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After Louis McBee filed to run for mayor against incumbent Mike Moncrief in 2007, Moncrief responded like an elephant with a gnat on his butt. He did nothing. Yawned. Went back to sleep.

See, Moncrief was certain of re-election and felt no need to debate an underfunded and unconnected East Sider such as McBee. So the mayor continued business as usual, such as disregarding ethical conflicts by voting on gas drilling issues even when he profits greatly from the companies doing the drilling. Moncrief is helping to shove pipelines, drilling rigs, noisy compressors, and other industrial components into residential areas without proper debate, even as he talks out of the other side of his mouth about how he’s all about improving neighborhoods.

McBee said Tuesday he’s going to try again – that he will file later this week to run against Moncrief in the May election. And he isn’t worried that former Fort Worth City Councilman Clyde Picht has already entered the race, though that could split the vote among the challengers. “I’m absolutely glad Clyde is going to run,” McBee said. “I don’t think Moncrief is going to be able to [dodge debates] with two challengers, and he has some things he needs to answer for.”

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Picht knows that unseating the wealthy, connected, and entrenched Moncrief will be tough but sees potential for an upset. “The more I talk to people, I hear more conversations somewhat disdainful of Mike,” he said. “It’s time for a change in Fort Worth in the way we do our local business.”

Dead-End Deal

Having your sleep interrupted in a formerly quiet neighborhood that’s been taken over by drillers is one thing. But having your eternal sleep disturbed is a whole ‘nother ball of frac water. Chesapeake Energy, the big daddy of drillers, wants a waiver to create a high-impact drill site at Greenwood Memorial Park, the grand old cemetery on White Settlement Road. Cemetery owners covet the royalties but not the accompanying truck traffic. So drillers want to cut through an adjoining neighborhood and park. Residents (the living ones) are resisting. They’re going against popular sentiment at city hall, which has been more than happy to send 80,000-pound water trucks lumbering through residential areas.

Fort Worth City Council members have dawdled on this decision for months because of public outcry. But the council is scheduled to make a decision at its next meeting at 7 p.m. on March 3. We’ll see whether Greenwood residents roll over in their graves or whether nearby residents roll over in their beds and wonder why their city representatives spat on their quality of life and property values so that a nearby cemetery can generate more dough.

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