve. We are Texans, the government saying ‘trust us, we know what’s best for you’ is not something that sits well with our nature or our spirit.” 

Mr. Basham did however express his doubts with any rapid resolution in this case, “The TRWD has a track record of spending Millions in taxpayer’s dollars to defend legally troubling arguments. But worse, they lose every single time! So, in fact they spend all this money on lawyers and court costs as a delay and harassment tactic. This misuse of money and trust allows them more time to continue violating the law, ignore the public’s will, oversight, and input.” 

Texans For Government Transparency has also filed suit against the TRWD for violating the Texas Constitution by skipping elections and allowing board members to serve an extra year without a vote of the people. TFGT expects to be victorious in this case forcing the TRWD to allow the people to vote for those who represent them, rather than having career bureaucrats dictate who serves and for how long. 

Texans for Government Transparency is a non-profit human rights organization focused on bringing transparency and accountability to government, while protecting the privacy and civil rights of the citizens of Texas. 

Contact: John Spivey
Telephone: 817-706-2947 September 2, 2013
8551 Boat Club Road Suite 121
Fort Worth, Texas 76179-3674

What they didn't say...

If you saw the news on WFAA about the Texas earthquake on Labor Day weekend, you didn't see the whole story.  We know, you aren't surprised.

While WFAA made quick mention of there being a fault in the area of the quakes, they left out the part that there are 27 injection wells in the area.  And that Timpson hadn't had earthquakes until they had wells.

You can read about it here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

As usual...

The comments are more telling than the article.

Clyde Picht · Fort Worth, Texas

Oh, Rick, you naughty cynic. Of course it's not Trinity River Vision. Even though TRWD doesn't require recycling of fracking water for wells on their property and even though TRWD collects millions for gas drilling, they can't spend it on water resources. And you know, their $2 billion pipeline from Lake Palestine will bring water to Dallas but not Fort Worth so you know we'll need to pay more to help Dallas. It's not the city's fault either. The landscape ordinance that requires trees and shrubs be planted and watered is for the good of us all. Same with all the trees in the medians. Even though the city widened Rosedale to six lanes, it's well worth the cost to tear up one of the new lanes and make parking places and plant trees in the median. The real problem is those pesky suburbanites who keep flushing their toilets and watering their puny brown lawns.

If you want to read the Fort Worth Business Press blurb, you can do so here.