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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

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 phone number.


Andy sees stars

Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers has too seen stars and he likes the night sky. Now for those of you who haven’t a clue as to what I’m talking about, Precinct 1 Commissioner Tom Stavinoha made the comment that “Andy had never even seen stars” when he was commenting on Commissioner Meyers having problems with the way the county was attempting to regulate the lighting in subdivisions and at businesses far removed from the George Observatory.

Andy says he was once an avid outdoorsman and often took his son fishing and hunting. “I have seen stars, despite what Tommy says,” he quipped. And, he likes stars, but he doesn’t like the idea of the county trying to regulate lighting in the far reaches of Katy to protect the observatory. “There is a problem with the way the county is going about enforcing the light ordinance, in my opinion and in the opinion of the county attorney’s Office. I’m not real crazy about Wal Mart lighting up the night sky with a lot of bright lights either, but this ordinance was passed to protect the George Observatory and we can’t be regulating lighting just to prevent lights from shining too brightly unless it does hurt the observatory. I can’t see this being extended all the way to places like Katy, 40 miles from the observatory and, with four cities in between - none of which have such an ordinance,” Andy said in response to Stavinoha’s comments.

Andy has a point. No one likes a business to move near a residential area and light up the night sky with floodlights that are bright enough to keep owls awake. But if the ordinance has limitations, it is best to read all the fine print before making and enforcing all the rules and regulations.

“I am convinced we simply don’t have the authority to do what we’ve done. The state legislators don’t give the counties a lot of ordinance making power and I wish it was more, but it isn’t and we need to take a look at what we have and the legislation that allowed us what authority we do have before we make any more decisions,” Meyers said.

Andy is a stickler for dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, so it may be a while before this issue is resolved. The lighting ordinance issue will most likely be discussed again in the very near future.

Name recognition theory

There is a standing theory in the political arena that there is no such thing as “bad publicity.” Any name recognition is valuable, say old-timers who add that even bad press is good press. That theory is going to be tested shortly when incumbent Congressman Tom DeLay faces a number of opponents in the primary Republican election this year.

Will all of Tom’s “bad press” hurt him? Outgoing Republican Chairman Eric Thode doesn’t seem to think it will hurt him badly enough to see any of his contenders beating him in the primary, at least.

Tom has done a good job for Fort Bend County, Thode says. On the other hand, in recent months in particular, Tom has brought his home county and the city of Sugar Land the type of publicity I am sure they wouldn’t print on a brochure.

I have a theory of my own, based on way too many years of following the local, state and federal elections. Bad publicity is good for name recognition when it is old enough not to spark the memory of where that familiar name was heard. Bad publicity is bad when it is currently the talk of the town and everyone knows that name goes with bad press.

People are forgetful and often simply remember hearing a name repeatedly and that is when any kind of publicity is good. There is no other way to put it—Tom DeLay is in hot water and with local and national news media following the events of the Travis County District Attorney and the courts, judges and continued investigations on a continuous basis, it is very unlikely that anyone will have the opportunity to forget that his name is associated with the negative press.

Of course it really doesn’t matter a flip what people in California, Florida, or Washington D.C. think of Tom DeLay. The whole election centers on what people in his Congressional District feel.

Whether or not his crisis of accountability will impact his long-standing approval among his constituents remains to be seen. Unless this whole thing dies within the next 30 days, I would venture to say even those people who steadfastly stood behind Tom all these years, are beginning to falter and that may be reflected at the polls.

An interesting theory is about to be put to the test. I am looking forward to seeing the results of this test, as I am sure most of our readers are.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.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