Richard Connor: The water board election is crucial – you need to vote

Here we go again.

Water board election on May 4.

And it’s not a case of throw the bums out; it’s a day to ask two loyal public servants who have given much to this community over the years to step aside and bring in new blood.

We have endorsed – make that enthusiastically endorsed – new candidates Gary Moates and C.B. Team to be elected to serve on the water board. They are eminently qualified.

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Voters need to turn out and protect their tax dollars that are at risk of being wasted on a project called Panther Island, a boondoggle if there ever was one.

A newly constituted board will deal directly with the mismanagement at the Trinity River Vision Authority, a subordinate agency run by J.D. Granger that is supposed to be overseen by the water board – but Granger answers to no one. Where Panther Island is concerned, you see, blood runs thicker than the water in our treasured Trinity River.

Granger’s mother, Congresswoman Kay Granger, is so blind to the problems with her pet project – and to her son’s mismanagement – that she even formed a PAC to raise money to ensure the re-election of water board members Marty Leonard and Jim Lane. They have been on the board for 14 years and have done nothing to protect taxpayers from the excesses of the TRVA.

Local folks have participated fully in protecting this board, particularly when they had a common enemy in Dallas businessman Monty Bennett, who fought the water board on a number of issues.

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But he settled his disputes with the board and has become quiet as a church mouse.

May 4 will be the first Saturday of May and I don’t know about you but my mind will be engulfed with the Kentucky Derby. You might be thinking of other great things you can do on a Saturday in May. Understood.

Saturday is not a convenient time to vote but whether it’s a horse race or yard work, leave it alone long enough to go vote.

Water board challengers Moates and Team each need between 15,000 and 18,000 votes to win one of the two seats to be decided in this election. In a city with over 800,000 persons that number is no more than a fraction but it’s a hard one to reach on a nice, sunny Saturday.

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It’s also difficult to dislodge incumbents in any election. They usually have high name recognition and a loyal base of folks who vote.

This election for the water board is among the most important this city has ever had. If the water board continues with its current membership it will keep rubber-stamping all the shenanigans at the Trinity River Vision project. And that giant sucking sound you hear, as Ross Perot once said of a trade deal he didn’t like, won’t just be water going down the drain; it will be your tax dollars.

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