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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Is Old Ogle Ogling Political Power Again in Arlington District 3?

Arlington District 3 City Council Candidate Roxanne Thalman shown with Former District 3 Arlington, TX City Councilman Wayne Ogle

This controversial photograph of Arlington District 3 City Council Candidate Roxanne Thalman with former District 3 City Councilman (1995-2005) Wayne Ogle has ruffled quite a few feathers with voters in our District. The Fish Creek Neighborhood is situated in District 3 where Ms. Thalman currently seeks political office.  This duo has made appearances out in the community and on social media lately. In fact, she even did a little name dropping at the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum mentioning Wayne Ogle's name as though it would win this Girl Scouts Troop Leader some brownie points if people knew that she was connected to him.  

  But what has she done for District 3?

This young protegee is riding on the coattails of former Councilman Wayne Ogle who ran for office 22 years ago and doesn't even live in the district anymore!  Ogle lives in District 1, on the north side of I-30 ~ the opposite side of town.  In addition, nearly 99% of Ms. Thalman's financial support totaling $31,896 has come from outside the district.  If elected, who will she represent? 

She is an interloper.

Ms. Thalman lives on the fringe of District 3 where she enjoys a nice view of a park outside the front door of her town home.   Chances are she's never mowed a lawn or seen an active drilling rig.  The scenic views from our neighborhood include gas wells and sinkholes!  This woman has not been on the same journey as we haveMarvin Sutton, on the other hand, lives in the heart of the community and has attended town halls with frustrated neighbors whose quality of life has been seriously diminished because of gas drilling.  Will Roxanne fight for you? We doubt it.  
Now, according to voting records, Ms. Thalman voted in the last Republican Primary.  But not to worry ~ word has it that Wayne Ogle was also a Republican who presented himself to voters as Democratic back in 1995 in order to win his seat in District 3.  He was known as a flip-flop candidate, just like Ms. Thalman who was affiliated with the Democratic Party in Utah in 2007.  Wait. Utah!? Seems this Arlington sweetie lived in Utah and not Arlington her entire life as the campaign seems to frame it.         

We hope that the people who are screaming over social media to vote out the incumbents do not  vote for this candidate, because she is an interloper ~ bought and paid for by special interests ~ part of the good ol' boy network. 


 We recommend Marvin Sutton for a safer, smarter, greener Arlington.  He's built a rapport with the community over the years, and nearly 62% of his total campaign contributions totaling $7,025 have come from inside the district. He will represent constituents, not outside special interests.

Polls are open from 7 am - 7 pm.

Click HERE to find your voting location.

Next on Fish Creek Monitor... 

One year ago Arlington, Texas, also known as The American Dream City, became a Film Friendly Community, recognized by the Texas Film Commission. Numerous movies and television shows have been filmed here over the years including Prison Break, Super Nanny, Tin Cup, and JFK to name just a few. We would like to recommend filming another fracking documentary or maybe a new episode of Sister Wives. Wouldn't that be exciting!?  Stay tuned...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Will Roxanne put on the red light in District 3?

During the city council meeting on November 29, 2016 Rivera Rivera announced with tears in his eyes that he would not seek re-election.  A few hours later a young single mother came virtually out of nowhere to announce her plan to run for Arlington City Council District 3.  Her name is Roxanne Thalman.  People in our community had never heard of her, except for the buzz around town concerning a so-called skeleton in this woman's closet. 

Last week outside the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum a married couple stood quietly across the street protesting outside the Lions Club. They claimed that Ms. Thalman wrecked their lives. Their story is absolutely gut wrenching.

We will not speak to that incident at this time, but can show you the money because elected officials tend to represent those who support them financially. That's just Politics 101. To date, over 90% nearly 99% of Ms. Thalman's campaign contributions have come from outside District 3. Click Here for the link to the campaign finance reports.

We've highlighted one donor who piqued our curiosity. His name is Jagdip Patel, and he contributed $1001 on March 16th to the Roxanne Thalman campaign. According to TAD records, he owns a home in Southlake with a market value of $1,453,875.  These records also reveal that this individual owns substantial mineral interests with XTO in Arlington. This begs the question ~ whose side will Roxanne be on when the gas drilling ramps up again? It has been our experience that surface owners ie, people who live on top of the shale have no rights when it comes to protecting their homes and quality of life. Unfortunately, many people who own their minerals don't live here, which is why there has been such a loud outcry against oil and gas rules currently in place.  

According to Corporation Wiki, Mr. Patel has been associated with 25 companies over a 23-year period.  Records show that he is involved with the hotels industry which would probably connect him to the entertainment district of Arlington where a new one billion dollar stadium will be built on the taxpayers' dime. In light of this we especially need a candidate who's going to go to bat for residents who actually live on the southeast side where there are telltale signs of urban decay, increasing crime, and the sight of panhandlers who beg for money at major intersections.  

A generous portion of Ms. Thalman's money comes from the same individuals and groups that have been funding the incumbants.  So, while everyone continues to rant about voting out the incumbants, we have our chance to do so now before she gets elected.  Roxanne's campaign flyers claim that she will fight for us, but it's looking like her heart belongs to someone else.  Don't let her pretty little face and the powder blue signs around town fool you. She's bought and paid for ~ nothing but a rubber stamp.  

"Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light" are the lyrics to a hit song released in 1978 by a group called The Police.  This is a song about falling in love with a prostitute, and can be allegorically reminiscent of many political campaigns throughout history.  Let's hope we turn this ship around before it's too late.  

Early voting begins April 24th.  Election Day is May 6th. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Are Frac Ponds a Public Health Threat?

Chesapeake Energy Frac Pond located at the Fulson Drill Site 
Southeast Arlington, TX
Photograph taken by Fish Creek Monitor on 7-26-2016

Vector Disease Control International conducted round two of targeted ground spraying throughout Fish Creek neighborhood this week.  They applied the first round of a synthetic permethrin insecticidal product manufactured by Bayer the week of July 5th, but on July 22nd another mosquito tested positive for West Nile virus.

Looks like they missed the target.

A single bite from one of these tiny winged insects can produce devastating disease.  Because we noticed such a proliferation of mosquitoes since the installation of the frac pond in our community ~ and since mosquitoes have the ability to travel anywhere from 300 feet to 100 miles depending on the breed ~ we asked the City if they require gas operators to implement any sort of mosquito control program for their frac ponds.

We learned that the City of Arlington does require gas operators to treat their frac ponds with mosquito dunks, but verification of compliance is questionable at best.  There is really no way to confirm whether or not the mosquito pellets [sic] that Chesapeake applies to their pond are working to keep the mosquito population at bay. 

According to a Gas Well Specialist with the City of Arlington, this is how compliance works:  
"We (the City) go by their (Chesapeake's) word. They've been pretty honest about the things they do."
 So, how do we know if the pellets are actually working to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in these ponds?  We don't.  The City does not place mosquito traps on gas operators' private property.

Since it is possible that frac ponds might be contributing to mosquito-borne illness, why not require operators to fill them in with dirt?  Chesapeake hasn't drilled any new wells at the Fulson Site since 2012, so there is no need for a pond at this time.  This would be a legitimate request by citizens to ask of their council representatives. Why take the chance of even one person contracting the West Nile or Zika virus?  In the early days of mineral lease signing, landmen pitched the idea that frac ponds would be amenities to the community.  Now people know better.

 Ban the frac ponds.

Doing away with frac ponds in city limits could actually be a win-win for everyone.  It was done at Chesapeake's Rocking Horse Drill Site back in 2012.   Gas operators would still be able to access water for fracking through the installation of above-ground frac tanks/pools which can be easily taken down after completion of a gas well.  XTO, in fact, uses them on a regular basis. Ridding the city of these stagnant man-made reservoirs which waste acreage would not only free up land for future development, but would eliminate a potential breeding habitat for mosquitoes.  

In 2015 fossil fuel advocates influenced the Texas Legislature to pass HB40.  This bill essentially strips away local control from municipalities to regulate fracking with some exceptions such as truck traffic, noise, and setbacks to some degree as long as these restrictions are "commercially reasonable" for the operator.  However, this bill does not specifically address frac ponds.  Since operators could still gain access to an alternative water source, it would seem reasonable that Arlington, a home rule city, could be a role model for other nearby communities by shoring up its ordinance to address this potential public health threat of mosquito-borne illness.  

Our State's overreach of HB40 may have banned fracking bans, but it doesn't specifically prohibit the banning of  frac ponds. Because of the number of cases of  mosquito-borne illnesses in North Texas, this may be a subject worth thinking about.  

In case you missed Chesapeake's Big Boy, click here to meet him.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Fort Worth Earthwake

For some reason this particular earthquake notification from USGS did not arrive in our inbox.  Weird.  It did appear across our Twitter feed from DFW Scanner and other news sources.  It was a big one, and many in Fort Worth felt it.

Here's the USGS link:  M3.0 - 2km NNE of Haslet

Lots of fracking near Haslet!

Railroad Commission of Texas GIS map of oil and gas wells as of 11/17/2015

(Reference key is on the left.  Each black line represents a horizontal well bore.  Red Circles without black lines indicate vertical wells.) 

Shortly after tweeting this map, we wanted to research some of these wells, but they disappeared from the website.  Perhaps it was a glitch.  It is working now.  

Time will tell if this earthquake was an isolated incident, or whether a known or unknown fault has been awakened.  We are not sure how it can be put back to sleep once it wakes up.  An ungodly amount of fluid has been injected AND extracted beneath this region of North Texas.  

Icymi Read this Wall Street Journal article written by Russell Gold circa 2005: 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Woo-Hoo Moment ***Update***

I spent the morning working alongside the Fish Creek Neighbors on the Linear Trail picking up a TON of litter that the heavy rains washed onto the wooded areas.  It was dirty, back-breaking work, so afterwards I took a hot bath, drank a glass of wine and decided to watch Tuesday night's City Council meeting that I missed.  Then the urge came on to write a blog post. 

The hot topic of discussion at this meeting was an item from Executive Session ~ an oil and gas lease with Vantage Energy.  A Chesapeake oil and gas lease was also on the agenda under Executive Session, but the focus for this story is the Vantage lease.  

Vantage is the operator that experienced a well blowout in April causing mandatory evacuations of many nearby residents.  This mishap spilled 42,000 gallons of produced water down residential streets and into our city storm drains.  This is also the same operator that delayed reporting this accident to our Fire Department for approximately two hours.  They don't sound like a very prudent operator.  Following an investigation, the City made a determination to allow them to Frack On on that LABC drill site.  It was a disappointment that they did not order Vantage to lock the gates and plug the wells after that fiasco.  Now they are building out that site, but that is a story for another day.  One of those West Arlington neighbors should start a blog. 
Although the surface location for this Vantage Energy lease is in Fort Worth, well bores would be directionally drilled and fractured under a portion of Lake Arlington, the City's drinking water source for hundreds of thousands of people.  

The speeches by Arlington and Dallas residents addressed a myriad of concerns ranging from the risk of contamination to our drinking water supply to the potential for an earthen dam failure which could be catastrophic.  Earthquakes, air pollution and climate change were also mentioned as serious issues associated with this type of heavy industrial activity.  

Fracking.  What's not to love? 

Robert Shepard (At-Large) was absent, and Jimmy Bennett (At-Large) made the motion to approve these oil and gas leases. Shame on you, Mr. Bennett!  Since there was no second, Robert Rivera then made a motion to deny, seconded by Sheri Capehart. The outcome of the vote was 7-1.   


We received new information from the City Secretary's office today that there was dialogue immediately following this vote which was not clearly audible to online viewers.  While both items 1 and 2 were denied, Charlie Parker, District 1 Councilman, wanted to make sure that it goes on public record that he voted "No" on item 2  (ie, saying yes to a Chesapeake oil and gas lease on City property by Little Road and Little School Road) making the vote on item two 6-2.  So, there you have it ~ two Arlington Councilmen whose names deserve recognition in the City Hall of Shame.   

It was curious to witness what appeared to be a pivot ~ or maybe it was an eddy turn by seven out of eight council members present at the meeting.  Is there a skilled canoe man out there who can confirm this move?  We suspect it might have been a strategical maneuver to turn the negative PR around.   But most definitely, it was a "Woo-Hoo Moment" for mostly everyone in the chamber that night.   

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Arlington, TX: The Undeveloped Land

Undeveloped Land next to Chesapeake's Fulson Drill Site, So. Hwy. 360, Arlington, TX

Fracking damages the land.  Not only does it damage the land inside the perimeter of these beige, cosmetic masonry walls of pad sites, but it also ruins potential land use for the surrounding area.  The land depicted in this picture has remained barren since the City zoned the Fulson Drill Site in 2009.  Let's face it, no one wants to develop property that is adjacent to a heavy industrial mining site where gas gathering pipelines criss-cross its span ~ unless, perhaps, they give away the land at a deeply discounted price.  

Now, zoning an industrial use next to a fracking site would not be so objectionable if there were not already 60 or so sites in Arlington which are zoned for residential neighborhoods.  So, just what DO you do when you learn that the pie-in-the-sky master plan that the oil and gas industry pitched to our City six years ago was just a pipe dream, and we now have to deal with the nightmare of the fracking aftermath ~ Undeveloped Land all across the "American Dream City?" 

Well, some developers seem to think it is just fine to build homes next to existing drill sites.  There are no laws prohibiting them from doing so, but just because you can doesn't mean you should.  It's wrong.  This complex issue is about private property rights, but it is also about ethics.  Doing the right thing.  The Makens Company wants the City to change the zoning from commercial to residential for their property on South Highway 360 next to Chesapeake's Fulson Drill Site.  

It would be a terrible tragedy if an unsuspecting young couple purchased their dream home, gave birth to a child, and adopted a pet only to awaken one morning to a looming drilling rig outside their child's bedroom window.  This can and has happened because Texas has no disclosure laws requiring sellers to tell potential buyers that these homes are next to a drill site and that heavy industrial mining activity could occur at any time into perpetuity.  This very situation is what led Denton residents to work toward a fracking ban which our Oiligarchy State overturned when they passed HB40.

Arlington's gas drilling ordinance does not address reciprocal setbacks for new development going in next to existing drill sites.  Mansfield's ordinance doesn't either, and look at the fiasco that is happening there:

New home construction next to gas drilling site on Debbie Lane in Mansfield, TX

Arlington's current gas-drilling ordinance mandates a 600-foot setback from a protected use with a variance to 300 feet, but this measurement is taken from the wellhead, not the pad wall.  We have gone to our City on numerous occasions asking for an ordinance revision, but they keep kicking the can down the road.  It appears they enjoy basking in the shade of HB40. 

Now, the City of Arlington seems to be in a hurry to meet with the Fish Creek Neighbors ~ so much in a hurry that we are told by one resident that this meeting cannot wait another day.  We don't even know the time, but we know the date and the place of this meeting ~ Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church.  Since Monday is Labor Day, we will meet on Tuesday.  This will ensure low turnout, which is what we believe the City is counting on.  Here is the e-mail that arrived in my box on Friday:
(Note that gas drilling is NOT mentioned in the Fish Creek Neighborhood Plan.)

We certainly hope that Chesapeake plans to plug those three wells if the City approves a zoning change for The Makens Company, because gas drilling in such close proximity to a neighborhood is downright dangerous.  These two land uses are clearly incompatible.  These wells are experiencing declining production anyway.  The trickling royalty checks arrive with less frequency ~ and the amount barely covers a family's pizza and coke for Friday night dinner.  

Stay tuned, and we'll update this story as we learn more details...

In the meantime, here is an important back story: