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November 19, 2007

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waitdon'tsignyet

BIG MEETING FOR EAST SIDE. A task force has created a lease for the largest neighborhood group yet. Five neighborhood associations are represented. Dec 13th at 6:30 PM at Eastern Hills High school. Tell your neighbors!!

B.Humphries

Steve: Had your eyes checked lately? The colume above appeared in
the Star Telegram written by M. Schnurman, I didn't write it but
found it very interesting. In my opinion, it should be posted on
this blog for anyone who might have missed it. Its big news with
big bucks at stake. The next time the city council raises our
property taxes for some project, keep this deal in mind.

B.Humphries

B.Jammin: If he gets fired for my opinion, because they checked
how he is doing his job, then my opinion must have merit. Its
not me pal, I am the lessor. Not the originator of this contract
and the content of the cover letter.

I don't blame him, I blame the people who hired him. Surely they
required a standard of training for their lease brokers, don't you
think?. But who knows, maybe the paper work screw up wasn't his
fault at all. I have a feeling I'm going to have to find out from
an expert.

Slander is when you tell lies about people, make false statements.
This is not the case here, I have the documents and my neighbor
is a witness to everything said and done, she also signed the same
lease documents, he came to her house to do it in the same hour I did mine at his office. Neither one of us had ever heard of 4/7's
before.

B. Jammin

What if the landman you slandered gets fired by 4-7's? Has he not been monetarily damaged? If your "opinion" causes someone to lose their job then I would think they have a good case against you. But that's just MY opinion!

B. Humphries

steve: you can't be sued for slander for expressing an opinion in a
blog. I get all my info from the press, and use my own astute
ability to interpret and read between the lines. MY Charka is 12.

Ever heard of freedom of speech ? or freedom of the Press in America?

I must be pressing some buttons somewhere or yanking somebody's
chain, Kuddo's to me.

Frank

I think the paper has done a very fair job regardlous of what TxSharon, Don Young and b. Humphries write. They seem to be the only ones who complain. D. Young, Humphries and Tx Sharon obviously have a far left agenda and you will never be able to please them. Keep up the good fair work.

Steve

B. Humphries should be sued for slander by the CFW mayor.

Economist

Scott:

You are presenting both sides, FAIRLY.

Disregard those who only want their sides told, like Sharon.

She carries the water for the far left.

sirius_girl

????

I don't get it. I never said the blog reporting shouldn't report both sides. Where did that come from?
In fact, I'm wildly interested in the ongoing leasing offers betwixt all the companies and the dealings with the neighborhoods. Equally interested in any reports of serious efforts to recycle water or minimize pad sites. The Blog boys have been very good about that.

I could go round and round about the kind of news we recieve here in the states. I'm not blaming the staffers neccessarily. I would say they write for their audience.

and, as you might guess, I wouldn't shoot anyone or anything. I'm not that kind of person.

Landman 2

Sirius - so when the paper runs a story about Iraq they are obligated to tell about all the good that is certainly happening there, in addition to all the bad? When the Berlin Wall fell we should have heard about all the Russians who no longer had food or jobs? When they report on illegal immigration we must also be told what an important part of the community illegals hold? Where do you draw the line? Don't shoot the messenger for telling you what you obviously don't want to hear!

B. Humphries
































Business > Business Columnists > Mitchell Schnurman Wednesday, Nov 21, 2007

Mitchell Schnurman Posted on Sun, Nov. 11, 2007reprint or license print email Digg it del.icio.us AIM Something smells in dispute at TMS, and it's not gas
By Mitchell Schnurman
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Related Content
Something smells in dispute at TMS, and it's not gas
With piles of dollars at stake, neighbors unite
Barnett Shale blog
How far will Fort Worth go to make Texas Motor Speedway happy? And at what cost to its credibility?

The city and speedway are clashing over a valuable asset -- control of the natural gas reserves under the giant sports complex in far north Fort Worth. The city has a strong claim to the gas, but for more than a year, the two sides have been talking privately about a compromise that would avoid a court fight and benefit all.

Then the story burst into public view and took a nasty turn, creating a stench that won't be easy to shake.

Last week, Mayor Mike Moncrief ousted a longtime member of the Fort Worth Sports Authority board who had stood up to the speedway and its president, Eddie Gossage.

Gossage was livid that the gas-rights dispute had broken into the newspaper, and he wanted Jim Schell removed. In promptly accommodating him, it looks like Gossage is dictating to the city.

It doesn't help public perception that Moncrief and Gossage are such good friends that Moncrief officiated at Gossage's 1999 wedding at the Speedway Club.

Now it's time to wave the caution flag on this backroom dealing and demand that the city bring the case into the open. Let's have a judge decide who owns the gas rights, if necessary, and then have a public discussion about how to spend the proceeds.

This is too much money -- from $25 million to $60 million, in today's dollars -- to be traded away just to avoid a legal fight or some hard feelings.

Our leaders' credibility is on the line, too. They should be fighting for the people's money, even if it bruises big-time egos, and then be diligent about spending it.

If the best investment of the gas money is a new bridge to ease traffic around the speedway, fine. If a Will Rogers center upgrade is a higher priority, so be it.

And if the speedway wants all the windfall for its venture and surrounding area, as it proposed behind closed doors, let Gossage make his pitch to the public and City Council.

That's the best way to protect the integrity of the process, now that there are questions about the speedway's influence.

The marriage between the city and the speedway has been good for both sides, but it's been rocky at times.

Two years ago, Gossage tried to get more city funding to promote a second NASCAR race, but the council rejected the offer, and ill feelings have been growing since.

Gossage believes the speedway is underappreciated and undersupported by Fort Worth. He often compares NASCAR races to a Super Bowl in economic impact. And he notes that the speedway received much less in public incentives -- a maximum of about $31 million -- than other pro sports facilities in North Texas.

But more than a few Fort Worth leaders feel put out, too. They're frustrated that the speedway doesn't do more to promote the city's name, and they're tired of Gossage asking for more publicity and making veiled threats about pulling races.

And comparisons with the Super Bowl? Get outta here.

This is not the ideal spirit for a public-private partnership, and the fight over the gas rights is stirring things up even more. That's risky, because the NASCAR guys can be mercurial.

In North Carolina, for example, Gossage's boss, Bruton Smith, has threatened to close Lowe's Motor Speedway over a zoning dispute. Smith runs Speedway Motorsports, which owns the Texas and Carolina tracks, and others.

When Smith was asked about the gas rights under the Texas track, he didn't sound like someone looking for common ground.

Smith said his company owns the rights -- "There's no doubt in my mind," -- and he added, "We're not going to share our gas with anyone."

We shouldn't be intimidated by such bluster.

The city, through the Sports Authority, owns the land the track sits on and the mineral rights. They were transferred to the public entity by Smith, who wanted a mechanism that would allow Texas Motor Speedway to avoid all property taxes.

The speedway leases the property and has an option to buy it for $500,000 in 2026. The speedway says that option extends to the minerals, and what good is an option on the land if a big chunk of its value is removed?

This argument sounds like a stretch to me, but the complicated contract makes a court case possible. That was enough to get both sides to the table, hoping for a "win-win" solution.

But ousting Schell last week has tainted the process.

His alleged infraction was that he talked to the Star-Telegram about the impasse between the city and speedway, but that's hardly a firing offense.

Smith actually initiated the story by publicly boasting about the revenue potential from the Barnett Shale to a Charlotte Observer reporter. The writer contacted the Star-Telegram's Jim Fuquay, who made some calls around town and learned about the dispute with the city.

A spokeswoman for the city released a statement that "it has been no secret that preliminary conversations have been ongoing for some time."

The front-page story appeared in the Star-Telegram on the Friday before the Dickies 500. A few days after the race, Schell was removed from the sports board, a post he had held since the group was formed in 1995.

A real estate lawyer, Schell had often argued that the city had a strong position in the gas-rights case and shouldn't roll over for the speedway. A few weeks ago, he objected to the speedway's request for a one-year extension of an option to buy 100 acres slated for development.

The original 10-year option had already been extended for one year.

As an alternative, Schell proposed a three-month extension. His motion carried the day, despite the opposition of Donna Parker, a board member and close ally of Gossage.

Parker later complained formally about Schell talking to the news media and urged Moncrief to remove him from the board.

"I would never silence a co-member," Parker told me. "But I'm concerned when an item discussed in executive session is discussed publicly."

There are more important things to worry about here. Like who's controlling this process and who's looking out for the public?



sirius_girl

Overall, I think that the blog is a good idea and I'd hate to see it go. It's a valuable service when it's on target. But often, it's just news-lite without all the facts. This can be dangerous reporting.

Cheers to Mike Lee who has given the Shale a hard look. We need more of him.

I'm curious about how you value success with the blog. I wonder how many hits are coming in daily. The posted comments - or lack of - might indicate that not too many people are interested.

There are missing stories relating to spills and water related issues that were either not or only briefly reported in the paper and not on the blog at all. The worst....... as mentioned, no mention of the Star Telegrams interests in the Barnett Shale.

That's unfortunate!

B. Humphries

You left out my favorite!! colume by Mitchell S.

" Something smells in dispute at TMS, and its not gas "

come on, tell us, who had it squashed? The Mayor??

TXsharon

If you're only going to blog about the leases, then rename the blog because that's not digging very deep. If you're not addressing the many questions involved in leasing or drilling, you should drop the answers part.

The "news" regarding "drilling in neighborhoods" could cover the many aspects including the dangers involved, which seems highly newsy to me, or important items to include in leases such as immediate notification if contamination occurs.

I think a more appropriate name would be "Carrying water for the BS operators." If that's not your intent then make a post titled "Things about urban drilling that scares the crap out of me."

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