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Some's Hot, Some's Not 

by B.K. Carter
This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time and phone number.

Grass roots government ..... Some residents in our part of Quail Valley are up in arms about the proposed sale of part of Quail Valley golf course for the additional development of a patio home/townhouse area along LaQuinta. A zoning change would be necessary and a public hearing with city council to hear for and against the rezoning is planned for Monday, February 17, 7 p.m. at city hall.

There's already about an acre that is zoned for townhouses at the site and the additional three acres that the county club is trying to have rezoned will bring the proposed development up to approximately four acres. There are three townhome complexes within walking distance of the proposed zone change.

I called Richard Cook, manager of Quail Valley Country Club, about the rezoning. According to Mr. Cook, the club would use the money it receives from the sale of this land plus another piece of land it owns over on Cypress Point (which includes the fitness center and tennis courts) to enhance the club, giving it more "curb" appeal, relocating the fitness center and tennis courts to the current club location, moving the swimming pool to the largely unused parking lot and redoing and landscaping that area. Mr. Cook said the club has a master plan which includes these things, plus redoing the greens. He said that by a contract with their lenders, any sale of land would have to be used to enhance the country club, and that the club's best interest is in only selling to a high quality developer. He told me that the club would get to set the deed restrictions and that there would only be eight units per acre. The townhome development right next door has 10 units per acre. Mr. Cook said the land would be sold to build golf villas/patio homes.

The country club will make its pitch to the city council that these improvements will increase the club's value to the neighborhood which will in turn increase property values.

Because of the development, hole 16 will be shortened and the par dropped to four, and another hole will be lengthened and the par increased by one to the keep the integrity of the course.

This all sounds well and good to me and there are already several townhome developments close by. However, I don't see how they can do all they claim they will do with the proceeds from those several acres. So I'm going to the meeting and expect to see a lot of my neighbors there. City councils react to numbers so if you want your feelings known, be there also.

And another thing ..... I noticed something on my telephone bill from Verizon this month that you should be aware of and check your bill for this. About six months ago I bought something offered by the telephone company called a "local package." It was about $28 but included 14 different services- many for which I was already paying, including Call Waiting, Caller ID, Distinctive Ring (that I use for my fax machine), and most attractive to me--Unlimited Local Directory Assist.

I usually only give my telephone bill a cursory glance then pay it, but for some reason this month I went over it. For one thing, I failed to get a bill last month, whether it went astray, I threw it away with all the other circulars, or whatever. Anyway, this month I sat down with it and noticed that I was being charged another $6 for Distinctive Ring. I called my service representative who informed me that I had two Distinctive Rings and I was only allowed one under my Local Package. I informed the service representative that I only knew about one and that I had never used the other and it was a mistake. So they agreed to credit me $54 for six months of incorrect Distinctive Ring billing.

Then, I noticed that I was being charged $1.25 for Directory Assist, even though it was supposed to be unlimited. Since the bill didn't spell out what number I was given, I had no idea whether these were local calls or long distance directory assistance. However, I noticed another interesting thing.

I was charged for long distance calls to Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg--areas that are not normally long distance. And these calls were timed to begin immediately after the time I was charged for Directory Assistance.

I remembered that when I had called Directory Assist that the recording said the telephone company would dial that number for me for no additional charge by pressing "ONE."

So not only was I being charged for local Directory Assist, I was being charged by the minute to be connected to those local numbers, even though the recording said the calls would be free.

"Not fair!" I told the telephone company. Needless to say, the telephone company agreed to credit me with the aforementioned $54 for erroneous "Distinctive Ring" charges, and after I asked for a supervisor (who, by the way, I had to call back long distance), they also agreed to credit me with the local Directory Assist and local long distance charges.

I canceled my "local package" and went back to paying for the services I wanted individually. So if you have Verizon service and have agreed to their "local package," I would suggest you go over your bill with a fine tooth comb. What a scam!

I've always been real proud of the telephone service in the United States. If you've ever traveled in other countries, you notice how terrible the service is in other places. I've even said the post office should take lessons from the telephone company for delivering a message correctly for little cost. I'm about to change my mind.

B. K. Carter is publisher of the Fort Bend Star. You can e-mail her at

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   Last Update:  February 26, 2003