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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."


 

Dirty politics has reared its ugly head in Fort Bend this year

With Fort Bend an increasingly one party political county-Republican-it was inevitable that contested races would become dirty. The Republican party has so dominated politics in Fort Bend County just long enough for candidates to realize that the only way to get elected is to run as a Republican, and if they won the primary, they likely would not have an opponent in November. This has caused candidates to run as Republican whether they were Republican or not, and it has caused may primary races to become hard-fought contests.

County Clerk Dianne Wilson has been the recipient of attacks by not only an opponent whose Republican credentials are suspicious, a county commissioner whose motives are suspicious, but a daily newspaper on the west side of the county.

Wilson has served 23 years and is generally believed to be one of the best elected officials in Fort Bend County. Heretofore she has run unopposed.

However, her opponent has used a “phone tree” to scare elderly voters by accusing her of putting confidential records on the county’s web site.

Wilson’s office places all county records filed in her office on the internet and have been doing so since 2000. By law, she can’t cross out information that might be construed as “confidential.” She says that to keep these records in her office only, she would have to make additional staff and computers available to the public and the internet records saves the county money ultimately.

Another series of calls by her opponent accuse Wilson of suing the county for higher pay. Wilson, and a group of other female elected officials did sue for pay parity several years ago and the county commissioners settled before it came to court.

On her part, Wilson has remained sanguine and has did little advertising to counteract her opponent’s rhetoric. However, she has campaigned hard at attending every candidate’s forum and/or civic event, although in the past, Wilson can usually be counted on to participate in most events, opponent or no opponent.

In the Republican primary race for County Court at Law #2 Judge, incumbent Walter McMeans and challenger Rick Forlano have gone at it tooth and nail as Forlano has accused McMeans of not moving his docket fast enough, and McMeans has accused Forlano of not being a very good attorney before his court. The argument has even degenerated to the point that both men challenge who Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace is supporting.

In the Republican county chair race, current and retiring chairman Eric Thode has endorsed Gary Gillen, but he has also pointed out that a New Territory group that interviewed candidates may be violating the Texas election laws by failing to register as a PAC. Several local media has covered the story. On Friday, many Republicans received an email from FBISD board president Lisa Rickert, a member of the group, and several other group members, to the effect that Thode was just mad because they had endorsed someone other than the county chair candidate he had chosen to secede him.

The Charlie Howard/Ron Booker state representative race has engendered a few harsh words, mainly Howard targeting houses with Booker signs, and Booker listing the legislative failure of the last session which he lumps with Howard.

Finally, the District Attorney has accused his opponent Larry McDougal of being a bad municipal court judge in Beasley and Tom Campbell, Pat Baig, and Michael Fjetland have accused Tom DeLay of everything.

So gone are the good ol’ days when Republicans didn’t even run against each other, much less air their dirty laundry in public. However, for political junkies, it has given us a view of some of the foibles of the candidates and has kept the primary season, which is usually ho hum, interesting

 

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