Friday, July 31, 2015

NEVER underestimate, or judge a book by its cover...

How a Blogging Mechanic Helped Take Down Richardson's Mayor

What's the difference in Dallas and Fort Worth?

There is none!

Basic Dallas Dilemma Is Still Whether to Fix the Toilet or Park a BMW Out Front

Two recent city documents to call to your attention: 1) showing that we have spent almost $610 million so far on the Trinity River project, which is mainly unbuilt, and 2) showing that we need to spend $121 million, which we supposedly don’t have, just to stop our terrible street system from falling apart even worse.

Both are below.

Think of the Trinity River project — with its “signature” bridge designed by a Spanish architect and its white water feature that nobody can use because it was so poorly designed – as a shiny new BMW convertible parked in the driveway in front of our condo for everyone to see. Now think about our decaying street system. That’s a toilet we have to flush with a bucket.

The BMW parked outside and the malfunctioning plumbing inside together make a statement about the values of the kind of people who have had their hands on the levers of power at Dallas City Hall for decades. They would rather have toilets that won’t work — I suspect they would rather shoot themselves — than not have a car that makes them look rich.

I don’t believe for a minute that those are the values of the vast middle and working classes of people who really live in our neighborhoods, as opposed to people who live in the wealthy enclave communities of Highland Park and University Park. In the Park Cities, sure: rather than drive a 5-year-old Hyundai to raise the money for new plumbing, he’ll use the backyard.

But we in the city have been trying to elect somebody who would fix the damn streets since 2002. When Laura Miller ran for mayor that year on a platform of basic restoration of infrastructure, she was mocked and derided as “Mayor Pothole” by the old guard money, as spoken for by groups like the private Dallas Citizens Council.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Well, that was dumb

By the End of the Year, DFW Won’t Have Any Environmental Reporters
— Downwinders at Risk

More Tarrant County Money

(Note - while this is from a Republican group, be advised, it is yet another nonpartisan Tarrant county issue!)

Texans are fed up with politicians who refuse to listen. Unfortunately it’s happening locally in Tarrant County.

The county commissioners’ court hopes to ram through a $809 million debt deal next week to help finance expansion and renovations to John Peter Smith (JPS) Hospital Network. Officials have not entertained alternatives.

Before agreeing to seek public input on May 26th, County Judge Glen Whitley (R) tried to place the bond on November’s ballot before conducting town halls.

In response, the Tarrant County Republican Party has unanimously passed a resolution opposing the debt deal.

A myriad of unanswered questions remain, including faulty financial projections underlying empty promises. Residents have been shut out of the process, and town hall meetings raised more questions than they answered.

But there’s still time to stop the county commissioners’ rubber-stamping the debt deal. Tarrant County residents should make their voice heard by signing a petition to county commissioners.

We will print each petition individually and hand-deliver it to Tarrant County officials. And we will let signers know when their petition has been delivered so you can demand a response.

Far too often, we get the government we ignore. Voting is not enough—an accountable government requires active citizen engagement in governing process.

Sincerely Yours,
Ross Kecseg
Metroplex Bureau
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

JPS Bond Alert Meetings to Attend

The District is seeking comments and input on the proposed plan from the general public. Five Town Hall Meetings are scheduled throughout the county for the convenience of interested residents.

From Commissioner Andy Nguyen...

"Tarrant County Hospital District (aka John Peter Smith Hospital Network - "JPS") would like to issue an $809 million dollar bond package. In keeping with my commitment to transparency and prior to the vote at Commissioner's Court to call for a November bond election, I would like to get your insight on this hospital bond initiative.  You can review the particulars on the bond package here 

You can also find additional information on the JPS Healthcare website.

JPS and I will be holding public hearings on Tuesday, July 21 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Arlington Subcourthouse located at 700 E. Abram St., and on Wednesday, July 22 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Mansfield City Hall in the City Council Chamber located at 1200 E. Broad St. (There are additional meetings scheduled around the county.) Translation services will be available for our Spanish- and Vietnamese-speaking constituents.

It's your turn to let us know what you think. This is your county, this is your hospital district and this is your money.  What are we doing right? What needs to be improved? Where are the gaps and how can we fix them? We need you to join us and give us your feedback!

Please share this information with your friends and family."
Warm regards,  Andy

Two meetings left...
Tuesday, July 21, 6 p.m.
Arlington Subcourthouse
700 East Abram St.
Arlington, TX 76010

Wednesday, July 22, 6 p.m.
Mansfield City Council Chambers
1200 East Broad Street
Mansfield, TX 76063

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Psst - Hey, Dallas. You're still downstream

The Dallas Observer is writing about their Trinity River project again and about the complete ineptness of the US Corp of Engineers (aka the same people who built the levees in New Orleans).

Jim Schutze is having a hard time getting the flood number for the Corp.  Maybe he should ask the NCTCOG for the Fort Worth Congresswoman's number instead.  He can ask about her son's project, Trinity Uptown, Central City, Trinity River Vision, Panther Island Pavilion, whatever they are calling it today.  He can ask what's going to happen in Dallas when the levees come down and the river is rerouted in Fort Worth.  He can ask how much experience and education her son has in hydrology.  He can also ask WHY the million dollar model of TRV (built in Vancouver) had to be redone...perhaps because the channel wasn't big enough to accommodate the water downtown?  If he's bored he can also ask what floating with alligators has to do with flood control.

Get ready Dallas, we're headed your way. And if you live on those lakes currently draining floodwaters to Dallas, YOU need to pay attention.

We need to rethink everything we thought we knew about flood control, which is everything we thought we knew about real estate development, which is everything we thought we knew about community.

If we think the flood problems we’ve seen this season have been bad, and if we don’t do anything about them, we’re in for a real nightmare in years soon to come. 

But here’s the real news. If the city of Dallas and the Army Corps of Engineers proceed with their plans for the Trinity River downtown, all of those flooding problems around the upstream lakes will get significantly worse.

How much worse? Well, we have a problem there. The impact of the Corps’ Dallas Floodway Extension Program on upstream flooding depends on a certain number. We used to know that number. Now the Corps says they can’t find the number any more. It disappeared. Even with all their engineers and scientists, they just can’t come up with that number now.

That’s completely crazy. They cannot not know. In fact they have to know with precision how much the new levees will back up the water downtown. This is speculation on my part, but the only reason I can imagine for them not to give me the number is fear. They must be afraid, during this time of flood emergency, that releasing the number will set off a grassroots rebellion in the communities around the upstream lakes.

In the current flood emergency, Mother Nature has said, “Look at the lakes, still 10 to 25 feet above flood stage weeks after the first heavy rains. Think about a 25-year-old scheme based on data and assumptions already proven by history to be materially wrong. Then think about the fact that Dallas still intends to do something to make things materially worse.”