Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mary Kelleher says.....

Dear Friends,

Thank you again for taking the time to read my story and for your phone calls, e-mails, and most of all your support! I’m so blessed!!

Most of you were surprised I answered the phone, which says a lot about the sorry state of our political world. I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to visit with you, talk with you about my story, and answer your questions.

Many of you asked me to write another letter with additional information about this election. I’m flattered and glad you want to know more.  I’ve learned so much being on the TRWD Board and I’m happy to share what I know with you!

I guess first off, I need to prepare you for the nasty mailer you will be receiving within the next few days. Wow…politics are so ugly!

Just FYI…the incumbent’s political strategist is Bryan Eppstein.  Here’s a link to information on this man.  If you want insight into Fort Worth politics, read this, you’ll be absolutely amazed!

The mailer depicts Craig Bickley, Michele Von Luckner, and me as puppets for the evil puppet master Monty Bennett. It’s hard to believe people actually fall for this kind of stuff!

Michele Von Luckner is portrayed as a dead beat who doesn’t pay her bills, doesn’t vote in local elections, and uses a different name (Hojnacki…her maiden name).

Craig Bickley is criticized for not being able to vote in this race (well many of you can’t) and for running for election once before and losing.  (Incumbent Jim Lane has lost the last 3 races he has run.)

I’m being accused of “falsely attacking” my colleagues.  I guess I could do that, but it’s not really in my nature so I won’t.
I’m also under investigation by the Texas Ethics Commission for “not disclosing hundreds of thousands of dollars of in-kind campaign contributions funded by Bennett.”  The truth:  I didn’t know I needed to file a campaign finance report in July so I filed it a day late.

It’s also being said I was censured for “making false statements to the Fort Worth City Council”.  The truth:  I advocated for a water conservation plan that would allow citizens the right to choose when they want to water their lawns.  This plan was contrary to TRWD’s. I guess I don’t have the right to my own opinion!

It’s also being said “the Tarrant County DA confirmed that Kelleher and Bennett traveled together on an out-of-state trip to New Orleans that was funded by Bennett.”  The truth: I traveled with Monty Bennett and several others to observe a court hearing at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which addressed alleged violations by the TRWD of the Texas Open Meetings Act.  The attorney hired by TRWD with taxpayer dollars asked the Tarrant County DA to indict me for this, but the Tarrant County DA refused and explained to this attorney that there was nothing illegal about it.  

Monty Bennett is being accused of forcing “TRWD taxpayers to spend an additional $6 to $10 million on rerouting a critically needed water pipeline away from his weekend ranch that he uses for para-military hog hunting.” The truth:  This route of the pipeline is a TRWD decision.  And what exactly is para-military hog hunting?

The incumbents state, “To date, Bennett has lost ALL of the lawsuits he has funded against TRWD.”  The truth: Texas Supreme Court is still reviewing TRWD’s assertion they have sovereign immunity from the Texas Open Meetings Act.

I think the worst one is that “Bennett has even stooped to an ALL TIME LOW by relocating bodies of deceased individuals into a phony cemetery.” The truth: A World War II veteran and another person are laid to rest on Monty Bennett’s property. It’s his property after-all.  TRWD will be the ones forcing the relocation of the deceased.

Many of you were surprised to learn that the majority of our water comes from east Texas where TRWD owns 100% of the water rights to Richland Chambers and Cedar Creek reservoirs. TRWD already operates 2 pipelines; one at Richland Chambers reservoir and another at Cedar Creek reservoir. These pipelines transport water to a larger pipeline that delivers water to our area lakes where it’s held for future use.  TRWD does not sell treated water. We sell raw water to our customer cities which in turn treat it and then sell it to you.

You wanted more information about the IPL (Integrated Pipeline). The IPL is a collaborative effort between Dallas Water Utilities and TRWD to build another major pipeline that will bring water from Lake Palestine to the metroplex.  Sharing this pipeline will result in reduced construction costs and electricity use. The projected cost of the IPL project is approximately $2.4 billion. TRWD is responsible for about 60% of the costs and Dallas 40%. This pipeline will be able to transport 200 million gallons of water per day to the TRWD area and 150 million gallons of water per day to Dallas. TRWD will construct, maintain, and own the pipeline. Dallas has water rights to Lake Palestine, but it’s so far away the electricity needed to transport the water makes it very costly. As part of the agreement, Dallas would be allowed to purchase up to 25% of their water needs from our reservoirs if it’s available.  This is the part causing the uproar as the idea of selling our water to Dallas is not very popular.

Some of you said you had heard Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner were against the IPL project and, if elected, Tarrant County will go dry. This is ridiculous and just more campaign fiction. Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner do have questions about Dallas being able to tap into our water supply but they’re certainly not against a pipeline that will bring water to our area. Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner are however, against the way TRWD misuses their power of eminent domain and want to make sure all private property owners, from Dallas businessmen to farmers, are treated respectfully throughout the eminent domain process.

Another very popular discussion centered around the difference between the public servant and politician. It seems many of us are fed up with our politicians these days and justifiably so. While we want more public servants, it’s hard to beat an incumbent, especially when he/she has money, name, and status in the community.  It’s even more difficult when the incumbent’s supporters do as well. This race is a perfect example of this. We’re seeing expensive mailers and huge ads in the Star Telegram from politicians Mike Moncrief, Betsy Price, and Glen Whitley who are telling us how to vote. These politicians are so arrogant they actually believe we just blindly vote as they tell us to, as if we don’t have a mind of our own. Many of you talked about your or your family’s military service and how you object to these politicians (most of whom have never served their country) telling you how to vote. My father fought in the Korean War, my father-in-law fought in Pearl Harbor, my husband’s great grandfather fought in the Civil War, and my husband fought in Vietnam and I take exception to these people telling me how to vote too.

Many of you wanted more information about Monty Bennett, the Dallas businessman Mike Moncrief and Betsy Price claim is trying to steal our water. After I explained to you that Monty Bennett has been a property owner and tax payer in Fort Worth for more than 20 years and owns the historic Ashton and Hilton hotels in downtown Fort Worth you realized right away what Mike Moncrief and Betsy Price were trying to do.  But this is politics and this is what politicians do…..they fabricate, deceive, and manipulate the people and then pompously presume people will do as they say simply because of who they are.

Many of you were shocked when I told you Mike Moncrief had solicited almost a half of a million dollars in donations from at least 5 Dallas billionaires while Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner are being criticized for accepting campaign contributions from Monty Bennett, a businessman who lives in Dallas but owns property and pays taxes in Fort Worth, and, who along with many others, has been legitimately wronged by the TRWD’s misuse of their power of eminent domain.

According to Leonard and Lane’s campaign finance reports, they have received donations from people and businesses with whom TRWD gives contracts. Here are the high-roller donors: the Betsy Price Campaign ($4,500); attorney Dee J. Kelly ($10,000) with whom TRWD regularly contracts; businessman John B. Kleinheinz ($25,000); Dallas auto dealership owner Carl Sewell ($25,000); Dallas-based liquor distributor Barry Andrews ($10,000); Texas Rangers co-owner and Dallas oil billionaire Ray Davis ($10,000); Dallas oil billionaire Ray Hunt ($25,000); Hunt heiress Lyda Hill ($5,000); Dallas software entrepreneur Milledge Hart III ($5,000); Dallas oil billionaire Trevor Rees-Jones ($10,000); Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton ($25,000); Bass family Good Government Fund ($25,000); Bass family PSEL PAC ($25,000); Texas Progress Fund/Ross Perot, Jr. ($25,000) and Ed Bass ($25,000).

The most spirited conversations were definitely the conspiracy theories as to why these 2 TRWD seats are so important to the 7th street good ole’ boy establishment that they’re willing to spend a half of a million dollars. I’m so glad you see through their desperation.

This race truly is about the public servant vs. the politician.  I hope and pray the public servants get elected.  No pressure but it all depends on you. I’m encouraged by your support for Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner. They will serve you well.

This is going to be a difficult election to win. We’re up against big money and big names and unfortunately some people still vote for the incumbents just because they tell them to.

I've included a link to the documentary “Up a Creek”.  This was filmed here in 2011 by local people who discovered how our local politics affect our water issues. Unfortunately, it’s 2015 and not much has changed. This film later went on to win an award in the Conservation category at the Glen Rose Film Festival.  Just watch the first 5 minutes…you’ll be amazed by what you will hear.

Please be part of TRWD election history and vote public servants Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner onto the TRWD Board. Tell your friends and family and neighbors how important it is to vote in this race. It’s time to show the politicians we’re not their servants, they’re supposed to be ours.

Mary Kelleher

P.S. Feel free to contact me on my cell phone number at (817) 880-5419 and/or email  Early voting starts today and the election is May 9th!

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