InMarket: Let’s put on a show!

🕐 3 min read

 Tarrant Regional Water District candidate forum

 Check our website for more details –

Public Forum featuring the Tarrant Regional Water District board of directors candidates. The forum will be held at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, at the Central Library in downtown Fort Worth, 500 W. Third St. (intersection of Third and Lamar, two blocks west and two blocks south of the Tarrant County Courthouse).

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In the days before cable TV, satellite and the Internet, entertainment options were few and far between. But there was a desperate need to be entertained in the days before we were all wired together.

Check out videos from the old Ed Sullivan Show to get a glimpse of how we would entertain ourselves in days of yore. Topo Gigio anyone?

But there was also political theater, some of it a very high art indeed. The famous debates between one Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln (whatever happened to him?) in 1858 around Illinois. Both were seeking a U.S. Senate seat. The debates were at seven locations around the state and attendees came by train, boat, wagon, buggy, horseback and on foot.

From Douglas: “I answer emphatically, as Mr. Lincoln has heard me answer a hundred times from every stump in Illinois, that in my opinion the people of a Territory can, by lawful means, exclude slavery from their limits prior to the formation of a State Constitution.”

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From Lincoln: “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided.”

Lincoln also quoted another great orator, Jesus, during those debates: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

I don’t expect oratory of that level at our forum for Tarrant Regional Water District candidates this week, but we can hope.

The stakes are high. The future of water for North Texas is basically our future. The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce has put in its two cents worth to raise awareness of the race. Mayor Betsy Price, unencumbered by any challengers for her post, has been mentioning the race at her public appearances.

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The race pits two incumbents with a long history in the community – Marty Leonard and Jim Lane – against two challengers funded by a Dallas businessman with Fort Worth ties, Monty Bennett, and one independent, Keith Annis.

We put the forum together rather quickly. First, we reached out to the League of Women Voters asking if they would like to sponsor it. They were quick to say yes.

We then went seeking a location. Not easy at the last minute. We initially thought of several sites, but either because of cost, space or location, they didn’t seem like likely candidates. Then we settled on the Fort Worth Library and, again, they were eager to help.

Then there were the candidates. They can get busy. But so far, all have been positive.

But there’s one more thing we need. That’s you. The public. As any great actor will tell you, the audience is part of the performance.

This is serious business, but it should also be great theater.

Come be a part of it.

Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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