Letters: Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Bucks for Bike Routes

To the editor: Thanks for the article about expanding bike trails in the Fort Worth area (“Two Flat Tires,” June 14, 2006). Maybe we should suggest that the cyclist community put together some local rides or benefits to raise the money. The amounts mentioned are not huge, and getting local cyclists to help raise awareness and dollars may be the answer. I ride my bike to work from near downtown to Meacham Boulevard, and having some lane markers and indication that bikes are present would be appreciated from the safety standpoint. Even though the streets I ride are wide, they are busy, and frequently cars and trucks crowd me into the curb.

Carl Reeder

Fort Worth


To the editor: A casual reading of Fort Worth Weekly’s June 21 Second Thoughts column, “Smoke, Mirrors, Votes,” might lead readers to believe that the glitch that resulted in the tabulation of 100,000 “ghost voters” occurred with the eSlate — Tarrant County’s direct recording electronic (DRE) voting devices used for the March 7 primary elections.

However, that impression would be incorrect. In fact, the tabulation of early voting, in which the eSlate machines were used for almost all the ballots, was the most accurate tabulation of votes on election night. The error wasn’t the fault of any hardware or software provided by HartInterCivic — it was a procedural error that occurred when using the reporting software that accumulates vote totals from our separate systems for early voting and election-day voting.

The error caused the computer to compound the previous vote totals each time the election totals were updated throughout the night, rather than keeping a simple running total. For instance, if a correct vote total was 1,000, and the next update added 100 votes, the new correct total would be 1,100. But because of the error, on the next total, the 1,000 would be added in a second time, plus the new votes — thus compounding the problem geometrically with each successive totaling.

The columnist also suggested that Tarrant County should continue to use an optical scan system on election day. We do. HartInterCivic’s eScan machines are at all our voting precincts for voters who choose to use a paper ballot. Or they may use an eSlate if they wish. People with disabilities have found that the eSlate gives them something they’ve never had before — an opportunity to vote privately and independently.

The Tarrant County Elections Office is mindful of its responsibility to provide a secure and accurate way to tabulate ballots. We know what an important cog we are in the democratic process and pledge to do all that we can to maintain the trust that is necessary in that process.

Steve Raborn

Tarrant County Elections Administrator

Fort Worth

Limited Earth

To the editor: The battle for the Fort Worth Prairie Park (“Where the Buffalo Roam,” May 31, 2006), is a classic exposure of the fallacy of a “limitless Earth.” Simply, we have used up most of the original 1.3-million-acre Fort Worth Prairie and damaged most of Texas’ 167 million acres. The same holds true all over the world, from terrestrial ecosystems to marine zones where great hollows now exist. Wildlife, water, air, the soil itself are exhausted under our weight.

Who else feels under siege here? Bulldozing nearly 2,000 acres of our remaining virgin Fort Worth Prairie for a tract housing development not only doesn’t make any sense, it’s dangerous business as usual, at a time when the Earth and our children’s future desperately need leadership in a new direction. This million-year-old prairie, if protected, could serve as the cornerstone for a larger urban wilderness reserve and network of some 10,000 to 20,000 protected acres, that would at least save enough Fort Worth Prairie for a.) local native wildlife struggling to survive; b.) Metroplex residents who have no access to the solace of wild lands, unlike people in other Western cities; and c.) for future generations to rebuild from.

One misquote: I didn’t say, “Once you bulldoze, you go to another ecosystem.” Of course, once you bulldoze, you have completely destroyed the ecosystem.

And unlike what the General Land Office told State Rep. Anna Mowery, the Permanent School Fund can and should protect “unique land.” The state’s Permanent School Fund, worth over $21 billion dollars, can acquire, as public school land, “property of unique biological, geological, cultural and recreational value,” not just commercial value. Certainly the state can find a way to save our Fort Worth Prairie Park. And in the future, before moving in, the GLO should conduct ecological assessments so as to avoid destroying rare or critical habitat.

The battle continues. We’re heartened by all those who’ve stood up for our Prairie Earth, but we need people everywhere to get involved. Please contact the GLO, the governor, the Fort Worth mayor and city council, and their state legislators. People can find more info at www.fortworthprairiepark.org.

Beyond that, I hope folks commit to even deeper steps by helping make sure children have access to ecological education and the natural world and by working on ecological restoration projects. Our lives are not just for ourselves.

Jarid Manos

Fort Worth

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