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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.

Somebody should lock the Fort Bend judges in a small room with no duct tape.... I missed the last board of judges meeting but I have had various reports on it. It appears they still can't get along and instead of having two choices for an associate judge, since reposting the job with the additional salary, there are now 16 applicants.

I'll bet you didn't know that judges fussed like this or act like a bunch of schoolboys. So just how did this impasse come about? Retired District Judge Tom Stansbury was the administrative judge before his recent retirement. When he was the administrative judge, he brooked no disagreements among judges. It was his way or no way. Remember when he summarily fired Judge Bradley Smith as Fort Bend's quasi-permanent visiting judge when he (Stansbury) got wind that Smith was going to run for the new judgeship. Of course all that did was give Smith the time to campaign for the job.

When Stansbury retired and it was time to elect a new administrative judge, here were the crop of judges available: State District Judges Tommy Culver, Brady Elliott, Robert Kern and Bradley Smith. Judge Ron Pope hadn't taken office yet and although it would seem that he should have been allowed to vote instead of the retiring Tom Stansbury, he wasn't. Besides, as the new man on the board, he wouldn't have been a very good candidate for administrative judge.

Judge Brady Elliott reportedly said since he had seniority, he should get the job. Judge Tommy Culver has never liked Judge Elliott since Elliott got the appointment to state district judge that Culver (and a lot of other people) thought he should have had, so there's bad blood there. The feeling is mutual. While Culver was elected about six months later, Judge Elliott wouldn't stand for Culver to be administrative judge because.... well, there's bad blood there.

So that left Judge Smith and Judge Kern. Since several of the judges do not like Judge Smith, that left Judge Robert Kern, who is on his second term, with Judge Tom Stansbury casting the tie-breaking vote.

Now here comes Judge Ron Pope on the court and he doesn't like Kern either because he wanted an associate judge assigned only to his court and he wanted to be able to give the job to one of his good ol' boy friends. Kern said nope. He wanted to share the associate judge and he wanted it to be someone good, since he would be trusting the associate judge with some of his cases.

I've heard the board of judges meeting that I missed was particularly contentious and I've asked for the minutes of the meeting. They made no decisions about anything, which may be good for us, the taxpayers.

Oh, I got a call from one of the judges correcting me about the salary for the associate judge. According to this source, the job was misposted from the beginning and should have been posted at $90 thousand something from the very beginning.

Maybe we should all buy one ...... I reported in this space last week about the rezoning meeting for Quail Valley Country Club. Although I was suspicious about the way the meeting was run and I hate to lose the greenbelt view on LaQuinta, one undeniable fact remains. The economic health of the Quail Valley subdivision and the value of our homes is intrinsically melded with the county club. It is in our best interests to support the country club in every way we can, even if it means breaking down and buying a membership.

The memberships are very reasonable; reasonable to the point that almost every person in Quail Valley can afford at least a "leisure" membership, which allows one to use the fitness and tennis facilities, and of course impress your friends with dining privileges. They haven't sent me a schedule of fees yet, but I think this Leisure or Social membership is about $35 per month. I would gladly pay that if I thought it would keep the country club, and hence my property values, vibrant and alive. Although, who was it that said they would not want to belong to a club that would have them as a member?

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

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   Last Update:  March 19, 2003