Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mayday Warning From Monty Bennett About The TRWD Board Election

A few minutes ago that which you see here arrived in my email.

This is the message from Monty Bennett which appeared in yesterday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, on the same day TRWD Board Incumbent, Jim Lane, launched his now infamous attack ad on the man who has become popularly known as the Dallas Billionaire Businessman Bogeyman.

In his message to those few who are allowed to vote in the May 9 TRWD board election, Monty Bennett has a message for you.

It is a coherent message, free of propaganda, free of vitriol, free of lies.

In other words Monty Bennett's message bears no resemblance to the propaganda nonsense which the Jim Lane/Martha Leonard campaign spews.

I worked my typing fingers to the bone, and was eventually able to copy the entire Monty Bennett message for your reading enlightenment...

Why May 9th Really is Mayday
By Monty J. Bennett

Mayday is the term used to request immediate help when facing danger. Mayday! Your help is needed! Fort Worth voters must vote responsibly in the critical election on May 9th. Early voting has already started. Citizens of Tarrant County will decide whether a vitally important but largely invisible governmental entity should be transparent and accountable.

Decisions of the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) will affect residents of Fort Worth now and for many years to come. We cannot exist without water: clean, reasonably-priced, dependable water. The TRWD’s initial core mission was to provide what’s called “raw” water and flood control. (TRWD sells water to municipalities, and they sell it to you.) This is a vital responsibility. However, the TRWD is a poster child for “mission creep.” The powerful agency holds taxing, spending and eminent domain powers. It argued that flood control required it to fund levies but then changed to funding “economic development.” Today, the TRWD’s discretionary fund spends 250 percent more on private development than on providing safe water for public use and they have increased your water rates 64 percent over the last decade. A more accurate name for the TRWD is the “Tarrant Regional Private Development Piggy Bank.”

Demands for greater transparency are growing and your vote is the best way to be heard. Director Mary Kelleher was elected in 2013 and pledged to pull back the curtain on the TRWD’s dealings. Although she is a sitting director, she has been denied access to official records and was censured for having opinions different from her colleagues. Two commissioners, Marty Leonard and Jim Lane, should have stood for election last year. Article XVI, Section 30 of the Texas Constitution plainly and unambiguously provides that no TRWD Director may serve a term in excess of four years. The directors arbitrarily extended their own terms in office (under cover of a bill in the legislature ostensibly saying that elections should be “moved” to be in odd numbered years). How would you feel if your own city council member arbitrarily decided he or she didn’t want to face the voters and just moved his or her election to the next year?

The TRWD has attacked me, claiming I am only upset because they propose to use their powers of eminent domain to put a pipeline through property belonging to my mother. It’s true, that got my attention – and has largely been resolved in my favor, but as I’ve scrutinized their operations, I have become appalled. They have labeled me as a “Dallas businessman” and conveniently fail to acknowledge the fact that my company owns the downtown Hilton Hotel and the Ashton Hotel, so I have been paying taxes in Fort Worth for 20 years. They claim I want to ‘control your water.’ What on earth would I do with a bunch of water? All that’s just silly. The TRWD has run over citizens for decades; I just happen to be blessed with the resources to be able to fight back.

Moreover, I am committed to Fort Worth. I love Fort Worth, and I put my money where my mouth is. Interestingly, they never mention the five, yes FIVE, Dallas billionaires who are financing their campaigns. To my knowledge, I’m the only Dallas resident supporting the challengers.

I am calling “Mayday!” to encourage voters to learn what the issues and stakes are, and to compare the two incumbent directors with the independent, civic-minded challengers, Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner. These candidates have publicly promised to bring more transparency to the TRWD’s proceedings and to actually listen to the citizens of Fort Worth. I ask the citizens of the TRWD’s service area to call their friends who are eligible to vote and ask them to support the reform candidates. Shout “Mayday!” spread the word and be heard by exercising your constitutional right to vote for change and reform.
Monty Bennett

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