Letters: Wednesday, January 07, 2009
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Bus of Practicality

To the editor: Regarding your article “The Streetcar Fort Worth Desires” (Dec 10, 2008): Streetcars are impractical for our density and topography — too expensive, too much of a disruption for traffic. They increase air pollution due to cars idling at crossings and cause fatalities.
And did I mention the inevitable fraud, waste, and scandal? (Can you say “DART”?)
Or how about this: We just don’t have the money to pay for such a system.
We need better-designed, clean-burning buses that use compressed natural gas and that can be flexibly routed, instead of pouring taxpayer dollars into streetcar feasibility studies.
If the city council has to throw money at something, perhaps they could create a TSTF (transportation sensitivity training fund) for new urbanites with the “largely psychological” problem about stepping onto a city bus.
Brooke Cooper (District 8 voter)
Fort Worth

The Well of Disrespect
To the editor: My property is being encroached upon by gas wells, and Chesapeake Energy is one of the main drilling companies operating directly behind my house. I purchased my home in 2007, not knowing all the hazards, unaware of what the plans were for drilling in this neighborhood. Ours is a lonely little new-home addition in a set of fields that Chesapeake is overrunning. The problems include noise, arrogance, environmental disrespect, and greed, including from the mayor himself, who has a conflict of interest and shouldn’t be voting on such issues when he is directly receiving funds from the gas drilling companies.
The city of Fort Worth is being damaged by all these gas wells, not to mention our quality of life and the environment.
When you complain, you get smoke-blown answers, from people who expect you to believe that there is no harm or possible cause for concern. The drilling sites could blow up an entire neighborhood and cause homeowners to be evacuated.
I have had gurgling noises from behind my fence that faces an undeveloped park, obviously in a valley that is considered floodplain. The well’s waste tanks are located on a hill just above this floodplain, and they could leak, and it would flow directly behind my home, which is on another small hill on the opposite side of the floodplain.
I have been dealing for 18 months with the disrespect of Chesapeake and learning more about the dangers of gas-well drilling, none of which I or my neighbors or other Fort Worth citizens were informed of.
Because I have Parkinson’s disease, when I purchased my home I was looking forward to a nice quiet neighborhood, with a great view of the park. I enclosed the back patio as a reading and sitting area and added a two-tier deck. But quiet is not what I have been experiencing. Because we are outside the city limits, the rules for drilling are set by the Texas Railroad Commission, which means hardly any rules, respect for others, or, needless to say, attention to safety concerns.
We have an out-of-control situation. Greed is obviously the only factor in play, and the attention being paid to enhancing pocketbooks could end up blowing up entire neighborhoods. The drilling needs to stop, and laws need to be changed to protect citizens.
Can the citizens sue Mayor Moncrief for his disrespect toward the safety and well-being of the citizens of Fort Worth?
Beverly Gant
Crowley

The Smell of Appraisals
To the editor: Freelance writer Pablo Lastra’s Dec. 24 story (“Tarrant Surprisal District”) was an interesting piece about the Tarrant Appraisal District and the apparent collaboration or collusion where property values are concerned. TAD officials can’t give a direct answer and of course favor the people with bankrolls big enough to lull them into a state of ignorance or selective memory when it comes to questions about their taxing protocols.
I can understand a lower appraisal for an unused empty lot, but since it was freeway frontage, it ought to have appraised for more, considering the price the city ultimately paid for it. Any time a newspaper has to submit an open records request because TAD didn’t want to divulge its preference for a certain property owner, it starts to smell like three-day-old bouillabaisse. And we the taxpayers pay these TAD folks’ salaries?
The Weekly’s staff and freelance writers have kept the public informed about the shenanigans at city hall and with the TAD bunch. Giving lower appraisals to “connected” folks cheats the cities, schools, and other tax entities that provide services within the county. And of course, it’s always the nonconnected taxpayers who make up the deficit.
Rick Orton
Fort Worth



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