A Tarrant County Water Fight Descends into the Slop with the Help of a Dallas Hotel Magnate

You'd think the race for the Tarrant Regional Water Board would be a sleepy affair. Ensuring that Fort Worth and its environs enjoy an adequate water supply is undeniably important work, but not the kind that stirs the passions.

As you can see from the mailing above, which was uploaded to the Internet by a rollerblading Fort Worth blogger who makes reference to "incumbent cockroaches," this year is different.

The "controversial Dallas millionaire" wallowing in the mud seems to be hotelier Monty Bennett. Bennett, the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy reports, sued the water district over a pipeline that will cut through his East Texas ranch and has funneled $105,000 to the three challengers in the race, John Basham, Mary Kelleher and Timothy Nold. The identity of the child actor isn't exactly clear.

The challengers have used the money on a pricey direct mail campaign, blasting the incumbents for, among other things, cosseting themselves in near-regal splendor by spending district money on a luxury helicopter, a 1,200-acre deer lease and expensive meals and hotel stays.

The responses on behalf of the incumbents have run the gamut from cheery missives from Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price to quasi-slanderous hit pieces.

We're not well versed enough on the issues at hand to form a coherent opinion other than to say whoever is behind the hog mailer needs to get his metaphor straight. Is Bennett actually the hog they claim? Because one piece of evidence cited on the flier suggests otherwise. It's a Wall Street Journal trend piece from a couple years back describing the increasingly advanced weaponry used in the fight against feral hogs:

Take, for example, Monty Bennett, chief executive of Dallas hotel owner Ashford Hospitality Trust. Mr. Bennett's 1,000-acre ranch in East Texas is dotted with motion sensors that, when triggered, send an alert to his home speaker system in an electronic voice: "Alert, Zone 2." He then hops into his Bad Boy Buggy, a monster off-road golf cart powered by a silent electric engine.

Mr. Bennett plans eventually to install solar-powered night-vision cameras on his property so he can check on the sites where his motion sensors are tripped. For now, he uses night-vision goggles and thermal scopes to locate objects that emit heat. "It is just really neat how ... you can see anything within 500 yards that's alive," he said.

Would a real hog mercilessly hunt down his own brethren? One doubts it.

My Voice Nation Help

There needs to be a house-cleaning at that board. The Star-Telegram is totally in bed with the incumbents. The fact they both freaked out then clammed up when Breitbart posted two stories about it makes both look guilty as sin.


Thank you for bringing more attention to this race.  If it weren't for the FW Weekly, the citizens wouldn't have a clue over here.  The FW ST wrote several pieces on the election today, all positive for the incumbents.  If we have to go to Dallas and Breitbart to get help, that's where we'll go.  Appreciate you for shedding some light on this ridiculous attack by (combined) 60 year incumbents.  Those incumbents haven't made a forum or an event that a politician didn't host for them asking for money.  All their money came from their contractors, which means it's really our money...  It's the FW Way.


That poor baby, Bennett. Shouldn't he be strung up as an un-American traitor? That was the people against the Keystone XL were characterized as.


I understand one of the challenging candidates is an Unfair Parker, Haretip. Sad to see the only fair reporting about this election is coming from outside of Tarrant County. Signed, Andy Haretip.


How does the water board hunt deer on their private lease?

primi_timpano topcommenter

Is it legal to hunt hogs at night?


@andy427  Exception to that comment of course is the alt weekly on the west side of the Trinity, the Fort Worth Weekly who have done a stand up job.

mcdallas topcommenter

@bizmaven9 Could you please post a link.  I didn't see it the first 3 times you posted it.

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