Many of you are aware of the struggles I have experienced with government agencies and politicians who fail to serve the people they are supposed to represent. I commonly refer to this as the “Fort Worth Way” although unfortunately this happens all over the United States.
I define the Fort Worth Way as the social phenomenon in which the treatment you receive by government agencies and politicians depends upon who you are, how much money you have, and who you know.
Have any of you ever tried to build a shed in your own backyard without a permit, left your trash cans at the end of your driveway too long, or built a fence six inches too high only to receive one of those red tags from the city indicating you were in violation of city code and if you didn’t correct the violation you’d be fined a certain amount of money per day until you corrected your wrongdoing? Frustrating right?! But we comply because we know the city will fine us until we do.
Imagine a gas drilling operator or developer constructing access roads in the floodplain without permits which alter the natural flow of storm and flood waters and devastate property owners downstream. They should receive a red tag too right…..but they don’t. So why don’t they get red tags like we do?
The gas drilling operator donates parks, machinery, and equipment to the city and sponsors parades and fun events for the citizens….you don’t. The developer is related to a famous golfer in Fort Worth…..you’re not. The city doesn’t want to jeopardize their relationship with either the gas drilling operator or developer so they ask them nicely to remove their unpermitted construction when it's convenient for them.
THIS is an example of the Fort Worth Way.
Now imagine your property, the very thing you have worked your whole life for, is flooded not once, but three times, because of unpermitted construction by the gas drilling operator and developer. You call the city for help, you’re on hold for so long the annoying wait-music is burned into your brain, you leave messages that are never returned, you finally manage to get someone on the phone only to be transferred to another person and then you get their voicemail, and then when and if that person calls you, you’re referred to yet another department. You try your city councilperson and the game starts all over. (For the record, I’m not referring to our current District 5 Councilwoman Gyna Bivens. She truly represents us. The people in our district ousted our previous councilman who wasn’t representing us.) You decide to go to city council but you have to sit through the entire meeting just so you can get your whopping 3 minutes to explain your situation. It’s been a long day for city council too and the last thing they want to hear is you complain. Some don’t hide it very well either and text while you speak or whisper to their neighbor, or twirl around in their chair. As if it’s not intimidating enough to be up in front of all those politicians wearing your heart on your sleeve and asking for help, you must get it all in within 3 minutes or city staff starts ringing the bell.
It’s a beating to stand up for yourself!!
Most people give up after they get no help from the city. Some will keep trying and go to their city councilperson, if they know who it even is, and then give up after their calls go unreturned. Few will take the time to figure out how their city government works and even fewer will dare speak in front of all those politicians.
Then there are those who get mad and decide to fight back. That would be me!
Over the last 5 years I have been blessed with meeting others like me; people who have suffered injustices at the hands of our government and politicians and aren’t willing to give up. History shows us what people can accomplish when they work together towards a common good.
I wonder just how many of you feel like I do. Have any of you experienced or know someone who has experienced the Fort Worth Way and are ready to fight back against the Fort Worth Way?
I’d love to hear from you and share your stories. This blog is about the Fort Worth Way and my goal as a public servant is to give you an inside look into the world of lying, cheating, cold dead-beating, two-timing and double-dealing, mean, mistreating Fort Worth politics.
I’ m proud to serve you!