Tuesday, March 31, 2015

There Are Some Questions Jim Lane & Marty Leonard Need To Answer

What you are looking at here is a section of a mailer mailed to Tarrant Region Water District senior citizens, with that section being the section of the mailer which had a letter purporting to be from Fort Worth Mayor, Betsy Price, spreading the lie that a Dallas businessman is trying to do the nefarious deed of taking over Fort Worth's water.

Betsy Price really should be ashamed of herself.

It has now become quite clear that this TRWD board election is going to out-do the previous TRWD board election's level of propaganda smearing spewing from the TRWD incumbent's campaign.

However, I think this election the opponents are going to fight back.

With the facts.

Sometimes facts trump lies. Sometimes.

A series of a few Facebook posts which were posted in response to one of my Facebook posts is, maybe, an indicator of the facts the TRWD incumbents may be about to face....

Jeff Cooper These crooks drained Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Bridgeport during a multi-year drought to increase property values along the river in Ft.Worth. currently most of the area lakes not under the control of these crooks are filled up with the rain this spring. But Eagle Mountain and Bridgeport have not increased at all, the flood gates are still open. Yet the river downstream from these lakes is full to the bank!

Jayne Marshall Yes, when the true story is TRWD wants to "take" land and Jim Lane is in real estate inflating land value the TRWD wants to buy! Sounds so much like the old Savings & Loan land flips!!!

Craig Bickley That only scratches the surface. Jim Lane also paid $18 million of your tax dollars to buy a property from a bankrupt college buddy that was only valued at $9M. We must put an end to the cronyism.

Jayne Marshall Boy would I like to follow that money!!

Craig Bickley Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be laying it out. The (not so) shocking fact is that the majority of our opponents' donors are people receiving contracts from the TRWD. Ours are from people who will never get a dollar of TRWD money.

The incumbent's propaganda makes the bogus claim that a Dallas businessman is financing an attempt to take over Fort Worth's water supply. While the TRWD incumbents get the majority of the funds they are using to spew their propaganda lies from the contractors who win no-bid contracts to do high paying work for the TRWD.

And how does Jim Lane justify his finagling to rescue his bankrupt buddy with $18 million of TRWD funds, to buy a property worth $8 million, on which the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century was built?

If only Fort Worth had a real newspaper doing real investigative journalism, maybe we'd get answers to some of these questions. However, that newspaper was founded by a man who set the tone for that paper, a tone which continues to this day, with Amon Carter being a man who bragged he took a sack lunch with him when he had to do business in Dallas, so as not to spend any lunch money in that evil town.

One thing I'd like to see out in the open, is a thing I have opined about wanting to see previously. That being the record of the TRWD board meeting which led to the decision to hire Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger's son, J.D., to be the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

Don't records have to be kept and available to the public of all TRWD board meetings?

I can not be the only person on the planet who would like to read what was said which led to the hiring of a low level county prosecutor to run a big construction project for which he had zero qualifications.

I think the public learning the details of what led to the hiring of J.D. Granger is a particularly pertinent issue in this current TRWD board election, what with the Trinity River Vision now clearly a boondoggle, with little progress after years and years of paying J.D. Granger to be its director.

Unless, as progress, one counts that after 10 years, three small, simple bridges are now under construction, with an astounding four year project timeline.

And, unless one counts as progress spending a lot of money on a bizarre marketing campaign touting an imaginary island and events taking place at the imaginary island's imaginary pavilion.

If J.D. Granger is not held accountable for The Boondoggle's current sad state of slow motion to no motion progress and perverse things like Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats (and other events) in the polluted, brown Trinity River, then who is to be held accountable?

The TRWD board who hired him?

Yes. I think that sounds about right.

Which would mean the right thing for the voters to do would be to fire two of the board members who helped hire J.D. Granger, with those board members being Jim Lane and Marty Leonard, by electing Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner.

And then when the new TRWD board convenes for the first time first thing on the agenda should be the firing of J.D. Granger, followed by the firing of Jim Oliver.......

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Raw Galling Hypopcritical Hubris Of TRWD Propaganda Is Appalling

Yesterday in a blogging titled More TRWD Election Propaganda Lies From Jim Lane, Marty Leonard, Betsy Price & Mike Moncrief I mentioned an article in the Fort Worth Business Press titled Monty Bennett: Businessman, water district activist about which I said I might have more to say later.

Later would be now, a day later.

Judging from the TRWD incumbent's campaign propaganda the main thrust of their argument for re-election is so as to prevent the takeover of Fort Worth's water by an evil Dallas businessman named Monty Bennett.

Ever since I have been at my Fort Worth location in Texas I have been puzzled by the way some of the Fort Worth locals demonize Dallas. From the start of my puzzlement I have assumed the demonizing comes from Fort Worth's, well, inferiority complex. What with Dallas and Fort Worth being sort of twin sisters, with the one sister, Dallas, sort of being the star of the family, both due to notoriety, due to being the scene of the 20th century's most shocking assassination, and later due to being the setting for what was for several years the world's most popular TV show, which led to Dallas having a skyline recognized world-wide, whilst nothing in Fort Worth is recognized world-wide. But, more than any of that, Dallas is just more of an impressive, world class city than Fort Worth is, or likely will ever be.

Hence the attachment of "Dallas" to "businessman" thus turning a businessman into someone to be feared who is up to no good, when in reality Monty Bennett is simply a successful businessman who does business in Texas, including Dallas, including Fort Worth, where he owns two downtown hotels.

But, it holds no traction for the TRWD propaganda spewers to assert that a Texas businessman is trying to take over Fort Worth's water. Or to assert a Fort Worth businessman is trying to take over Fort Worth's water. Or to assert that an American businessman is trying to take over Fort Worth's water.

No. For the sake of propaganda, the TRWD has to demonize a "Dallas" businessman.

Read the Fort Worth Business Press article and you will learn Monty Bennett is simply a man trying to protect his property from TRWD eminent domain abuse, who in doing so found himself confronted by a corrupt board which did not deal in an above board, transparent, ethical manner.

In all my years prior to moving to Texas I had never witnessed eminent domain being used, let alone abused, to take private property. Since I have been in the Eminent Domain Abuse Capital of the World, Tarrant County, I have lost track of the number of outrageous instances of eminent domain abuse.

Northeast Mall needs more parking space? Abuse eminent domain to take people's homes. Now bankrupt Radio Shack needs land for a new corporate headquarters? Abuse eminent domain to boot people from a public housing project. Jerry Jones wants a new football stadium? Abuse eminent domain to take dozens of houses, businesses and displace well over a thousand people.

Those a just a few examples.

Somehow places in America, like Seattle, for instance, or my old home zone of Mount Vernon, are able to build public works projects where, when land is needed, fairly negotiate with the owners to buy their property. Seattle managed to build a new baseball park, football stadium and exhibition hall without using, let alone abusing, eminent domain. And that is in a densely developed area of downtown Seattle, unlike the area Jerry Jones, and his co-horts in eminent domain abuse, took to build a football stadium.

So, Monty Bennett has used his constitution given rights as an American citizen to defend his property from the TRWD's plans. He tried to work with them, for a solution, to no avail.

One paragraph from the FW Business Press article really irritated me....

“Monty Bennett is a Dallas businessman who is spending millions of dollars falsely attacking the Tarrant Regional Water District in an effort to take control of our local water supply,” said TRWD board President Vic Henderson. “He has filed numerous lawsuits against the district, wasting more than $1 million in TWRD taxpayer and ratepayer dollars.”

First off, Mr. Bennett is not attacking the TRWD. He is defending his property from the TRWD. Second off, it is Mr. Bennett's right to defend himself via the courts. Third off, had the TRWD dealt with Mr. Bennett openly and honestly, the TRWD would not have found itself needing to defend itself in court.

But, more than any of that, this Henderson guy complains that Mr. Bennett has caused the TRWD to waste over $1 million? How many millions did the TRWD board waste on its idiotic attempt to take water from Oklahoma? How many millions has the TRWD board wasted on the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle?

I must leave for a followup blogging what I have to say about the TRWD incumbent's embarrassingly hypocritical accusations about Mr. Bennett financing the campaigns of TRWD candidates, Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner.

I tell you, the sheer raw galling hypopcritical hubris of these people is just appalling......

Sunday, March 29, 2015

More TRWD Election Propaganda Lies From Jim Lane, Marty Leonard, Betsy Price & Mike Moncrief

On Friday I blogged a blogging titled TRWD Propaganda Targeting Seniors With Evil Dallas Boogeyman Taking Over Fort Worth Scare Tactic in which I verbalized being appalled to learn that the TRWD board election incumbents were actually continuing to use the claim that a Dallas businessman was attempting to take over the Fort Worth water supply by taking over the TRWD board, spreading this propaganda in an apparent attempt to scare senior citizens into voting for the senior citizens who are already on the board.

I learned of this TRWD bogus Dallas boogeyman tactic via Elsie Hotpepper's Great Aunt Hannah Hotpepper who emailed samples of the propaganda that had been showing up in senior citizen's mailboxes.

And then this morning Aunt Hannah's Great Niece, Elsie, emailed me scans of propaganda that has been showing up on some non-senior citizen's doors in the past 48 hours.

Just like with the mailings targeting senior citizens these latest mailings also use as mouthpieces two of Fort Worth's most infamous senior sitizens, Betsy Price and Mike Moncrief.

Do these ethically challenged TRWD  corruptees actually have so little respect for the critical faculties of those who vote that they don't realize most voters will see through the absurdity of raising the false specter of a Dallas boogeyman businessman?

Particularly when serious charges that are actually fact and reality based can be directed at some of the TRWD board members. Coyote Drive-In, anyone?

Currently the Fort Worth Business Press has an article about the Dallas Boogeyman that is based on fact, you know, the truth, of the sort you won't be reading in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the imaginary evil Dallas Business Boogeyman, Monty Bennett.

I may blog more about the Fort Worth Business Press article later, but prior to that, if Facts, Truth and the American Way matter to you, read Monty Bennett: Businessman, water district activist.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Drive By A Giant Leaking Orb On The Way To The Tandy Hills & Town Talk

I was back on the Tandy Hills today for the first time in a lot of weeks. Two Saturdays ago, en route to walking around Fosdick Lake in Oakland Lake Park, when I drove by that blue orb you see hovering above the Tandy Hills I was surprised to see a large volume of water cascading down Bridge Street, with the leak looking as if it came from the blue orb.

Two weeks later and the leak is still leaking, in copious amounts. Is the Lawn Whisperer out of town?

The Tandy Hills were much greener today than my last visit, way back when winter was still in town.

At Hoodoo Central at the north end of the View Street trail there was no Hoodoo, just a pile of rocks where a Hoodoo is usually Hoodooing. South of Hoodoo Central, the massive Hoodoo that I saw my last visit is now gone, replaced by several smaller Hoodoos which seemed to be functioning as trail markers, including marking one of two new trails I came upon today.

The first of the new trails served as a sort of bypass link from the View Street trail to the newly installed outdoor auditorium of benches.

The second new trail I came upon today is what you see above, with that marker marking what is called "Wildflower Loop".  It is appropriate that this loop is named as such, due to this open part of the Tandy Hills prairie usually being the most colorful wildflower area.

However, today, I did not seem much color blooming on the Tandy Hills. Are the wildflowers late this year? Were they damaged by the deep freezes, snow and ice of the past 30 days?

Changing the subject from big leaks, new trails and flowers which are not blooming, to something else.

I made an increasingly rare Saturday visit to Town Talk today. It was a good visit. I got two bags of apples from Yakima. That is a town in my old home state of Washington. In addition to a lot of apples I got a lot of tortillas, a big bag of Mayo Cobo beans, extra sharp English cheddar cheese, cauliflower, chicken, carrots, two pumpkin pies and other stuff I am not remembering right now.

A short while ago a knock on the door had me opening it to get delivered a package in which I found Smoked Salmon, sent from someone in Washington who felt I needed a good Washington fix. I may have been doing some whining about feeling homesick.

I am thinking it would be a good idea to open that Smoked Salmon, and pair it with that extra sharp English cheddar, on a cracker or two. But not right now, because I am only an hour past lunch.

Does anyone have the Lawn Whisperer's phone number.........

Friday, March 27, 2015

TRWD Propaganda Targeting Seniors With Evil Dallas Boogeyman Taking Over Fort Worth Scare Tactic

A couple days ago I blogged a blogging titled Why Is The TRWD's Jim Lane Afraid Of An Evil Dallas Businessman's Imaginary Plot To Control An Imaginary Island? in which I made mention of the fact that so far my mailbox had been free of any TRWD election propaganda of the sort that arrived frequently in my mailbox during the last TRWD board election.

In that blogging from a couple days ago the main point had to do with a TRWD board member, currently trying to get re-elected, Jim Lane's, embarrassing quote about an evil Dallas businessman, Monty Bennett, trying to take over the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle and Fort Worth's water supply.

I opined about that by saying, in part, "....are these ethically challenged miscreants actually going to trot out the Dallas Businessman Boogey Man again like they did the last election? Spewing stupid propaganda claiming that an evil Dallas puppeteer, Monty Bennett, was behind a nefarious plot to take over the TRWD."

Well, little did I know, til yesterday, that even as I was typing the above the ethically challenged miscreants had already trotted out their patented evil Dallas businessman propaganda, targeting senior citizens, because, I  assume they vote and are easily scared by an imaginary evil Dallas businessman, who the TRWD propaganda team always fails to mention also owns businesses in downtown Fort Worth in the form of two hotels, the Hilton and the Ashton.

I learned yesterday that the ethically challenged miscreants are actually using this same bogus "scare" tactic via email from Elsie Hotpepper's Great Aunt, Hannah Hotpepper. Elsie Hotpepper's Great Aunt Hannah was married to a Dallas businessman, so she has no great fear of that particular evil.

Aunt Hannah Hotpepper sent me two versions of this evil TRWD mailing, both with the same verbiage, but one signed as if written by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price with the other signed as if written by Betsy's predecessor, Chesapeake Energy puppet, Mike Moncrief.

It was in second paragraph of this message from two of Fort Worth's best known senior citizens, Betsy and Mike, that I gleaned that this propaganda was being targeted at seniors who I assume the TRWD propaganda-izers assume are easily duped.

The first sentence of that second paragraph...

"As a senior voter, you can vote early by mail for the upcoming May 9th Tarrant Regional Water Board election."

It is in the first paragraph that the specter of the evil Dallas businessman boogeyman is raised...

"Please don't take our local water for granted.  A Dallas businessman is trying to take over our local water board. Don't be deceived by his false attacks against Tarrant Regional Water District. The truth is we have the best water board in Texas."

How many propaganda lies can you spot in the above paragraph? I count three.

And then there's the final paragraph of this fervent plea from Betsy and Mike...

"Unlike other areas of Texas, our water board has planned ahead and secured water for our present and future needs. That's why I'm asking you to join with me in supporting the re-election of our hardworking water board members Marty Leonard and Jim Lane."

Planned ahead to secure water for present and future needs? You mean like when the TRWD board spent millions on a futile, stupid lawsuit trying to take water from Oklahoma? How many millions did the TRWD spend to rescue a bankrupt friend of Jim Lane's, which ended up resulting in the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century?

Has the Coyote Drive-in gone out of business yet?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Aunt Fancy Says It Is Not Her Fault She Has A Double Chin

This morning one of my nephews, whom I shall not name, emailed me that which you see here.

I thought this was amusing, though the number of chins seems to be off by about three.

That and Aunt Fancy would not be caught wearing a dress in any possible scenario that my meager imagination can imagine.

Other than that.


What Rank Does Betsy Price Hold In The Fort Worth Army?

That is the honorable mayor of Fort Worth, Betsy Price, you are looking at here, looking very stern and serious, with that stern and serious look being totally appropriate, what with the explosive military-like operation Betsy is overlooking.

Yesterday, after I blogged about the TRWD bragging about enabling people to jump in the Trinity River, someone named Anonymous made a blog comment which soon had me watching Betsy Price watching what looked to me like a military operation.

In plain clothes.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Thanks To The TRWD Fort Worth Is The Only Town In Texas Where You Can Jump In A River":

Off topic, but thought you would enjoy seeing our local leaders having a BLAST! Our City, Our Firearms! I guess it raises more $ than a bake sale.

The Anonymous blog comment included a link to a YouTube video which you can watch below.

The local leaders having a BLAST, to which Anonymous refers, in addition to Betsy Price, includes Betsy's predecessor, Chesapeake Energy's puppet,  Mike Moncrief.

In the video Betsy and Mike sing the praises of Fort Worth's army, I mean, SWAT team, which they, of course, believe to be the very best in the nation.

In the video there is some lamenting about the SWAT team being underfunded and needing money. I think this event must  have been some sort of fund raiser, which explains the "bake sale" part of the Anonymous comment.

Don't bullets and bombs cost a lot of money? There are a lot of guns being fired a lot of times during the course of this explosive video.

Does Fort Worth have a big need for a SWAT team army? The only horrific incident I can remember since I've been in Texas which would seem to have been SWAT team worthy was the Wedgewood Baptist Church murder of 7 young people, with an additional 7 injured before the killer Larry Gene Ashbrook killed himself.

The Wikipedia article about this tragedy makes no mention of Fort Worth's SWAT team being involved.

How much does Fort Worth spend on this little army, I can't help but wonder?

I also can't help but wonder if other town's SWAT teams engage in events of the sort you will witness in the video below?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thanks To The TRWD Fort Worth Is The Only Town In Texas Where You Can Jump In A River

What you see here arrived in my email a couple minutes ago. The person from whom I got this did not inform me as to from whence it came.

The subject line of the email simply said "More Blog Fod For You".

I asked from whence this came and just as I typed More Blog Fod For You a follow up text message informed this was on Facebook,  something to do with a response to a question asked in regards to a TRWD Adopt a Drain Facebook advertisement.

That TRWD entity sure is good at finding new ways to spend money on its advertising propaganda.

Anyway, apparently thanks to the Herculean efforts of the TRWD the Trinity River has magically gone from being a polluted mess of rolling brown sludge to being a pristine crystal clear section of urban river, the only one in the entire state of Texas where a community can jump in and enjoy the refreshing, clean water.

When did San Marcos secede from Texas? I must have missed that news. I rather like San Marcos. Beautiful town on the fringe of Texas Hill Country, a college town which reminds me of Bellingham in my old home zone of Washington.

I was real impressed with Aquarena Springs and the crystal clear San Marcos River which flows from the springs and scenically through the town of San Marcos at a constant 72 degrees.

San Marcos seemed to me to be a city, and thus urban. The locals, and oodles of out of town visitors who visit San Marcos, enjoy refreshing floats in the San Marcos River.

So, how can the TRWD parent of The Boondoggle, with that Boondoggle being the entity which has foisted the embarrassing Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the polluted brown waters of the Trinity River, claim that through their efforts they have created the only urban river section in Texas that a community can enjoy jumping in?

I tell you, the sheer raw hubris of these people never ceases  to amaze....

The TRVA Panther Island Boondoggle Wins A Boondoggle Of An Award

Yesterday Elsie Hotpepper directed me to a bizarre article in the Fort Worth Business Press titled Fort Worth's TRVA receives Urban Land Institute award, which you see screen capped here.

I don't know what has happened to the Fort Worth Business Press, but it seems to have become even more of a cheerleading, chamber of commerce, nonsense printing shill than the Star-Telegram.

For those not local, the TRVA is the Trinity River Vision Authority, also known as Panther Island, but known to many simply as The Boondoggle.

This FWBP article says the "Panther Island project, the revitalization of an 800-acre area north of downtown Fort Worth, was honored as the best “Next Big Idea” at the recent inaugural Urban Land Institute North Texas (ULI NT) Impact Awards in Dallas."

Next Big Idea? Revitalizing an 800 acre area? This Big Idea has been Boondoggling along for well over a decade, with very little revitalization to be seen. One can see a lot of property taken by eminent domain abuse. One can see a simple bridge or two supposedly under construction over dry land, creating a big traffic mess. One can see inner tube parties in the Trinity River

"For this award ULI NT sought innovative ideas with the potential to positively impact the quality of life in the North Texas region."

Innovative ideas with the potential to positively impact the quality of life? Is this a reference to The Boondoggle's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats?

And then we have an unfortunate J.D. Granger quote...

“We are honored to have our project recognized by such a reputable organization and to have been selected as the winner by our peers. Panther Island is underway now and we are excited to shape the future of Fort Worth.” 

Honored by "our" peers? Apparently there were only two other projects in the running for this extremely prestigious award that had never been awarded before and which no one has ever heard of. The FWBP article makes no mention of what the other two projects were which The Boondoggle was deemed to be better than.

Those other two projects must have been mega-lame, not to be mentioned, and to be beaten by the also mega-lame TRVA Panther Island Boondoggle, where there is no island, where there is no funding to build the proposed project, where three small, simple bridges are being built over dry land with a four year construction timeline, where a local congresswoman's unqualified son was hired to direct the project in the hopes his mother would secure federal earmark pork barrel money to pay for the public works project which the public has never voted on.

One of Fort Worth's most articulate cranky geezers submitted a good comment after he read this FWPB propaganda....

Clyde Picht ·  Top Commenter · Utah State University
A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. In this case it appears that the TRVA is being awarded for two in the bush. It's worth noting that none of the eight major funding elements have been accomplished on time. The original cost estimate of $360M has ballooned to $908M (2009 dollars). And then there is the final insult to taxpayer injury, that being the promise to only spend $26.6M of For Worth residents' tax dollars on the project. That now has escalated to over $350M tax dollars from both bonds and the TIF. The only certainty in this pork barrel project is that JD Granger will have a lifetime job. Some vision! Some award!

Texas Is Finally HOT Enough For The First Swim Of The New Year

My Turquoise Oasis Is Warm Enough For Swimming
In years previous by the Ides of March the temperature has always been sufficiently warm to facilitate a return to my morning swim habit and its resultant endorphins acquired by aerobic stimulation.

This year has been different. Global Warming temporarily bypassed Texas making for the coldest winter since I have been in the Lone Star state.

But, the past several days have been warm, with yesterday getting into the 80s.

And so, this morning I decided to attempt my first swim of the new year to quickly find myself being surprised by how easily I got acclimated to the temperature of the pool, resulting in me having myself a mighty fine time having a mighty fine swim.

I suspect I will repeat this behavior early tomorrow morning. And the morning after that, and many mornings to follow....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why Is The TRWD's Jim Lane Afraid Of An Evil Dallas Businessman's Imaginary Plot To Control An Imaginary Island?

That is Tarrant Regional Water District board member Jim Lane you are looking at here, holding a microphone in a photo I screen capped from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Years ago, at a TRIP (Trinity River Improvement Project) event at the Botanic Garden I was impressed with how well Jim Lane defended the seemingly indefensible Trinity River Vision Boondoggle.

In the years since I listened to Jim Lane defend The Boondoggle all that The Boondoggle has accomplished can be pretty much summed up by saying "very little",

Well, there are those Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the Trinity River, along with the bizarre re-branding of The Boondoggle by slapping the Panther Island nomenclature on anything associated with it. And we do have those three bridges finally, supposedly, under construction, with an amazing four year project timeline to build these three little simple bridges.

Jim Lane and Marty Leonard are up for re-election in an election that was postponed a year. Running against the incumbents are Craig Bickley and Michele Von Luckner.

So far my mailbox has been free of any TRWD election propaganda of the sort that spewed in the TRWD board election which elected Mary Kelleher. I suspect this lack of propaganda is just the calm before the storm, judging by some of the quotes I read in a typically slanted Star-Telegram article about the electiion, titled Tarrant Regional Water District election highlights opposing views on board’s performance.

And unfortunate quote from Jim Lane in the Star-Telegram article...

“If you want a Dallas businessman having control of the Panther Island project and controlling the future of your water, vote for the other guys,” Lane said. “This race is about a water district has planned for the future and continued growth with Integrated Pipeline that can handle our water needs for the next 20 or 30 years and continues to search for other sources of water.”

I read the above and thought to myself are these ethically challenged miscreants actually going to trot out the Dallas Businessman Boogey Man again like they did the last election? Spewing stupid propaganda claiming that an evil Dallas puppeteer, Monty Bennett, was behind a nefarious plot to take over the TRWD.

Somehow I don't think the Dallas Boogey Man nonsense is going to have any traction this time. Or are the locals more easily duped by nonsense than I give them credit for?

After publishing the print version the Star-Telegram amended the online version of this article adding a retort from Mr. Bennett....

Bennett disputed Lane’s assertions in an email.

“The entrenched incumbents continue to try and scare the voters with grandiose stories about an evil Dallasite trying to steal their water,” Bennett said. “This is absurd. For the record, I have no interest in Fort Worth’s water, or the Trinity River Vision or the Integrated Pipeline project.

“I’ve successfully blocked the TRWD from snatching my mother's family land in east Texas. My only interest now is to help Mary Kelleher continue the fight against a heavy handed government agency, with numerous allegations of corruption, cronyism, and self-dealing, that treats citizens, including me, very poorly while neglecting its core duties of water provision and flood control.”

Oh my, doesn't Monty Bennett sound like the devil incarnate? How dare a landowner fight to keep his land from being snatched. The nerve. And for this man to own a business, or two, in Dallas, why this is such an outrage there should be a law outlawing such a thing.....

UPDATE: A few minutes after publishing the above I heard from Elsie Hotpepper, telling me the shocking news that the plot by the evil Dallas businessman to take over Fort Worth is further along than I had realized. Apparently in addition to being an evil Dallas businessman, Monty Bennett is also an evil Fort Worth businessman due to his owning two downtown Fort Worth hotels, those being the historic Hilton and the Ashton. Shocking. What's next? Hearing that Monty Bennett has bought controlling interest in The TRWD's Woodshed Smokehouse? 

Spencer Jack Jones Is Now A Young Author Going To College

The last time Spencer Jack's dad called me I recollect mention being made of Spencer Jack possibly taking a night class at Mount Vernon's Skagit Valley College, with that class being a learn to speak Spanish course.

I vaguely recollect Spencer Jack's dad making mention of Spencer Jack winning some writing award.

I saw that which you see here this morning on Facebook, via Spencer Jack's dad, Jason Jones.

From Jason's Facebook post, and its photos, I gleaned that Spencer Jack spent a fun day at the aforementioned Skagit Valley College as part of something in its 28th year called "Young Authors".

I do not know what Spencer Jack has authored. I do know that at 8 years old Spencer Jack is already an avid reader, reading way above his grade level.

In the Jones family for several generations the oldest sibling is always left handed. I'm left handed, Jason is left handed, each of the eldest cousins of my various Jones aunts and uncles are left handed.

With only one or two glaring exceptions none of the left handed Jones are organized sports playing fanatics, as in the playing baseball, basketball or football on a team type sports playing fanatics.

For the most part all the left handed members of the Jones family have more evolved verbal skills than the right handers, so I would be very surprised if it turns out that Spencer Jack is a right handed anomaly.

And I have no idea why I have never thought to ask if Spencer Jack is left handed....

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Bertha Debacle Has Me Wondering How Long Til Fort Worth's Boondoggle Becomes A National Embarrassment

I read an interesting article in the Seattle Times this morning, titled U.S.snoozes while rest of world invests in infrastructure.

The article was interesting for a couple reasons, with the main reason being a look at  how America has fallen behind the rest of the world in the building of infrastructure megaprojects.

The article detailed some of the world's current megaprojects, like a subway tunnel under London and a rail tunnel under the Alps.

The other reason this article was interesting is it provided a real good example of how differently news is presented in a real newspaper of the paper of record sort, such as the Seattle Times, and how news is presented in a newspaper like the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

I'll copy that which contains that to which I refer...

The tunnel meant to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct seems to say much of what is wrong with American infrastructure. At $3.1 billion just to replace the viaduct, it sounds outlandishly expensive. Bertha, the tunnel-boring machine, was only recently rescued from useless underground purgatory. It was stuck so long it became a national embarrassment. 

Okay, can you spot what is in the above sentences which you would never read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with its patented Chamber of Commerce type propaganda cheerleader type covering of what should be local news?

If you focused on the "national embarrassment" phrase, you found that which you would never find in the Star-Telegram in covering any of Fort Worth's many embarrassments.

Actually, I think the Seattle Times was doing a bit of humble bragging. Is the ordeal of the stuck Bertha tunnel digger actually well enough known, nationally, to be a national embarrassment?

Can you imagine reading something in the Star-Telegram like "The slow motion Trinity River Vision project, well into its second decade, has become a national embarrassment, with so little accomplished in such a long time."

Or, "The Trinity River Vision's TNT exploding fanfare to mark the beginning of construction of three bridges over dry land, to connect to a non-existent island, has become a national embarrassment."

Or, "The hiring of a Fort Worth Congresswoman's son, J.D. Granger, to be the Executive Director of the Trinity River Vision project has become a national embarrassment in the parts of America in which nepotism is seen as unethical and corrupt."

Or, "The Trinity River Vision's Rockin' the River Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the polluted Trinity River at a venue called Panther Island, where there is no island, has become a national embarrassment."

There is another reason, besides the Star-Telegram's tendency to gloss over and sugar coat, that the Star-Telegram does not refer to any of Fort Worth's foibles as "national embarrassments".

That reason would be the fact that it is fortunate for Fort Worth that the town really is not on America's radar screen. The rest of America knows nothing about Fort Worth's many boondoggles, hence Fort Worth is spared, for now, from being a national embarrassment.

Methinks that may change, sooner than  later.

At some point the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle will reach the level of being 60 Minutes expose worthy.

It will be very amusing watching Kay Granger squirm as a 60 Minutes reporter asks  her to explain how it was that her son, a low level county prosecutor, was deemed to be qualified to run a public works project for which she was expected to secure federal dollars.

Or when that 60 Minutes reporter asks J.D. Granger to explain, in detail, how it is that building three bridges over dry land saves money and why it is those three small, simple bridges are projected to take four years to build.

Or when 60 Minutes asks J.D. Granger to take them on a tour of Panther Island  At that point America will be giggling and Fort Worth will have finally achieved national embarrassment status......

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Seattle's MarketFront Project Has Me Freshly Wondering Why Fort Worth's TRV Boondoggle Has No Project Timeline

No, that is not an artist's rendering of some aspect of the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle you are looking at here.

What you are looking at is an artist's rendering of something called the MarketFront Project.

I was reading the Seattle Times online this morning when the headline Seattle Council Expected to OK $34 million for Market Expansion caught my eye.

In Seattle if you say something about "The Mountain" you are referring to Mount Rainier. If you say something about "The Market" you are referring to Pike Place Market.

The city's $34 million contribution is just part of the $73 million MarketFront Project.

I'd not heard, previously, about a plan to expand Pike Place. If you have ever been to Pike Place you know it is a sprawling, multi-level development. Expanding on that had me curious as to what that expansion would be.

Reading the article soon had me thinking what a contrast between this and that which one might read in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the slow motion project known as the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. That being a project with no project timeline, building oddball things like bridges over nothing connecting to an imaginary island.

And taking an astonishing four years to build those three simple little bridges to an imaginary island.

The Pike Place MarketFront Project has an actual project timeline, unlike Fort Worth's Boondoggle.

The following sentences in the Seattle Times article also served as an interesting contrast to Fort Worth's Boondoggle...

The project work is supposed to take about 18 months, but the complete vision for the Market’s expansion won’t be realized for much longer. That’s because the machine digging a new tunnel under downtown Seattle to replace the viaduct is almost two years behind schedule.

Imagine that, an actual project with a complete vision with a timeline of 18 months, with a rather valid excuse as to what will keep the project from being completely finished on time, that being a problem with the world's biggest tunnel boring machine causing a two year delay before the Alaskan Way Viaduct can be torn down.

Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, I have yet to read an explanation as to how it can take four years to build three very simple, very small bridges, with pretty much zero engineering complications.

With the excuse that building the bridges over dry land is to save money due to making construction easier. There will be no water in the un-needed flood diversion channel until the Trinity River is diverted into the channel, rendering as nonsense the claim as to why these bridges are being built over dry land, as if there was any other option, until water is purposefully diverted under the bridges.

So, what is Seattle getting for that $73 million 18 month project?

The upper section of the plaza, near Victor Steinbrueck Park, will house 47 new outdoor day-stalls for Market farmers and artists, shielded with a glass canopy. Tucked below and accessible from the lower section of the plaza will be 12,000 square feet of retail space for artisan-food purveyors such as Old Stove Brewery. Under the plaza and new shops, the PDA will build a garage with about 300 parking spots. The existing lot has 88. The project will include some delicate work because the century-old BNSF train tunnel runs directly below. The other chunk of the project is a new building with 40 units for low-income seniors. The bottom-floor apartments will be live-work units opening onto the plaza. The city’s waterfront plan calls for a massive overlook walk bringing pedestrians from an Elliott Bay park promenade uphill to the Market plaza.


What a contrast with anything I have read regarding the Fort Worth Boondoggle's Billion Dollar Vision.

What would The Boondoggle do if part of their project involved delicate work over an old train tunnel? Dither til the tunnel disappeared?

I am almost 100% certain Seattle and its actual millions of visitors will be enjoying this Pike Place MarketFront upgrade long before any vehicles drive over any of The Boondoggle's bridges to  The Boondoggle's imaginary island....

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Complex Space Needle Built In Less Than One Year While In Fort Worth...

Before we continue with our popular series of bloggings about feats of complex engineering which were completed in time frames which make the four year construction time line of the Fort Worth Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing seem even more bizarre, what with The Boondoggle's bridges being very small, simple bridges being built over dry land.

Okay, that above sentence ran on so long I forgot where it was going.

Now I remember, before we continue I must correct an error I made in yesterday's blogging titled I Wonder Why The Citizens Of Fort Worth Can Not Vote To Be Part Of A Global Transformation? Someone named Anonymous kindly pointed out that the link to the Atlantic Magazine article about the Bayonne Bridge reconstruction was incorrect. It is a very good article about a very complex feat of engineering, which I am sure you will find interesting.

Now, back to today's feat of engineering and its construction timeline.

The Seattle Space Needle.

Built as the centerpiece of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, known as Century 21, when the Space Needle was built no one opined it would become an iconic symbol of Seattle, or that it was any sort of signature structure.

But, that is what the Seattle Space Needle became, not only a signature symbol of Seattle, but an iconic landmark of the entire Pacific Northwest.

It is having seen actual iconic signature landmarks which can cause me to find it so bizarre when Fort Worth propagandists make claims along the line that three very ordinary bridges being built in slow motion are signature bridges which will become iconic symbols of Fort Worth.

How do those who spout this type nonsense do so with no cringe of embarrassment?

As you can see above, via a screen cap gleaned from Wikipedia, construction on the Seattle Space Needle began on April 17, 1961, and was completed December 8, 1961, in far less than a year.

The Seattle Space Needle was a far more complex feat of engineering than Fort Worth's simple Three Bridges Over Nothing.

For a few years the Space Needle replaced Seattle's Smith Tower as the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. The Space Needle is 605 ft. high and weighs 9,550 tons, with half of that weight underground, making the Space Needle strong enough to withstand 200 miles per hour Category 5 level hurricane winds and a 9.1 magnitude earthquake.

Unlike Fort Worth's Three Bridges Over Nothing the Seattle Space Needle was built with a sense  of urgency, what with it needing to be completed and ready for prime time by the opening of the Seattle World's Fair on April 21, 1962.

From the Wikipedia Space Needle article...

With time an issue, the construction team worked around the clock. The domed top, housing the top five levels (including the restaurants and observation deck), was perfectly balanced so that the restaurant could rotate with the help of one tiny electric motor. The earthquake stability of the Space Needle was ensured when a hole was dug 30 ft (9.1 m) deep and 120 ft (37 m) across, and 467 concrete trucks took one full day to fill it. The foundation weighs 5850 tons (including 250 tons of reinforcing steel), the same as the above-ground structure. The structure is bolted to the foundation with 72 bolts, each one 30 ft (9.1 m) long.

467 truck loads of concrete taking one full day to fill the Space Needle's foundation? What if the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle acted with that sort of urgency? Which one would think it would, what with the vision pretending to be a supposedly vital flood control and economic development project.

And might I add, the Seattle World's Fair and Space Needle came about without employing a Seattle congresswoman's unqualified son as project director.

Methinks if J.D Granger had been put in charge of the Seattle World's Fair project we would still be waiting for the fair to open. But in the meantime we would have likely have had some might fine Rockin' the Puget Sound Happy Hour Inner Tube Floats in the crystal clear water of Seattle's Elliott Bay, but with no ridiculous bridges being built over actual water to any of the Seattle area's actual islands....

Friday, March 20, 2015

I Wonder Why The Citizens Of Fort Worth Can Not Vote To Be Part Of A Global Transformation?

I am backing up a backlog of material for my continuing series of bloggings about the building of bridges and other feats of engineering which took less time to build than the four years Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle is projected to take to build three very simple bridges over dry land.

The last blogging about this serious subject was about the Astoria-Megler Bridge crossing the Columbia River, which was built in less than four years.

That blogging generated a comment that pointed me to another interesting bridge construction project...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "North America's Longest Continuous Truss Bridge Took Less Than Four Years To Build While In Fort Worth....":

Just another bridge story:

This bridge story Anonymous is pointing us towards has to do with a bridge modification project on the Bayonne Bridge which crosses the tidal strait known as Kill Van Kull, connecting Bayonne, New Jersey to Staten Island.

This bridge work is being done over the waters of one of the busiest shipping channels in America. This big project is projected, at five years, to take slightly longer than it is projected to build Fort Worth's little bridges which are not being built over tidal straits.

This Bayonne Bridge modification is the most ambitious bridge modification ever engineered. It is part of the massive upgrades that have been taking place on the Eastern seaboard to get ready for the big ships which will soon be sailing through the Panama Canal, which is in the process of being widened.

The two sentences below, gleaned from a paragraph about the Panama Canal in the Atlantic Magazine article about the Bayonne Bridge modification, are interesting due to an element one would likely not read pertaining to a Fort Worth public works project. Read the two sentences and see if you can spot the part that would not happen in Fort Worth...

The project is part of a global transformation. In 2006, the citizens of Panama voted to build a wider and longer set of locks on their famous canal. 

I just realized there are two elements in the above two sentences that one would likely not read in reference to anything to do with Fort Worth.

I had not noticed the being "part of a global transformation" element, til second glance. I was focused on the "citizens of Panama voted" element.

Imagine that. The citizens of a functioning democracy voted on a public works project and that project is well underway to transforming international shipping. Can you imagine anything in Fort Worth being part of a global transformation after a vote by the citizens of Fort Worth?

Me either.

Speaking of the Panama Canal, and who isn't? Awhile back I blogged about that canal as yet one more example of a massive public works project being built in the same time frame in which Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has dithered.

That blogging was titled The Panama Canal Was Built In The Time It Took Fort Worth To Begin Construction On Three Bridges Over Dry Land and made the point that the Panama Canal began construction in 1904 and was completed and floating boats by 1914, while the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle began Boondoggling in 2004 and never got around to starting to build its Three Bridges Over Nothing til 2014, ten years later.

Who knows how many years it will be, if ever, that boats will be floating on the Trinity Canal, under the three bridges currently being built over nothing.....

A Bumbershoot Enabled Walk In The Texas Rain Looking At Chicken & Waffles

Finally, after days of eager anticipation, the predicted rain finally did some falling as per the prediction.

The predicted thunderstorming remains absent from my location, except for one distant boom an hour or two ago.

With rain dripping in the noon time frame I thought it would be enjoyable to open my bumbershoot and go do some drop dodging whilst walking around my neighborhood.

Eventually I ended up in Albertsons looking at the frozen food section. Being a hungry man I paid particularly close attention to the HUNGRY - MAN Selects section of Banquet TV dinners.

It has been years since I have had myself a TV dinner, I am sure that has never happened in this current century.

I may have to make an exception to my TV dinner aversion and try one I saw today, which I took a photo of, which you see above.

Boneless Fried Chicken & Waffles.

Doesn't that sound appetizing? The description on the box made it sound even more appealing....

Tender white chicken patties and waffles drizzled with syrup, home-style mashed potatoes - includes cranberry apple dessert.

I never heard of Chicken and Waffles til I moved to Texas.

I never saw Chicken and Waffles, in person, til last summer when I was at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium watching the USA get beat in the World Cup by some other country the identity of which I no longer remember. At that event Chicken and Waffles were  heavily promoted, with the Waffles shaped like Texas.

I think I blogged about the Texas shaped waffles. I'll go see if I can find that. I may have taken a picture....

Found it, a blogging titled In The Dallas Cowboy Stadium Watching Belgium Beat The USA With Chicken & Waffles in which I learned it was Belgium I watched beat the USA. And the blogging does include a picture of the Chicken and Texas-shaped Waffles.

I wonder what the story is behind Chicken & Waffles. Is this a Texas gourmet culinary culture staple that goes way back in time?

I am not a big a fan of sweet things. Pouring syrup over fried chicken, mixed with waffles does not sound too appealing to my un-refined palate.

But, I'd give them a try, but that'd need to be in a restaurant Chicken and Waffles version, like at Buttons, not a Banquet TV dinner version....

Spring's Vernal Equinox Arrives With A Flowerful Google Doodle & Texas Thunderstorms

If you go to Google today you see that which you see here, a  flowerful harbinger of Spring.

If you type "Vernal Equinox" into the Google search form, and hit enter, you will see...

Vernal Equinox: New Google Doodle Celebrates First Day of Spring

The vernal equinox, the first day of Spring, is celebrated by a new Google Doodle...Solar Eclipse 2015 Kicks Off a Day of Celestial Events

I don't know where the Solar Eclipse which Google mentions is taking place.

If the sun is being eclipsed at my location on the planet it will go unnoticed due to a thick filter of gray clouds currently blocking visual access to the sun from a ground bound location.

Ever since Wednesday the weather predictors have been predicting rain and thunderstorms for North Texas. However, at my location in North Texas I have heard no thunder booming and have experienced only one very short burst of rain, with that rain bursting in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

Today, that being Friday, March 20, the Vernal Equinox, that day when the sun is half way between the dead of Winter and the height of Summer, marking the start of Spring, I heard via the radio, a few minutes ago, that thunderstorms are currently being spotted all over North Texas, including at the north end of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, in the Denton zone.

With the sky now looking the darkest it has looked during this period of end of Winter gloom, I suspect that today will be the day the weather predictor's prediction of rain and thunderstorms will arrive at my location.

In the meantime, my windows remain open until the actual arrival of inclement weather....

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Former Queen Of Assumption Miss Julie's Armadillos

This morning on Facebook (or was it last night?), Miss Julie, formerly known as the Queen of Assumption, shared a video of a pet armadillo having itself a mighty fine time being a playful housepet.

Miss Julie's armadillo video brought about an amusing series of comments about armadillos, including details from someone who had had personal experience with having a pet armadillo.

I was among those making a comment, with my comment mentioning a time I had myself an encounter with two packs of baby armadillos in Arlington's River Legacy Park

I was sure I could easily find the photo documentation of my encounter with the River Legacy armadillo babies. I recollect way back in 2005, at Lake Cushman on Hood Canal, in Washington, my dear Aunt Arlene asking if I had any armadillo pictures on the very laptop I am using right now. I recollect saying I did have armadillo pictures and proceeded to show my dear Aunt Arlene photos of the River Legacy Park baby armadillos.

I looked all through the Picassa album that tracks my photos, to no avail. Then I remembered that I likely used the River Legacy armadillo photos on my webpage about River Legacy Park. I looked there and quickly found a couple photos of the baby armadillos, including the one you see above.

Why have the armadillo pics disappeared from Picassa? This is not the first time I have had a disappeared picture mystery.

Anyway, below is the Queen of Assumption, I mean, Miss Julie's Facebook armadillo discussion, in part....

  • Connie Dees and 6 others like this.
  • Christy Sly Wow, it's just nice to see one that's alive and not smushed on the road or made into a purse.
    20 hrs · Like · 2
  • Cindy Hoffmeister We had an armadillo living in our house in Nebraska for 3-4 years when I was growing up. 
    His name was Hairy Bellyfonte but we called him Butch. He used a cat litter box, was very clean and ate earthworms and raw eggs with mayonnaise. 
    He was hysterical and great friends with our cats and Great Dane. 

    Thanks for bringing up the memories!
    18 hrs · Like · 3
  • Mel Tanner Yeah, they're awesome until they turn on you and rip your face off..... Just kidding.
    16 hrs · Like · 3
  • Julie Hall How great, Cindy Hoffmeister! I had never heard of such a thing! I'll never look at them merely as deaf, blind garden pests again. 
    4 hrs · Like · 1
  • Durango Jones You have never picked up an armadillo, Miss Julie? They are very cuddly and make a cute high pitched squeal of delight. I came upon two sets of armadillo babies, on one day, years ago, at Arlington's River Legacy Park. Both sets had four babies. I got down on the ground to take pictures and they came over to me, with their mama not seeming to mind. You must learn not to pre-judge the animal kingdom. Those armadillos you judged deaf, blind garden pests easily may have thought the same of you......
    4 hrs · Like · 1
  • Cindy Hoffmeister Butch was a rescue pet! A friend found him, as a baby, beside his dead mother on a Texas highway. She brought him back to Nebraska, knowing my mother would figure out how to take care of him. He slept under my dresser, constantly pulling any clothes I left on the floor (a lot) under to make his nest. We eventually gave him to the 
    Henry Dorley Zoo in Omaha.
    4 hrs · Like · 1