Home Page











Important #s

Other News

Add an event



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."


Last week I wrote about what I was looking for in an ideal school board member. To refresh your memory the criteria was a board member that: (1) has a valid, articulate reason for running for the board, (2) has children currently attending Fort Bend ISD schools, (3) has volunteered in the schools or youth-related activities, (4) has not ever taught in Fort Bend ISD, (5) does not have family members who work for FBISD, and (6) has attended several FBISD school board meetings in the past year.

I give up on receiving an answer to these simple questions from James Walker or Wayne Howard. I’m pretty sure that Howard doesn’t want to answer because not only did he recently teach for Fort Bend ISD, his wife still does. And the occasion of his “retiring” was a settled agreement with the school district after he had received several warnings about his personal supervision of students in his classes. A student was subsequently hurt in his class. Howard ran last year and lost a close race to Cynthia Knox. I am concerned when former teachers run for the board. I always fear they are trying to get even with some administrators who are still with the district.

The only reason that I can imagine James Walker refusing to answer is that I quizzed him at a candidate’s forum about not filing his campaign contribution and expense report on time, particularly since he is an accountant.

Position 2

Articulate reason

running for the board:

Sonal Bhuchar-To ensure that we halt the downward spiral this district is falling into and restore focus on quality education, safety in schools and good governance on the Board with commitment and integrity, thereby rebuilding a trustworthy partnership between district and community.

Steve Dieu-Fort Bend ISD was known for her great public education. Now, the district has only one school with an “exemplary” rating which causes me great concerns as I have three daughters in Fort Bend elementary school.

Hal Jay-Distressed by the current situation in our district and realizing we have no time for a learning curve.

Number of years

lived in the district:




Children currently attending

Fort Bend ISD schools:




Board meetings attended

in past 12 months:




Volunteered in school or

youth-related activities:

Bhuchar-Many school related volunteering for many years.


Jay-Judged several school-related competitions and served on the board previously 1991-1997.

Has taught in FBISD:




Close family members

work for FBISD:



Jay-Yes, wife for 25 years and daughter currently

The person in Position 2 who meets all my criteria for an excellent school board member is Sonal Bhuchar.

Position 6

Articulate reason

running for the board:

Rodrigo Carreon-Improve communications with all elected officials and FBISD.

Liz Mitton-Solid Fortune 500 business background; understand the most important issues currently facing FBISD; proven coalition building skills to get results; desire to serve ALL children.

Steve Smelley-Concerned with the lack of experience and pro-fessionalism the current board has demonstrated over the past eighteen months. Our superior “AA” Bond rating is in jeopardy and so are our property values.

Number of years

lived in district:




Children currently attending Fort Bend ISD schools:

Carreon-7 nieces and nephews



Board meetings attended

in past 12 months:


Mitton-all but one

Smelley-5 or 6

Volunteered in school or youth-related activities:

Carreon-very little voluteering, but volunteers as community activist

Mitton-many school activities for many years

Smelley-many community, charity, and youth activities for many years

Has taught in FBISD:




Close family members

work for FBISD:

Carreon-Father works at Lake Olympia



The candidate in Position 6 who meets my criteria for an excellent school board member is Steve Smelley. He is a former board member who can hit the ground running. When he served before, he did an excellent job and made some tough decisions, in the face of intense pressure, which served the district well.

Why I can't support....I can’t support Hal Jay in Position 2 even though he served on the board previously. I was not happy with his actions when he was on the board in that he solicited business from district vendors and even, on one occasion, participated in “lobbying” other board members to change vendors for which he was doing some “consulting” work.

I can’t support Liz Mitton for Position 6 even though she sounds good. She has been part of the cabal that supported the current board in throwing the district into the current chaos, running roughshod over very capable administrators to the point they have left the district, and treating parents and teachers alike in a very rude and disrespectful manner. Liz has done none of this, but she is a fellow traveler. She established a website that tried to “spin” every wrong action the current board has made. Board president Lisa Rickert, who has shown a remarkable lack of good leadership, is supporting both Liz Mitton and Steve Dieu. I fear that electing either of these two candidates will result in the current climate continuing.

On many occasions on her web site, Mitton quotes extensively from Peggy Venable, the Texas Director of Americans for Prosperity, a group that is not interested in public education except for minimizing the amount of funding sent to the public schools and in achieving the goal of vouchers—taking money out of public education and giving it to private schools.

Mitton’s blind allegiance to Rickert would not be good for the district.

I’m so tired of hearing.......About how bad ol’ Eric Thode took Republican money and used it to send out a “voting” card to poll the desires of the Fort Bend Republicans to see who they would like the four electors to name to replace Tom DeLay on the November ballot.

How did Eric incur the wrath of a certain segment of the Republican party to the point that his every action was criticized? I’ll tell you how. Several years ago Eric encouraged the more “moderate” segment of the local Republican party to get active and involved in the party.

I’m not talking about liberals. I’m talking about fiscally conservative Republicans who did not buy the Christian Coalition blather that wanted to totally control the party. Eric even had the nerve to refer to some of them as the “wacko” wing of the party. (I call them the “flat earthers.”)

And no matter how you try to paint the Republican’s success in Fort Bend as simply a result of the increased population being mostly Republicans when they moved here, you can’t deny the fact that he was an adroit, sophisticated, urbane, knowledgable leader who most of the Republicans were proud that he was our spokesman. We didn’t always agree with everything he did, but unlike that small coterie of Eric haters who disagreed with everything he did, we generally supported him.

Eric made a lot of enemies because he endorsed some Republican candidates in the Republican primaries. I always admired his courage in doing so because he knew he would have grief over the endorsements. And he didn’t endorse in the primaries unless he felt very strongly about his choices.

I think by sending out the voting card to Republican voters is Eric’s attempt to bring a sense of openness about the choice to replace DeLay (if he ever leaves). Heavens knows, the taint of DeLay must be dealt with, and what better way to do so than by polling the voters to see who they want to replace him? I really don’t see how in the world Republicans can find fault with that. Tom DeLay won the primary by a majority of the vote. If he isn’t on the ballot, doesn’t it make sense to let his voters decide again in a straw vote who should replace him?

Of course that small coterie of Republicans that have been mad at Eric for several years aren’t going to be happy. They’re going to claim that Eric didn’t have their permission to spend the money to send out the voting card. That’s because these so-called defenders of the American way of life work much better in the dark when just their little clique can make the choice.

And significantly, I doubt if his detractors have donated one red cent to the local party in years!

Way to go, Eric!


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.

Ad Rates



User Agreement

Privacy Stmt

About Us

   Copyright © 2000 by FortBendstar.com.  All rights reserved. 
   Last Update:  September 07, 2006