It’s rare that infighting for control of a water board ever breaks out into the open but the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) is different.
This water board has eminent domain powers, economic development powers, enormous political clout, controls millions of taxpayer dollars and, according to many, a severe case of megalomania.
A suit recently filed against the TRWD claims the board’s plan to move board elections from 2014 to 2015 will have the effect of extending two director’s terms to five-year terms in violation of the Texas State Constitution which specifies four-year-terms.
The TRWD claims a new law, HB 3900, allows them to do it.
The suit was brought by local activist Darlia Lee Hobbs, unsuccessful candidate for the TRWD Board of Directors John Basham, and the recently created 501(c)4 non-profit Texans For Government Transparency (TFGT), of which Basham is president.
TRWD is the driving force behind the Trinity River Vision Authority that is in the process of building a massive planned community on Ft. Worth’s Near Northside requiring mammoth amounts of public funding and eminent domain seizures.
Many in Ft. Worth, Tarrant County and North Texas, including the area’s Libertarian Party of Texas county affiliates, call it a giant boondoggle.
Other grassroots organizations like the Trinity River Improvement Partnership (TRIP) have been fighting the well-connected political-corporate-government juggernaut for several years to little avail.
The vast project, along with its charges of cronyism, secret meetings, no-bid contract awards, legal uncertainties, special interest campaign finance donors and documentation hidden from the public, gained national attention in May from a Breitbart article by Lawrence Meyers that called the Trinity River Vision “a broad-ranging, long-term property seizure scheme.”
The in-depth article covers the TRWD from its formation in the 1920s through its acquisition of ever-increasing political and economic powers to last May’s election, described by a Fort Worth Business Press article as “a bitterly divisive campaign” in which only one of three coordinated challengers won election to the board.
One of the non-winners was John Basham.
In a follow-up article Meyers confronted the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about why they “ignored citizen requests over a five-year period to investigate allegations of corruption” at the TRWD and got nothing but no comments and runarounds for his efforts.
But locals know the “Startle-Gram” routinely acts like a teenage cheerleader for anyone with money and political connections.
That seemingly includes the TRWD’s Trinity River “Vision Thing.”
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