Thursday, July 24, 2014

Big Ed's Botanic Garden Birthday With Uncle Julio & The Search For Imaginary Bridges Over Nothing

In the picture you are looking at Big Ed in Fort Worth's Botanic Garden. I do not know about what Big Ed is talking to the group of shaded kids.

Big Ed and I had been at Uncle Julio's on Camp Bowie in Fort Worth for Big Ed's annual happy birthday Mexican food pigout

After overeating at the annual happy birthday Mexican food pigout I felt the need to be vertical.

The Botanic Gardens is a nearby location with a lot of shade where it is possible to be vertical and moving and not get too overheated after overeating.

Fort Worth's Botanic Garden is the best such thing I have ever seen. As in it is actually something in Fort Worth which might cause other towns to be green with envy, if such a thing was something any town, other than Fort Worth, actually was able to be.

I was impressed by the Botanic Garden the first time I walked through them well over a decade ago, and have been freshly impressed on every return, including today. The boardwalk through the trees, which was added a few years ago, was a good heat shade today, which a lot of people were enjoying.

As I walked around the Botanic Garden I was on the lookout for Miss Julie, to no avail. Miss Julie is an expert grammarian who taught me how to whence and hence properly and who spends a lot of time in the Botanic Garden.

After giving up the search for Miss Julie it was off to the eminent domain abuse zone of the Trinity River Panther Island Vision Boondoggle to see if I could find the three non-signature bridges being built over the imaginary flood diversion channel.

I saw nothing which looked like construction. I did see what was left after the destruction of all the property which was taken by abusing the legitimate concept of taking private property for the public good, you know, things like highways, hospitals, schools.

I did a quick drop-in at Cowtown Wakepark and a saw two guys wakeboarding. Basically this was the only activity I was able to find today of something going on in the Trinity River Panther Island Vision Boondoggle.

Below is a 360 degree video look at one little section of Fort Worth's Botanic Garden....

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Star-Telegram Columnist's Sexist Remark Has Mary Kelleher Calling For Accountability

PRESS RELEASE

STAR-TELEGRAM COLUMNIST POSTS SEXIST REMARK
 ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT ELECTED OFFICIAL

TARRANT REGIONAL WATER DISTRICT DIRECTOR MARY KELLEHER
 CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY

Fort Worth, Texas, July 23, 2014–Tarrant Regional Water District Director Mary Kelleher is responding to the increasing outcry over Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy's sexist comment against her in a public exchange on a social media account. Mr. Kennedy while speaking on the subject of the Tarrant Regional Water District elections stated, "Kelleher was the only challenger elected last time and only because she was the only woman on a ballot with 7 men."
Director Kelleher says she was saddened and appalled by his statement. “When a woman, such as myself, devotes so much personal time and effort to give back to the community, it truly sickens me there are still men like Mr. Kennedy in the media who think so little of what all women accomplish." Kelleher went on to say, "It's now clear that in Mr. Kennedy's mind no woman could gain a position of power, authority, or respect on their own. It appears he’s insinuating the election of a woman must be the result of stupidity by the voters.” She continued, “I’m amazed someone with these views can work for a major newspaper and on one of the most respected television newscasts in the United States."

Kelleher urges the Star-Telegram and content partner WFAA, where Kennedy regularly discusses Texas politics, to act swiftly. "I just can't see a public media company with shareholders allowing someone with this kind of incredibly sexist view of women to remain on staff. " If neither the Star-Telegram nor WFAA act, says Kelleher, "I'm sure those of us who buy and read the Star-Telegram or watch WFAA can quickly change our habits including those who advertise with these companies."

Director Kelleher went on to say, “I’m sure that both McClatchy and Belo Corporation, as professional news organizations will do the right thing for all women who have worked so hard to get to a position of equal respect with men."

ABOUT MARY KELLEHER:

Director Kelleher was elected by the largest number of votes in the history of the Tarrant Regional Water District, at just under 9,000 people voting for her. The District oversees flood control and water supply for the area. Aside from her duties as a director of the Tarrant Regional Water District, Kelleher also works full-time with troubled youth in Tarrant County and maintains a working farm on the east side of Fort Worth with her husband.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Unfair Untrue Irresponsible Editorial Attack On Mary Kelleher

I did not see until today a bizarre editorial in yesterday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The bizarre editorial is titled Tarrant Regional Water District should appoint two members to their current positions but, despite the title the editorial is basically yet one more journalistically unethical, wrongheaded, irresponsible slap at Mary Kelleher.

A Star-Telegram reader named Aaron Harris pretty much hit the bull's eye with his comment regarding this bizarre editorial.

From the Aaron Harris comment's last paragraph I learned I am not alone in knowing Fort Worth has a serious problem due to its lack of a real daily newspaper covering local issues in a fair and unbiased  and responsible manner.

You can read the bizarre Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial by clicking the link above. You can read the Aaron Harris comment in its entirety below....

Very well done on presenting one side, the incumbent board's side. Now let's address some of the things you fail to mention or disclose, and always will, because it doesn't fit your narrative:

First: You call Mary an obstructionist....last I checked one vote in 5 can not obstruct anything. But since you made the accusation. can the editorial board please name me ONE thing Mary has successfully obstructed during her year on the board? And how was she able to do so with only one vote? Words have meanings and I'll eagerly await simply ONE thing she has obstructed. 

Second: You state Kellerher has bombarded the district with open records request. Really? How many is bombarded? When did asking for information become a bad thing? You failed to mention that numerous State Representatives have also requested information from the board and so far have received NOTHING. I think not releasing information qualifies as obstructionist, that title should go to the remaining board, not Mary. 

Third: You state: "Their terms expired in May" but act like that is no big deal. The Texas Appellate court stated their terms expired. The law does not allow for an appointment of an EXPIRED term, only of an UN EXPIRED term. But let's not let the law get in the way. 

Fourth: Kellerher was censured...yes. She was censured cause she dares to vote differently from the rest who simply rubber stamp whatever comes before them. In their eyes having a differing opinion and vote is grounds for censure. Read the censure, that is what it boils down to. 

Fifth: You suggest that simply appointing Leonard and Lane would solve the "petty squabbles". You know what else would... disclosing the information Mary, 4 state reps and voters are asking for. It's not that hard. I also find it interesting that because Mary took money from a donor she can't possibly be thinking for herself, rather a tool of the donor. So I presume you make the same judgement of the others on the board right? Are they simply tools of the contractors who do business with the TRWD given that is where most of their donations come from? 

Lastly - this is exactly the kind of piece that leaves Ft Worth once again pondering when we might get a decent paper in this town. One that can look beyond its little downtown club and cover local issues fairly. This editorial is simply garbage.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spencer Jack And Girl Friend Brittney's Home Away From Home At An Unknown Location

What you are looking at on the left arrived in my email inbox last night. I did not see it til this morning.

All the text in the email said was "Our Home Away From Home."

I think I can deduce, from the photo evidence, that Spencer Jack is camping with his favorite girl friend, Brittney, and his dad.

My best guess, due to the somewhat primitive look of the campsite, is that Spencer Jack is camping somewhere in the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. That forest covers a large area, with dozens of campgrounds.

I am pretty much 100% certain that Spencer Jack did not take his camping entourage to Eastern Washington, due to the fact that that side of the Cascade Mountains is currently burning with the largest wildfire in Washington state history.

Over 300,000 acres.

Tootsie Tonasket is daily reporting extreme smoke at her location in Eastern Washington in the Okanogan Valley.

It pleases me to learn that my favorite nephew, Jason, is continuing the family camping tradition. When I was a  kid we pretty much went camping somewhere every weekend of summer.

My favorite camping location was in Eastern Washington.

Sun Lakes State Park.

At my current location in Texas I can drive hundreds of miles in any direction with the scenery and climate not changing all that much.

As a kid, going from Western Washington to Eastern Washington, it seemed like the other side of the mountains was a totally different world, what with Western Washington being a marine climate conducive to growing all things green, including moss, while Eastern Washington is pretty much a desert, for the most part.

A desert which is largely irrigated and thus also grows green things.

I wonder if Spencer Jack has taken his dad and Brittney to Sun Lakes yet? I recollect once driving over to Sun Lakes with my sister and favorite nephews, Chris and Jeremy, to surprise favorite nephews, Jason and Joey, who were pseudo camping in a cabin. That does not seem all that long ago, but it was.....

Escaping The Humidity Via Bike Enabled Wind Chilling In Arlington's Interlochen

I was unable to get humidity relief via the swimming method this morning because the pool is getting a shock treatment. It takes about a day for the pool to get over being shocked.

To get myself some outdoor wind chilling I used the rolling my wheels method.

That's bike wheels, not motorized vehicle wheels with windows down and A/C at full blast.

The wind is cooling whilst pedaling, til one stops for a water break or a photo op.

That is one of the Interlochen fountains you are seeing spouting above. I  took that photo then put the camera in video mode and did a 360 spin around to give you a better idea of what this part of the planet looks like than what can be conveyed by a single photo.

Tacoma's Connie D asked me today when I am coming to Tacoma. That  is a good question.

When am I going to Tacoma? Or Washington. It has been almost 6 years since I have been to the far north. When I left  that location, way back on August 20 of 2008, I said it'd likely be 20 years til I returned.

Anyway, below is the aforementioned video, YouTubized.....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Perplexed By The Star-Telegram's Dallas Boogey Man Fixation Along With Why Bud Kennedy Thinks Mary Kelleher Got Elected

Saturday, July 19, 2014, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published an article titled Dallas businessman donated more than $235,000 to Tarrant Regional Water District candidates.

The first four paragraphs of the article....

In a 2011 letter to the Tarrant Regional Water District, Dallas businessman Monty Bennett vowed to “vigorously fight” a TRWD pipeline from going across his East Texas ranch.

The latest TRWD campaign finance reports show he is continuing to back up that pledge with his checkbook.

Bennett, chairman and chief executive of Dallas-based Ashford Hospitality Trust and Ashford Hospitality Prime, has contributed more than $235,000 to board member Mary Kelleher and two other candidates.

Bennett, who has sued the water district and fought eminent domain proceedings, has tried to compel the water district to reroute the $2.3 billion integrated pipeline around his East Texas ranch in Henderson County. The pipeline is designed to bring more water for Tarrant Regional and the city of Dallas. TRWD has said rerouting the pipeline would cost $6 million to $8 million.

Over and over and over again the Star-Telegram brings up the fact that Monty Bennett made large contributions to TRWD candidates trying to oust existing TRWD board members.

Why is the fact that Monty Bennett primarily does his business in Dallas at all relevant? Why must the specter of a Dallas Boogey Man be raised?

Mr. Bennett did not want a pipeline crossing his property. Apparently he has the resources to fight eminent domain and make contributions to candidates. Why does the Star-Telegram attempt to scandalize this, particularly when there are so many things about the Tarrant Regional Water District board's various shenanigans which the Star-Telegram ignores?

Where can I read that in depth Star-Telegram investigation into how it was that Kay Granger's unqualified son, J.D., was hired by the TRWD to run the Trinity River Panther Island Vision Boondoggle?

I learned that the Star-Telegram had once again brought up the Dallas Boogey Man via Facebook, from Bud Kennedy.

When I used to be a hard copy subscriber to the Star-Telegram Bud Kennedy was one of their columnists. The Star-Telegram has cut way back on its staff. I don't know at what level of activity Bud Kennedy is still employed by the Star-Telegram, but he seems to have quite an active career on Facebook, diligently monitoring multiple threads, deleting comments, scolding commenters for being off-topic.

So, regarding the Bud Kennedy Facebook post that was about the latest Star-Telegram Dallas Boogey Man article, Bud Kennedy made a comment in response to one of his "Friends" comments which is most unfortunate. That is a screencap of the exchange above. I'll copy the exchange verbatim below...

Stuart Langley: Politicians taking money from vested interests? Oh my, when did that start happening? It seems this knock comes along every time that Mary tries to hold the board accountable to the public. 

Could the Star-Telegram please explain why the board continually fights (with the tax payers money Mary's efforts to see TRWD records?) Is there a good reason why these should be kept from an elected board member? And why shouldn't the public be upset when the board can skip an election when the public has been clamoring for years for more public accountability?

I guess those are tough and embarrassing questions. Lets try one more course of the "Dallas Businessman donates..."

Bud Kennedy: Stuart Langley, please review editorials on the topic. The Star-Telegram has criticized the board's records handling. More than a dozen local agencies skipped elections for a year under a state law changing the dates. The public has not clamored for anything. Kelleher was the only challenger elected last time and only because she was the only woman on a ballot with 7 men. One man could not buy the election.

Oh, this is not going to go well, Bud Kennedy claiming "Kelleher was the only challenger elected last time and only because she was the only woman on a ballot with 7 men."

Mary Kelleher got more votes than any other TRWD board candidate has ever received.

I know the name might make one think she is not a woman, but I am almost 100% certain TRWD board member, Marty Leonard, is indeed a woman. And has been the only woman on the ballot. And yet has not received votes at the number level of Mary Kelleher.

Is Bud Kennedy's Mary only won because she's a woman assertion what is known as a sexist remark? I don't know. What I do know is this remark seems to me to be a very wrongheaded, inappropriate thing to be saying.

Is an apology forthcoming....

A 105 Degree HOT Walk Around Fort Worth's Fosdick Lake

In the picture you are standing on the bridge over the very dry Fosdick Falls, looking southeast across Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park.

Swimming this morning, early, was quite refreshing. Walking around Fosdick Lake, not so much.

While the temperature whilst walking was a relatively cool 89 degrees, the extreme humidity had that 89 degrees really feeling like 105, which you can see documented via the graphic I gleaned from my computer based temperature monitoring device.

A slightly cooling breeze blew across Fosdick Dam, providing a momentary bit of heat relief which lasted only whilst I was on the dam.

As you can see below, via the aforementioned gleaned graphic our brief bout of frigid temperatures is over, likely not to return til fall returns.


I made a HOT video in the shade while standing on the west side of Fosdick Lake. Some ducks seemed to think I was there to give them something tasty to eat.

Speaking of something tasty to eat, it is time I make myself some lunch...

Searching For Local Oddballs Like Those In David Byrne's True Stories About Texas

On the left you are looking at a screen cap of a YouTube video of the intro to David Bryne's movie, True Stories.

True Stories is the best movie I've seen about Texas. And the funniest. With the best music.

In the intro you will hear reference made to the wiping out of the Caddo Confederacy.

Indians who were members of tribes which were in the Caddo Confederacy are some of the Indian Ghosts I am often mentioning walking with in Arlington's Village Creek Natural Historical Area.

Below is part of the Google description of True Stories which one sees when one Googles "David Byrne True Stories"....

Director David Byrne (of Talking Heads) takes an outside-looking-in glance at Texas and Texans in True Stories. Casting himself as the protagonist/narrator, Byrne adopts what he thinks is standard western garb and drives his red convertible into the small town of Virgil. Here he observes the town's preparations for celebrating Texas' sesquicentennial, taking time out to introduce us to several of the local oddballs.

I have never met any local oddballs in Texas like the local oddballs in True Stories. I wish I'd meet some funny local oddballs.

Below is the aforementioned YouTube video.........

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Next To Last Sunday Of July Trying To Not Let The Door Hit Me Where The Good Lord Split Me

On the left you are looking at a screen cap of my blog from January 12, 2008.

The "America's Team" blogging was my 16th blog post.

In the picture in the screencap I am laying on the floor of my living room, reading the Seattle P-I, with my cat  Hortense reading the paper with me.

Hortense moved to Texas in November of 1998. Hortense made the move by flying. I made the move by surface transport. Hortense had a stroke and died before the turn of the century and is buried in a pasture in Haslet, a little burg at the far north end of Fort Worth.

Now, why in the world am I bringing up this blogging from way back when, now, you may be wondering.

Well, this morning this particular blogging generated a blog comment from someone named Matt. I found Matt's comment to be quite amusing. I used to get these Matt type comments quite frequently, but, in recent years, not so much.

First the Matt comment and them some more commenting from me.

Matt has left a new comment on your post "America's Team":

Let me get this straight: You think everything is just oh so much better up in Seattle, yet YOU went out of YOUR way to move down HERE in Texas, Fort Worth no less. I was wondering where all this influx of rude drivers and rude customer service workers were coming from. Should've known it was trash talking blowhards from up north. Nobody held a gun to your head and told you that you had to move here. If you hate it so much, then get the hell out, and don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

I read the above and wondered to what Matt was reacting. I was a bit surprised to click the link to learn Matt was reacting to a blogging from over six years ago.

I read the post and was further perplexed. Not that I have not compared this or that in my Pacific Northwest experience to something in my Texas experience, or some aspect of Seattle to some aspect of Fort Worth. I recollect maybe saying things like in Seattle when something is called a square, such as Pioneer Square, there actually is a square, while, until recently, in Fort Worth you can call something a square, such as a collection of parking lots known as Sundance Square, where there is no actual square. And then when Fort Worth finally adds a square to Sundance Square it is goofily named Sundance Square Plaza.

I don't  know why Seattle does not follow the Fort Worth lead and rename Pioneer Square as Pioneer Square Plaza, other than that being goofy and likely the object of ridicule.

The blog post to which Matt commented was pretty much making fun of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I did not realize til reading this post from 2008 that I'd been engaging in that sport for so long.

The only comparison between Fort Worth and Seattle in the blog post were the following sentences in the first paragraph....

When I lived in Washington my morning paper was the Seattle P-I. In Fort Worth it is the Star-Telegram. To be blunt and to the point, Washington has a much higher high school graduation rate, much higher number of college graduates, Seattle leads the nation in number of book readers and I'll just say that the quality of the P-I reflects the quality of its readers. And so does the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Okay, the above may be ever so slightly rude. But everything I opined is true.

The Seattle P-I or Seattle Times could not get away with verbiage along the line that this that or the other thing in Seattle was making the rest of the world green with envy. Until a few years ago this type verbiage was chronic in the Star-Telegram.

Eventually I made a webpage of examples of the unfortunate Star-Telegram verbiage and titled it Green With Envy.

How does Matt know that no one held a gun to my head and told me I had to move to Texas? Because that is exactly how I came to be here, well, the gun part may be a slight exaggeration.....

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Trinity River Vision Committee's Sane Correspondence About The Boondoggle

Friday night in my email inbox I found several PDFs, part of one you see screencapped on the left.

The PDFs were documents from Don Woodard's Committee of Correspondence, that being, according to several of the documents, a Committee with Malice Toward None, with Charity for All.

The subject that was being discussed in the documents is the extremely controversial Fort Worth pseudo public works project known at the Trinity River Panther Island Vision, or simply "The Boondoggle".

Reading through Don Woodard's words of wisdom regarding the forlorn TRPIVB, and the comments, got me thinking a thing or two.

First the thing or two I was thinking and then some of the comments.

One of the issues which vex a lot of people regarding this shady vision boondoggle is the fact that this public works project has never been voted on by the public, hence it is not funded fully, hence there is no project timeline, hence oddball things like building bridges to nowhere over an imaginary flood diversion channel.

I remember soon after my arrival in Texas, late in the last century, learning of the Dallas version of the Trinity River Vision. Soon thereafter I recollect being astonished by a HUGE headline in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram proclaiming "TRINITY UPTOWN TO TURN FORT WORTH INTO VANCOUVER OF THE SOUTH."

Being a Pacific Northwest boy who frequented Vancouver, when I lived in the vicinity, I was totally baffled.

As in what could Fort Worth possibly do that would be like anything in Vancouver? Build an amazing Chinatown, like Vancouver's? Build an amazing Skytrain like Vancouver's? Build an amazing downtown park like Vancouver's Stanley Park? I was totally bumpuzzled.

And then I read it was a version of Vancouver's False Creek development that Fort Worth was going to copy.

False Creek?

I remember trying to remember what False Creek was. Was that the area renovated by Expo 86? Or were we talking about Granville Island? I had no idea. I still don't.

The claim that this project was going to turn Fort Worth into the Vancouver of the South was quickly dropped. This was before I had learned to not trust what I read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Well before the Star-Telegram claimed an ultra lame little food court type deal called the Santa Fe Rail Market was modeled after Seattle's Pike Place Market and public markets in Europe.

The Santa Fe Rail Market mistake quickly failed. I expected the Trinity Uptown/Trinity River Vision/Panther Island debacle to meet the same fate.

And yet this project to nowhere keeps on chugging along, with no end in sight and little to show for over a decade of looking for a vision.

This got me thinking of other public works projects that have come to be in the same time frame as Fort Worth's supposedly vitally important flood control project which seems to have the urgency of repairing a dripping faucet.

In 2010 construction began in the Grapevine zone of the D/FW Connector, an over $1 billion project which rebuilt the junction of several freeways. The project was open to traffic in 2014.

The Chisholm Trail Parkway began constructing a tollway from Fort Worth to Cleburne, also in 2010. That project cost $1.4 billion and also opened to traffic in 2014.

Part of the Dallas Trinity River Vision, an actual signature bridge called the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, began getting built in 2007, opened in 2012 and cost $93 million.

In Arlington the Dallas Cowboy Stadium destruction and construction got underway in 2006 and opened to football in 2009 at a cost of $1.1 billion.

And then we have the Trinity River Vision, now renamed the Panther Island Vision, rightly known by many as simply "The Boondoggle" never voted on by the public, not fully funded, no project timeline, foisted on the Fort Worth public on a bogus premise, that being that it was needed for flood control, to control floods where no flood has flooded for well over a half a century, due to massive levees built in the 1950s to contain a flood in the downtown Fort worth zone.

Very perplexing.

And now for some of the comments from the Committee of Correspondence.....

Don Woodard said--- From stealthy step to stealthy step the boondoggle's promoters have refused to put the issue to a public vote. Some in authority smile and say, "That ship has sailed!" What if the White Star owners of the unsinkable Titanic had called her back as she was clearing the port at South Hampton?

Which had Stan Hiett saying--- Call back the ship.

And Carl R. Sanders saying--- Don, you are right! It is time to blur the Trinity vision, turning it into a bad memory which came from a bad idea, promulgated by the Supreme Court which corrupted the Constitutional concept of eminent domain. It should be stopped, buried and smoothed over as well as we can, limiting our economic loss to a minimum.

While William Wright said--- There is little doubt in my mind that one of the principal beneficiaries has been and will be Kay Granger. She has already profited from campaign contributions to get this snowball rolling and by securing a sinecure for her son, who has scant qualifications to head an enterprise of this magnitude. Rest assured she will reap huge rewards for many years if she is successful in logrolling congress for the money to complete this behemoth.

Winston Barney opined--- The bright side for you and me is that we'll both be gone before it ever comes to fruition. As for my children, they don't live in Tarrant County. I firmly believe that the word "boondoggle" is far too inappropriate for this serious level of public deception. "Scam", "rip-off", "swindle", and "con" all seem more befitting.

Which had Mike Braun commenting--- Slick new bridges?!? It's all about Fort Worth keeping up with Dallas, don't you understand? I'm laughing out loud at this fantasy: " A higher and more constant water level would be created with a HYDRAULIC DAM at the north edge of the project and a 33-acre urban lake would be formed." You clodhoppers need to go and ask the city of Waco about its low-water dam fiasco on the Brazos River over the last three decades. NOTE: Hydraulics and a dirty river - whether it's the Brazos or the Trinity  - don't get along very well. And how 'bout this lie?  [The urban waterfront will generate] "more than $600 million in economic activity the first decade alone."  LIE, LIE, LIE. The so-called "economic activity" will demand and be rewarded by tax abatement's and refunds, decreasing the city's tax base again and again, which will require the net difference to be paid by the homeowner/taxpayer, 'cause we're the last line.

And finally, from Jack Raskopf,  regarding the civic efforts of Don Woodard--- Thanks so much Don, for all the good work you are doing on behalf of all of us. I wish your themes on these totally wasteful projects would be projected to every individual citizen-voter... and powerful enough to make them protest. I think you are making some headway. Enough? Who knows. Thanks again.
____________________________________

There you have it. How in the world does this bizarre boondoggle continue to boggle on with no adult intervention????