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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."


 

It’s not nice to fool Bev Carter....After I wrote last week about a group of “concerned residents” in New Territory who had gotten together, interviewed candidates, and then passed out fliers, made phone calls, block-walked, and generally campaigned for those they liked, I found out they had not exactly told me the truth. I talked to New Territory resident and FBISD board president Lisa Rickert, Pct. 4 Constable Troy Nehls, and resident Bart Hatfield.

• First, I found out they were continuing to use the name “New Territory Votes,” even though they claimed to have quit using the name. However, an email sent out by Lisa Rickert as recently as Feb. 6, 2006, used the name “New Territory Votes” and billed themselves as “leaders in the community (Not affiliated with the New Territory Residential Community Association).”

The email included the names of Rickert, Nehls, three board members of the New Territory Residential Community Associ-ation including Nehls’ twin brother who is a Sugar Land policeman, the manager of the Residential Community Assn., and Hatfield, the president, plus a couple of other interested residents.

• Come to find out, this is the FOURTH election in which the group has been active, rather than the three elections they claimed to me last week.

• According to the minutes of the New Territory Residential Community Assn., the group will pay for advertising in the New Territory newsletter. This expense, coupled with the expense of printing fliers (even donated fliers must be considered as “in kind” contributions), would seem to put the group over the $500 limit for four elections. Constable Nehls claimed to me they had no expenses.

It is interesting to note that the email was sent out with the titles of the people participating, i.e. board president and constable. Since the purpose of the group is to elect people that support the New Territory neighborhoods, it is questionable that officials elected by more voters than simply the New Territory voters would want to trade on their larger political positions for which they were elected to support all the people, rather than a subdivision.

Although it is commendable that neighbors want to get together and participate in the political process, it is significant that the two elected officials should know that a political action committee must be registered and a 60 day waiting period is in effect. Of course, we don’t currently have a district attorney that will take any action on these type of questions.

According to Susan Johnson, a community volunteer, “As a resident of Fort Bend County, I am deeply concerned that a trustee elected to represent all children in Fort Bend ISD and a constable elected to assist all residents of Precinct 4 appear to be most interested in promoting those who ‘demonstrate a willingness to listen and respond to the voters of our (New Territory) community.’ It further concerns me that these officials would use their titles for political purposes. As individual citizens, we are all free to espouse our views. However, I strongly object to adding titles such as ‘Constable, Precinct 4’ or ‘President, Fort Bend Independent School District’ to endeavors that have nothing to do with the office, thus implying sanction by the school district and/or county.”

According to Republican County Chair Eric Thode, “In order to do this (act as a PAC), they MUST be registered as a political action committee and file reports with the Texas Ethics Commission. You would think the President of FBISD’s board and a Constable who is supposed to uphold the law---could follow the law. They are clearly violating the spirit of the law."

It’s not getting any better.....I thought the school board controversy had settled down until I heard last week that three board members left an executive board meeting then later went to see the district attorney about what they could do to protect themselveswhen the open meeting laws were being violated. Leaving were Bruce Bain, Sue Hausenstein, and Cynthia Knox. I don’t know if Stan Magee coming to the meeting with a list of approximately 27 FBISD employees who he thinks should be fired had anything to do with the walkout or not.

The deadline for filing for a place on the school board is fast approaching. Hauenstein and Bain have expiring terms and both have expressed a reluctance to run again. (As in “Heck, NO!”) Whoever runs and wins will be making a great sacrifice to put up with the bunk that is going on there now. Even if two intelligent, polite, sane people win, they will still be in the minority for the next couple of years until the voters can speak about the job they think Rickert and Ken Bryant are doing. Or we can just continue to elect people who don’t believe in Fort Bend ISD and want to completely upend the district.

I’ve said from Day One that Fort Bend ISD probably needed some changes made, but it didn’t need to be thrust into chaos. Any new board members will probably have some new ideas. However, the mark of good leaders is taking good ideas, and implementing them without damaging the good things that already exist.

 

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