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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 28 years."


 

Let the games begin.....Iím not sure how interested the general public is in the news this time of the year, but I can assure you that newspaper columnists live for these times. Iím not talking about the general wrap-up of the news of the year before in which most newspapers indulge simply because they have nothing else to write about.

Iím talking about the Byzantine schemes that are afoot as the political candidates jockey for position in the upcoming March primary. Deadline for filing was Monday, 5 p.m. and naturally there were several surprises.

We used to call him ďBud LiteĒ.......One of the most surprising was County Attorney Bud Childers last-minute resignation to run for County Court at Law #1 Judge, currently held by David Hunter. Hunter was appointed by commissioners court several months ago after Judge Larry Wagenbach retired with the proviso that he (Hunter) not seek the office.

What is so surprising is that rumor has it that Childers had told Nina Schaefer, the current front-runner for the job, that he would not run.

And finally, political watchers are surprised because Childers had to give up his safe elected position as County Attorney to which he was appointed about 15 years ago with three years left on his term.

Due to the last minute resignation of Childers, filing will be held open until Friday, 5 p.m. for that position only.

Childersís former partner and high school buddy Roy Cordes Jr. who is also the former Democratic county judge (the last one) went to work in the county attorneyís office as an assistant several months ago. He has now been appointed as the interim County Attorney, meaning if he runs for the office (and he is expected to), he can run as an incumbent. Some people say that is the reason Childers waited until the last minute to resign.

And then.....The other shocker was District Clerk Glory Hopkins failure to file her ballot application paper in time. Hopkins mailed her application to County Chairman Eric Thodeís office address on Dec. 27. However, family members discovered late Monday afternoon after the filing deadline, that the certified mail had been returned undeliverable due to an incorrect zip code. Hopkins was out of town and didnít check her mail until too late.

Thode said the rules are pretty explicit about filing deadlines and although he would check with the Secretary of State, but didnít believe that Hopkins could be certified to be on the ballot.

Hopkins claimed she faxed a copy of her application to Thodeís office. Thode said he even had lunch with Hopkins to collect her filing, but she didnít bring it. Earlier, Thode also announced far and wide that Party Secretary Susan Johnson would also be collecting filings at her Sugar Lakes home until 5 p.m. Monday.

Complicating the whole affair is the fact that Thode has established residency at his parentís Missouri City home in order to remain party chair until the primary, but he has also filed a homestead exemption on a house in Harris County.

The law is less clear about this situation, indicating that as long as candidates have a reasonable expectation of returning to their home district, they are eligible.

Hopkins has been criticized over the past year by Fort Bend judges and other elected officials who have complained that the software system she insisted on is unwieldy. She has responded with long, long letters explaining her decisions. So these actions have the courthouse crowd tittering that Hopkins canít even keep up with her own papers, much less those of the county.

There probably will be legal actions over this situation as even the Democrats say they will sue if she is allowed on the ballot.

Foolís errand...Then there is County Clerk Dianne Wilson who has been the subject of a series of articles in the Herald Coaster whose main source is a disgruntled Midland/Odessa, Texas private investigator. The four-part articles, which have also generated a couple of editorials, were mainly concerned with the possibility of identity theft from Wilsonís county clerk information on the internet.

Wilson has drawn an opponent who is a home bound self-employed young lady who has lived in Fort Bend 15 months. Since Wilson is considered by most to be one of the hardest working, conscientious elected officials, little credence is being given to Wilsonís opponent. However, the race will allow the other newspaper to again drag up everything on Wilson they can.

Cat fight...An unfortunate antagonism has developed between Wilson and Hopkins as many people have compared their offices unfavorably with Hopkins office being given short shift due to her refusal to modernize over the years. Hopkins son-in-law is the publisher of the Herald Coaster.

Other suprises.....Mike Baldwin, who ran for commissioner last time out, has signed on to run for State Representative Glenn Hegarís seat. Hegar has decided to run for state senator. However, there are six other Republican candidates in that race: Michael Franks, a businessman, political printer; David Melanson, who lists his occupation as banking; Stan Kitzman, a teacher; David Showalter, an attorney/developer; Randy Smith, a business owner; and John Zerwas, a physician. Baldwin is a rancher and civil engineer.

I keep hearing that FBISD school board member Ken Bryant has filed to run as a Republican for state representative against Democrat incumbent Dora Olivo, but I havenít been able to verify that. That would be an interesting race--bringing up all sorts of political and race questions.

The district is heavily Democratic, although it has become more Republican in the last few years. However, Bryant is African-American, while Olivo is Latino. The question is whether African-Americans will cross over and vote Republican when a member of their own race is running.

Not long ago, Republicans didnít run against each other in the primary. They had recently dislodged the old Democratic majority and usually one lone Republican signed up as a candidate. The free-for-all was in the Democratic primary. That has all changed now and the action is in the Republican primary. If one does not vote in the Republican primary, in many cases that is the only place where the vote counts.

 

Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006