All Well on Home Front
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Dear Mayor Mike Moncrief:
It is not often that I get a chance to express my appreciation for the great work going on in the City of Fort Worth. I am pleased and gratified that we are a community that works together.
We are a blessed city to be sitting on one of the richest natural gas deposits in the country. I remember it once said that every Texan had an oil well in his backyard. Now every little property owner in Fort Worth has a little Barnett Shell gas. That means some older inner city residents are reaping a little windfall, therewith lifting some of the burden of poverty in our community.
The forecast looks even brighter for our city. First, I commend the City Counsel for selecting Dale Fisseler as our new City Manager. He is a fine leader that meritoriously came up through home ranks, tried, tested, and a proven leader in my sight, from my experience with him. I trust his judgment and leadership capabilities.
The selection of Fernando Costa for Assistant City Manager was also a great move. And, we are almost assured continuity of quality leadership in the City’s Planning Department, which has a pipeline full of great talent, from which to pick the new City Planner. I have also enjoyed working with Fernando over the years, especially on the New Orleans Recovery Plan. He is one of those municipal planning engineers who is so visionary that only I can understand him.
This brings me to the subject of the Trinity River Vision. As you know, I have worked on various committees over the years formulating a vision for the future of downtown Fort Worth. I was part of Downtown Revitalization planners in 1993, and worked on Kay Granger’s Retail Water Rate Committee, before retiring from McDonald & Associates, Consulting Engineers. Our company was among the pioneer planners for the Alliance corridor development, and we were a part of the City’s long-term storm sewer water solution, as well as planners for the T&P commuter rail project. We helped set the stage for downtown residential development, and the urbanization plan that eventually lead to the river-front development known as the “Uptown Trinity River Project”.
It was good to see Kathleen Hicks appointed to the board overseeing this project. I love the enthusiastic spirit of J.D. Granger, an exciting kid whose vision that matches Fernando. I am indebted to his mother also, Kay Granger, who never misses an Eddie Griffin email to the U.S. Congress. She has shown great leader in bringing the Trinity River Project home.
I am concerned, however, about the continuation of this important development. Our community has a vested interest in the Oxbow portion of the project, and we look forward to new Trinity River corridor spinning off park and recreational developments. But, as you know, this development still has much opposition.
There are some old friends I will miss, among them retiring City Manager Charles Boswell, whom I have known since my volunteer days on the Water Rate Committee. It was nice to see him lead the Martin Luther King Day Parade downtown this past January. It was a nice way to go out for a truly nice guy.
I also will miss retired police Chief Ralph Mendoza, a man I truly loved from the heart. I almost envy the fact that he retired with so much youth left in him. I know his wife also, and I know she will be happy to spend some quality time with him out on the ranch.
As for his replacement, Patricia Kneblick: She is the ideal first female police chief in the city. I saw her in action during the Katrina evacuee crisis. She is a good leader. Greatness comes with overcoming challenges. Of course, she has some challenges with the yahoos on her force, as I am beginning to get a steady stream of complaints about an overzealous police force. This is not unexpected with a change of leadership, and especially a shift to a female chief. Nevertheless, she will be challenged on both ends, first in keeping crime down, and in keeping her macho male-dominated police force under control.
Let me say, I may not attend City Council as much as before. Neither do I see a need to raise much hell. I keep my eye on the city, as a watchman ought. So far, I like what I see.
Therefore, I commend you for your outstanding leadership, as C.E.O. of this City. You have led the way in pulling together this great metropolis of diverse interests and forging a common goal.
I have seen you in the trenches, going under bridges, in the highways, byways, and bushes, searching out the homeless, and then setting up a task force with coordinator to solve their problems and minister to their needs. And, this does not overshadow all the other work and undertakings under your leadership. I have seen you on various boards and involved in different organizations. I feel a sense of closeness, as a personal friend to you, your wife Rosie, and the grandkids.
Therefore, your woes are my woes. Can you bear my woes also?