Monday, May 17, 2021

TRWD Board Violates Texas Open Meetings Law Again

Yesterday Elsie Hotpepper emailed me a link to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram titled Did Tarrant water district directors violate open meetings law when they discussed manager?

This is a long article containing a lot of what seem like obfuscations trying to deny the obvious fact that Texas law regarding open meetings had been violated.

This is not the first time the TRWD Board has been accused of this type thing. Plotting shenanigans behind closed doors with the public and press shut out.

This current instance involves discussing the hiring of a manager to replace the controversial current TRWD general manager, Jim Oliver. 

The controversy stems from doing this before the newly elected TRWD Board member, Mary Kelleher, once again is sworn in as a board member.

The current TRWD board president, who Mary Kelleher defeated in the recent election, Jack Stevens, wants to make the selection of the new general manager before Mary comes on board.

Mary Kelleher tends to asks questions, which make those who like their shenanigans not to be questioned, a bit uncomfortable.

Now those living in parts of America where something like a water board is of no consequence, well, such is not the case in Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

Where water is gold.

Basically the situation is a 21st century version of the early 20th century California Water Wars.

For example, this line from the Wikipedia article about the California Water Wars could be applied to the Tarrant Region Water District (TRWD) Board...

The water rights were acquired through political fighting and, as described by one author, "chicanery, subterfuge ... and a strategy of lies".
In the California Water Wars it was the chicanery, subterfuge and lies involved in taking water from the Owens Valley which sparked the war. 

In the TRWD Water Wars it is the chicanery, subterfuge and lies involved in things like building a reservoir east of Dallas, in cooperation with Dallas, along with a pipeline, all costing a lot of money. We are talking a lot of money in the billions type of a lot of money. The deal struck with Dallas regarding this reservoir and pipeline and who gets the water and how and when they get it, is the core of that particular controversy.

And then there is the TRWD's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle, which has been limping along for most of this century, spending money with little to show for the spending. And what one can see are things like unfinished little freeway overpass type bridges, being built over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, with that imaginary island made possible only if a cement lined ditch is ever dug under those little bridges, with Trinity River water diverted into the ditch.

A less expensive example of  TRWD TRV chicanery is an item such as the "work of art", at an almost million dollar cost, installed years ago at the center of a roundabout, installed years before that roundabout become functional. Why was money spent on this "work of art" which some have described as an homage to an aluminum trash can, and others as a giant cheese grater? Did the artist have a friend on the TRWD or TRV board who was helping this artist by directing this art project to its almost million dollar beneficiary? Why was there no design competition? Or some sort of open call for ideas of what to install at the center of that roundabout? And why was it installed years before the roundabout was serving its roundabout function?

Another example of this type TRWD chicanery was when the TRWD finagled to buy the property on which Lagrave Field was located. Board member, Jim Lane, railroaded this one, to help his financially beleaguered friend who owned the property. If I remember right something like $21 million was paid by the TRWD for this chunk of land. And then part of that chunk was turned into the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century.

Chicanery, subterfuge and a strategy of lies, yes, that sort of sums of the modus operandi of the TRWD over the years I have watched it in action.

I suspect soon Mary Kelleher will be getting answers to those questions she was blocked from getting her first time around on the TRWD Board.

Maybe we will learn why J.D. Granger has not been fired. And how that homage to an aluminum trash can came to be. And how much has been spent on junkets and other nonsense by J.D. Granger and his merry band of grifting river floaters...

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