Saturday, May 25, 2019

Tale Of Two Town's Population Boom: One Horizontal One Vertical

This past week's news gave me an opportunity I have not enjoyed previously. That being the two big cities with which I am most familiar, Fort Worth and Seattle, sharing a piece of news.

Thus, for the first time ever I can directly compare how the same news is reported in Fort Worth compared to Seattle, as evidenced by the two town's dominant newspapers, those being the Fort Worth Star-Telegram vs. the Seattle Times.

Just the article titles and the photos used to illustrate are revealing. Above we see the example from the Star-Telegram's Fort Worth’s booming growth refuses to slow down as city becomes 13th largest in U.S. article, while below we see the example from the Seattle Times Big-city growth slows across U.S. — but Seattle still ranks No. 2 in 2018 article.

The Seattle Times article about this subject is detailed, factual, comprehensive, well-written, and long. And the article has generated dozens upon dozens of intelligent comments reflecting wide ranging points of view.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about this subject is simplistic, reads like propaganda, and is not long. And the article has generated only a few comments, and those comments are short, simple-minded, for the most part, and with most not intelligently reflective of any point of view worth reflecting.

Let's take a look at the first four paragraphs of these two articles for illustrative purposes, and then end with a doozy of an embarrassing propaganda paragraph in the Star-Telegram article.

First the first four paragraphs from the Star-Telegram article...

The boom shows no sign of ending.

Fort Worth is now the 13th-largest city in the United States, behind Jacksonville, Florida, and ahead of Columbus, Ohio, as well as San Francisco, according to the latest Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday.

“Fort Worth’s rapid growth speaks to our incredible quality of life, business friendly climate and affordable cost of living,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “Of course, substantial growth presents both great opportunities as well as new challenges to strategically manage our growth without compromising what makes Fort Worth a unique place to live, work, and play.”

Last year, Fort Worth ranked 15th but the city added 19,552 people between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, to reach a population of 895,000. It was the third-largest gain behind Phoenix and San Antonio.

And now the first four paragraphs from the Seattle Times article...

Seattle’s decade of record-breaking growth may be slowing down, but it’s not done yet. There are still a lot more folks coming than going.

Census data released Thursday shows that from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2018, the city’s population grew by more than 15,000, bringing the total to 745,000.

That pencils out to a one-year increase of 2.1%, which ranks Seattle as the second-fastest growing among the 50 most-populous U.S. cities. We were just a fraction behind No. 1, Fort Worth, Texas.

Even so, Seattle is slowing down a little. One year earlier, from 2016 to 2017, the city added 19,000 people, achieving a growth rate of 2.7%. And the year before that, Seattle grew even faster, and ranked No. 1 in the nation. In fact, last year’s 2.1% growth rate was Seattle’s slowest since 2010, when the city was still feeling the effects of the nationwide recession.

Okay, before we get to that aforementioned paragraph of embarrassing propaganda, mention needs to be made of the idiotic statement from Fort Worth's recently re-elected mayor, one of Donald Trump's best friends, and rumored former girl friend, Betsy Price.

Betsy thinks Fort Worth's population is growing due to the town's incredible quality of life and friendly business climate? Have we mentioned previously the town has way too few parks for a town of its size, that those parks, for the most part, do not have modern facilities, but do have a lot of outhouses. That most of the town's streets have no sidewalks. And there are no (some claim there are three) public pools. This town with the friendly business climate fails over and over and over again when trying to attract a corporation to re-locate, or open a facility, despite big bribes and incentives.

Fort Worth's population is growing fast because the town has long had HUGE areas of wide open spaces, due to annexing HUGE areas of open prairie, expanding the town's city limits.

When I moved to Texas it was to the hamlet of Haslet, at the north boundary of Fort Worth. Across the street, in Fort Worth, as far as one could see one saw open land, with Fort Worth's puny skyline poking up like matchsticks way in the distance. Same thing to the west and east, except for the matchsticks. Now, two decades later, all that land is filled in with thousands of houses. And a couple large shopping complexes. Little was done to upgrade roads, add new parks, install adequate drainage, resulting in a mess of a bad urban planning not worthy of a modern American city.

This unlimited open land population growth factor was mentioned by a couple Fort Worth locals in comments on this subject on the Star-Telegram's prize winning star columnist Bud Kennedy's Facebook post about this article in his newspaper.

A couple of those cogent comments...

Don Wheeler: Fort Worth: Where urban sprawl apparently has no limits.

Dan Pariseau: Bud, do you think Ft Worth has thought out this growth and developed the City correctly? Or as I feel that the city has grown in a haphazard way, with not much serious thought given to existing neighborhoods and infrastructure, like flooding problems, crumbling streets, and sewers not able to handle the loads now.

So, clearly Fort Worth is not totally populated with propaganda purveyors lacking in common sense regarding their town's population growth and its resulting sprawl.

A town like Seattle has no open land to expand to. Seattle is surrounded by large bodies of water and other towns. San Francisco and several other big American towns also do not have what Fort Worth has, as in HUGE areas of undeveloped land. Towns like Seattle and San Francisco have to build vertical when their populations increase. Poorly planned urban sprawl is not an option in modern well-developed American towns.

And now that aforementioned paragraph of embarrassingly dumb propaganda in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about the town's population boom...

“The jump to 13th largest city in the U.S. will boost Fort Worth’s recognition worldwide as a formidable city in its own right and help draw more visitors and business investments,” said Bill Thornton, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. “The Dallas-Fort Worth region, now fourth-largest metro, and the Texas brand continue to attract business and top talent to fuel our economy. When people see that Fort Worth is larger than San Francisco, it should pique some curiosity about what’s going on here.”

Oh my, where does one start on this nonsense? Okay, you living in the rest of the world, has Fort Worth's population jump caused you to recognize the town as a formidable city?

Within the last year I recollect an article somewhere in local Fort Worth media lamenting a study which had used some sort of analytical criteria to determine that while Fort Worth, at that point in time, was America's 17th biggest town, it was at #48, or #49, in being recognized. I assume people were asked what they knew about a particular town. And with Fort Worth the answer likely usually was that it was near Dallas, with nothing else about the town on the nation's, or world's, recognition radar screen..

Luckily few people outside the town know to answer that Fort Worth is that town that encourages its people to go inner tubing in the town's e.coli polluted river while listening to music playing from an imaginary island. Or that the town is the biggest in the nation with the fewest sidewalks. Or parks. Or that the town is the outhouse capital of America.

An increasing number of American's are becoming aware of the fact that Fort Worth is the host to America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Being the 13th biggest city will draw more visitors? To see what? To visit Heritage Park at the north end of Fort Worth's downtown? That park, celebrating Fort Worth's heritage, has been a boarded up eyesore for over a decade, in that town about which imaginary curiosity is piquing, wondering what is going on in this American boomtown.

Heritage Park overlooks America's Biggest Boondoggle. Does any legitimately booming American town sport something like a boarded up city park overlooking a public works disaster mucking up a huge area of their town's landscape with bridges being built in slow motion over dry land?

Is there no limit to the delusions? Fort Worth's population boom is not fueled by booming business coming to town, by corporations re-locating to Fort Worth, or by an imaginary incredible quality of life.

The population boom is fueled by people coming to the Dallas Fort Worth Metro zone needing a place to live, while Fort Worth has wide open spaces upon which to build new homes. That is the one and only actual factual explanation for Fort Worth's population increase...

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