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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.

A fine member ...... I remember several years ago a person we all knew and liked was running for public office. Even though he was a good business person, well-liked, and knowledgeable, he had absolutely no business being in public office. The defining moment of his candidacy was when someone remarked, "Old Joe would be a great commissioner/city councilman/ board member if he didn't have to go to the meetings.

I think we all might know someone that fits that description. Many of us have been to public meetings and noticed that some of the board members/elected officials were not exactly prepared for the meeting. We in the press are particularly aware of this because we know that every elected official receives a packet long before the meeting which contains information about everything that will come before the board or council.

Reporters get much of the same information in a press packet on the night of the meeting.

This packet information means the elected officials have ample notice about the business that will come before them. They can study and research the issues well before the meeting by calling on staff for additional information or by personal research. The elected officials that come to the meetings without ever having looked at their "packet" are not informed and will often waste the board's time by asking questions they should have asked earlier. Or regrettably, not asking the questions that are necessary to make an informed decision.

The reason that I am bringing this up now is because we are in the process of early voting for many different races in Fort Bend County, including school board and city councils. Please keep in mind the attributes of the people running for office. Are they willing to do the study and work necessary to be a good board member? Are they simply a candidate looking for a race or have they ever attended more than two meetings for the office they are seeking? Do they have a personal agenda, or do their backers have a personal agenda? These are all considerations and I can tell you that not only do we reporters know who is a serious candidate, but their peers on the various councils and boards have seen them in action also. So do a little research. Vote for the serious candidates.

Where have I been ..... Two individuals contacted me last week, irrespective of each other, because they had not seen me is such a long time. They asked me who I was mad at. My reply was that I was mad at the stock market, the stork market (I still only have one adopted grandchild.), the Iraqis, the Republicans, and even certain elements of the news media.

Actually, I've quit smoking and gone on a diet, so I've been hunkered down at home, away from temptations and mad at the world for..... having to quit smoking and quit eating. Heck, no nicotine or chocolate? What's the use in living? I might as well start going to the dentist.

So if you see my lips touching a cigarette or calories, you have my permission to snatch it away.

My annual killing rampage ..... Do you know the fat lady in "The Wizard of Id?" She goes around with a club looking for the snake to pummel to death.

That is exactly my attitude about the Missouri City snails which seem bent on destroying my plants which I have trouble getting to grow anyway.

Remember I told you last year that the logo for Missouri City looked like a snail. I have spent a fortune buying poisons to get rid of the thousands of snails in my Missouri City yard. If I ever sell my house, it will probably be declared a superfund waste site, and I'll have to declare the snails to all potential buyers.

I've even looked them up on the internet in order to kill them better and guess what? I discovered that more sites tell you how to take care of them than how to murder them. I also discovered that there are over 22,000 species, that they are sexless or maybe sexy, according to how you look at it. Anyway, both male and female lay eggs, making them double trouble.

One site suggested seaweed around your plants to discourage them.

Discourage!?! I want to kill them! And where am I going to get copious amounts of seaweed, and doesn't seaweed stink?

I've tried beer in bowls, egg shells, and all types of commercial poisons.

I've found the surest fire way to killing them is to go out at midnight with a flashlight and beat them to death with a hammer. Careful that your neighbors don't mistake you for a prowler and hit you with a hammer.

The cost of doing business ..... There are certain elements of this community that would like to silence this newspaper. They want to have a chilling effect on our ability to report the truth. They try to accomplish this goal by suing us for slander or libel because we print news that they do not like. They know their suits are frivolous and they do not have a case, but we have to hire an attorney to defend us even against libel suits that will never go anywhere.

Often, the people who sue us simply want to dirty our name and say things in their court filings that they know will be printed in other newspapers.

Their court filings are full of lies and half-truths, the very thing of which they are accusing us. Inevitably, they have lawyers who do this for them for free as a professional courtesy as in former (it feels so good to say "former") Sugar Land mayor Dean Hrbacek, himself a lawyer. Or Fort Bend Deputy Craig Brady who had his son sue us and used the attorney that has made fees from the sheriff's department over the years.

Please rest assured, dear reader, it will not silence us. We just consider it the cost of doing business. I would refuse to put out a newspaper that only printed the "puff" pieces about some of our officials. You can rest assured, or in this case, read assured, that the Star will continue to call it like it is, whoever it skewers.

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

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   Last Update:  April 30, 2003