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Thursday, October 22, 2020
Opinion Richard Connor: Debacles in the news

Richard Connor: Debacles in the news

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Deadlines to the printer being what they are we often have to look in the rearview mirror of news while we deal with the present and the future.

By the time the Oct. 8-14 issue of the Business Press is delivered Brett Kavanaugh will more than likely be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court or back to his own federal jurisdiction.

Either way, his life will have been indelibly scarred by the rumors, the truths, the innuendo and the debacle of his nomination process. It’s been politics at its worst, which is doubly bad because the Supreme Court is so important as a cog in the wheel of democracy.

Personally, I feel sorry for him and for his accusers. They have been through the political meat grinder.

My own take on the fiasco is that Judge Kavanaugh lacks the temperament to sit on the land’s highest court and maybe even lower courts. It’s that simple. I thought his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer the charges made against him showed a side of him that is limited at best. His sparring with Democrats showed an incredible lack of restraint and dignity.

Normal, everyday human beings can relate to his outrage and loss of composure but those who sit on the Supreme Court are not supposed to be like the rest of us. We need those justices to be calm and restrained and to deal with issues on a high intellectual level. He demonstrated none of these qualities.

All politics is local, as the saying goes, and that brings me to Fort Worth and the Panther Island project. A report in the Star-Telegram said federal funding had been cut for the project once known as the Trinity River Vision.

Local officials pushing the project fired back to say there was enough local money to forge ahead.

Congresswoman Kay Granger’s office issued a statement saying the Star-Telegram story was misleading and in fact federal funding was still intact.

Panther Island is a pet project of Granger’s. She has a long record of public service to this community, first as mayor and now in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is highly regarded locally for her work for this city and rightly so. Editorially, the Business Press has always, from day one, thought she was misguided in her desire to make us similar to San Antonio and its famed River Walk.

If the Trinity needs improved flood control so be it. There was and is no need to clutter up and drag down a legitimate plan to fight potentially devastating flood waters by tacking on a Taj Mahal economic development scheme.

We are a business publication and we are champions of local business and industry. We want Fort Worth to grow and flourish.

But on just a business basis the project has failed. It is over budget, behind schedule, and the projected costs continue to a rise as dangerously as a cresting river.

We are told that at least two members of the rubber-stamp Tarrant Regional Water District board have asked for an independent audit of the project to date. That needs to happen and it needs to be conducted by a truly independent group. For too many years there has been a shocking lack of transparency and public accountability at the water district.

It’s high time for a close look at the Panther Island project, its past, present and future. Let’s lift the veil and view the facts of an audit and decide if the project is worth continuing as anything other than a flood control plan.

Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at rconnor@bizpress.net

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