Sunday, November 25, 2018

Baffling Fort Worth Star-Telegram Editorial About America's Biggest Boondoggle

Yesterday we blogged about Elsie Hotpepper's Midnight Fort Worth Weekly Cookin' The Trinity River Vision Books Turkey Alert.

On that same day the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published an opinion piece from the Star-Telegram Editorial Board, pretty much about the same subject, sort of.

With that subject being America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

That being a vision which now, in 2018, is pretty much universally viewed as being an imaginary vision,, with an imaginary island, imaginary bridges and an imaginary project executive director in the form of Congresswoman Kay Granger's boy, J.D., who has zero qualifications for such a project. A fact now painfully obvious to anyway who has watched this sad vision gradually develop a bad case of macular degeneration.

The Star-Telegram's editorial is titled Has Fort Worth’s vision for Panther Island exceeded its grasp?

This editorial is a typical Star-Telegram bit of propaganda misinformation, disguised to seem to be well intentioned.

Rarely does any article in the Star-Telegram generate any comments. This editorial, a day after being published, has generated two comments. The second of the comments we will get to before taking a look at what the commenter is commenting about...

Jim Schermbeck: No quotes from a decade of uncritical S-T's editorials supporting this boondooggle? No acknowledgement of its own complicity? Newspaper, heal thy self.

My reaction to this Star-Telegram editorial was the same as Mr. Schermbeck's. As in the editorial struck me as being bald faced hypocritical. Let's go through what the Star-Telegram had to say...

Fourteen years after its rollout — and just months after this year’s public vote of confidence, in the passage of a local $250 million bond referendum — the $1.16 billion vision has hit a huge sandbar: half a billion in federal funding, approved by Congress in 2016 and thought to be in the bank, was not included in the Trump administration’s current spending plans or Army Corps of Engineers budget.

Public vote of confidence? The Star-Telegram actually feels okay with signing on to this bit of Trinity River Vision/Kay Granger propaganda? First off, all the voters in the city of Fort Worth were not allowed to vote on this imaginary vote of confidence. Just like all affected are not allowed to vote on TRWD board elections. The ballot verbiage indicated the $250 million was for flood control and drainage issues. There was no mention in the ballot measure of anything to do with what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle. Many have called this fraud and have asked for some sort of investigation.

Moving on...

It’s important that in our grand vision we don’t lose sight of the fact that the genesis and primary purpose of the Panther Island project is flood control. The Trinity River authority’s own materials tout the need to shore up the 1960s-era levees and bolster them with the “1.5-mile bypass channel, three new flood gates, expanded storm water valley storage opportunities and a new dam.”

Say what? Grand vision? The primary purpose is flood control? In an area of Fort Worth which has not flooded since levees were built in the 1950s. Note, 1950s. Not 1960s. The now disgraced TRV Authority touts the need to shore up those levees which have done their job for well over half a century, by bolstering the levees with a bypass channel, three new flood gates, and some "expected" valley water storage, along with a new dam?

New flood gates? Three of them? Where are the old flood gates? Expected water storage? Isn't that water storage area what has been dug in the area of Gateway Park? Flood storage needed if the bypass ditch is ever dug, with flood waters racing at much greater speed towards Arlington and Dallas. The Star-Telegram forgot to mention J.D. Granger's 60,000 Magic Trees which are also supposedly supposed to help stem a flood.

And then this in this embarrassing editorial...

While it’s an enticing byproduct that we’d be creating “12 miles of publicly accessible waterfront consisting of a river promenade, riverwalk system and a 30-acre town lake as its centerpiece,” and “doubling the size of downtown,” the main mission is to protect the downtown that we already have.

Oh my, how the size of that imaginary lake changes. We have seen it go from 12 acres, to the Star-Telegram's 30 acres. Yes, what an enticing byproduct of this un-needed flood control, creating 12 miles of waterfront able to be accessed by the public who have paid for it. What a concept. And a river promenade, with a riverwalk system. Anyone know what a riverwalk system is? As opposed to just simply a riverwalk. Double the size of downtown? Really? The existing downtown is up a bluff from the Boondoggle's imaginary island.

The main mission is to protect the downtown we already have? Like we just said. The downtown is up a bluff from the Trinity River. And those big levees have long protected any part of downtown Fort Worth which is not high above the river on that aforementioned bluff.

Why does the Star-Telegram continue to spew this type nonsensical irresponsible propaganda?

And then we come to this...

The Trump administration’s decision to withhold funding for the project should be seen as the reasonable, prudent challenge that it is: The feds appear to want an economic study proving the project’s need. This is a hurdle we should want all government projects to clear.

Finger-pointing and recriminations won’t get us anywhere, or get those already-under-construction Panther Island bridges off the ground.

The feds want an economic study to prove the project's need? And now the Star-Telegram agrees such should be the case with all government projects? And yet the Star-Telegram, up til now, has supported this Boondoggle, has never called for any sort of study or analysis. And regarding those bridges, which are now into year five of their slow motion construction, the Star-Telegram has done zero actual investigative journalism into what has caused the slow motion construction of three simple little bridges being built over dry land.

 Like Mr. Schermbeck said in his comment, "Newspaper, heal thy self."

1 comment:

MLK said...

Why this project cannot be funded like the Clearfork project is beyond me. They received no tax abatements, etc. because they didn't want less than market-rate apartments or condos there. Didn't want riff raff or diversity.

They don't want that in their fancy downtown project either, with or without funding.