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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."


 

Letís get this straight.......The run-off for the primary is April 11 with early voting starting next Monday, April 3. Three important races are in the Republican runoff and I want to clear up some misconceptions about primary run-offs.

First, even if you didnít vote in the primary, you can vote in the primary run-off in either party. However, if you voted in one partyís primary, you canít vote in the other partyís run-off.

Second, you can vote in the primary or the primary run-off even if you plan to vote for an independent candidate in the general election, i.e. Kinky or that tough grandma. So many people were confused about this because the independent candidates were publicly asking voters not to vote in the primaries. The only thing that voting in primaries does vis a vis independent candidates is that if you vote in the primary or the primary run-off, you canít sign the independent candidateís petition to get on the ballot in November. But you can certainly vote for one of the independent candidates in the general election in November if they get on the ballot.

Another aspect of the Republican primary run-off that I want to discuss is the position of Republican Party County Chairman. County Chair Eric Thode has moved out of the county and will be replaced. Itís almost at the very bottom of the ballot in the primary election, so some people didnít see it and didnít vote. In fact, there were 5,078 undervotes (people who voted in top-of-the-ballot races that didnít bother to vote in this race) or 21.22%.

The person who got the most votes was Gary Gillen, but there were two other people in the race and as Gillen didnít get a 51% majority, there is a run-off. I want to urge readers to got back to the polls for the run off and vote for Gillen. Iím worried about the future of the party in Fort Bend County if Gillen isnít elected.

The local Republican party runs on two important things for the most part--money and volunteerism. Gary Gillen has donated various sums of money to the local party over the last 20 years, some years small amounts and some years larger amounts, but every year Gillen has stepped up to the plate with his check.

Additionally Gary Gillen has served the local party as a precinct chair every year for the past 20 years.

He was a member of President Bushís Strike Force team for the past two elections, traveling to other states to work for the Presidentís election.

Gillen has also worked for many local candidates and if all those elected officials will just get out and work for him now, he should win the election handily. But he still needs Republican voters support and I want to recommend him to you. I tell you about the other two races in the run-off, county attorney and county-court-of-law judge, next week.

Clear as mud.....I donít know if you remember the HIPAA flap several weeks ago when Commissioner Andy Meyersí friend, former City Councilman Brian Gaston, received a contract from the county to ďauditĒ where Fort Bend County was complying with the federal laws involving medical privacy. The ďauditĒ was timed to be completed right before the election when County Clerk Dianne Wilson, running for re-election, was being assailed for publishing county information on the internet.

At the time, I asked how Gastonís firm got the contract and was told by county officials that it beat the heck out of them because they thought they gave the contract to City-County Benefits Service, a firm run by Fort Bend County resident Bob Treacy, who also works for Sunday & Assoc. At the time, Meyers said City-County Benefits was a Houston-Galveston Area Council preferred vendor.

Well, lo and behold, the contract ended up in the clutches of HIPAA Solutions, run by Gaston and the job was performed by Gastonís roommate, Georgia attorney Peter MacKoul. When I finally contacted Bob Treacy after Spring Break and asked him how HIPAA Solutions got the contract from City-County Benefit Services, he said it was inserted in the language of the original contract per Commissioner Andy Meyers. Treacy also said the cover letter accompanying the contract spelled that out and it was obvious from the beginning that HIPAA Solutions would be completing the audit.

So I guess all those county commissioners that denied knowledge of how HIPAA Solutions got the contract just didnít read the cover letter?

Although Meyers pushed for the release of the HIPAA Solutions report before Wilsonís primary election, the county nor the press fell for it. Canít you just see Meyers saying, ďRats, foiled again!Ē

Wilson went on to win the primary with a decisive victory of 69.85% of the vote, the largest of any contested local race.

Making up rules.....Although residents appearing before the Fort Bend ISD board to speak about a topic are usually allotted three minutes, last Monday night so many people showed up that Board President Lisa Rickert limited the comments to two minutes.

Rickert took this action without a vote of the board or a recommendation of Stan Mageeís Policy Review Committee. Oh, wait a minute. Iíve heard none of the committees are meeting anymore. Something about time? Something about control?

Another FBISD administrator has ďretired.Ē More about that next week including the complaints lodged in the ďretirementĒ letter.

 

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