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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil

We are all familiar with those three chimpanzees that hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.  That's how another gas drilling item got approved last night at the Arlington, Texas Planning and Zoning Public Hearing.
  
First, the Assistant City Attorney, Mack Reinwand, told us we had to remove the poster board off the table in the back of the room.  It displayed photos of the Monster Frac Pond that Chesapeake placed TEN FEET from homeowners' fence lines at the Corn Valley Gas Drill Site in Grand Prairie, TX.  We do not appreciate the City's attempt to suppress this information from the public during a public hearing.  This is concerning because we have to wonder if his action may have in some way hinted of compromising our first amendment rights.   Those pictures must have been speaking louder than words.

To our dismay, the commissioners approved the zoning change for the Rocking Horse Drill Site 7-0 with 2 abstaining.  Chesapeake wants to establish the drill zone, expand the boundary of the drill site, and add a frac pond.  They should have postponed this vote because Chesapeake appears to have fallen woefully short on following proper procedure and providing important specific details - such as how far the frac pond will be from homes. 

For starters, we wonder if Chesapeake selectively invited neighbors to this town hall meeting that apparently took place on November 26th.  We really wanted an invitation to that party.  Neighborhood groups are also on that list.  Fish Creek happens to be one of them.  We never received notice of that meeting.  In the future, Chesapeake, would you kindly send us the invitation.  We will make sure to spread the word to our community.

It was quite interesting to watch how Cliff Mycoskie skirted around the commissioners' questions.  They performed a wonderful dance.   Mr. Mycoskie has a long history with Planning and Zoning issues.  He previously served as Chairman on the P & Z Commission.  Perhaps that is why he is so good at what he does week after week in our City presenting all those gas drilling items. 

However, we don't think he understands how town hall announcements are handled.  Perhaps we can help with that.  Click Here for the definition of a town hall meeting.   A town hall meeting means that the town is invited - not just a select few.  He talked in circles and looked pretty wiped out by the end of the evening.  In fact, he looked like he took a cat nap during the earlier work session.  This hearing was definitely scheduled too close to the New Years' holiday for everyone.

What we don't understand is why a City would approve such a critical zoning change for a company that has an unfavorable reputation.  There is no transparency, and they are not  providing the City or residents with specific details.   For instance, Mr. Mycoskie was simply pulling a number out of thin air when asked how close in proximity will this frac pond be placed to homes.  He clearly did not know, and because Arlington's gas drilling ordinance does not specify setback requirements for frac ponds, it is  guaranteed that the homeowners on Redwater Drive will get a frac pond VERY close to their fence lines too.  

After the meeting we grabbed a bite to eat at a neighborhood  bar and grill.  The place was bustling with activity and we finally found a small table available in the corner and sat down.  The waitress told us that this room was reserved for the Atheists, but the group welcomed us to stay.  We didn't even have to fill out a visitor's card!  The events of  the evening transitioned quite smoothly as we left one set of individuals who refused to recognize God's ways to those who do not believe in God.  Funny, the group who says there is no God seems to have a better grasp on morality than the people making crucial decisions in our City.  Hmmm...

It was good to meet new people in the community and discuss the suburban gas drilling issue.  It is affirming to know that the majority of people feel the same way we do about the issue.

Time to gear up for the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 where our elected officials will vote on whether or not Arlington homeowners will get a frac pond on the other side of their fence line.  Be prepared to speak or forever hold your peace.

For those who haven't been following the history of the Rocking Horse drill site, click:
and
Here

To watch that January 2nd public hearing and see some classic good ol boy style of government, click Here for that direct link.

11 comments:

  1. Excellent overview, Fishcreek Monitor. Much better than all the missing details from the P&Z Agenda Details (and apparently from Mr. Mycoskie as described with this blog post).

    Funny, that over to the east...Grand Prairie (Texas) approved new setback distances from protected uses (homes, businesses, schools, etc.) for FRAC Ponds with the Revision to the Gas Drilling Ordinance in January 2011. Maybe these two cities need to compare notes more often (in public).

    Gas Drilling Ordinance Compliance Chart (2011) (See FRAC Pond Setbacks)

    Looks like Arlington was real sure to describe that how Grand Prairie had the least restrictions back in 2010. Is this a competition??:

    Arlington's Planning Report June 22, 2010

    Of course, many of us are still seeking Zoning Overview for Grand Prairie's gas drilling activities. Right now, we continue to be in the dark about so much of it. This is sinful.

    But we are clearly ahead of Arlington on the all-important FRAC Pond setbacks. 500 Feet and some change. AMEN.

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  2. Is this like waking up one day to find out that your spouse has been gambling for years with your savings? And that there's nothing left.

    OR maybe more like your spouse is gambling with your savings telling you not to worry..."Here's a little shopping money, dear. Go buy yourself something pretty."

    All kinds of possibilities. So, Mr. Mycoskie fell asleep? Wow. He must be bored with all the routine fracking amendments. LOL!

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  3. You should write a book about this stuff.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it would have to be written as a trilogy.

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  4. I noticed something interesting. Commissioner Brandon Hill at Planning and Zoning in Arlington is an attorney with Kelly, Hart and Hallman. That law firm has represented Chesapeake in many of their Rule 37 filings against property owners in Arlington who would not lease to Chesapeake. And Commissioner Vera McKissic is a minister at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington which has a lease with Chesapeake.
    http://www.askchesapeake.com/Barnett-Shale/Neighborhood/Arlington/Pages/Cornerstone.aspx
    Can this get any more clubby?

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  5. Ponder this for a moment: Isn't it curious that "The Church" - whose mission it is to sow the seeds of faith, life, truth, and salvation - is signing deals with a company exhibiting the same traits as the one written about in the Bible called Satan, Lucifer, or aka the devil. This makes it much easier to understand why Jesus was often in conflict with the Church and Government leaders during the time of his earthly ministry.

    I suppose there is nothing new under the sun...well, except for fracking perhaps. And know that it will steal, kill, and destroy everything in its path. Buyer Beware: Those living the Gas Patch are eyewitnesses to its fury.

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  6. The comments above by Anonymous raise serious ethical concerns about what appear to be blatant conflicts of interest on the part of the two named Commissioners.

    I also find it concerning that, according to Fishcreek Monitor, the city attorney evidently made participants remove a poster board showing photos of a frac pond located in a nearby Grand Prairie neighborhood. The photos displayed on that board are pertinent to the issues being raised in this particular P & Z hearing and should be of great interest to citizens near the Rocking Horse drill site, especially since adding a frac pond there is on Chesapeake's agenda. The city's website provides a clear overview of the procedures for participation in a public hearing of the P & Z Commission - and nowhere does it state that citizens are prohibited from displaying or presenting "visual aids" which support their concerns/opposition.

    Surely the City of Arlington does not want to appear as though it is attempting to hinder, or altogether suppress, any citizen's rights to free speech and robust participation in public government. Perhaps the city and Barry Smitherman of the RRC should consult with a good PR rep AND a Constitutional attorney to learn the ABCs of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution and the concept of fair government.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe the "Assistant" City Attorney has a job description that includes: "When necessary, act as the "City Intimidator" before, during or after public meetings." Just a thought.

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    2. Thank you, Anonymous, for that insightful comment. We are glad that intelligent people are reading this blog.

      The instruction by a city attorney to tell us to remove that poster board off the back table opens up a big, gray area of concern because while we were prohibited from displaying those pictures in a room where a public hearing was being held, we were allowed to use it during our three-minute long presentation/speech. Aren't lawyers crafty at their trade?

      One thing is for certain - The Good Ol' Boy style of government dominates all decision making in Arlington, Texas - and that certainly raises serious ethical concerns.

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    3. Thank you, Fish Creek Neighbor.

      I wondered about whether you were allowed to use it in your presentation and figured you likely were, but I do believe that an open display of such visual aids - so all participants can study them on their own prior to any hearing or meeting - should not be prohibited. In the interest of a public gathering and fair consideration of issues, everyone participating should have pertinent and compelling materials made available to them. I'm quite sure you fully agree with that. I think it is clear where the city and state stand on the issue of fair government.

      Btw, thank you for attending that hearing and for your continued efforts.

      You know, as a native Texan, I've long been proud of certain aspects about this state, but I have an ever-increasingly profound disdain for that "good ol' boy" network that permeates every corporate and political avenue. These people are playing very dangerous moral and ethical games that involve the lives and livelihoods of good people - and that is wrong on every level - and is counter-productive to a progressive society.

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    4. So true...it's very tragic for the future of our cities, state and our country. Very well said. We are clearly in serious trouble.

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