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Opinion Letter to the Editor: Bond ballot needs to be specific

Letter to the Editor: Bond ballot needs to be specific

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
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.


City’s bond ballot needs to be specific I hope my representative on the Fort Worth City Council, Zim Zimmerman (who is Mayor Pro Tem), and at least four others on the council will require any item in the proposed $292 million, 2014 bond package that is earmarked for the Trinity River Uptown Boondoggle (streets, bridges, intersection roundabouts, etc.) to be listed separately on the ballot. Viva Transparency! This would be a distinct departure from the subterfuge of the 2004 and 2008 bond elections in which the wool was pulled over our eyes. For 10 long years, step by stealthy step, the Four Horsemen of this looming environmental, historical and financial Apocalypse – Congress, city council, commissioners court and the Chamber of Commerce – have been able to hide the cost of this cataclysmic boondoggle under the cloak of street improvements. In the city’s clandestine 2004 summary of bond items, which few ever saw, appeared the following:

“Proposition No. 1 “Project Scope: These funds would supplement other funding sources from other entities for design and construction for several components to support Trinity River Vision; possible construction of Henderson Street from 3rd Street to Northside Drive, including the White Settlement Road intersection.” But wait. All that appeared on the 2004 ballot – and what the average taxpaying voter voted for, knowing little if anything about the boondoggle but very much in favor of his own street project – was this: “Proposition No. 1 “The issuance of public securities for street and storm sewer improvements in the aggregate sum of $232,000,000.” Likewise, in the city’s clandestine 2008 summary of bond items, which few ever saw, appeared the following: “Proposition No. 1 “The requested funding provides the City’s share of funding for three bridges on the existing arterials Henderson, North Main and White Settlement, where those streets cross over the TRV bypass channel.” But look at what appeared on the 2008 ballot and what the average taxpaying voter voted for:

“Proposition No.1 “The issuance of public securities for street improvements in the aggregate sum of $150,000,000.” In both elections, the bonds passed. The voter got his own street paved, funds continued to flow for the boondoggle and the Four Horsemen rode off to await the next bond election. As stated above, in the 2004 and 2008 bond elections, the promoters and developers of this voracious tax-eater, backed by the power and prestige of the Four Horsemen, cloaked the boondoggle components – bypass channel, three bridges, and a roundabout – in the sacrosanct, Holy of Holies cocoon of street improvements. They have steadfastly refused to put Trinity Uptown to a vote of the people. Who believes the voters knew they were committing millions of dollars to the boondoggle when they voted for a pig in a poke – street improvements?

Step by stealthy step, the charade has been foisted upon us. So I call upon citizens who may attend one of the upcoming 2014 bond meetings: Ask that any Trinity Uptown item be listed separately on the ballot. Don Woodard, Fort Worth  

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