The $200 million Museum Place development has passed the first test for public funding.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments last week recommended a $2.4 million federal grant to pay for street realignments, tree-lined streetscapes, and other pedestrian-friendly changes in the Cultural District area where developer JaGee Holdings, Inc. wants to add a million square feet of hotel rooms, apartments, and offices. It wasn’t the $6.7 million that JaGee had asked for, but in the public funding biz, you ask for the sun and are happy to get a small moon. Other local projects – Trinity Bluffs, the West Berry/Grandmarc Development, and West Rosedale/Magnolia Green – also got the thumbs-up for smaller amounts. Final decisions will be made in April by the regional transportation council, which is chaired by Fort Worth City Council member Wendy Davis and generally rubber-stamps what’s put before it.

The grant puts Museum Place on the map for the city council. Projects receiving federal bucks are more likely to draw local government support as well, meaning tax-increment financing for the project might get more traction. And hey – did the Fort Worth City Council ever meet a TIF it didn’t like? Jeeves, bring another serving of tax dollars for the nice gentlemen!

Can You Spell Kangaroo?


Justice of the peace candidate Becky Haskin mailed out large, glossy fliers in the days leading up to the March 7 Republican primary that – surprise, surprise – were rather audacious. In addition to her quizzical slogan of “swift Republican justice,” Haskin pledged to apply the law with impartiality, compassion, and judicial restraint and to maintain a courteous and businesslike manner – traits she sorely lacked during her dozen years on the Fort Worth City Council.

Haskin, recall, is the one who dubbed anyone who disagreed with her as “idiots” or “CAVE people” (an acronym for Citizens Against Virtually Everything). She’s the one who exaggerated problems at several apartment complexes in her neighborhood to try to give the city leverage to shut them down and make way for some fancy landscaping. Her elitist manipulations of city staff, crime statistics, and ordinances to further her agenda is described in the flier as “the local fight to crack down on slummy apartments,” which sounds better than calling it a fight to “get rid of anyone who isn’t earning more than the median income and driving a Cadillac.” Another flier insinuated that electing Haskin meant homeowners might be allowed to contest their property tax bills in her court rather than at the Tarrant Appraisal District. While diluting TAD’s power might not be a bad thing, state law prevents JPs from hearing these cases. And diluting it with Becky’s ideas of justice starts making the TAD-ocrats look better.

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