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04/15/06  What do Ft. Worth businessmen have in common with Coppell Soccer Moms?

That would be having everything they have worked for about to be taken from them for the enrichment of someone else -- rich, powerful and connected someone elses.

Mary Stewart of CBS11 (KTVT) has reported on what is happening to some Ft. Worth business owners just so former Mayor Kay Granger (current Congresswoman) can have her dream come true and create a job for her son at the same time.  Granger told Stewart "
This was one of my dreams when I was mayor, is to do something to really make this river an asset? the city it could be. This is very exciting for me".

Isn't that special?  Miss Prom Queen wants to build an ego-monument to herself and an environmental disaster at the same time, never you mind about the honest, industrial business owners who will be forced to move so the type of businesses the Congresswoman prefers can move into Trinity Uptown.

I'm sorry if you didn't see this report live, because business owner Tim Pierce was a great interview for Stewart.  Here's a part of the text.  The link will take you to the entire piece.

Businesses Being Forced Out For Trinity Uptown
Mary Stewart Reporting
Apr 11, 2006 5:52 pm US/Central
CBS 11 News) FORT WORTH Some Fort Worth businesses are being forced to make way for the Trinity Uptown and they are not happy about it.
   The urban lake and bypass channel
could stimulate a billion dollar development on the north side of the city, but it will also displace 80 businesses.
... The Fort Worth plan now has a green light, but some business owners are seeing red.
   Tim Pierce, his brothers and father, build doors and windows in what will become the middle of the bypass channel.
   ?I call it thieving, that's what they're doing. We're gonna change the way town looks here, so you get the hell out, we're takin' your place,? Tim Pierce said.
   The Pierce family shop is among 80 businesses in the aging industrial section that must move.
   ?There's nothing fair about being able to take somebody?s property just because someone else wants it, with bigger ideas than what you have,? Jim Pierce said.
... U.S. Representative Kay Granger says the Trinity River Project can transform Fort Worth and many other cities would love to have similar projects.
   Granger won federal money, to go with state, city, and county funds to build the $435 million project.
... The Army Corps of Engineers says the Fort Worth Uptown is bigger than the Dallas Trinity River Project, with its major purpose being flood control.
... ?There?s a lot of businesses that are in that area, who aren?t gonna be relocated, that are gonna benefit greatly from this project, so ya know, it?s like in any other major public works project you have a few losers and a lot of winners,? said Jim Oliver, Tarrant Regional Water District.
... ?It's as bad a cattle rustlin', but that's what they're doing they're taking it over,? Tim Pierce said.
... Trinity Uptown will take at least 10 years to build.

Does that make you crazy?  It gets worse.  Congresswoman Granger's son will be running the project at an annual salary of $110,000!  Mind you, his last job was as an assistant Tarrant County DA.  How is it not a conflict of interest when Granger moved heaven and earth to get federal funding for the project that her son is to run?

Rep. Granger's Son To Run Trinity Uptown        
Mar 2, 2006 2:15 pm CT                                     
(AP) FORT WORTH The son of the congresswoman who championed a $435 million redevelopment and flood control project has been hired to oversee it.
  
J.D. Granger, whose mother is U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, will earn $110,000 a year and start work Monday at the Tarrant Regional Water District, said Jim Oliver, general manager of the district, which is spearheading the project.
   J.D. Granger, 36, an assistant Tarrant County district attorney for eight years, also has worked in various volunteer roles during planning for the Trinity Uptown project, Oliver said.
... Former City Councilman Clyde Picht, who has long questioned aspects of the project and is running for the water district board, said J.D. Granger's appointment is "asking for criticism" and that his knowledge of water district issues is "certainly more limited than most people."
   The project involves rerouting the Trinity River through north Fort Worth to promote economic development and increase flood protection. Part of the plan, which uses federal and local money, creates an urban waterfront with residential, commercial and recreational features.
   J.D. Granger's salary will come from water district funds, not federal money that Kay Granger is securing, Oliver told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Those funds do not come directly to the water district, he said.
... Oliver said he realized that hiring the congresswoman's son "would probably raise some eyebrows" but felt J.D. Granger was right for the job because of his familiarity and expertise on many facets of the project. Oliver said he thought about several possible candidates but did not conduct a job search.
   J.D. Granger said he's been working on the project "since it was just a vision, back in 1999."
... He said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to give final project approval in two weeks. He said he expects one of his first roles to be working with landowners whose property is needed for construction.
... He said his mother's involvement at the federal level strengthens his knowledge of the plan. And he said he will try to ensure that the federal price tag "doesn't get any higher."
   County Commissioner Roy Brooks said he believes that J.D. Granger will do a good job but said "some people might not agree with me that there's no conflict of interest.

That is just so much BS.  What is happening to us in the U.S.A. when connected and powerful people and/or families can destroy one person's dream and business for a pipe dream that will only benefit someone else -- a rich and powerful someone else?  Tim Pierce's business is housed in a very large warehouse.  Stewart interviewed him inside his family-owned business.  It was not some shade tree mechanic operation (not that there's anything wrong with that).  He has an impressive operation.

Jim Oliver's quote "
it?s like in any other major public works project you have a few losers and a lot of winners" is not only insulting to honest business owners like Tim Pierce, but it's particularly galling coming from the guy who hired the Congresswoman's son without interviewing anyone else.  That hiring practice did not work so well for former Dallas City Manager Ted Benavides when he hired Terrible Bolton as our Police Chief.

We are becoming very un-democratic in our stratified social classes.   The Ft. Worth ODB's (Our Downtown Betters) are as sorry as the Arlington ODB's, who are as bad as the Dallas ODB.  All of them are stealing from honest business owners and passing around the goodies to each other and members of THE FAMILIES.

 
In Dallas, the ODB supported and assisted Ross Perot, Jr. and Tom Hicks stealing land from other developers, so they could develop it themselves -- at taxpayer expense.  Now, they are diverting money away from basic infrastructure (long neglected) needs to build bridges to nowhere over a stinking sewer trough.
     
  In Arlington, the ODB supported and assisted that Arkansas Freak Jerry Jones stealing people's homes and businesses, so he could build a place of business for his football team.  People's homes and lifetime memories were taken from them to accommodate a Billionaire. 
     
  In Ft. Worth, existing business owners will have to relocate whether they can afford to do so or not.  They may not be able to conduct business while they are moving.  They have no guarantee they will find a new location that is affordable or convenient to their customers or employees.  Not only do they suffer, their blue collar employees will suffer, as well.

Jim Oliver's quote "it?s like in any other major public works project you have a few losers and a lot of winners" is a bit backwards -- he should have said "in most major public works project you have a few winners and a lot of losers"

When did we stop being equal?  When did our government become a tool of the wealthy and politically connected to steal from average Joe Taxpayer.  It's just wrong! 

What is happening to Tim Pierce, et al, is what happened to homeowners in Hurst when the city used its eminent domain rights to wipe out a neighborhood so a shopping center could expand.

Apparently, the only local government in the metroplex where elected officials actually care about average Joe/Jane Taxpayer is Coppell.  They are holding a bond election to secure needed funds to use their eminent domain to take land from Lucy and Henry Billingsley's Cypress Waters project to build schools and parks, the project will necessitate. 

If a convicted smuggler of Libyan nationals has his way, the density of Lucy and Henry's project will overwhelm Coppell schools.  They are already suffering from the load generated by the apartments in the Valley Ranch development.  Since Coppell is such a small town, there is no place to put another school.  Apparently, Henry Billingsley would have Coppell take single family homes to build the schools his project will necessitate.

Just because a convicted felon married well, he should not be able to abuse the taxpayers of Coppell who have built a wonderful community and school system.  Do we have to continue to reduce everything to the lowest common denominator?  Just because Dallas is overwhelmed with the crime and problems caused by apartments and high density, does Coppell have to share our misery?

You certainly don't see the Billingsley's doing some monster apartment/multi-family project in or near University Park where they live. 

  Why was our council so ready and willing to accommodate the Billingsley's and ignore the concerns of Irving and Coppell elected officials and management?
 
     
  Why was our council so ready and willing to accommodate the Billingsley's and ignore the future cost of the project to Dallas taxpayers?
     
  Why was our council so ready and willing to accommodate the Billingsley's and ignore the negative impact of multi-family projects, particularly apartments?

You know why -- It's because Lucy Billingsley is the daughter of Trammell Crow.  It's because Lucy Billingsley is a multi-millionaire in her own right who makes big campaign contributions.  It's because Lucy Billingsley is "connected".  She's part of one of THE FAMILIES.  Henry Billingsley is along for the ride, and his conviction for smuggling Libyans across the Mexican border (when it was illegal to even do business with Libya or Libyans) proved how far he will go to hold up his end of their marriage/business arrangement.

Because Henry's already tainted and convicted and Lucy doesn't really want to be seen as the ruthless businesswoman that she is, Henry is apparently the point man in their attack on Coppell.

If you have ever received a push-poll call, you know how they start out -- all balanced UNTIL you answer wrong.  The next question then includes a negative statement about your position wrapped in a question.  That's what happened to voters/taxpayers in Coppell who received a call from Henry's polling service.

Survey is called 'scare tactic' on North Lake housing plan
Coppell: Developer defends poll as way to test voters about land 12:00 AM  Sunday, April 9, 2006 By ERIC AASEN / The Dallas Morning News
   Some Coppell residents are riled up about a phone survey in which they were asked about the ongoing battle over a company's plans for a residential development near North Lake.
   Some call the survey biased and unfair. But Billingsley Co., the North Lake developer that participated in the survey, said the poll is designed to get a better sense of what Coppell voters think about the city's efforts to condemn the company's land.
   Coppell opposes Billingsley's plans to fill land near the lake ? just outside Coppell ? with townhomes and apartments in part because of the large number of proposed housing units. The city and school district have filed condemnation petitions to seize some of the land.
   Residents reported being asked last month whether they'd support a tax increase or support the city spending more money to "fight" Billingsley's Cypress Waters project, according to a Coppell news release.
   The survey is "clearly a tactic to scare and intimidate the citizens of Coppell, as well as sway public opinion," City Attorney Robert Hager said in the Coppell news release.
   Coppell is mischaracterizing the survey, developer Henry Billingsley said.
   "The survey is designed to determine what Coppell voters really think about the city's condemnation actions, and if they are being given realistic numbers about the costs," Mr. Billingsley said in a prepared statement.
...  Suburban officials are concerned that Cypress Waters residents will overcrowd Coppell schools, congest streets and overwhelm city programs.
... Coppell resident Beverley Tanel said she was "taken aback" by the survey and called City Hall. Her husband, Gary, who also participated in the survey, ...
"When listening to the questions, it struck me it was not unbiased," he said. "Without knowing who it came from, it appeared to be a politically driven survey from someone who had a political agenda."
... The city bond election calls for issuing up to $23 million in bonds to pay for land near North Lake. The school board is calling for a $50 million package, some of which would be used on land acquisition.
   Mr. Billingsley is skeptical about the elections. He doesn't believe the bond revenue "will even pay for the land, much less the legal fees and any construction," he said in the statement. ...

This is disgusting as what is happening to Tim Pierce in Ft. Worth.  The difference is that a lot of people in Coppell have resources and will spend money to fight for their quality of life.  Dave Capps is one Coppell resident who has proven over and over he puts his money where his mouth is.  I am not surprised that Dave would step out and take a stand to protect his community.  I am stunned that Coppell's Mayor, City Council, City Manager and School Board are willing to stand up to a connected family like the Crow/Billingsley's. 

That would never happen in Dallas.

It is not surprising that convicted felon Henry Billingsley would be "skeptical about the elections".  He knows how easily Dallas elections are skewed by "walk around money" and mail-in ballot scams.  He's not accustomed to dealing with a unified community like Coppell where Joe Taxpayer has as much influence at City Hall and the School Board as someone from one of THE FAMILIES does in Dallas.

Smuggler's blues Open this result in new window
By Miriam Rozen Article Published Sep 26, 1996
Crow son-in-law gets six months in a Dallas halfway house for his dealings with a Libyan finance minister.

When Kay Granger's son (an assistant County DA) can get a $110,000 job running an operation for which he he has no training, engineering background, etc., you can understand why a convicted smuggler like Henry Billingsley is confused by Coppell politicians looking out for their constituents, rather than the interests of THE FAMILIES.

I am sick of Dallas officials and
The Dallas Managed News assuming, if it's for the good of THE FAMILIES, that Joe or Jane Taxpayer should be willing to assume the position and be happy to sacrifice their homes and businesses and resources.

Don't kid yourself that this is a Republican scam.  Jerry Jones was tight with the Clintons.  The Perot's are bi-political.  Lucy and Henry Billingsley give to whoever they think will win.  This is not partisan politics.  It's THE FAMILIES using their influence to get politicians to do what is best for them and their crowd -- not what is best for the entire community.

  Jones may have bought enough votes from apartment renters and jock sniffers in Arlington to steal the homes of all those people he has evicted.
 
     
  Kay Granger may have used her influence in Washington, D.C. to secure federal funds for a pipe dream, and consequently used her influence in Ft. Worth to secure a sweet deal for her son.
     
  I don't think (and certainly hope not) that even Lucy Crow Billingsley has enough money to control the will of Coppell voters.

Don't you wish Dallas had public officials like Coppell?  Don't you wish Dallas voters were as sensible as the voters of Coppell?

  If wishes were fishes, we would have more dishes.   

Still, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that just once common sense will prevail some place in the metroplex.  Maybe Coppell will show the rest of us how it's done.

sb
 

                                        

    





                            

 

  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8