Sunday, August 31, 2008

Regarding Healthcare - What is more important to you?

1. The cost to you personally OR

2. The cost to the government?

I thought it was an interesting question. This was a campaign focus group question.

What means more to you? Change or Accountability

You have to pick one, you can't say both!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How Ft. Worth & Tarrant County enforce the Criminal Trespass Law

I have a file with 10+ "Ft. Worth Police Department Trespass Warnings." A form the police must complete the first time that they find someone trespassing on private property. According to the FWPD, the officer must physically see & hear the property owner tell the offender to not come on the property, even if the person is on the property and owner calls the police. The FWPD says that this is what the Tarrant County District Attorney's office wants done in order to prosecute a criminal trespass case should it ever go to court. The only way anyone can ever be taken to jail for trespassing in Ft. Worth is if they have received a written trespass warning at said property previously to the second offense at said property.

The State of Texas Criminal Trespass Laws reads like this:

"§ 30.05. CRIMINAL TRESPASS. (a) A person commits an offense if he enters or remains on or in property, including an aircraft or other vehicle, of another without effective consent or he enters or remains in a building of another without effective consent and he:

(1) had notice that the entry was forbidden; or
(2) received notice to depart but failed to do so
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Entry" means the intrusion of the entire body.
(2) "Notice" means:
(A) oral or written communication by the owner or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner; (B) fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or to contain livestock (C) a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden; (D) the placement of identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property, provided that the marks are:..."

I called the other morning because of the guy you see in the picture sleeping on my business property. The police come out, then walk over to me and say, "you need to come tell him that you don't want him on your property." I refused. A few of us have had so many meetings with City Officials, including Council member for my district, Kathleen Hicks, Homeless Coordinator, Otis Thornton, Captain Sudan (who has been moved to another Police District), Captain Billy Cordell and others. I have also emailed and met with County prosecutors and communicated with DA's office concerning this issue. We have been told so many times that all has been worked out and it is no longer required that property owners face the offenders and say anything!! However, due to the lack of effective communication w/in City Hall and up and down the ranks of the Fort Worth Police Department, this new standard operating procedure NEVER makes it to the officers working the beats/streets. I have emailed and sat in meetings until I am blue in the face. This is just another PERFECT example of our local City Government not working for the people! And people wonder WHY I am non-trusting and have little faith in Ft. Worth's Government. Put this one down as one reason why. Please.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I sure miss Ann Richards

"She was credited with greatly modernizing the operations of the treasury. Reelected in 1986, she gained national prominence when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention."

BTW, I decided to pull out my autographed book, "Straight from the Heart" Ann Richards with Peter Knobler. I'm reading along, and I see a folded up agenda to "Capital For A Day Town Hall Meeting" in Grayson County, Texas June 30, 1994....on the back I had written in ink, "Senator Mike Moncrief Ft. Worth, TX." It was one of those twilight moments when you think, "Oh how weird that he is now Mayor of the City I am living in!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Help FWISD students prevail

A groundbreaking program will reach out to students who don't show up for the first day of school this year. Sponsored by Mayor Moncrief, FWISD and local Chambers of Commerce, absentee students will be contacted through a phone bank during Sept 3 & 4th. Visitation teams comprised of FWISD staff, City staff, and community volunteers will then personally visit homes of these students on Sat, Sept 6 from 8:00 – 12:00. Are you willing to help with this project that is so important to our community’s future? If so, please call Cindy Boyd, Volunteer Manager, at 817 207-9633 or via email at

Monday, August 18, 2008

County Commissioner RC Brooks blames "the system."

Just another day in minority leaders blaming "the system" instead of looking at the stats of lower income, black and hispanic communities and looking for ways to empower the parents of children who made the choice to unzip their pants and take the risk of bearing a child when they could not afford such emotionally or financially.

"To me that says that there’s something wrong with the system, not with the kids, that somehow the system is failing to capture their imaginations or to transmit to them the importance of staying in school or even making them feel that there are possibilities for them within the school system," Roy Brooks, County Commissioner.

What about all the parents that the principals can't get involved in their children's education? Whynot put some responsibilty and accountability there instead of blaming the schools? Please don't vote for RC Brooks again. Let's start with addressing the source of issues rather than the end products of such? Can we please dig a little deeper? Can we please go there? I know it's a "sensitive cultural" issue, but please, let's use our brains.

City of Ft. Worth's "Housing First" program falls down right out of the shoot

So the City of Ft. Worth does this media blitz about Debra, the girl that's been living on the streets of Ft.Worth for 15 years, because Debra is one of the first people to receive grant money for "Housing First." A program that prides itself on the fact that if you provide 4 walls and a roof over a homeless person's head, they are more likely to become a productive, tax paying citizen instead of a non-productive, tax burden for the working people of Ft. Worth. Debra's drug of choice is alcohol (and a need to feel loved by a man). I know, because Debra has worked for me, on & off several times. I know Debra well, she's good hearted, fun loving, hard worker, excellent groomer, great with customers, etc. (when she's sober). When Debra's drunk, she can be a belligerent, offensive and hard to handle. I've had to call the police twice to get her out of my lobby. Debra has had a video story done on her by the Star-telegram, several articles written about her by Star-telegram, she's been on tv Sunday morning "Insights" Fox channel, etc. So we, the taxpayer's fund Debra a $700 or so apartment for a certain amount of time. I have been called by several of the employees from Ft. Worth Housing to make sure she had a job if all went well with the Housing First plan. I asked more than once that the case manager call me and let me know what parameters Debra would have to function within. Never have I gotten that call and discussed what the guidelines are in place for Debra.

Long story short, Debra was suppose to go to Detox (MHMR) then 28 day residential treatment. The past 3-4 days Debra has shown up at my place of business, walking the streets of E. Lancaster once again, all the while you tax paying citizens of Ft. Worth are footing the bill for her apartment. Today she showed up drunker than cooter brown, with a puppy under her arm, looking like hell and asking me if she had a job. I called Ft. Worth Housing contacts and asked what was going on and why my tax dollars were being wasted. Housing blamed MHMR for releasing Debra from Detox to the streets, etc.

ONE CANNOT GO FROM DETOX TO THE STREETS FOR RECOVERY. HELLO.......IT DOES NOT WORK! The solution: CFW and County Commissioners will have to spend millions of dollars to reform our jailhouse and reform people while they are sitting in jail for their Class C crimes. Women must be separated from men and their (men & women's) emotional health and well being be the focus. Otherwise the City of Ft. Worth's Mayor and all other Council members are wasting your tax dollars. Email them and tell them so. The Indigency Law in Texas is a crock! Get rid of it!! Everyone must pay for their crime!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kathleen Hicks complains of the lack of Transparency in Government at City Hall

As I watched the pre-Council meeting on August 12th, 2008 and heard City Council member, Kathleen Hicks complaining about the apparent lack of transparency in government at Fort Worth's City Hall, I was a little amused. For the simple reason that I personally, have not found my councilrep, Hicks to be transparent in her way of governing District 8's business at all, at least not with me. Hicks mentioned something about not being aware of the specific budget cuts and moving around and merging of depts w/in the City. Perhaps it wasn't something that others felt she "needed" to know or that would interfere with her conducting business in her District. On a second note, it's really perplexing to me when Hicks and others complain about the "other Ft. Worth" meaning the "poor and oppressed" not receiving the free handouts (services) that they are accustomed to when I don't ever hear about any of those complaining politicians out beating the pavement for more responsible parenting, such as involvement in their children's education, especially during the early development stages of childhood; teenage safe sex practices and/or abstinence; child affordability; responsible dog ownership; importance of diet and exercise and how that relates to health problems; what a life of crime will get you, etc. Maybe Hicks and others who complain about lost services to "the other Ft. Worth," are doing it and I'm just not hearing about it. (and I'm not talking about appearances at meetings) -- I'm talking about beating the pavement as a "Community Leader." All I hear about is how much money she wants from the taxpayers to pay for the product(s) that irresponsible parenting brings to the table for the community and taxpayers of Ft. Worth. Where is the calling for more education and/or discussions for addressing some of the root causes of: Infant Mortality, Diabetes, teenage pregnancy, teenage high school drop out, the extremely high number of stray dog pick ups in her District, homelessness, etc.? Many of the issues she likes to fund heavily but not really address in discussion. Don't get me wrong, I believe in helping the ones who can't help themselves such as the elderly, handicapped, mentally ill, x-cons, addicts, poor, etc.; however, no free handouts for simply making bad choices over and over and over.

And BTW, speaking of Transparency in Government, where are the answers to my questions that I would think any councilmember, in any City, would not have to dig too terribly deep or take too terribly much time to come up with? I asked the following and am still waiting on the answers:

1. Is it true that the Gas Drilling Task Force voted to NOT record minutes to their meetings? If so, whynot?

2. Is it true that the City of Ft. Worth will not allow the GD Task Force meeting this Monday night (8/11/08) to be videotaped and shown on our City cable television channel? If true, what is the reason behind the decision and who made it?

3. Why hasn't all of the information from this past week's joint meeting of Ft. Worth City Council and Gas Drilling Task Force been uploaded to the City's website as promised by the city attorney? When will it be?

4. Have you personally studied and looked at the various State laws and codes regarding the City's authority regarding pipelines and gas drilling or are you relying solely on the City attorneys to inform you?

5. Are you pushing for a moratorium be placed on gas drilling and pipeline decisions until a Master Plan is configured and put in place in the City of Ft. Worth? If not, whynot? If so, what exactly are you doing and how are you planning to influence others who are paid with our taxdollars and who vote on such important matters for the City?

6. Have any District projects been promised to you by Chesapeake? If so, what are they?

7. Has any money been given to you or any of your bank accounts by Chesapeake or any other energy companies doing business in Ft. Worth?

8. Has Chesapeake or any other energy company employee taken and paid for your lunch or dinner? If so, about how many times?

9. Do you believe that money or the promise thereof has influenced any of your decisions involving any part of gas drilling in Ft. Worth?

10. Why do you believe that it is "a great compromise" for a high pressure gas pipeline to be moved from someone's front door step to the street" (as quoted in Star-telegram article on 8/8/2008)

It has always been difficult for me to ask questions of Kathleen Hicks, without her getting extremely defensive and huffy and down right rude. Maybe she thinks she is entitled to public service, for whatever reason, and is not to be questioned or criticized about her job. I hope not, because my belief is that NO ONE is entitled to a free ride or above being questioned or criticized.

People may read this and think, WOW, you have it out for Ms. Hicks. Not really, you could argue whether it's personal or not, but I'm here to tell ya. I'd feel the same no matter who you were if you were in a public serving position and had behaved in the ways that I have seen Ms. Hicks behave and say and do the things I have seen her say and do. Call it what you want to. That's your prerogative.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fort Worth is contaminated with Irresponsible Politicians

We need a Moratorium on Gas Drilling in Fort Worth until we, the people, know the truth about what we are getting into -- what the risks are, environmentally, physically and physiologically. Call me an alarmist. Call me cynical. Call me whatever suits you. It doesn't matter to me. I've heard enough, seen enough and read enough to know that to go forward with so many unanswered questions and so much exemptness of our laws that the energy companies have been given by our policitians, we are fools to not DEMAND that Ft. Worth City Council and Mayor enact a Moratorium NOW. Our Mayor reluctantly put together a second Gas Drilling Task Force that includes 50% gas company representation (and our City Council said nothing), our Mayor has made at least $500K on the the drilling (how can he be objective), our Mayor and City Council members are telling us that "they can't stop anything because the City would be sued by landowners who want their minerals produced at any cost to the people of Ft. Worth" (since when does money trump safety of the citizens, our drinking water and our environment?). It is WRONG what our City Council members in Fort Worth, Texas are allowing to happen in our City. It is WRONG for our State Legislators to allow this to happen. It is WRONG for our Federal Legislators to allow this to happen. (exception for Lon Burnam, State Rep who is the only one I've personally heard from State level with the guts and backbone to speak out and be counted -- Thank you Mr. Burnam!)

Please help us save our City of Ft. Worth, Texas ("Cowtown") and email our irresponsible City Council members and Mayor and ask that they enact a Moratorium now until there is a Master Plan for the City:

Mayor Mike Moncrief

Here are some links to some facts concerning drilling that our City Council members are ignoring; turning a blind eye and deaf ear at the request of Mayor Mike Moncrief:

"It's laughable," Colborn said. "It's so right in your face - so bad. It just shows what little control the government has over this."

"Behr has largely recovered, but her ordeal has the community asking fresh questions about the chemicals used to extract the area's natural gas - the gas that heats millions of American homes and serves as an economic engine for the Four Corners.
ZetaFlow and similar chemicals are exempt from many federal and state environmental laws."
"Few people know exactly what companies are pumping into the ground. It's a trade secret, and the companies like Weatherford, which supplies ZetaFlow, do not share their recipes with government regulators."

"A nurse at Mercy Regional Medical Center fell gravely ill from chemical exposure after treating a sick gas-field worker in April. "

"Cathy Behr is back at work and recovering after she fell ill from helping a man who showed up at the hospital soaked in unknown chemicals. The worker's company wouldn't share information about the chemicals that could have helped Behr's doctor diagnose and treat her injury, she said.
At the time, she was suffering from liver, heart and lung failure in Mercy's intensive care unit. "

"Three companies - Halliburton, Schlumberger and BJ Services - dominate the fracing industry."

"Fracing chemicals aren't regulated under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, said Renee Lewis Kosnik with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project in Durango."

"Despite some studies on the hazards of oil
and gas, there has been no comprehensive
scientific monitoring or exposure assessment for
an industrial activity present in nearly two-thirds
of U.S. states—with more than half a million
locations that could be emitting toxic materials
to workers and nearby residents. The need for
further research is evident.
Some individuals choose not to share their
stories, especially in communities with local
economies dependent on the oil and gas industry."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Can you tell the truth w/out it being a "smear?" What is a "smear?"

The reason I asked is because I was wondering how other people viewed their City Council person's job responsibilities. I asked this question and gave examples of such things like the water main breaks in a neighborhood. I asked should a City Council person be able to deliver an answer to why so many break in one neighborhood on a regular basis? Someone accused my question of being a smear on someone. So I researched the word smear to question my own question. I really was just trying to find out how others felt, and compare it to where I personally fell in the mix. Maybe I am odd person out, maybe I am a little in the old school way of thinking when it comes to local politicians and their duties and responsibilities.

Since the definition of smear reads: "A smear campaign is an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual's or group's reputation, credibility, and character. Smear tactics differ from normal discourse or debate in that they do not bear upon the issues or arguments in question. A smear is a simple attempt to malign a group or an individual and to attempt to undermine their credibility. Smears often consist of ad hominem attacks in the form of unverifiable rumors and are often distortions, half-truths, or even outright lies; smear campaigns are often propagated by gossip spreading."

If one thinks that a politician isn't doing the job well and/or doesn't think highly of a politician because of things they have personally seen and/or heard and/or been a part of (some are verifiable, some are not), and one voices this displeasure, is that smearing? If so, then how does one speak out against things they think are wrong and it involve a politician?

Credibility - " Traditionally, credibility is composed of two primary dimensions: trustworthiness and expertise, which have both objective and subjective components. "

Courage - "is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation."

Moral Courage - "is the courage to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ft. Worth's "Great Compromise" in the making

So that "less" of our front, side and back yards can be condemned by the gas companies, the Ft. Worth city council is considering allowing the gas pipelines to be placed under our streets (about 30-50 feet from our front doors). Even though our Ft. Worth City Government (Mayor + 8 Council members) have not seen to it that:

* the Texas State Railroad Commission has the staff needed to do required inspections

* we know who is responsible for every inch of the pipelines should something go wrong

* the gas companies and City of Ft. Worth know how the gas is going to get from the drillsite to the consumer before allowing the drilling to begin and how the massive amount of heavy trucks and industrial equipment are going to get to/from the drillsite

These are just a few of the many issues that our City Council members and Mayor decided to overlook BEFORE they issued drilling permits (1400+ and counting).
Some quotes on the compromise of allowing high pressure gas pipelines under our streets as opposed to our yards:

"People in Fort Worth care, [and] they want to hear all sides of the issue," said Shirley Gansser, neighborhood league president
"This won’t be the solution in every case," CFW Planning & Development Director

"It’s a great compromise." Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks

"I don’t know. Pipeline routing is a complex process. It’s going to take a lot of study to see if it’s even legally possible." Ed Ireland, executive director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council

Councilman Carter Burdette said, "We might want to explore the possibility of the city requiring complying with federal standards from wellhead on out."

"I’m just looking at the safety of the citizens I serve, and I don’t see it," Councilman Chuck Silcox

"One of the things I’m concerned with is what would happen in 30 years as the major operators start moving out" CFW Planning & Development Director

"State rules make it easy for pipeline companies to acquire the authority to condemn land, and there’s far less oversight of pipeline routes than for other public utilities such as electric lines." Attorney John Johndroe

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Whynot a Moratorium on Drillling in Ft. Worth?

I absolutely love this persons comments on . I so agree with every word:

"The travesty is, is that this whole thing was set into motion by our city leaders without adequate forethought, foresight, planned course of action, or proactive regulation/zoning/etc. Now, after the horses have escaped, the city is working on the barn door."
Posted by: sgmorr

City Leaders: Mike Moncrief, Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Hicks, Danny Scarth, Salvador Espino, Frank Moss, Carter Burdette, The Great Chuck Silcox, Joel Burns, Jungus Jordan

And then there's this comment:

"This barnett shale project is the best and most important thing to happen in Tarrant County in decades. The production and drilling is bringing hundreds of millions of dollars directly into property owners pockets.If you don't own property, sorry, don't know what to tell you except you are outta luck trying to stop this. The power of us wanting OUR money for OUR property far outweighs the puny little anti-drilling/change movement.Red, yellow, black and white, poor or wealthy, young or old, if you own property you are getting money. One thing everyone has overlooked is there appears to be no racism or discrimination and everyone that owns property is getting money."
Posted by: Oil Landman

I could go on about our City "Leaders" all night, but I won't.....not now. I don't really know what to think other than there is something about Chesapeake that I don't trust and alot of "experts" seem like they are selling me something and I look at our City Council and I'm not impressed, enough of the time, I don't feel confident that they are "in it for us," the middle class and lower, of Fort Worth.

Pay Attention In Class, Salvador Espino

Someone called Salvador Espino's blackberry a "crackberry" the other day and now I see exactly what they mean. When I look at Espino for any amount of time, I see a person that seems preoccupied with "other things" rather than the business at hand for the City of Ft. Worth and his district. I then think, if I were a school teacher and someone in the class was messing with their blackberry all the time and not paying close attention to what I was saying, I would call attention to it and request that the student "pay attention in class." Just an observation. One worth investigating for you as a reader, especially if you live in the great City of Fort Worth.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The War on Young People

Did you know that:

Since 1990, more than 11 million Americans have been arrested for violating marijuana laws. Of those arrested, nearly 90 percent are charged with minor possession - not trafficking, cultivation, or sale. Nearly 75 percent of those arrested are under 30 years of age (which makes it difficult for them to find an employer).

According to a nationwide Time Magazine/CNN poll, three out of four Americans believe that adults who possess marijuana should no longer face criminal penalties.

Rep. Frank, along with Reps. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), called on lawmakers to support legislation, HR 5843, which would eliminate federal penalties for the possession and non-profit transfer of marijuana by adults. Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), William Lacy Clay, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Jim McDermott (D-WA) are co-sponsoring the bill, entitled “the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008.”