Eastsiders vent their frustrations at the District 5 Community Meeting
hosted by Councilwoman Gyna Bivens

District 5 Councilwoman Gyna Bivens did a yeoman’s job of putting together a meeting with strategic staff members to partner with citizens and business owners with issues which need solutions.

Unfortunately that partnership was drowned in negativity. Questions were answered by staff, but the answers were not what the audience as a whole wanted to hear. Anger was directed at those who had come to help, instead of being directed at those past council members who caused the clustering of the homeless and the problems that has created.

This is unfortunate, because East Fort Worth has such potential, and at this time we have three council members who seem truly interested in hearing from us.

The hope is that now that venting has occurred we can have a real work session and come up with real answers to the problems we all face in East Fort Worth. The problems are not isolated in one part of our community.

 About 100-110 people attended Council Member Gyna Bivens’s District 5 Eastside Strategy Meeting at the Handley Meadowbrook Community (Recreation) Center Thursday night, July 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. The meeting was called in response to multiple complaints in July from Eastside leaders about intolerable conditions in two trouble spots in Handley.

Ms. Bivens rallied action from many city officials, many of whom attended the July 28 meeting, including Randle Harwood, Director of Planning and Development, with his Zoning Manager, Jocelyn Miller; two staff attorneys from the Legal Department; Aubrey Thagard, who supervises the Directions Home homeless program for the City; Catherine Huckaby from Community Engagement; and about a dozen officers from FWPD, Police NPO's, Captain Shedd, and Deputy Chief Hadsell, Alan Speed,  and Code Compliance.

Handley Neighborhood Association (NA) President, Judy Taylor, got the ball rolling by writing to  Bivens on July 18.  Mike Phipps of West Meadowbrook NA took photos July 19, and LaWayne Hauser of Eastern Hills NA took more photos and wrote an impassioned email to Mayor Betsy Price with the subject line “Help Is Needed for the Eastside.”

The first trouble spot is the parking lot and alleyway by the new Pacesetters Day Labor office in the old Radio Shack space in the Minyard shopping strip in the 6300 block of Meadowbrook Drive.

LaWayne Hauser made a presentation of her photographs and observations, taken over several weeks, showing the unacceptable conditions, and possibly unlawful situations at the Meadowbrook Minyard's Strip center.

Her presentation highlighted in many cases, the issues of homeless living on the property, diving into the clothing drop boxes, hassling customers desiring to patronize the businesses in the shopping center and otherwise being a nuisance to the community.

Some of this is caused by the homeless shelters themselves. The shelters open late afternoons, around 4, and if a person is not in line when the doors open, they will not get a bed. This puts the men who are trying to work a day job in a tough spot. They get off work too late in the day to be ensured a bed at the shelter, so they stay on site till the day labor office opens in the morning.

A solution would be a reservation system with the shelters to ensure that men & women who are working, are guaranteed a bed in the evenings, and a voucher from the day labor facility to prove they had worked that day.

Ms. Bivens met with the owner on Monday, July 25, and he was very cooperative in working on solutions for the problems that have arisen about people loitering, sleeping, and leaving trash and discarded clothes on the parking lot and alley after they take newer clothes from the clothes donation bin.

The gaming and prostitution, paired with drugs in a building of the Historic Handley village of the 6500 block of East Lancaster, property owned by Mark Scott Law Offices, was a big topic with the Law office from the city saying "there is nothing the police can do about the Gaming because of lawsuits against the city by the business owners." The East Division Police officers are addressing the prostitution and other issues, as much as possible.

The issue of the convenience stores and the depravity they bring to a community, such as gaming, panhandling and vagrancy was also addressed, specifically naming one of the biggest neighborhood offenders: Cowboy Convenience Store on Handley Drive. The people patronizing this store have done damage to the neighboring businesses, which have had to increase their security measures to prevent additional  vandalism and attempted break-ins.

Mike Phipps said "It was a great opportunity to lay out a plan but I think many passed up the chance.  I wish those who just wanted to complain (without offering a solution) would have stayed home. We had a grand opportunity to address issues and lay out a future plan for this area and beyond, but most of the time was wasted complaining. It amazes me how these people think constant negativity  is productive.  I cant wait to hear what others might have to say.  I thought Gyna did a GREAT job putting together the meeting."

The second trouble spot is 6505 East Lancaster Avenue, where a new business opened about June 28 with approved permits and certificates of occupancy.  However, is it apparently a gaming operation, has indications of other illicit activity, and a man in the rear of the building facing Kerr St. exposed himself in front of kids at a day care center.  The City passed an ordinance last year to crack down on businesses that house gaming operations, but as soon as they did, the City got sued.  A court issued a restraining order that prevents the City from enforcing the new ordinance.

Neighboring Handley business owners vented frustrations that these trouble spots have been causing.  Also attending were residents not only from Handley but also from Eastern Hills, Ryanwood, West Meadowbrook, Brentwood-Oak Hills, and White Lake Hills.

Gyna Bivens outlined several steps already taken and additional steps being addressed and will ask staff for an update to be presented to City Council.  When that appears on the City Council agenda, which is published online every Friday, Eastsiders need to attend en masse at the City Council meeting to let the Mayor and Council know we need their help in promoting positive development in East Fort Worth.

Scott W. wrote in and said: Appears the issues are the same issues we had 10+ years ago with no solutions or action plan for solutions.  My suggestion is to start with prayer and seek wisdom and guidance to find solutions.  Set Monday morning at 10:0am ( or pick another time) for every resident of the east side to pray for safety, wisdom, guidance, prosperity, protection, family resurrection, etc (be specific) in our community and command the demons of crime, drugs, prostitution, unemployment, poverty, etc.   to depart from our neighborhoods and be replaced by the Holy Spirit.    Say what you will but God moves through prayer.

  2 Chronicles 7:14.   " if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

More info to come, as it arrives.

SUGGESTIONS for SOLUTIONS

1. For the homeless men getting day jobs through temp agencies:
Have the agencies issue a 'voucher of day employment' that the homeless shelters are required to use to reserve a bed for the men that are working day jobs.

The current Shelter bed assignment policy punishes the men trying to get work by denying them a place to sleep, because they were not in line when the doors opened. Since the men know they will not have  a bed at the shelter, they camp nearby so they can be first in line at the temp agency and get work.

Gateway Park East now has upgraded pavement trails, eight new pedestrian bridges, a scenic Trinity River Overlook and a trailhead.
This Saturday! Eastsiders need to show up & show appreciation for the largest city park in the prettiest part of town.

 

Gateway Park ribbon cutting Aug. 27

Gateway Park East now has upgraded pavement trails, eight new pedestrian bridges, a scenic river overlook and a trailhead.

An exciting component of the Central City portion of the Trinity River Vision is the revitalization of Gateway Park. Improvements include a major restoration of the park’s ecosystem, numerous and diverse recreational amenities, and the necessary flood storage to ensure the viability of the Central City flood control project.

At Gateway Park West, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is removing 1.4 million cubic yards of soil. The work is expected to be complete by early 2017 and will achieve two important goals: providing additional flood protection for the entire area and making way for future recreational enhancements such as soccer fields and trailhead amenities.

At Gateway Park East, two new scenic overlooks, a paved trail, five pedestrian bridges and a trailhead with picnic tables, benches and a restroom are now open in Gateway Park East. The final piece of the project connects the new trail and amenities directly to East First Street.

Join the ribbon cutting at Gateway Park at 8 a.m. Aug. 27 at 751 Beach St. To celebrate the opening, the Trinity River Vision Authority is also hosting a 5K run at 8:15 a.m. Aug. 27, just after the ribbon cutting.

Do your 'due diligence' before signing on with a water service line warranty program

Posted Aug. 22, 2016—The Fort Worth Water Department is aware of at least four companies — Home Services USA, American Water Resources of Texas, Dominion and Utility Service Partners — that offer service line warranty programs. Some are contacting Fort Worth Water Department customers to offer their warranty program for a fee.

The warranty program is much like insurance. For a monthly fee, the company will cover certain qualified repairs for the private portion of service lines. Service lines are the pipes that connect a home or business to the water main or the wastewater line. Ownership of service lines is shared, and service lines are only a portion of private plumbing.

For water, the city owns the portions from the main to the meter, including the meter. The property owner is responsible for the portion from the meter to the house and all the plumbing in the house.

For wastewater lines, the customer’s responsibility begins at the property line. If there is a cleanout at the property line, this clearly marks where the responsibility changes.

The Water Department is not endorsing any of these companies. Like with any insurance or warranty program, individuals should do their own due diligence to learn what is and is not covered and what exceptions apply in order to make the best decision for their situation.

Register your surveillance camera system to help police solve crimes

Posted Aug. 15, 2016 – Are you one of the thousands of people who use private video surveillance at your home or business? If you do, the Fort Worth Police Department would like to hear from you.

Video surveillance is one of the best methods for apprehending criminals and convicting suspects who are caught in the act of committing a crime.

The Police Department is asking residents and business owners across Fort Worth to register their privately-owned surveillance camera systems. As officers respond to criminal incidents, they may be able to use the footage gathered from the security cameras to help apprehend and prosecute the people involved.

You would only be contacted if there is a criminal incident in the vicinity of your camera. Police personnel may ask to view your camera footage to assist with an investigation.

Register your camera system online. Information provided to the Police Department regarding your camera system will be for official use only. Your personal information will remain confidential except as required by law.

Game Room Raided

This is good news that I want to share with you.  It shows what one NA President, Judy Taylor, got done by speaking up and being persistent and getting her Council Member Gyna Bivens to call a D-5 strategy meeting on two trouble spots in Handley.  We all benefited.

 

"Our Vice Task Force was able to execute a search warrant yesterday at our game room at 6505 E. Lancaster. They seized a few thousand dollars in cash, and took the motherboards out of 84 machines. They should be out of business for the time being. If you see them turn that red neon “open” sign back on, let us know and we’ll pounce on them again! The report number is 16-75888, if anyone is keeping score.

 Thank you for being patient, and keep your eyes out for more problem businesses. If they pop up in your area, let me know immediately and we’ll set things in motion. We need your eyes out there keeping us informed. Councilmember Bivens has shown she is committed to getting the right people involved from the start and keeping them on task. So, after you notify me or the appropriate City Department, please let Cynthia know so the complaint can be tracked."

 Michael A. Shedd, Captain, Fort Worth Police Department

Enhanced Floodplain Master Plan due to go before City Council

(Considering the massive flooding in Louisiana this week, this is a timely subject.)

In the coming weeks, the City Council will consider a proposed enhancement to the city’s Floodplain Master Plan to identify flood risks, their impact on the community and a prioritized action plan for reducing flood risks.

The plan is part of a growing public planning and interaction program being led by the Stormwater Management Division.

View the draft plan. (153 pages)

The enhanced Flood Management Plan follows the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s 10-step planning protocol and achieves these goals:

  • Documents flood risk areas citywide, with a focus on FEMA regulatory floodplains.
  •  Evaluates economic impacts of flooding to properties in regulatory floodplains.
  • Evaluates levees, dams, mapped flood zones and drainage complaint locations.
  • Documents a prioritized mitigation action item list based on public input.

 

Following the FEMA planning protocol will help improve the city’s Community Rating System classification. CRS evaluates communities with high-performing floodplain management programs and rewards those communities by reducing flood insurance premiums for eligible policies.

Fort Worth has participated in CRS since 2012 and is rated as a Level 8 CRS community, earning a 10 percent premium discount on eligible flood insurance policies. City staff has stated that the CRS level can be improved to at least Level 7, which will result in an additional 5 percent premium discount on eligible flood insurance policies.

The City Plan Commission has recommended adopting the Flood Management Plan.

Proposed 2017 Water & Wastewater Rates Announced

City of Fort Worth– Average Fort Worth residential customers would see the water and wastewater portions of their city services bill increase by $1.20 per month in 2017 based on the proposed rates presented to the City Council Tuesday.

Even with the proposed changes, the average customer would still pay less than $2 a day for water and sewer service.

A report outlining the proposed 2017 water and wastewater rate changes and explaining the factors behind the changes is available for review in all Fort Worth libraries and on the water rates site.

Written comments regarding the report must be submitted to the water director by noon on Friday, Aug. 26. Comments can be submitted via email, or mailed to the address below:

John Carman, Director
Fort Worth Water Department
1000 Throckmorton St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102

If approved by the City Council on Aug. 30, the new rates take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

The proposed changes to both water and wastewater rates affect both the fixed monthly charge, which is based on meter size, and the volume rates. There is actually a small decrease in volume rates for some classes or tiers within classes.

For residential customers, the proposed rates for first tier go up, but still remain well below the cost of service. The proposed second tier rate is set at cost of service and is actually slightly lower than the current rate for that tier. There is no change proposed to the rates for tiers 3 and 4. About 85 percent of all water use is in the first two rate tiers.

The proposed rates continue the multi-year plan to adjust the fixed/variable revenue ratio to improve revenue stability. This results in an increase in the monthly service charge for all customers on the water side, and all but those with the two smallest meter sizes on the wastewater side. These smaller sizes are primarily on residential accounts.

The Water Department’s balanced FY2017 proposed budget combined water and wastewater budget is $8,991,580 or 2.11 percent more than the FY2016 budget. Higher raw water rates paid to the Tarrant Regional Water District, higher costs for methane and electricity purchases at the wastewater plant, increased staffing to meet growing regulatory requirements, transfers to the General Fund and increased debt service costs are some of the factors driving the budget increase.

 

LAW OFFICE OF

Renee Higginbotham-Brooks

5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, TX 76112

(817) 334-0106 office

www.rhbrookslawoffice.com

email: brooks99@sbcglobal.net

 

Over 30 years experience in:

• Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

• Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney

• Probate Administration

PASTOR’S CORNER

Max Brennan is pastor of

St. Matthew United Methodist Church

 2414 Hitson Lane, Fort Worth 76112.    817.451.6980

Sundays at 11:00 am

Giving you a “head’s up”—

I will be leading a revival at St. Paul UMC in Hurst where Keith Murray is pastor.

That’s Sept. 21-24.

The last revival I led was in 1991.

I try to work one in every 25 years or so.

My next one will be in 2041.

So if you don’t catch this one, you’ll have to wait awhile.

Now this word of warning to the good people of St. Paul UMC: I will also be singing on a couple of the revival evenings.

 I have not been invited to sing, but I love to sing. And I have not been invited not to sing.

 So I will sing.

 I will also be singing at Eastside Gospel Night at Meadowbrook UMC on Saturday, July 16—5:00 p.m.

 Now, I have not been invited to sing at that event either. I was invited to MC.

But, again, I have not been invited not to sing.

 So I will sing.

 Tickets--$7 at the door—including supper.

 Many others will sing on Gospel Night—people actually invited to sing.

That’s Saturday—July 16.

5:00 p.m.

Meadowbrook UMC

Proceeds go to Eastside Ministries.

 

 My book, God, Grace and Gooseberry, will be available at St. Paul UMC this Sunday.

 I have a concern. When folks there read my book, they may decide they have made a terrible mistake in asking me to be their revival preacher.

 I hope they will still let me sing!

+  +  +

revmaxb@tx.rr.com

Hear sermons at:

saintmatthewumc.com

Worship at 11:00.

THESE GIGS COMING UP

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