Another week, another … interesting meeting of the city’s gas drilling task force. Assistant City Manager Libby Watson, who missed the first two sessions while on vacation, began the third with a warning to the growing number of residents who are attending and sometimes disrupting discussions.

Pipe down, she said in so many words. Chairwoman Eva Bonilla seconded the motion: “I don’t want you to get thrown out because you’re being rowdy,” she said. Residents are each given three minutes to speak at meeting’s end.

Gas well foes, who accuse the “task farce” of being stacked in favor of the drillers, sat quietly for two hours as guest speakers with oil-and-gas backgrounds described how an explosion like the one in Palo Pinto County couldn’t happen here, and how drilling companies are run by good people, and so on. Then, in a scene out of a John Hughes comedy, some professorial shlub with an overhead projector and a pointer droned on and on about acoustics. Static was shocked to learn that sound waves grow fainter the farther they travel. Follow this if you can: When something is making a sound, the closer it is to you, the louder the sound! As exciting as this news was, the revelation could have been conveyed in a few minutes rather than a friggin’ hour.

By the time audience members were finally allowed to speak, their short, impassioned pleas for neighborhood sanctity reverberated like Martin Luther King Jr. sermons compared to Dr. Drone’s drivel. Well, perhaps the resident who spoke for “the trees and the prairies and the birds and the worms” went overboard, although he got it right when he said that antiquated state laws giving drillers carte blanche should be challenged. “The city council members who hide behind the legal dodge of being hamstrung by the mineral rights laws can only be perceived by their constituents as cowardly,” he said. A worm couldn’t have said it better.


New Math

Lisa Silvia, paralegal for the Fort Worth schools, let us know in no uncertain terms that Static was the mathematically challenged one when it reported last week what appeared to be a hundredfold discrepancy in the number of pages Silvia said would have to be copied to fulfill an open records request regarding investigations into “inappropriate use of computers” by district employees over the past five years. When Silvia wrote that there were more than 100 c.d.s of evidence, roughly equivalent to 4,333 pages, she meant per c.d., she told Static – which would explain how, later in her letter, the total had become more than 433,000 pages. That makes a little more sense. And the c.d.s are not all filled with porn, Silvia said, as Static had snickeringly suggested: “‘Inappropriate’ could mean simply text messaging about something personal.” Yes, all you district employees, listen up – such benign e-mails are investigated. And by the way, it’s still going to cost $86,000 to see just what is on those c.d.s, if anyone’s interested.


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