The thin-skinned hypocrisy and borderline absurdity exhibited by Mayor Mike Moncrief at yesterday’s Fort Worth City Council meeting was extraordinary even for this ethically challenged city leader.

“This council shouldn’t have to sit up here and defend ourselves or try to have to defend ourselves,” Moncrief said.


He had just listened to three residents complain that the city had negotiated a deal with Chesapeake Energy that would allow the company to plant new trees rather than pay more than $400,000 in fines after illegally clear-cutting trees to make way for yet another gas well. Some residents have been sending emails to City Hall blasting the leadership for using kid gloves with the gas industry.

“There’s a Fort Worth Way of doing business,” Moncrief continued. “It’s treating each other the way you want to be treated yourself. Pretty simple. It’s what my parents taught me…I’d be willing to bet that’s what most of your parents taught you. …Verbal and written barbs serve no constructive purpose.”

Keep in mind that Mayor Moncrief, who mentions the “Fort Worth Way” at every opportunity during meetings, is mighty handy with verbal barbs, bullying behavior, and closed-door politics.

For years, Moncrief has made a living – a very good living – on the profits of the oil and gas industry. He decided to leave the <U.S.> Texas Senate and seek election as Fort Worth’s mayor at the outset of the Barnett Shale drilling boom and, with the help of other council members, has ensured the industry enjoys weak ordinances and lax oversight.

This city leader has courted and kowtowed to drillers, helped grant variance after variance, promoted drilling to anyone who will listen, fraternized with drillers, and made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from his energy company interests but won’t abstain from voting on gas issues at City Hall.

He has shoved drilling down this city’s throat from Day One and publicly chastised residents who objected. God forbid when residents mention a gas company by name and in a critical manner during their three minutes of speaking time at city council meetings. Moncrief interrupts and warns they’ll be cut off. He glares if anybody dares confront the city staff and elected officials who give drillers carte blanch regardless of the impact on neighborhoods.

So, at yesterday’s meeting, frequent drilling critic Jerry Lobdill spoke about his dismay that the city was poised to give Chesapeake a break rather than throw the book at the company for clear-cutting trees without permission.

Afterward, Moncrief read an excerpt from an e-mail that Lobdill had sent to city staff accusing them of corruption and willful ignorance and then glared over his glasses with disgust as if to say, See, a guy like that can’t be taken seriously so discount everything you just heard from him.

Two other speakers stood up to complain about the city’s tender treatment of Chesapeake.

City councilwoman Kathleen Hicks followed these eloquent speeches by lamenting how residents complain and send bitter and accusatory e-mails and how “these kinds of personal attacks are not warranted.” Then Moncrief went off on his long diatribe about how elected officials shouldn’t have to be criticized for their actions.

Pardon me, but don’t voters get to demand performance and accountability from their elected officials? And isn’t a verbal complaint to City Hall or a critical e-mail the typical methods used to express one’s displeasure these days?

After everything this city council has done to encourage drillers at the expense of the city’s quality of life, council members should be getting a barrage of verbal and written attacks and they should have to respond to them – without trying to reverse the table and make themselves out to be victims.

In a just world, every council member would have a noisy, dusty, ugly drill site sitting a few hundred feet from their homes. They would lose big chunks of their yards through eminent domain and have pipelines buried there. They should listen to the pounding of a drilling rig all night long for weeks on end and face a steady stream of huge 80,000 pound water trucks barreling through their neighborhoods. They should breathe invisible toxins and wonder what kind of physical problems they or their children will face in the future. They should see their homes’ property values plummet and know what it’s like to be upside down on a mortgage payment.

Maybe then they would understand why people like Lobdill feel justified in accusing them of corruption and willful ignorance.


  1. Jeff,

    Thanks for writing this excellent account of Moncrief’s derailment. When I heard my words coming out of his mouth I was rather shocked…and then amused. I wished he had read the entire email to the public. I thought about sending him a copy of my “Leasing our lives away” piece in last week’s FW Weekly and asking him to please read it to the public next week.

    I had actually sent the email he quoted from because I knew that he would never let me get away with expressing my true opinion about his partnership with the drillers in a speech before Council.

    Another interesting point is that he received my email–which was about Carter Ave– on October 17, and had apparently been carrying it for two weeks waiting for a chance to read it aloud. So why did he read an excerpt from an email about Carter Ave in response to my statements re the shrinking CHK tree fine?


  2. Ahm, in the real world, employers get to criticize their employees and even fire them for failure to preform satisfactorily. Moncrief is an employee of Fort Worth citizens.

    When did people we elect to do our bidding start thinking they are royalty? Off with their heads!

  3. This mayor of FtWorth is crooked as a dog’s hind leg. He is definitely a bought off official of that city. He’s in the lap of Big Gas! His salary if a waste of tax money.

  4. Jeff, great piece. It will be interesting to see the political implications of Moncrief and his minions’ support of the drillers now that the glut is official, signing bonuses are a thing of the past, and royalty checks will buy donuts on a good day. A change in leadership at City Hall would be a welcome improvement…

    BTW, he stepped down from the Texas rather than U.S. Senate.

  5. Ed Abbey, Jane Austen, Ambrose Bierce, Al Capp, Colbert, Doonesbury, Dr. Strangelove, Will Rogers, Lenny Bruce, Joseph Heller, Wm. Hogarth, Dan Hicks, Garrison Keillor, Orwell, PJ O’rourke, Dorothy Parker, GB Shaw, Jonathan Swift, Twain, E. Waugh, Frank Zappa, Monty Python and even a few right-wingers have polished the art of barb throwing. All of them would have been looked down on by our scantily clad mayor. You’re in good company Mr’s. Lobdill and Prince.

  6. Jeff….
    Thanks again, you always seem to cut to the chase with complete clarity! Our mayor demonstrated complete unprofessionalism on Tuesday……completely understandable from someone who would sue a member of his own family and then when that was unsuccessful, call in the IRS dogs on his own uncle and his company.

    Hopefully the mayor looked as rediculous to the general public as he did to me. I am reminded that it is not only our right to question our leadership (see elected officials and city staff)….it is our RESPONSIBILITY.

  7. Mr. Lobdill, your courage and your behavior are splendid. You are a fine example for our cities young people. Mr. Prince, you outdid yourself once again with this article. Fort Worth is indebted to you.

    I am certain you both will be rewarded in Heaven. Here in
    Fort Worth, clearly, that remains to be seen.


    How far we have come. First there was the magical transformation of Ken Barr from
    Mayor of Fort Worth to the “good and faithful” EMPLOYEE of Chesapeake. Then the slow and deliberate drum beat of Carter Burdette announcing the supremacy of “developing mineral rights”.

    And finally we have our Mayor ( not the kid next door ) throwing a “spit ball” at Jerry Lobdill on his way back to his seat. Is it just pathetic, or, is it the first true sign of the God Complex? ALL HAIL KING MIKE – THE ONLY GUY IN THE WORLD THAT IS ABOVE CRITCISM FOR HIS LOWLY SUBJECTS.

    Beware fellow citizens, a very dark day has come to this once beautiful and peaceful City. You may be next…I’ve heard a rumor that KING MIKE just bought a sling shot!

  9. The Fort Worth City Council thinks they are a ‘PRIMA DONNAS’. They are not, they are people who makes mistakes just like everyone else. This city council, including the Mayor has more than once crossed the line of reason.

    For any elected person to challenge the thought that its residents have the right to question what they do is downright scary. It appears the Council has taken the position, this a dictatorship and they are GOD. On numerous occasions I have heard them make reference about how great each and every council person is above reproach and how dare anyone question what they do.

    One thing I have learned dealing with the City Staff or the City Council is honesty, truthfulness and full disclosure is not a requirement for them.

    The Mayor has refused to allow there be an ethics committee for the City of Fort Worth. I have to ask why.

    Is there a “DON HILL” somewhere in Fort Worth?

  10. Hey dummies, Mike Moncrief was a Texas State Senator, not a United States Senator. Is this what is considered real journalism, seriously? Too much crystal meth no doubt. More brilliant comments from little Donny Young and Texas Sharon (aka Axis Sally) as well? But that did not stop old Sharon from signing an oil and gas lease with Braden Energy did it? Oh yes she claims she also donated the money to charity. Right, I am with the federal government and here to help?

    What a bunch of idiots.

  11. You’re right Scotty – terrible journalism. Jeff Prince’s thorough research missed the correct Senate. Just a minor detail, right? Makes me wonder what else he missed and what other “facts” he carelessly tossed around. His blind followers, like TXSharon, don’t really care about that or any other facts, they only seek to self-righteously criticize anyone who is a non-liberal and pro-energy. TXSharon is one of the biggest hypocrites around. Go big government – run us into the ground like green CA! Get a life TXSharon.

  12. Whoops, a brain fart on the “U.S.” part of Sen. Mike’s past. He of course was a state senator. Here’s his bio from the city’s web site:

    I guess the brain fart discredits the entire blot post. Damn. I worked hard on that. Maybe a little crystal meth would have helped prevent the slip-up in the first place.

  13. That’s OK Jeff! You certainly should not discount the entire story because a couple of anal retentive pricks missed the entire point of the story. Keep up the good work, and you did bring up one very good item for discussion……we should be grateful the Gasfather was never a U.S. Senator….can you imagine the damage he could do on a federal level? Ooooooo!

  14. Funny the two who want to try and discredit the full story of facts are the two that can’t even use their names. They must work for the drillers. Thanks for writing this article Jeff!!!

  15. Jeff, thanks for sharing the Czar of Fort Worth’s comments. I now realize “A guy like that can’t be taken seriously”. This helps illustrate how the circle of tyrants really don’t want to be obliged to serve their community. PLEASE keep up this much needed journalism, it may help voters build a better Fort Worth.

  16. actually it wouldnt shock me in the least to find out that the folks posting under scotty and check facts first were either under the employ of drilling, or the mayor himself.

  17. Great Job Jerry
    The mayors actions are a sign that you and your message is being listened to and more that at this particular moment. you are preceived as a threat than needs to be discredited. You have him worried. So take this shot as a badge of honor. You’ve gotten under his skin of decorum and to do that to Mayor Mike is an accomplishment.