Sunday, March 1, 2015

One Year To Build A Floating Bridge While In Fort Worth It Takes Four Years To Build Three Bridges Over Nothing

No, that is not some sort of artist's rendering of a Trinity River Vision Boondoggle bridge you are looking at here.

What you are looking at is a pair of floating bridges crossing Lake Washington from Seattle to Mercer Island.

Mercer Island is a real island, not an imaginary island of the sort to which Fort Worth builds bridges.

The bridge on the left was built in one year, opening to traffic on June 4, 1989.

Yes, you read that correctly, this bridge was built in one year. And, obviously, unlike the Fort Worth Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing, this bridge was built over water. Actually built on water, what with that floating thing.

That train you see crossing the bridge is a Link Light Rail train, heading towards Bellevue, Redmond and the Microsoft campus. This particular link of the Link Light Rail system was approved by voters in 2008.

That approved by voters thing is what caught my attention when I read the Wikipedia article about Link Light Rail after a fellow former Pacific Northwesterner asked me if I knew what the current status was of the Seattle zone's light rail projects.

Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Boondoggle has never been voted on by the local voters. Due to lack of funding this project relies on federal handouts, courtesy of J.D. Granger's mama, Kay, who recently somehow sent $17.5 million more of those federal dollars to her boy's playpen, under the guise of the money coming from the Army Corps of Engineers, for some supposed flood basins about which no one knows anything.

If Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision had been the result of a public debate and a public vote the result likely would not be the embarrassing slow motion boondoggle we now see, with three simple bridges taking an astounding four years to build, with no project timeline for the rest of the project, such as the digging of the ditch over which the bridges are being slowly built.

I have extracted five paragraphs from the Wikipedia article about the Seattle zone's Link Light Rail. These five paragraphs are a very instructive example of how things happen to get done in progressive, democratic parts of America....

In November 1996, voters in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties approved increases in sales taxes and vehicle excise taxes to pay for a US$3.9 billion transit package that included $1.7 billion for a light rail system, including Central Link and Tacoma Link. Over the next several years, debates raged over various issues surrounding the Central Link line.

Sound Transit's Phase 2 plan, under the name of ST2 (Sound Transit 2), is the plan for the second phase of Link Light Rail expansion. ST2 was put before voters in November 2007 as part of the "Roads and Transit" measure, which included hundreds of miles of highway expansion along with the light rail, but failed to pass. Sound Transit then put another ST2 plan on the ballot in November 2008. The measure passed by large margins. The plan will extend light rail to Lynnwood Transit Center in the north, S. 272nd St. in Federal Way to the south, and Downtown Bellevue and Overlake Transit Center to the east.

Northgate Link Extension is a future extension of Central Link partially approved by voters in November 2008. It will connect the University Link project currently under way to a central University District station, Roosevelt, Northgate, and points north. Once Northgate Link Extension is complete, the major urban centers of downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, the University District, and Northgate will be connected via light rail. It is a top priority for Sound Transit as it will add over 40,000 daily riders to Link Light Rail by 2030, easing pressure on the Interstate 5 corridor.

Proposition 1, the measure on the ballot in 2008, included extensions of Central Link north to Lynnwood Transit Center, via the stations described above and Jackson Park, Shoreline, and Mountlake Terrace. The ballot measure also includes funding for a study to develop possible routes for a future extension of Central Link to Everett. As the extension to Lynnwood Transit Center will be finished in 2023, it can be assumed that an extension to Everett would not be completed until well after that year. An extension to Everett would require a separate, future measure.

In November 2008, voters approved the construction of an East Link light rail line connecting the city of Seattle to Mercer Island and the Eastside communities of Bellevue and Redmond as part of the Proposition 1 measure. This line will split from Central Link just south of the International District/Chinatown Station in downtown Seattle, extend across the I-90 bridge express lanes through downtown Bellevue and serve the Overlake Transit Center, including Microsoft headquarters.

What a concept. Voters voting to approve various measures, with public debates thrown into the mix, influencing the decisions made as to how to move forward. With a project actually moving forward in a timely fashion.

And the result?

A complex public works project coming to fruition, with the public enjoying the benefits of that for which they voted.

No local Congresswoman's unqualified son hired to direct the project so as to motivate his mama to secure pittances of federal funds.

A project with a project timeline, with actual construction goals, publicly stated. A pubic works project which authentically integrates public opinion into decisions made, not make believe "user requested amenities" of ridiculous sorts of the type The Boondoggle claims results in their fairy tale nonsense, like the Gateway Park Masterplan.

Four years to build Three Bridges Over Nothing.

Longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge. Longer, by far, that it took to build the world's newest floating bridge. Longer than it took to build Grand Coulee Dam. Longer than it took to build the Empire State Building. Longer than it took to build the Panama Canal. Longer than it took to build Disneyland.

After well over a decade of Trinity River Vision nonsense what has The Boondoggle seen of its myopic vision?

Rockin' the River Happy Hour Floats in the polluted Trinity River. A tacky music venue bizarrely named Panther Island Pavilion, where there is no island, where there is no pavilion. A beer hall called The Shack. The first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century. Plastering a plethora of signage in all sorts of location, now touting the imaginary Panther Island.

And those bridges, those three very ordinary, very small bridges, being built over dry land, with The Boondoggle's misleading propaganda claiming this construction method is being used to save money, with the ditch under the bridges dug later, when the truth of the matter is there currently is no funding to dig the ditch.

All Ma Granger has been able to come up with of late is $17.5 million, supposedly to dig some flood control basins, supposedly currently being dug, because J.D. Granger said that money he got from his mama and the Army Corps of Engineers was going to be quickly put to use, and it is supposedly those flood control basins those federal dollars are intended for....

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Freezing Fort Worth Slippery Rain Walk On The Last Day Of February

Sometime after noon on this last Saturday of February I left my abode not knowing if I would be able to successfully traverse the field of ice that carpets the ground between my exit and my mailbox.

I soon found that my intended route to the mailbox was not a good idea, slick as it was with a thick coating of ice.

I then found a more circuitous route, over the snow covered lawn, that eventually got me to what turned out to be an empty mailbox.

I then decided to amp up my adventure level and slide my way up the hill to Albertsons.

En route to Albertsons I watched multiple instances of vehicles unable to get sufficient traction to move.

I forgot to mention, upon entering the outer world I quickly discovered that which was not seen by me via looking out my windows, that being that the predicted freezing rain was falling on top of the snow, thus greatly adding to the slipperiness.

Due to that falling freezing rain, when  I decided to try and capture on video some of the vehicular sliding action I had to find cover from the freezing rain first, under a tree. You can see the resulting video below, of the aforementioned wheels slipping, along with sleepy sounding commentary.

In addition to wheels slipping and sleepy commentary, in the video you will also see my boots crunching through the snow on my way back from Albertsons, with a panoramic view of my neighborhood Winter Wonderland...

Record Texas Snowfall Keeping Me From Town Talk This Last Day Of February

That which you see here was the big headline this morning in the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on this last day of the second month of 2015.

Prior to moving to Texas from the moderate climate of the Western Washington zone of the Pacific Northwest this was not the type headline I thought possible in the Dallas/Fort Worth part of Texas.

I was to learn my pre-conception about D/FW's weather was erroneous soon upon arrival in the little hamlet of Haslet, at the far north end of Fort Worth.

I had left Washington six days prior, with rain falling heavily til I crossed the Cascades into Eastern Washington.

When I arrived at my new location in Haslet I was appalled to find rain falling harder than I had ever experienced in Washington, with flooding seeming to be inundating the landscape everywhere I looked.

About a week later I was in the Fort Worth Stockyards, at the now defunct Riscky Rita's all you can eat Mexican food lunch buffet. When I arrived at the Stockyards, and entered Riscky Rita's, the temperature was pleasantly in the 70s.

When I had had my fill of Riscky Rita's Tex-Mex I was shocked upon exiting to the outer world to discover the temperature had dropped a lot of degrees, with a strong wind blowing making it feel even colder.

This was my introduction to the concept of the Wind Chill Factor.

I remember running to get to my vehicle to escape the cold.

That night the temperature dropped to 15 degrees. We did not know how to turn off the water to the barn and the pool. We did not know what we needed to do, other than keep faucets dripping.

By morning my introduction to the Ice Storm concept had arrived, coating everything, including the two cows in the pasture, with a layer of ice.

I was mortified that I'd somehow gone from the Banana Belt climate of the Skagit Valley to what now seemed to me to be what living in Alaska must be like.

And then a few short days later the temperature returned to being in the 70s, which was my introduction to the Texas weather concept of extreme weather changes within short time frames.

Which brings me to the present, February 28, 2015. Once again rendered immobile by a coating of slippery ice covering much of North Texas.

I won't be going to Town Talk today....

Friday, February 27, 2015

Just Say No To The Torture Of Tarrant Regional Water Boarding

Oh my.

A YouTube video all about putting a stop to Tarrant Regional Water Boarding, also known as TRWD Corruption.

The Iceman Hath Cometh To North Texas With A Slippery Vengeance

The predicted snow arrived right at its predicted time, starting flaking around 9 this morning at my location.

The forecast I heard on the radio seemed to indicate that there would be no serious slippery issues, due to the fact the snow was falling on frozen dry ground, with only bridge crossings being possibly slippery.

So, I decided to stick with my plan to go to ALDI this morning.

On the way to ALDI I stopped at Miss Puerto Rico's to visit Bella and Stella.  And to take a picture of the snowy view from Miss Puerto Rico's balcony.

Leaving Miss Puerto Rico's, heading to ALDI, the road may have looked slippery, which you can see below, but I experienced no slippage.

Crossing I-820 on the John T. White Overpass I was slightly non-plussed to experience a little bit of slipperiness, but that was what the predictors predicted I might find.

As I crossed over I-820 I saw traffic was moving very slow, as was the traffic on John T. White Road.

It was not until I got to Cooks Lane that I experienced some traction impairment. This unsettled me a bit because this was where I first experienced a slipping problem during last winter's ALDI ice debacle.

By the time I got to ALDI the road had become noticeably icier. I was getting a bit nervous, so I did ALDI at hyperspeed.

Leaving ALDI I decided I would take the freeway route home, figuring that would likely present the least aggravation.  I figured wrong.

When I-30 came into view I could see traffic was at a frozen standstill in both directions. This left returning home via John T. White Road as my most viable option.

The John T. White Road option meant I would have to make a quick decision when the road reached I-820,  because at that point there is a slight hill, which during last year's debacle became total ice wreck mayhem.

As I approached the dreaded hill I could see some vehicles ahead have some sliding problems. I slowed way up and slid around the problem vehicles, and continued slowly up the hill, hoping the light would turn green before I was forced to stop.

My green luck held out, I made it up the hill and over the overpass.

When the right turn into the Albertsons parking lot became visible I could see it was all jammed up. So, I continued on and took the next turn to the right, which had me driving behind Albertsons, with no slipping issues.

Last year it was going from the Albertsons parking lot on to Boca Raton when the worst of the nightmare began,  with me losing control as soon as I slid onto Boca Raton.

This year, no problem. I gingerly made it back to my parking location, with no serious issues.

A half hour later Boca Raton was an icy mess with multiple vehicles in trouble.

The road which fronts my abode, Bridgewood, was also a mess, with vehicles stalled as far as I could see. Bridgewood goes up a hill as it intersects with Boca Raton.

This icy mess is predicted to get worse before it gets better, the snow is expected to melt a bit, then re-freeze, creating a worse traffic nightmare on Saturday.

I will not be going to Town Talk tomorrow....

February Comes Towards Its End With Snow On The Menu Again For North Texas

What you are looking at here is what my new computer based weather monitoring device generates when I click on it to get me some weather info.

Yesterday I replaced my previous computer based weather monitoring device, called WeatherFox, because the Fox had become erratic, days out of sync, and thus worthless.

Even better computer based weather monitoring comes to me via Facebook and my favorite Texas Weatherman, John Basham.

This morning's Facebook John Basham Storm Spotter report is indicating we are in for some winter fun today in North Texas.....

WINTER WEATHER UPDATE 640 AM CST FRI FEB 27 2015 - NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS - INCLUDING: THE DALLAS FORT WORTH METROPLEX. A large area of light to moderate SNOW is rapidly approaching Western North Texas at this time. Doppler Radar and surface reports indicate the leading edge of snow is in Jack, Parker, & Hood Counties at this time. This areas of snow will continue to move East-Northeast across the Dallas/Fort Worth metro through the morning. With temperatures below freezing and evaporative cooling from the snowfall, widespread totals of 1" to 4" of snowfall can be expected in the metroplex. Areas of greatest risk for accumulation are along and North of the Interstate 30 corridor. Temperatures will have to fight to climb to the freezing mark today allowing for any snow that falls to accumulate readily and then re-freeze Friday night when more snow and freezing drizzle is expected. Road conditions are fine this morning across the metroplex, but will likely be deteriorating by noon. This will be especially true North of Interstate 30 and West of Interstate 35 where temperatures will struggle to get out of the upper 20's. Please be careful on area roadways and if conditions begin to worsen adjustments to your schedule may be necessary, especially if you have children who may wind up in an early release from school today. THIS IS NOT A NWS PRODUCT. Meteorologist John Austin Basham Storm Spotter METOPS,

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tarrant Regional Water District Corruption: The Website

Yesterday, on Facebook, I was told, more than once, that I needed to like someone named Michele Von Luckner.

It was via one of the like messages that I could tell why I was being told to like Michele Von Luckner...

"Newly announced anti-establishment TRWD candidate! Please like her page. You'll want to meet this lady! Put her next to Mary Kelleher!"

I do not know Michele Von Luckner, but, since I always do what I am told to do, I hit the "like" button.

After I liked Michele Von Luckner I checked out her Facebook page where I found a link to a Tarrant Regional Water District Corruption website, part of which you see screencapped above.

Til yesterday I was unaware of the existence of a website dedicated to the blatant corruption of the TRWD.

The TRWD board election is fast upon us, this coming May. This time it is Jim Lane and Marty Leonard being the TRWD incumbents up for re-election.

The main corruption accusation, that I am aware of, regarding Jim Lane has to do with #4, that you see above, that being "Friends with Benefits".

Jim Lane engineered funneling millions of dollars to a bankrupt friend, with the TRWD paying top dollar for a chunk of land on which the world's first drive-in movie theater of the 21st century was built.

I don't know anything corrupt about Marty Leonard. She seems to me to be a nice lady who is on the TRWD board as some sort of hobby.

So, currently, as far as I know, we have two candidates hoping to replace Jim Lane and Marty Leonard, the aforementioned Michele Von Luckner and the not aforementioned Craig Bickley.

If the Luckner/Bickley tickets wins, joining Mary Kelleher, that would give the good guys a majority on the TRWD board.

A majority of good guys on the TRWD  board would likely have all sorts of interesting ramifications.

It will also be interesting to see what lengths the existing TRWD board will go to, this time, propaganda-wise, slick mailed campaign advertisements-wise, what with the existing TRWD board having a lot to lose should the good guys take over.

I can think of a TRWD associated person or two who would likely feel a bit uncertain about their job security should the Kelleher/Von Luckner/Bickley triumvirate triumph in May......

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Army Corps Of Engineers Gives Trinity River Vision Boondoggle Millions To Keep Project On Imaginary Schedule

A few minutes ago Elsie Hotpepper forwarded me an email from the entity known to some as The Buzz.

That email contained the following memorable phrase, bolded end enlarged, I assume for emphasis...

A politician can steal more with a briefcase than a 100 men with guns!

The above memorable phrase was followed by a website link to the City of Fort Worth website, which had me wondering what fresh hell is this.

I clicked the link to see that which you see above, that being a headline saying Corps of Engineers awards $17.45 million for Trinity River Vision project.

The article which followed the headline (and the bizarre artist's imaginary rendering of what The Boondoggle may look like) was short, so I will copy it in its entirety followed by what I have to say about that...

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded $17.4 million to the Panther Island/Central City Project.

The funds will go toward “valley storage” projects, better known as flood control basins, along the river, said Clay Church, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These funds allow the project to remain on schedule.

“We are honored that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognizes this project as being worthy of funding and that we are capable of executing,” said TRVA Executive Director J.D. Granger. “We will work closely with USACE to put the money into construction projects immediately.

The Trinity River Vision Authority is responsible for implementing a public infrastructure project that provides needed flood protection and fosters the development of an exciting, pedestrian-oriented, urban waterfront neighborhood in Fort Worth. TRVA aims to attract business and entertainment to the district and is in charge of programming public spaces, including the Panther Island Pavilion, a waterfront music venue and festival space directly adjacent to downtown Fort Worth.

I really do not know where to start.

Okay, first off, these federal funds are intended to go toward something called "valley storage" projects, better known as flood control basins?

Where is this valley? Where are these flood control basins?

In the second paragraph Kay Granger's boy, J.D., informs us that the money will be put into construction projects immediately.


And what would those construction projects be? Oh, that's right, those flood control basins, which are not currently under construction. So, how is it that this money will be put into construction projects immediately?

These funds will allow the project to remain on schedule?

Again. Really?

And what would that schedule be? There is no project timeline schedule for the Trinity River Vision Boondoggle. Unless we count the four year construction schedule of The Boondoggle's Three Bridges Over Nothing.

Without these 17.45 million federal dollars The Boondoggle would not have been able to remain on its non-existent schedule?

J.D. is honored the Army Corps of Engineers recognizes this project as being worthy of funding? And that they are capable of executing the project?

If this project was worthy of being funded, why has funding not been found for this project in the way normal functioning towns fund public works projects? If this project is so worthy why has it not been put to any sort of public vote by which the public might indicate the public also feels the project is worthy and worthy of public funding funded by the public via their approval of a bond issue election?

The Boondoggle provides needed flood protection?

Once again. Really?

There has been no flooding in the area of The Boondoggle for well over a half a century. Not since the apparently now easily hoodwinked Army Corps of Engineers built flood control levees to control a flooding Trinity River as it passes by downtown Fort Worth.

The Boondoggle is "in charge of programming public spaces, including the Panther Island Pavilion, a waterfront music venue and festival space directly adjacent to downtown Fort Worth."

And one more time. Really?

The idea that the so called Panther Island Pavilion, and it being a waterfront music venue, is tout-worthy, is beyond embarrassingly absurd. If anything the shoddy tackiness of that which is called Panther Island Pavilion and its surrounding eyesores should be enough to send Panther Island to join Atlantis. It would be if this were happening in one of the more progressive, democratic parts of America, you know places which would not tolerate the nepotism of a local congresswoman's son being put in charge of a public works project so as to motivate her to help secure federal pork barrel earmark money.

I blogged about the embarrassing Panther Island Pavilion area a couple weeks ago after Taking A Look At The Trinity River Vision Boondoggle's Products.

Does the Army Corps of Engineers actually approve of outhouses being installed on the banks of a river?

That is the quality level of this project.

Concrete enclosed outhouses serving the Panther Island Pavilion waterfront music venue.

The Panther Island Pavilion outhouses are actual evidence of the quality level that J.D. Granger and The Boondoggle are capable of executing, which, apparently, the Army Corps of Engineers is endorsing.

To the tune of $17.4 million.

I tell you, the level of bald faced hubris of these people  is astounding.

Falling Texas Flakes Of Snow On The Last Wednesday Of February

When will this wintry madness end?

A few minutes ago I put my camera in snow mode for the first time that I remember doing such.

I then stepped outside to take a photo through the bars of my patio prison cell.

Those white spots you see in the picture are what are known as snowflakes.

My limited photographic skills prohibited me from accurately documenting the fact that those aforementioned snowflakes were falling in copious amounts.  Maybe not to a blizzard level, what with there being no wind blowing, but still, a lot of snowflakes dropping to the ground.

It is now about 10 minutes past the point in time where I snapped a snowflake picture. The snow has now ceased falling and melting has resumed.

I may be needed in a couple hours to drive a semi-blind man to a doctor's appointment in Euless. I would prefer not doing so, fearing a repeat of last winter's ALDI nightmare where the roads turned to ice making for a long, slow, scary drive from ALDI back to the relatively safety of my abode.

Apparently today's snow is not the end of this wintry madness. More snow is on the weather menu for Friday.

I think I will search for my cross country skis today and get them waxed and ready to slide. It is always a good thing to be prepared....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It Is So Cold In Texas My Neighborhood Cactus Has Sprouted Ice Thorns

How many more days of this sub-freezing slippery madness must we and our neighborhood ice cactus endure before this frigid nightmare is over?

I am running low on vittles. I had hoped a Tuesday thaw might allow vehicular transport to Walmart and ALDI.

But, I do not want any type of repeat of last winter's sliding back and forth to ALDI debacle, so I am being extremely conservative with any attempted wheel rolling.

And with the temperature well below freezing at less than three hours til noon, I am not optimistic about a possible thaw of any significance melting today.

I was more than slightly mortified to hear on the radio a few minutes ago that a possible additional wave of freezing wetness may arrive on Wednesday.

Yesterday I did manage to walk up the hill to Albertsons. I usually do not buy groceies at Albertsons, that being a longtime aversion that dates back to not liking Albertsons back when that store was considered, by me, and others, to be the worst grocery store in Mount Vernon.

I remember soon upon moving to Texas, asking a local about the local grocery store situation and being appalled to be told that Alberstons was among the local area's best. Many years later the local grocery store situation more matches what I was used to in Washington, what with the addition of Central Market, Sprouts and others.

Like Whole Foods.

I am not a Whole Foods fan.

Though, I must say the Whole Foods that opened in Seattle around the turn in the century, is nice. I assume Whole Foods had to amp up their game to compete in that much more competitive market with grocery store shoppers having much higher expectations of what to expect in a grocery store.

Checking my inventory I find I have four eggs, two slices of bread, about a quart of milk, a chunk of cabbage, some carrots, a  half an onion, a lot of yogurt, about two pounds of Italian sausage, one can of tuna, a half a bag of rice, a few celery stalks, a couple cups of oatmeal and some spinach tortillas.

I likely will be able to survive until the thaw....