Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Downtown Fort Worth's Sleeping Panther Took Me To The Heart Of Darkness Today

On the way to my downtown Fort Worth destination this morning I drove past that which you see here. I'd driven by this many a time, but til today I'd never bothered to have myself a close up look.

From my parking location I walked back to the sleeping cat. Before I reached the cat I came upon something else that interested me.

More on that shortly.

Under the sculpture of the sleeping cat, hard to read through a veil of water, and years of erosion, it says....


That Sleeping Panther has been causing Fort Worth embarrassment for well over a century. The thing I came upon on my way to the Sleeping Panther is the current worst manifestation of that embarrassment that I know of.

For those who do not know anything about the history of Fort Worth, and really, who does? As in,  I have run into a local or two, including the smartest man in Texas, Gar the Texan, who did not know that Fort Worth had actually once been a fort, hence the name.

I digress.

Anyway for those ignorant about the storied history of Fort Worth and its Panther association, the mythical story goes thusly:

Way back early in the previous century, for some unknown reason a Dallas newspaper sent a reporter west to Fort Worth to report on what was happening in that town on the fringe of the wild, wild west. The reporter reported that what he found in Fort Worth was a town so lifeless that a Panther was sound asleep on the steps of the county courthouse.

I do not know if this news was reported in an article or an editorial. I know the news did not get spread by radio or TV, because neither existed at that point in time.

When news of this insult got back to Fort Worthians at first there was a spasm of outrage that their fine, bustling town would be besmirched in such a manner, with the nervy suggestion a Panther resided sleepily in the town's downtown. And then someone decided, or maybe it was a group decision, to embrace the idea that Fort Worth was so peaceful a Panther had taken up residence.

Or something like that.

Soon Fort Worth started calling itself Panther City. The Panther name was attached to all sorts of things, to sports teams, stores, laundromats, bowling alleys and all other manner of what not.

This bizarre nomenclature habit continues into the 21st century, which leads us to the thing I came upon today that impressed me far more than the sleeping Panther of yesteryear.

As I walked toward the location of the Sleeping Panther, as I waited to cross a street, I looked up to see that which you see here.

I suddenly found myself looking at the Fort Worth Heart of Darkness, also known as the Star-Telegram.

That being Fort Worth's sad excuse for a newspaper, which really is not much of a newspaper, not of the reporting news of the local sort in an investigative, enlightening, honest manner, as in operating as a watch dog for the interests of the public for which this newspaper should be serving, rather than serving the local oligarchy.

In other words have you read anything in the Star-Telegram about the failure of America's Biggest Boondoggle's Cowtown Wakepark? You know that wondrous attraction that The Boondoggle's J.D. Granger touted as giving the population of Fort Worth the opportunity to participate in wakeboarding.

I did not realize, til today, how totally in cahoots America's Biggest Boondoggle is with Fort Worth's sad excuse for a newspaper. And what made me realize this cahoots-ness?


I walked across the street, under the Star-Telegram sign and looked at what I thought was going to be the entry to the Star-Telegram to see that which you see below.

Elaborate propaganda displays about America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Vision Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision.

Yes, America's Biggest Boondoggle has taken that Panther into the 21st century, sticking the Panther on all sorts of things, like an imaginary island, called Panther Island, and an imaginary pavilion, called Panther Island Pavilion. There is a Panther Island Brewery, Panther Island Ice, Panther Island all sorts of things.

When no one has seen a Panther in Fort Worth  in a long long time, if ever.

Which is sort of a poetic ironic representation of the whole Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's operation.

Another look through a window.

I am on the outside, looking in, hence the reflections of passing vehicles and only a hint of what is on the other side of the big plate glass window.

I walked along and came to that which I thought would have been the entry door to the Star-Telegram.

Instead the entry door was to the Trinity River Vision Authority. That being one of the many names America's Biggest Boondoggle calls itself.

The place looked empty. I decided to walk right in. I was overcome with the feeling of being in the presence of something sinister. Soon I saw a lone receptionist sitting at the far end of the big open room. The receptionist just sat there, doing nothing. No phones were ringing, nothing was happening, except for faint music playing, like a soundtrack to a movie. In this case the movie is a farce of historically farcical proportions.

The Trinity River Vision Authority Headquarters has the most astonishing collection of Boondoggle Propaganda I have yet seen. Signage, videos, maps, artist's renderings.

But, I saw no project timeline anywhere telling us when we might be able to expect to be seeing some of these Wonders of Propaganda.

I thought the below signage was amusing.

Side by side we have two map representations of two names of The Boondoggle; Trinity Uptown and Central City Project. According to the sign's propaganda the Central City Project is the publicly funded part of the plan that the public has never voted on, and is limited to infrastructure improvements, pollution cleanup and flood control, replacing outdated levees, which have functioned flawlessly for over a half century, with a dubious flood bypass channel, which likely will create all sorts of unforeseen problems. Meanwhile, apparently Trinity Uptown is the development of 800 acres with 10,000 new homes and a few million square feet of commercial space, doubling the size of Fort Worth's downtown.

Next to all that info about the Trinity Uptown Central City Project a slick video runs on a constant loop, showing viewers the imaginary wonders being brought, in slow motion, by America's Biggest  Boondoggle.

The propaganda video appears to be out of date, still showing one of the actual signature bridges that actually was a signature bridge, like the ones in Dallas, but which were turned into simple little ordinary bridges when Kay Granger did not produce the amount of pork barrel money she was expected to provide, after motivating the corrupt congresswoman to do so by hiring her son. But, the Boondoggle still refers to the three simple bridges as being "signature" bridges, when they are not.

The above is also part of the propaganda video. Two bridges are shown. Are these two of the bridges being built in slow motion over dry land with a four year construction timeline? There are various iterations of that which you see above. I've never been able to figure out where the supposed bypass channel is going to be dug, or how the bridges cross it.

I drove by The Boondoggle's one and only bridge currently under construction today. Unlike the drive by a couple Tuesdays ago,  today there were a few workers working on the wooden forms that eventually will be turned into concrete V piers. Looking at those V piers today I really was perplexed as to how it is this bridge is going to work, and how it relates to the next door large roundabout.

Today, when I saw how elaborate The Boondoggle's Star-Telegram offices were I could not help but wonder why it is that The Boondoggle's offices are not located in the TRWD's palatial headquarters? Surely there must be room in those buildings to house a slow motion Boondoggle's operations.

How much is that office space underneath the Star-Telegram costing America's Biggest Boondoggle? Is this a normal thing for a quasi public agency to open a downtown office like this, and to create what amounts to being a Propaganda Museum?

I highly doubt that any of Seattle's current public works projects underway have offices in the Seattle Times building with a Propaganda Museum touting the wonders of the multi-billion dollar Alaskan Way Viaduct Waterfront Rebuild Project,  or the multi-billion dollar 520 floating bridge replacement, or the multi-billion dollar light rail projects. I think voters in that well educated, progressive part of America would be outraged to see their tax dollars wasted in such a ham-handed manner.

The Seattle environs would also not tolerate anything as outrageous as giving a local congresswoman's unqualified son the job of running one of Seattle's multi-billion dollar public works projects.

And how much has The Boondoggle's downtown Propaganda Museum cost? When we hear about the ever rising cost of The Boondoggle, why do we never get told how much The Boondoggle spends on all the extraneous stuff that has nothing to do with actually getting the job done?

Would you not think that the Star-Telegram, located so close to Boondoggle Central, would ask those type probing questions?

Even something so simple as asking how much is that receptionist being paid to sit there and wait for a phone call or greet an incoming visitor?

Very very perplexing.....

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