Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fort Worth, you have been warned

That's pretty much what the letter from the Senior V.P. for Field Services of the National Trust for Historic Preservation said to Mayor Price about the Stockyards.

'The stakes are very high.'

You can say that again.

Come to Fort Worth City Hall April 5th for the Stockyards Rally @ 6:00 p.m.
And 'like' Save Our Stockyards on Facebook

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No more tolls? Speak Up !!

Important public comment deadlines

Austin, DFW need to voice opposition to tolls

Austin & DFW MPOs taking feedback on transportation plans  

Every city with population of 50,000 or greater has a Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO. These MPOs are required to produce your region's transportation plans (basically a project priority list) and to hold public meetings when they undergo a major update to the plans known as the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP - short-range 4 yr plan) and Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP - long-range 20 yr plan). The Austin MPO (CAMPO) and the DFW MPO (RTC) just finished their public meetings.

It's important to get opposition to tolls on the official record.

Remember, silence is approval! Opposition on the official record can be very useful in killing toll projects or any other ill-conceived projects or priorities the community opposes (like rail).

Tell them to use road funds to fund road projects accessible to ALL vehicles only, not toll lanes, HOV-bus lanes or 'managed lanes,' bike lanes or rail. Ask them to prioritize road funds to remove toll projects FIRST and do not ADD any NEW toll projects to the plan.

Austin Area
Submit comments opposing toll projects here.
(Deadline April 15)

DFW Area
Submit comments opposing toll projects here.
(Deadline April 13)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

That didn't take long...

Don't drink the water in the Abilene Federal Courthouse.  But don't worry, "they" will let you know when it's safe.  Even though it's the wrong department...

Have you read about what lead does to you?  You should.

High Levels of Lead, Other Metals Found in Abilene Water

Are YOU saving for retirement?

What if you had a contract that said, you will make X in retirement years, then along comes a politician and says, well, maybe not X...

Sign this local petition to help families all over the metroplex keep what they earned. And send those politicians listed here a note about their retirement.

Do you ever wonder . . .

Why are so many Texas lawmakers climate deniers?

Why do Texas legislators pass laws to protect oil and gas interests over the safety of people?


Far too many of those elected to represent the people of Texas are bought and paid for by fossil fuel industries that oppose any limits on their activity.

Join us for the Democracy Awakening rally in Dallas on April 17 to call for reforms to reduce the influence of money in politics.

It’s easy for polluters to get laws passed and permits granted when they are funding the campaigns of the people who make the laws and grant the permits.

Commissioners at the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) — which regulates the oil, gas and coal industries — and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) see their jobs as serving industries, not protecting the people of Texas. This allegiance plays out when the RRC does nothing to stop fracking operations from polluting the air and water, making people sick. It shows when the TCEQ denies that air pollution causes asthma attacks.

We need government that is working for the people, not the polluters.

Join us for the Democracy Awakening rally in Dallas to support a national effort to reduce the influence that big polluters have on politics.

It’s up to all of us to take back our democracy.


Tom “Smitty” Smith
Public Citizen’s Texas Office

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mark your calendar!


Dear President Obama, Powerful New Film on Fracking and Climate Change, to Screen in Fort Worth, Texas at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth at 7pm. Director Jon Bowermaster Will Attend and Answer Questions; Film is Narrated by 3-Time Oscar Nominee Mark Ruffalo.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – A powerful new film on fracking and climate change, Dear President Obama, The Clean Energy Revolution is Now, will screen for the public in Fort Worth, Texas at the Modern Art Museum on April 21, 2016 at 7pm.

The film, narrated by 3-time Academy Award nominated actor Mark Ruffalo, calls on President Obama to address climate change by banning fracking and ushering in a “clean energy revolution” free from fossil fuels.

Film director Jon Bowermaster will attend the screening and answer questions from audience members and the media after the movie screens.

The screening is being hosted by the Harmony Hills Neighborhood Association, Fort Worth Miss Endy's Christian Academy, Fort Worth InnerCity Drilling Blues Coalition and Food & Water Watch, a local advocacy organization working to educate the region on the dangers of Fracking in InnerCity America. Food & Water Watch is also calling on Congress and the Obama Administration to ban fracking on federal lands.

Sweeping in its scope, Dear President Obama takes a cross-country look at oil and gas drilling and fracking, highlighting numerous contamination crises, stories from victims, and the devastating boom-and-bust economic impacts levied on affected communities. Interviews with scientists, economists, health professionals, geologists and whistleblowers provide the core narrative of the film.

WHAT: Dear President Obama film screening with director Jon Bowermaster and featuring Denton Activist Sharon Wilson and Fort Woth local Activist Kyev Tatum

WHEN: Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 7pm. VIP Reception starts at 6pm with Director Jon Bowermaster, Mary Kelleher, Kyev Tatum and Sharon Wilson.

WHERE: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth 3200 Darnell St, Fort Worth, TX 76107

WHO: Film Director Jon Bowermaster, Mary Kelleher, Board Director, Tarrant Regional Water District,  Food & Water Watch and Activist Kyev Tatum. Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all.

We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment. Link:

The Settlements from Unscrupulous business practices of the Natural Gas Industry: Bass Brothers Settlement:

City of Fort Worth Settlement:
Kyev Tatum:


YOU better be paying attention. 

We could be the next Flint. 

10 years olds know that. 

WHY don’t YOU?

Is it because you trust your elected officials to do the right thing?

So did they.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fort Worth or Dallas

We really can’t decide which Boondoggle is more laughable these days.  Both are a joke which no one finds funny since we’re all paying for it.  Both are full of screw up’s (project and people wise).   It’s like reading a bad script, it just keeps getting worse.

While Durango has always been the Star Reporter on America’s Biggest Boondoggle, the Trinity River Vision, (also known as Panther Island with no island) Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer does an excellent job keeping up with the downstream boondoggle and its failures.

We will share some of both, from just this week, below.  Seriously, the amount of insane material these two river projects produce, well, you just can’t make this up.  We do have a question for both cities – WHO screwed up?  Names, people,  we want names.

And speaking of names, who’s name keeps coming up in both project’s?  The Corp of Engineers.  Those who should be more concerned with flood control than the BS they are “overseeing” and “approving” now.  So tell us, WHO should be accountable for all these boondoggle failings?  WHO is accountable for keeping lives and properties from being wiped off the map?  We’re waiting…

And one more thing, the ever sinking Fort Worth Star Telegram says about the latest TRV screw up, “This one time, they (critics) might even be just a little bit right”.  Well, they also said that when the cost ballooned to almost a billion dollars and when Tim Love was given a no-bid restaurant contract by the Tarrant Regional Water District.  Do their own reporters not even read that rag?

Durango –
It was six months ago that America's Biggest  Boondoggle and it co-propagandizer, the Star-Telegram, breathlessly touted the wonder to behold of wooden V pier forms being something that people could see.

The way propaganda works is basically a lie gets repeated over and over again til it becomes believed to be the truth.

The bridges are not being built over dry land to save money. The bridges are being built prior to the flood diversion channel being built because there is no money, currently, to pay for the digging of the ditch under the bridges. There will be no water under  those bridges until the Trinity River is diverted into the flood diversion channel.

Propaganda peddler, Fort Worth Star-Telegram –

The construction of three bridges over dry land north of downtown Fort Worth is being delayed as officials fix a design problem that was noticed as workers began to pour the concrete piers.

The delay involves a miscalculation in the amount of steel that would be needed to reinforce the structure’s piers, a Texas Department of Transportation spokesman said.

The project has been highly controversial since it was proposed almost 15 years ago. Anything that goes wrong is highly sensitive, another reason for legions of critics to harp about a boondoggle.

But the part about taking extra care to “deliver the highest-quality project possible” is lipstick on a pig.

Somebody screwed up. The original design was faulty — or it was so “novel” that it just didn’t work in the real world of bridge construction.

The overall Panther Island project, a combined “flood control” and economic development effort, still needs a $340 million allocation from the Army Corps of Engineers.

(We added our own quotes around "flood control" since the FWST left them out.)

 None of this is cheap.

Panther Island bridge design: Someone goofed

Dallas Observer –

Mother Nature says: “Try to fix it, and I will utterly destroy you.” That’s a paraphrase, of course. I have not actually spoken directly with Mother Nature. But I have looked at her stuff.

If you have driven over the Trinity when it’s flooded, you have looked at her stuff, too — gigantic cottonwood trees tumbling along like twigs in a rain-swollen gutter, enormous sheets of water pushing thousands of tons of silt down the river like fog, massive forces ripping and shoveling everything before them.

That plan was nixed for reasons never revealed, probably because, like the fake “sailboat lakes” City Hall promised voters in 1998, the full water park would have gotten in the way of the expressway they really wanted to build along the river.

(Hey! We have fake “sailboat lake” renderings too! – FW)

Yeah. Let me point something out to you. Their having input throughout the process is exactly how we got into this mess. The city hired a Colorado company to do the basic design for the water feature. Then the staff decided that the completed design, based on piling boulders in place in the river, was too expensive because there weren’t any boulders around.

City engineers decided to redesign the white water feature using gabion, a system of wire cylinders filled with gravel and concrete used in erosion control projects. When the city asked the original designers in Colorado to sign off on the cheap gabion substitute, the Colorado firm refused. The city hired a second engineering company to certify that the now thoroughly bastardized project would work.

Sims pointed out a thing that gets lost in all of this — that the city was able to build the white water feature in the first place because the Corps of Engineers approved it.

But, wait. If the Corps approved it, how can the Corps turn around now and tell Dallas to tear it out or fix it? One reason. The Corps can do that, because the Corps is the Corps.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Josh Fox arrested...for pancakes??

Academy award nominee Josh Fox was arrested again.  This time for protesting what sounds like the Texas Railroad Commission, on steroids.  It's called FERC. WHY was he arrested?  We're not really sure.  All the pictures show the protestors either making pancakes or sitting.

This story will sound all too familiar to you Fort Worth locals.  From eminent domain to no approval or oversight.

Today’s protest draws specific attention to FERC’s role in using eminent domain to condemn and clearcut a wide swathe of maple trees across the Holleran family maple syrup farm in New Milford, Pennsylvania. The clearcut was ordered to make way for the fracked gas Constitution Pipeline, even though the pipeline has yet to be approved by New York state.

America to Establishment:

Who the hell are you people?

That's the title of a McClatchy DC article and it's excellent. 

The above image is campaign sign from a fictional president on a popular political show.  It's also how most feel about politics right now.

The article had some great points.  It can't be the same Fort Worth Star-Telegram McClatchy, right??

Almost universally, the establishment is seen as incestuous and isolated

 In 2016 America, the deepest divide is not between Democrats and Republicans. It’s not even between conservatives and liberals. It’s between Us and Them – the people versus The Establishment.

a “Washington cartel.”

Access is this group’s common currency. Wall Street spends millions to open doors to the top levels of the government that regulates it. Politicos bend over to get access to the money that keeps them in office. The media cut deals to get access to decision makers needed to feed ratings and circulation, even if sometimes at the cost of objectivity.

“It’s a collection of people who live in Washington, D.C., and don’t care about the rest of the world,” said Hackmann. And, he noted, “They all have jobs.”

Of 78 members of Congress who left after the 2010 elections, four out of five found work with lobbying firms or clients, state or federal governments or political action committees.

No comment??

We think this may be a first. Jim Lane has no comment to a 'news' outlet?

Stop the presses.

North Texas Education Charity Accused of Misusing Funds

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Dallas, Fort Worth, Katrina, House of Cards and the Corp of Engineers…

Funny, when we first started watching this House of Cards season, someone in our group yelled, “It’s Eddie Bernice Johnson!”  Seems we weren’t the only ones.

Jim Schutze at the Dallas Observer puts the story together for you, in case you aren’t able to see all the similarities on your own.  Now how the hell do we get him to Fort Worth?

I’m sure you remember Hurricane Katrina, but just in case — August 29, 2005, 2,000 people dead, 34,000 rescued in New Orleans alone, $100 billion in damage over 90,000 square miles.

At that time Congresswoman Johnson chaired the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Faced with mounting evidence that federally supported flood control levees had failed in New Orleans, Johnson did the right thing. She pushed for a national review of levee safety all across America.


The technical survey of federal levees found 150 seriously flawed levee systems in the United States. The big oops for Johnson was a finding that the Trinity River levee system through Dallas and right through Johnson’s congressional district was no damn good. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rated the levees in Johnson’s district “unacceptable.”

“Unacceptable” may sound like something a father tells his 13-year-old daughter about her skirt. But if you dug deeper into the maddeningly mild language of the Corps report, “unacceptable” really meant that the levees in Dallas were inadequate to meet even the minimum federal flood safety requirement. 

Even deeper in Corps of Engineers documents was their conclusion that the toll from the New Orleans flood – waters that rose in neighborhoods but spared downtown New Orleans – might be far out-stripped in casualties and property damage in a Trinity River flood, which would be a wall of water aimed at the heart of downtown Dallas.

So what happened next? Did those D.C. jackals talk Dallas into lying down for this “unacceptable” peril to life, limb and property? Did Claire Underwood, that hard-eyed, stiff-walking, snotty First Lady from House of Cards come down here and pull the wool over innocent little eyeballs?

Hah! It is good to laugh. No, I’ll tell you exactly what happened. That Corps of Engineers finding that our levee system was unacceptably unsafe flew straight in the face of a big highway-building project along the levees that was heavily favored by the city’s Old Guard, many of whom had been checkbook-backers of Johnson from the earliest days of her political career (hence, the airport concessions), and by the city’s only daily newspaper, which is owned by the Old Guard.

The city of Dallas joined a consortium of cities around the country that were having similar “risk” problems with their levee systems. Together they used their combined congressional heft, of which Johnson was a key element, to jawbone the Corps of Engineers into redefining the word “risk.”

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “hazard, danger, exposure to mischance or peril.” The Corps of Engineers, threatened with having its budget cut off at the waist, redefined flood risk to include the existence of warning and evacuation systems, which, in Oxford English terms, might mean, “hazard, danger, exposure to mischance or peril unless you get lucky.”

And guess how that worked out for the levees protecting residents of Congresswoman Johnson’s district? The Corps of Engineers announced that under the new definition the Trinity River levees in Dallas, previously ruled unsafe at the level of a so-called 100-year flood, now could be deemed safe at the level of a 100,000-year flood but also possibly even at the level of a 400,000-year flood.

So, 100,000 years, give or take 300,000 years. Wow. That’s some levee, considering that only 30,000 years ago Cro-Magnon man was just beginning to move from the Near East into Europe. Imagine some Star Wars bar scene on an asteroid in another galaxy 300,000 years from now: A group of Ewoks, Coruscani Ogres and Derkolos are knocking back ice-cold brewskis, planning a vacation trip together to tour the Amazing Levees of Dallas, the oldest built structures in the entire universe of universes.

In other words, it’s a kind of in-your-face federal bureaucratic middle finger. It’s the Corps of Engineers saying, “Fine, Congresswoman Johnson. Sure. Come up here to D.C. and threaten our institutional existence, which dates from the Battle of Bunker Hill, because we tried to protect your constituents from disaster. You want to keep the levee system you’ve got? Here are the keys to it. Drive safely.”

By the way, Johnson later joined U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, in using a last-minute rider on a national defense spending bill and other legislative sleight-of-hand to entirely exempt the Trinity River from important provisions of federal law protecting wildlife, wetlands, public parks and historical structures, some or all of which might have interfered with the highway project the Dallas establishment had been seeking for 20 years.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Is there anyone in Tarrant County who can help?

We received the following from a reader -

My sister-in-law is in need of desperate help, as soon as possible.  She has lost everything she has due to the corruption of the Tarrant County Family Court system.  Her children, her home, her reputation, and almost her sanity.  Her stories sounded incredulous, so I began to do some research, and I am shocked and appalled - sickened really, by all the numerous complaints against the Tarrant County Family Court. So many people, mostly women, have reached out for help, and told their stories, and it appears as if nothing can be done. How it is possible for this to go on in The United States of America, in this day and time?

This is a link to the many cases I am referring to: 

After spending thousands of dollars, she doesn't know where to turn.  If you can be of any help, or have suggestions as to how she might get some help, please contact me at this email address. 

Thank you,


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Fort Worth Stockyards needs your help

Dear friends,

Two critical meetings on the future of the Fort Worth Stockyards are coming up.

At both, the historic district for the Fort Worth Stockyards is at stake.  Please take time and act to express your concern for a larger historic district.  See below.

Our Fort Worth Stockyards need your help.  This is the only remaining stockyards in the country and it is Fort Worth’s “Cowtown”. Now, the ‘Yards are under pressure from a California developer, Majestic Realty, which is proposing more than 1 million square feet of new development in the Stockyards.  Last fall, concerned citizens made their feelings known to the Fort Worth City Council which recommended that a local historic district be put in place to help protect the Stockyards with design review from the Historic Landmarks Commission and City Council.

However, the boundaries of the Council recommended historic district are far smaller than what our citizens think of as the Stockyards and almost entirely exclude property which will be developed by Majestic.  The Landmarks Commission recommended a larger boundary and stressed the importance of having a more global view of the context of the area that was the Stockyards and the importance of design review for new construction and renovation within the larger historic district boundary.

The Landmarks Commission:
  • Unanimously voted to recommend denial of the City Council nominated historic district, which is the blue boundary in attached Map 1.
  • Unanimously voted to recommend approval of the larger Landmarks Commission nominated historic district, which is the red boundary in attached Map 1. 
  • Unanimously voted to recommend approval of a list of individual structure designations that are outside the City Council recommended district. 
STAND UP, SPEAK UP, SHOW UP to support the Landmarks Commission recommendations

Wednesday, March 9, 1:00 p.m. - Zoning Commission holds public hearing and votes on both Stockyards historic district zoning cases and the individual designation case, Fort Worth City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton, City Council Chambers

Tuesday, April 5, 7:00 p.m. - City Council holds public hearing and votes on all Stockyards zoning cases,  City Hall