Sept. 24, 2020

Episode 6 - Interview With Layla Caraway


Layla Caraway is a local community volunteer and activist. She is the current Chairwoman for the Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce. She is the producer of a documentary entitled "Up A Creek" detailing the flooding in Tarrant County and is an advocate for regular citizens to ensure their voices are heard.

Transcript

welcome to this episode of the wolf and

the shepherd today

i am here with layla caraway because the

wolf has

still decided to be on vacation or as he

calls it holiday

so i brought layla in to talk to me

today about

various different things that are going

around here in tarrant county

and by the way we're going to talk about

tarrant

county here in a second but laylah's a

local community volunteer and activist

she serves on multiple boards and

commissions in haltom city

she's currently serving as the

chairwoman for the northeast tarrant

chamber

she's also produced a documentary and

short story based off the

trinity river vision and has worked on

numerous campaigns in tarrant county

and supports a lot of charitable efforts

here in the community so layla thanks

very much for joining me today thanks

for having me

absolutely so talk to me a little bit

about

the northeast chamber of commerce uh

what exactly does it do what area does

it cover

what what is its purpose so for for

everybody listening

a lot of people don't know exactly what

a chamber of commerce really does so

walk us through that

the northeast tarrant chamber

encompasses watauga north richland hills

haltom city richland hills

fort worth keller we don't we don't turn

anyone away but we bring

businesses together and we help grow

those businesses within the community

as well as you know they do a lot

for the community you just meet a lot of

great people in the chamber

and we try to use when you're looking

for businesses you try to look for

chamber members because you become

friends with these people and you

volunteer alongside these people

and we want to help them all grow their

business which makes our communities

more prosperous

and makes all our communities better

when we all work together

so as as a business owner then i can see

that aspect that a business owner might

want to do business with another

business owner

exactly right if if i'm an insurance

agent let's say

and i have a mortgage broker in town you

could pair up with them and say

hey let let's exchange business let's

help each other out

as a general citizen

you know the the guy that's just going

and he's clocking in

clocking out what what can the chamber

of commerce do

for the typical joe citizen we have

individuals that actually do join the

chamber and

it's again to get involved with their

community and to

have those businesses and those contacts

at their fingertips if

you if you need a roofer well who's in

the chamber

that you know gives back to the

community and works alongside us on

projects and

it's just it's a way to bring businesses

together

and communities together and individuals

are more than welcome to join chambers

and

and get involved so it does the chamber

have

like monthly weekly meetings things like

that that the

general public the business owners come

to how does that work

yes we have you could probably

pre-covet you could probably go to

something every day there are different

networking groups there are

monthly luncheons there are monthly

meetings a lot of

uh you know it's not all about work

uh we have you know mixers and

looking at getting younger business

owners together

and learning from them and them being

able to get mentors

of long-term businesses and and

to grow their companies and share ideas

it's a lot of sharing

what's been one of the struggles with

the chamber of getting younger

business owners in there and and i i

know we're in this

covid time right so we can talk

pre-coded in

in current covid but i know younger

business owners is much different than

your typical business owner what's been

one of the struggles for the

younger business owner i think it is a

struggle

because well

you put me on the spot and i'm not

exactly sure how to answer

well well would it be something along

the lines of

you know the younger generation they

struggle to join organizations

that that's been something with any

organization that's out there

and could it be that maybe the younger

generation of business owners don't

really understand

the benefits to them of the chamber of

commerce or the benefits to their

potential customers

i think that's it i think that's it and

i think the more they learn

and if we can get them involved once

they become involved we have some great

chamber members that are very young and

new businesses and i think once they get

involved they see the benefit

it's just that gap of how do you bring

them on and show them

what the benefits could be for them

personally and professionally

so getting them involved and trying to

figure out how to get them in there is

kind of the 64 000

question how do you grab ahold of them

how do you get their attention

to get them involved with the chamber

and what's going on

yes so i'm sure if you look at some of

the business owners that

have been business owners in the

northeast tarrant county

area for for years they're probably you

know some of those crusty old guys right

they're saying you know how do we get

these young guys in here how do we get

them

involved but there's a lot of things

that some of that younger generation can

learn from them and there's a lot of

things those old crusty guys could

probably

learn from some of the the the younger

crowd

absolutely it's a two-way street for

sure and

you know the younger crowd they're

they're more about

you know texting an instant message and

and you know the older crowd has that

more community

feel and meeting face-to-face and

building relationships and i think

i think that's what they could bring to

the table for the younger

business owners absolutely so the

building

i i know i've driven past the

northeast chamber of commerce i don't

know

several times it's right there on 8 20

and 377

right there next to the water and oh

i'm talking about water and i know we're

going to get into what

i i know we're going to talk about water

here in a little bit but

uh so talk to me about

what you do with some of these mixers i

mean that there might be some folks that

are

listening that say you know well what

goes on at one of these mixers and

maybe they're a little bit scared to

want to

attend because they're not quite sure

what goes on so

if you have one of these business mixers

what's a what's a typical business mixer

look like at the northeast chamber of

commerce

so different businesses will sponsor

them so you get to go

to a different business every time and

you know sometimes they're a lunch or

they're a happy hour and you can come

through and meet people

and i would not i would encourage anyone

to

you know follow the chamber website in

the northeast parent chamber

and and what is that website

did i put you on the spot yeah i'm sorry

no we were talking watermelon

yeah no no we're not quite to water yet

so all you got to do is go into google

though and look at northeast

tarrant county chamber of commerce and

we're going to find it

and i'm sorry i'm sorry layla for

putting you on the spot like that

you know like i said we're just talking

here there

there's no trick questions well and

that's the thing about the chamber do

not be

intimidated to come by yourself you will

make a friend or two before you leave

this is a great group of people

some of those older men you know we have

members that have been members of the

chamber for

40 50 years wow yeah so a lot of

you know a lot of the schools so we have

insurance agents we have

a lot of chamber members that have been

involved

in the community in the chamber for many

decades

how did how did you decide to to make a

career make a job out of working for the

chamber of commerce

well i don't actually work for the

chamber of commerce

every year they pick a someone to lead

the board of directors

and i was asked last year if i would

move from the

executive board to lead the board

and i did and it has been the strangest

year ever

in the history of the chamber so so so

when did

when did your tenure start as far as

being the chairwoman

okay so so here here it is i'm guessing

january 1

january 2 right so so you're here here

we are at 2020.

it's all looking up right and and here

goes january and everything's good and

here's february and then

all of a sudden there's this virus

that's

going on and then march hits and

basically all bets are off right so so

what what has the struggles been with

the chamber of commerce with going on

through this coveted mess that that we

have

it's got to be a lot of stuff y'all had

to deal with

it it has been a struggle we had to we

furloughed

the chamber only has about four

employees and we furloughed a few of

those

um we were able to bring them back this

month

that's great yes yes that was our goal

was just try to get through the

the worst of it and um you know

our our chamber members like to be

together and so it's been a real

struggle to have to

cancel all our meetings all our lunches

and

i've been running a lot of zoom meetings

and

are you zoomed out yet a little bit

yesterday i think i had three in a row

it was i know that that is one of those

things that's going on right now is the

is the the zoomed out bit people

zoom was fun when it came out and i

remember

you know skype has been around forever

so so video chatting is

nothing new and then if you have an

iphone

you have the ability to go ahead and do

those video calls through

iphones and then this covid stuff

happened

and it was like zoom was this new

invention but it's been around forever

everybody downloaded it everybody

started using it

and it only took about two or three

months and everybody was sick of it

so i i still cringe when i have to get

on

zoom calls and you know no no offense

i'll see a party foul you didn't turn

your phone off

i actually must have turned it on

instead

but my my my phone has not been

on as far as uh audio or uh

audio alerts for i think going on about

six years now

mine never is but for my job from eight

to five now it has to be yeah

right now i know the one that's fine

no worries sir but go ahead i'm sorry

the one struggle we're having

with the chamber because we weren't able

to have all our events which

produce revenue which part of that we

adopt usually 12 sometimes

more depending on what we raise uh

scholarships for local kids

okay from bisd

keller isd sometimes like st john's in

bethesda

our school main school districts that we

support and

so we're really trying to catch up on

that so that we can

do at least you know we'd like to do the

12 that we normally do and sure

and we have businesses that you know

they'll come in and pick up

an entire scholarship and it's just a

great

way to be involved in your community and

to grow your business at the same time

yeah so when you can't have those events

though that are

fundraising events then it struggles on

that trickle-down effect

because you were probably having dinners

you were having

mixers you were having all kinds of

other events that was there for the pure

reason of raising those funds and you

still have kids

going through high school they're still

graduating they still need

scholarship so that that had to to be a

huge struggle

there with the chamber and so you're

you're trying to work through it though

yes and last week we had our

once a year we do a hometown hero awards

and

the cities and um the non-profits and

this

the school districts they can all

nominate who they would like to

recognize

for you know going above and beyond and

we were able to raise some money that

was our first big event we've had and we

were able

to so going into the hometown heroes

when you say above and beyond what

what do you mean by that as far as above

and beyond what

so like one of the ones from haltom city

this gentleman has been involved in

haltom city his

almost his entire life he back in the

day he had boxing gyms he's taught

hundreds of k he was a golden gloves

champion and

he's hundreds of kids boxing baseball

he was a big driver of us getting

our veterans memorial park in the haltom

city going and we also now have an

all-access

park for handicapped children oh that's

great

and he was the driving force and getting

both of those parks going

so people like that you know we had um

an officer out of watauga recognized for

something they had done

and just people that

you know go above and beyond yeah and

need to be recognized or should be

recognized

right no that that's absolutely

fantastic that

at least the chamber is is looking at

people like that

because i'm gonna guess most of those

people

are probably not looking for the

accolades they're

they're not even expecting the accolades

whenever they get them

and so when they do

get them they're they're happy but at

the same time

they're not expecting it so you know

they

they get a little plaque or or whatever

but

the the stuff they're doing in the

background it's what's important to them

and it's great that the chamber is

is doing things like that so that's

great so

uh water let's talk about some

water so

we've got this trinity river vision

and i've done a little bit of research

on this but not that much and i'm going

to let you

walk me through what's going on with

this because

as we've kind of tried to do our podcast

we're trying to be

kind of dfw centric and then

a little bit more texas centric but you

know

there's people all around the world and

by the way

quick shout out we do have some

listeners that i found that are in

australia

and japan i i found that out two days

ago

that was kind of crazy to hear but uh

so they're all around the world but

we're trying to kind of promote this

around

dfw and in texas and you know because of

me and my co-host who's

on holiday uh is not here but

we're still we're big texas people and

we're north texas people

we we all know about the trinity river

we know what goes on with that but

we have this trinity river vision and

i'd like for you to walk me through

what has gone on with this

what i've honestly looked at in my

little bit of research layla is a giant

mess so walk me through this i have a

friend that calls it the world's biggest

boondoggle

it uh back in 2003 2004

is when it was brought to fort worth

city council

and it cost about 365 million

then is what their cost was

we are now over 1.16

billion i believe is the cost so from

2003

to 2020 we still don't have bridges

there are no canals the channels haven't

been dug

there's no development we basically

have nothing in 17 years

17 years 17 years since this started

yeah and where where you started to get

involved was because of some

flooding in haltom city walk me through

that and i want to encourage everybody

to

look up the documentary up a creek

and like i said i watched the

documentary today

very interesting documentary you were a

producer of that

documentary you're very obviously

heavily involved in that documentary

and i want to encourage everybody

listening to

to look it up it is online and

so so walk me through what happened

that got you so involved because i do

remember and i'm not trying to

kind of set you up here but i do

remember in the documentary where you

said you never wanted to get involved in

the middle of this

but because of what happened you felt

you had to get involved so so walk us

through that

so pretend you're you're talking to

people that haven't seen this

walk us through that so in 2007 we had a

great deal of flooding that entire year

i think through june

there were we had 42 inches of rain in

this area

so when it continued to rain in june

there was a two-week period where

all hell broke loose um

a little girl drowned in a trailer park

up off

denton highway in 8 20. and then two

weeks later

my backyard began to fall into big

fossil creek

and literally i lost 50 feet of land in

seven days

wow yeah we were the focal point of the

news

every channel was there morning noon and

night

um police fire all day

every day you know with that's that's

where i got involved it was my crash

course in media and politics

i had not been involved in either and

didn't ever plan on being

but when i started piecing things

together and the more i learned i didn't

know what a

water board was or what they did and

i started piecing all this together and

found out that our congresswoman's son

was over this project for the trendy

river vision

and this is where all the money was

going that was

called being called flood control

and the more you dig into that the more

you realize

there's not really any flood control to

this in the corps of engineers

they have their study that came out

around that time

said the levees could be fixed for

and don't give me lying but i want to

say it was about 10 million dollars

the levies could be fixed as a part of

flood control but this trendy river

vision

when i started digging back back then it

started off being called

central city and it was an ear mark

on a bill that had nothing to do with

anything else

an earmark on a bill at the federal

level or the

state level federal okay and

um it was called central city then and

then it was

called there was something else in

between there

trinity uptown and then it was changed

to trendy river vision

and now it's changed to panther island

so it just it through the years

everything changes

except uh the taxpayers

are the ones paying for this really

absolutely

all of it is funded by the county

the city has a portion they're trying to

get the federal funding

this is all developers will be able to

make money off something the taxpayers

have paid for

if anything ever gets built do the

taxpayers know that they're

paying for this the majority of them

don't

they they are just told we're getting a

river walk

in fort worth and everybody's like oh

that sounds great and

yeah because everybody's been to san

antonio walked around the river walk

there and said oh well we need one up

here in fort worth

so that's what they're looking at it's a

tourist trap to

to bring some money in right it's how i

would look at it

yes and that's what the vision was

but there were so many just missteps

along the way

and there still are to this day you know

you have a lot of

a lot of families um involved

and hired and spending your money

and

[Music]

the documentary i actually made with a

friend

who was his

business which was a 20-year photography

business successful photography business

in fort worth was being imminent domain

by the trinity river vision and he

and a group of businesses right there

that were being taken

on white settlement they joined together

at one point

and created a group and came up with an

alternate plan

to still do the same thing cost less

money

took less existing businesses and

they were told that wasn't going to

happen

okay and usually any of these projects

the corps does

they have to have an alternate plan you

you submit two plans and they were told

that this one didn't need an alternate

plan

congress it so that's a a federal

law federal rule whenever somebody's

gonna put something together there's

gotta be a plan a plan b

basically is what you're saying but for

this one

they didn't have to have a plan b no

they did not

wow yes okay and that's just come to

light in the last few years which

i'm i have to give the media some credit

these days because

in the last couple years they've really

started digging

you know the the critics of the trinity

rivervision

all these years were people were saying

they're crazy

they're against development and

now people are telling all these oh you

were right the whole time

these guys that started this you know

before i came along in 2007 there were

you know the don woodards and clyde

peach and

bob lukman and steve holler and there's

group of guys in fort worth that

they knew what was up way before anybody

else and almost everything they said

was going to happen or wasn't happening

has it's the truth yeah so they were

basically the fortune tellers that

nobody wanted to listen to

but now all of a sudden everything they

were talking about is coming true

yes yes so i i remember

going over to a friend's house who lived

in azel

and i left downtown fort worth and i was

driving down henderson street

and heading that way and i can tell by

the look in your eyes you

know exactly the route that i'm taking

and i called him on the phone and um i'm

driving over to his house and

i said what what are all these

big things sticking up here out of the

ground

he's like what are you talking about i'm

like well i'm at

you know henderson street and i'm i'm

driving over here he's like

oh those are the bridges to nowhere and

i said this sounds like a

simpsons episode you know when they they

made the escalator to nowhere i'm like

what's going on here i've never heard

about

any of this and you still drive by today

and it it

still just looks like this failed

construction project but i think a lot

of people around

tarrant county

don't really know what's going on with

that and they don't realize especially

the citizens of fort worth that

have are you know responsible for this

they've got their

taxes going towards this nobody really

knows what's going on with that i mean

how crazy is that

that we can actually have something here

that isn't going anywhere

and and we're worried about uh the

flood abatement like you were talking

about i've seen the plans i i kind of

looked at

some of those uh pictures that now we're

gonna

create this panther island or whatever

and i'm like oh

that kind of looks pretty but at the

same time

it's kind of ridiculous at the same time

and it's just this big dirt hole in the

ground

and that that's where we're at right now

i mean are we ever going to

recover from this and by the way

i i did look into some of the numbers

and now we're

over a billion i i think and

there's still nothing to

be really shown from it uh i think

there's a brewery that's open panther

island brewery

yeah i'm not saying they're a sponsor

but i like beer so panther island

brewery if you want to give me some beer

let's talk about that but you don't have

to actually be on the island you could

be panther city brewery you could change

that

you know i'm i'm not trying to throw

stones there but

what about the uh the tax

increment financing district that that

was a

big topic in your documentary yes

and we made the documentary because i

wanted to

put it together for an easy way for

people to explain because that's how i

learned so i wanted to go back to these

guys and say okay tell me this

tell me this so other people could get

that

concisely from these people and the

the tax increment financing district

they're called tiffs

and they can take a certain area

and take all the money the tax from that

and just put it into that area

so you don't have that money which

should be going to all of fort worth

you don't you no longer have that money

for police and fire

and all the things that you know you

need the money for to run a city

right it's just going back into that

district

and on top of that they can still turn

around and sell bonds

they passed uh one last year for 250

million dollars

i'm sorry it may have been the year

before for 250 million dollars for flood

control

and for for this same area yes

yeah okay so so here here's some news

so how are they doing this how are they

getting away with it

i think i'm sad to say but

you know we have the star telegram is

who covers

it and you know case in point they wrote

an article a few weeks ago about

the bridges being done ahead of schedule

okay they were started in like 2014.

so i'm not sure ahead of whose schedule

because you know i've had people look up

and send me

you know it took a year to build the

golden gate bridge or so forth

right we have these

but these bridges over a pretend

island that they now want to build we

can't do

in whatever it is well no you say

six years that this has been going on

more than that yeah and that's kind of

ridiculous

but they had a big um explosion

and party kickoff for when they started

the bridges

and now i want to say that was 2014 and

we're still looking at brit

half finished bridges over dry land and

you know those businesses down there on

henderson and

white settlement the ones that got to

stay you know they're struggling

they're still struggling several of them

had to sell

several of them bought them and

wasn't there some issues down there with

eminent domain

yes there were 90 businesses 90

businesses with imminent domain in and

what's happened there

now it's just blank or

what's going on there some of them moved

some of them

went out of business you know we had

mckinley

works they were a huge boundary that had

been there

i don't know how many generations of the

mckinley family and

you know that's gone and you know you're

racing parts of history you're putting

people out of business

you know angelo's angelos is down there

they struggle

every day you you just keep oh the

barbecue joint

yes i i love angelos and and they're not

a

sponsor by any means but i've been to

angelo's right

they're off white settlement and i've

drank plenty of beers there and i've had

lots of their good barbecue but they're

struggling because this

yes they have i did not know that yes

wow

okay now i i will tell you the last time

i went to angelo's

it seemed difficult to get there yes

because of

all the road construction and everything

else so

i think a lot of people forget about the

fact that when you

tear up roads when you have a bunch of

detours

what that does to a local business and i

mean you being

involved with chamber of commerce you

know that there's

certain businesses that can operate off

of a computer

and everything's online but a restaurant

they can't do it that way no i mean they

can't so

i i didn't know about angelo's with that

and

that makes total sense but i didn't even

know

that this whole mess right here

was affecting them that that's crazy yes

and

they there was a there's a mechanic down

there and he's been featured on the news

you know they just if you're if you have

to go through that mess and there's only

one way to get there i mean people are

going to find

other options it would make it that hard

for people to

visit those locations they're going to

go somewhere else

yeah that they absolutely are but and we

live in a culture right now where we

have

tons of different options of what we

want to eat what we want to

listen to what we want to watch you know

we got netflix we got hulu

we've got all this and and so we don't

even have to worry about hollywood

anymore

to put out a movie in fact i was talking

to my wife today

apparently tomorrow night we're gonna

watch

father the bride part three on netflix

because they they put this out so so

there's

all kinds of things that we can now

watch we can now look at we can now

listen to so what

what can something like the

northeast chamber of commerce do what

can

you do to tell everybody

to pay attention to what is going on

uh other than a random facebook posts i

know you're

adamant with this and i appreciate your

just absolute passion towards this

that's why i wanted to have you on the

podcast

what can joe citizen or

jane citizen do

to correct this mess is there anything

they can do

what what can we do i think the citizens

of tarrant county

one need to be aware that they're paying

for all this and

what it's costing them and has cost them

over the years

and you know if you want a

history lesson in how all this goes not

only

up a creek the film but if you go back

and search on the fort worth weekly

they've done some tremendous articles

about

what's really going on and how much

money is involved and how many

failed projects there have been along

the way and

whose family members work at the water

district and

the water district the trwd is

really the big player in all this they

had a

bill passed back in i want to say 2006.

it's a house bill 2639 and it gave the

water district

the authority to

take property to loan money

to borrow money i mean they have more

authority than people

even have a clue about people don't know

what a water district is and now they

have this one that's

pretty much gone rogue they're right now

trying to get even more authority

so people should follow that at the fort

worth city council

meetings the council pushed this off

they delayed it at the last meeting but

the

trwd has gone and asked for even more

authority

for and land along the water trwd

stands for the tarrant regional water

district okay

and that would be the way to fix it we

did

do some um elections with the trwd

we had someone elected for a few years

mary kelleher

she was very instrumental in getting a

several things done of course being one

vote out of five it was

it was a long four years for her sure

but

you know this this whole floating the

river i don't know anybody who would do

it but apparently there are people that

get in the trinity river

and hey i i always remember the joke

that you could go

fish in the trinity river but you could

never eat a fish

that you caught out of the trinity river

no

and mary was very instrumental in

getting them to test the water before

these events because

no one was testing the level of e coli

and bacteria dangerous bacteria in the

water

so some events were actually canceled

because of the levels so

she was also able to get

there was a clause in their

trwd rules that basically at the bottom

of it said the general manager can

change

anything in this at any time and so she

was able to get that

taken out and good some records released

she tried really hard for a long time to

get

open records that that's the whole thing

the the waterboards should be more

transparent

and more people need to know what's

going on and i believe they have another

race coming up in may

and if you follow mary kelleher on

facebook i'm sure there will be

announcements coming on that soon of

who's

running and who's not related

sure to anybody else on the board that's

right

and you know fort worth and old city

and there's a lot of that uh

you know the the old buddy system

and that's the way with a lot of cities

and especially in texas it's

it's that that old boys club right

you know you you've got these these guys

get around

and they say well i'm going to shake

your hand and i'm going to buy you a

beer here

or we're going to belong to this club or

or that club

and and all that goes on and

in today's day and age you've got

so many people that realize they're

pumping their money into

certain things when they pay their taxes

they they go

and they buy a 12-pack of miller lite

and they pay sales tax on that and

they're not quite sure where all that

sales tax money goes

or they they pay you know their

different taxes or property taxes or

they pay their water bill

i mean my wife and i today we were

arguing about our new water bill from

the city of fort worth

and our water bill was 74

75 bucks and now it's 300

because they installed new meters

into our water and said well these are

more accurate

and these are this is actually the

amount of water you're using

i'm saying well no i'm not using any

more water

why are you charging me so much more i

said okay

let's shut the sprinklers off then i'll

let the grass die

i i don't care i'm not gonna pay all

this money

to the city of fort worth and i didn't

even

prompt you on that but this

literally happened two hours before

i sat down with you and i'm sitting here

saying that

this is ridiculous the amount of money

that we're pumping into here

just so somebody can have this fancy

little island yes a a fake island

right there in in fort worth that we

don't need we

we changed fort worth

we put so much emphasis

on sundance square we

changed i-30 i know you remember that

we we moved that around we've done all

that

and now we we've got to change all this

and then

by the way even if we do this

panther island thing and it actually

comes to fruition which

i don't think it ever will my friend

who's in his 80s

said it's not going to happen in his

lifetime and it may not happen in mine

yeah absolutely but but even if it

does it's not going to fix some of the

other problems that it was

actually tagged effects correct you know

and

and this kind of goes back to you know

when

when you had the flood issues and

you lost basically your whole backyard

right it's it's never gonna fix that

so where do we go from here

if if you had a magic wand layla if if

you

literally had a magic wand you could say

i i'm gonna wave this magic

wand and i'm gonna fix all of this mess

what would you do i would turn the

tarrant regional water district

upside down and shake the building and

start over

get a whole new board and get a whole

new can can we do that

you can the how do we do that so the

voting

area so that election is in may and

it's the top vote getters every other

year there's either three seats up or

two seats up

and it's the top vote getters you're not

running against somebody for a spot it's

it's a strange election they used to

hold it back on a tuesday in february

when nobody knew

oh that seems very convenient it was yes

and um so people just have to pay

attention because

it's only while the tarrant regional

water district

services 11 counties they're supplying

water

to 11 counties only a portion

of tarrant county can vote and like we

live in haltom city our water comes

from trwd through fort worth fort worth

is the wholesaler

and we can't vote why is that because

the district is all gerrymandered and

rigged

drew and when i asked at one point why

is haltom city not included because it

literally goes around us the boating

area

and they said they didn't elect to be a

part of the water district

well the water district started before

haltom city was

incorporated so there's a there's a

little change there but the thing is

they keep the tax rate for the trwd

fairly low on those people in the

district that can vote

but they can raise the water rates all

the way across the board on everybody

else

so these water rates your you and your

wife are

discussing we were actually looking at

our water bill before we

came here too the water

it's not all going to water and you know

we have several issues that's what the

water board was founded for was water

supply and flood control

some recreation was added at some point

this is not

some recreation and we have no panthers

we have no island we

we need to put the focus back on water

supply and flood control uh

at one point we sued oklahoma and tried

to take

they're kidding yes probably well

years ago i think we should take

oklahoma's water

because they're not good for anything up

there

they can keep their beer we'll take the

water is that how that works well they

they they finally got real beer up there

oh so

yeah but but what are they good for you

know fake casinos until

texas decides they're going to have

casinos then oklahoma's going to go

bankrupt

so yeah let's be honest there i mean

you know that's what's going to happen

if texas ever decides

we're going to legalize gambling

oklahoma's dead yes my my parents

go up to windstar at least once a week

and i think my mother probably

funds one percent of windstar

because of what she does up there but

you know

if if we could literally

just get rid of oklahoma i think we'd be

i think we'd be good yeah what what

you're saying is basically

texas just needs to be its own nation

which which is one of

one of my things you know i love texas

so let's just be our own country

i'm in so well

layla thank you very much for joining me

today i i

really appreciate the insight here i i

hope that

our listeners out there eat even though

a lot of you guys aren't in

tarrant county and we haven't explained

that yet so i need to go ahead and

explain that so when i was

texting layla uh she was texting me

back and forth about coming onto the

podcast and

for some reason our iphones

decided to make terran all in

capital letters and so she sent it to me

and she said

well i didn't mean to yell taran at you

and when i

i read the message i didn't really think

too much about it and i was typing my

own message back about tarrant

and when i hit the send button

apparently my phone decided okay

well i'm going to capitalize taryn i do

not know why

tarrant is such a curse word that

you have to yell tarrant it's just a

county in texas but apparently it must

be a curse word so

so maybe our friends at apple

are just upset with tarrant county just

like

layla is as well you know so they look

keep up the good fight uh

tell everybody what what you've got

going on

is as far as you know if if there's

something that you would like our

listeners to

to look up and all that good stuff

yeah i think on facebook if you'll if

you'll follow

mary kelleher she's a great resource

spell that k e l l e h e

r she's a great resource she was on the

one

she was the one who was on the water

board and she was always the four to one

vote uh

i think a couple of times she got one or

two of them to vote with her but

mary is a great resource she really

keeps up with what's going on at the

water district and this is my plug to

try to get her to run again

so we will be looking for all the

support we can get

okay come on mary 20 21. yeah let's do

this yes

she i think i think she'll be ready she

uh she's a very big

proponent of the people and doing what's

right she owns a farm

out in east fort worth and she floods a

lot

wow and that's how her and i actually

met and

we had been friends about five minutes

when i said hey do you want to run for

the water board you have to decide in

two days and

and she did and she's just she's

tremendous

i don't know anybody who's met mary that

doesn't love her and love her honesty

and

she wants to give this board back to the

people and that's exactly where it

belongs

now as we close

in watching your documentary upgrade

there was a little girl that lost her

life

let's let's close with that and and tell

me

what happened with that

uh kind of kind of a sad story

but i'd like people to know

you know what happened with that story

so she was four years old and it

actually wasn't

raining in haltom city the water they

took on was from

keller and the the flow just

couldn't handle down there where they

were living and

after all this happened i pulled some

maps from the

north central texas council of

governments which is

the cog i pulled some maps and it showed

her whole

street underwater which

you know really upset me that we

we knew this was gonna happen and we let

it happen and

a four-year-old child lost their life

for no reason

for basically over greed because we're

trying to cram more people and

more spots that are more dangerous and

that's what really got my attention

and the way those people that area is a

trailer park

and the way those people were being

treated

i was you know i was kind of being

treated a certain way but the way

those people were being treated and they

had lost their homes their cars

a little girl they had lost everything

down there it just really angered me

that we weren't doing the right things

and the focus

wasn't in the right spot and so i felt i

had to do something so i took a

screenwriting class i bugged

bob lukman until he made a documentary

with me and then we

i did write a short follow-up story

that a portion of it is in a local

book the the panther city review that

they put out every year

um the documentaries at the creek the

short story is without a paddle

so it's all coming full circle

and that's one thing i wanted to say

we're talking about sad things

uh one of the greatest things through

all this are are the things i've learned

and the people i've met

and fought despite alongside of and

last night we lost one of those great

guys

ross kessig really great guy

that has just done so much for

fighting this and liberty and

he's just a really young guy really

young family

really great friend and we're going to

miss him on this journey for sure

absolutely well laila i

really appreciate you joining me today

on this this has been very informative i

encourage everybody to

look this up get involved and

you're going to be able to find layla

with any of the social media links or

the the northeast chamber of commerce or

what's going on with the water district

and all this good stuff so

leila thank you very much for joining me

on this podcast

and uh hope to talk to you soon

maybe we can have a follow-up when all

this stuff gets

fixed and and we'll have more of a

happier podcast

when when we realize that

hey you know people need to get involved

people

need to look at what's going on

and in in this day and age of

the media just kind of

shying away from the true story and

everything especially media

right now people like you were

not able to tell the whole story

it's all about this 45 second

snippet of something that

that goes on or yes like you say a sound

bite

that this is obviously more than a sound

bite so

i i hope people get involved that this

is

a very important part of you know the

dfw metroplex

and i appreciate you coming on the

podcast so

thank you so much i really appreciate

that

awesome