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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."


 

The arrogance, the arrogance....It appears that Fort Bend County Pct. 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers’ fervent desire to defeat County Clerk Dianne Wilson has shamefully cost the taxpayers of Fort Bend County at least $4,000, caused several county officials to spend time trying to sort out the situation, and raised the specter of future attorney fees.

It started with Meyers putting an innocuous item on the commissioners court agenda to hire a company to “audit” whether the county was in compliance with certain HIPPA regulations having to do with the privacy of medical records. Meyers put the item on the agenda on the very day that a west side newspaper started doing a series of articles which ultimately claimed that Wilson was putting county records on the internet that were an invasion of privacy.

Interestingly, the editor of that newspaper had told me earlier in the year that Dianne Wilson was a “crook.” He was basing his opinion on a 15-year-old court suit having to do with Wilson paying her employees and herself extra money for working primary elections, and for her getting a masters degree while working for the county.

The outcome of that long ago story was the then current district attorney lost the election to a candidate who was out of the country for much of the campaign. Meyers should heed that saga and consider that Wilson received 69.65 percent of the votes cast in her contested primary race last week.

Here’s what happened: Meyers put the item on the agenda and suggested the county hire the company City/County Benefits Service which Meyers said was listed as a preferred vendor by the Houston Galveston Area Council. Somehow or another, and I don’t know how as Bob Tracey with City/County Benefits Service has not returned my phone calls, and supposedly the entire office of Sunday and Associates, with which he is associated, is closed for Spring Break. In any event, the task was subcontracted to HIPPA Solutions, owned by Meyers’ friend former Sugar Land Councilman Brian Gaston. Gaston sent his roommate, Peter MacKoul, to conduct the “audit.”

Wilson did not know that MacKoul was Gaston’s roommate or even that Gaston owned HIPPA Solutions, but became immediately suspicious with the type of questions that MacKoul was asking. Wilson said he spent most of the meeting with her trying to sell her his software to remedy the supposed “problem.” With a marketing name like “HIPPA Solutions” it wasn’t hard to discern the true nature of the “audit.”

Then Meyers threw a fit and tried to drum up support from the media to pressure the county to release the report before the primary, some thought because the report would find fault with Wilson’s internet posting of county records.

The county attorney put a stop to that because the “audit” involved only three departments, although the county had been promised a more thorough “audit.”

Come to find out, the company called the county auditor and asked that its $4,000 check be cut right away as its contract, unknown to other county officials and a departure from accepted protocol, called for payment to be made in advance.

So Andy Meyers paid $4,000 of our tax money to a friend and his roommate (for about six hours work) to rinky-do Dianne Wilson, and he didn’t even bother to tell her he loved her!

After the elections thoughts.....Nick Lampson, the Democrat running against Tom DeLay in the general election in November said on election night he called Pat Baig, Mike Fjetland, and Tom Campbell to congratulate them on their campaigns. He told them it takes courage to put your name on the ballot against Tom DeLay in a Republican Primary and he wanted them to know they had his respect. He would also like the support (and votes) of their supporters.

Several of the national pollsters are predicting the upcoming race between Lampson and DeLay is in the toss-up column with some even saying that Lampson will win.

Me, after this last primary when DeLay got 55.55 percent of the Fort Bend votes, I’ve given up on getting rid of him. However, his main opponent, Tom Campbell, took 34.45 percent of the Fort Bend vote. Where DeLay beat him so bad was in the Harris County and Clear Lake part of his district. Campbell just didn’t have the money to seriously impact DeLay there.

When you think about it, Campbell was a virtual unknown until his late announcement last November. He is a quiet man and at his rallies, you would usually find him in the back of the audience talking one-on-one with a voter. The best thing he had going for him was the hard, hard work of his loyal supporters. So all in all a 34 percent showing for Campbell in Fort Bend primary votes is respectable and spells trouble for DeLay.

Lampson needs to get every Democratic vote he can and let’s face it, the Democrats don’t have much reason to go to the polls in November.

He also needs to pick up a lot of votes from those unhappy Campbell voters. It’s problematic that these Republicans will vote for a Democrat, even a conservative one. And who knows what the national headlines about DeLay’s troubles will be in November. Things may have died down by then. I would still say the district leans Republican, even if voting for DeLay leaves a bad taste in some mouths.

School Board.....Uber spinmiester Liz Mitton has signed up to run for the school board. No one is really surprised, given her advocacy of changes in the district, but I say her candidacy spells a crack in the current board makeup. Also in that race is Stan Magee crony Wayne Howard. So we have Stan Magee crony Wayne Howard and Lisa Rickert crony Liz Mitton. Hummm. Wonder what this will do to the dynamics of the cabal that is currently in the majority of the board?

Many others are hoping that Howard and Mitton supporters will cancel each other out, allowing former board member Steve Smelley, who is also in that race, to win the plurality vote in May.

Several Fort Bend County blogs have posted comments about this race. The comments added to the bloggers’ posting provide some interesting insight. You might want to read them at Texas Safety Forum and Fort Bend Now (Google them). I just don’t have the room to publish all that back and forth.

Suffice it to say that Liz Mitton has been a cheerleader for the new majority on the board and in her blog on the internet has written many things that have only a passing stab at the factual truth. Yet, she is the first to criticize other writers from setting out their opinions. She, nor any of the so-called reformers have not reformed anything.

Is that all there is?.....They have succeeded in firing, whoops, retiring early, one of the best, if not the best superintendent this district has had. And they are busily dismantling the rest of the leadership of the school. They have appointed an interim superintendent who does not have the credentials to be a superintendent, and who is so cowed by the board that she breaks into tears and beseeches them for help. They’ve spent district tax money on hiring a lawyer to try to justify their “early retirement” of Superintendent Betty Baitland, a lawyer with some baggage himself, and who has not come up with one scintilla of evidence of wrongdoing. In fact, trustee Magee was heard to exclaim after reading the lawyer’s report, “Is this all there is!?!”

 

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