5 candidates to vy for 2 seats on TRWD board May 9

Two incumbents on the Tarrant Regional Water District Board of Directors will fend off challenges from three other candidates in the May 9 election.

Incumbents Martha "Marty" Leonard, a business woman, and Jim Lane, an attorney and former Fort Worth City Council member, will face newcomers Michele Von Luckner, a home health administrator, Craig Bickley, and engineer, and Keith Annis, a consultant and former Tarrant County Democratic Party official.

A fourth challenger, Andra Beatty, a real estate broker, announced her candidacy, but she later withdrew from the race. Beatty announced she would throw her support behind Von Luckner and Bickley.

Leonard and Lane have held their seats on the board since 2006. The upcoming election is anticipated to be bitterly fought as was seen in 2013 when newcomer Mary Kelleher upset longtime incumbent Hal Sparks' tenure.

Kelleher has been an outspoken critic of TRWD, and she is allied with two of the challengers, Von Luckner and Bickley. She has called for more transparent operation of the water district, and the seating of Von Luckner and Bickely would build a new majority vote on the five-member board.

Kelleher is critical of the administration of the water district by General Manager Jim Oliver. She said she wants the water district to focus on its duty to provide water to North Texans, rather than expanding economic development in Tarrant County.

Annis is also critical of TRWD's plans. Critics of TRWD claim that management operates in secrecy and spends money lavishly on questionable expenses.

A request for a response to the criticism by CedarCreekLake.com went unanswered by TRWD officials when former Texas Rep. Lance Gooden raised questions about the agency late in 2014.

At issue is the Trinity River Vision, which includes the development of multiple Trinity River waterfront projects.

Lane said he wants to return to the board to see the completion of the planned Integrated Pipeline Project and the TRV. Leonard has also spoken in favor of the two projects.

Voters in the TRWD Board election must be registered to vote in Tarrant County. Visit: www.tarrantcounty.com/evote

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