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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 29 years."


I was a write-in candidate......For about 30 minutes, I was a write-in candidate for CD 22, that district vacated by Tom “Cut and Run” DeLay because he was afraid that Nick Lampson would beat him. Even though I have always eschewed elective politics (except for that brief four years when I became mentally deranged and was a precinct chair. Naturally, I was asked to resign. I was forced to run a write in campaign in order to cover the Pearland meeting where all Republican precinct chairs in Congressional District 22 would secretly meet and choose someone to support as a write-in candidate after DeLay’s crisis of conscience.

After I heard about the meeting closed to all but precinct chairs and potential write-in candidates, I decided to declare myself a write-in candidate and attend the meeting. I only like to go to meetings where I know I’m not wanted. It’s the same personality attribute/flaw that made me refuse to resign as precinct chair.

About 30 minutes after I had made the momentous decision to declare my candidacy and therefore attend the meeting, I received a copy of an email that Republican Party Chairman Gary Gillen sent out asking that all Fort Bend candidates in CD 22 boycott the meeting because it was closed to the press and others. Maybe he didn’t use the word “boycott,” but he did ask that candidates not attend.

I then had my own crisis of conscience. Do I attend the “secret” meeting and report it, or do I respect the county chairman and avoid it? It was also the same night as my card night where we buffaloes meet at the Swinging Door and play (not drink) gin.

Finally a bad hair day (seems to be a lot of those lately) made my decision for me. I wouldn’t have to fix my hair for gin. Heck, it is so dark in the room where we play at the Swinging Door and we’re all getting so old, we practically have to play with miner’s hats.

Just about that time, a phone call for an emergency baby-sitter with my grandsons trumped politics and gin. Not only do my grandsons not care about my hair, but they can’t beat me in cards....yet.

Enough about me.....All of this is just preface to a disclaimer that I wasn’t at the CD22 meeting, so I can’t report with absolute accuracy about what happened.

Libertarian candidate Bob Smithers and several of his supporters were stationed outside the church, as were about 30 Wallace supporters who held up signs which spelled out his name.

I did have some inside reports about the sub-rosa meeting where Shelly Sekula Gibbs received the straw vote nod as the Republican standard bearer on the ballot (although some might call it the sacrificial lamb).

First, only about a total of 80 plus precinct chairs were there, with 30 Fort Bend precinct chairs attending after Gillen’s letter went out.

Gillen’s letter complained about the lack of transparency. He said nothing about the fact that is was not an official meeting; it was not called in accordance with the party rules; and it had no “standing” as an endorsement by the party. However, the state chairwoman repeated several times that if they could decide on one candidate, she had been promised $3-4 million from the national party to pour into the write-in campaign.

According to my source, way more than the precinct chairs attended. In fact, there were probably about 200 people in attendance--Tom DeLay, his bodyguards and his handlers; state chair and vice-chair; Norm Mason (?); the candidates and their entourage. You had to sign in. My source said several volunteers were watching the doors, signing people in, writing name tags, etc. and many of those snuck in to hear the candidate speeches.

Sekula-Gibbs, Tim Turner, and Don Richardson all spoke and supposedly, Sekula-Gibbs was in really good form and gave an outstanding speech. Dave Wallace was AWOL and his campaign manager had no comment. All of the candidates were asked if they would withdraw from the race after one candidate was chosen. They all agreed, including Tom DeLay who was asked if he would discourage anyone he might have supported. Wallace’s manager said he would take the information back to him (Wallace later withdrew.).

Harris County had a few more precinct chairs in attendance but my source was seated so she was unable to count them easily. Precinct chairs were given a blank sheet of paper on which to vote--no listing of candidates on the sheet or on a blackboard.

The Fort Bend precinct chairs were made up largely of Christian Coalition chairs, their fellow travelers, Dean Hrbacek, and his fellow travelers.

Delay made a speech which received several standing ovations, in which he blamed the entire mess on the Democrats. It was Democrat congressmen who got him in trouble; Democrat DAs who indicted him; and Democrat judges who said he had to stay on the ballot. The Democrats made him do it!

One reason why the list of potential write-ins was so short is that any candidate that was in the primary was precluded by law from running as a write-in and several of the other elected officials who were mentioned as potential condidates would have to resign their current seat if they ran.

My source says Sekula-Gibbs apparently had her votes before she got to the party.

The rest of the story......In spite of earlier protestations that he would run in spite of another write-in candidate, Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace announced Monday that for the good of the party and in order to have only one candidate, he was withdrawing his bid as a write-in and would support Sekula-Gibbs.

I figure that Dave has gotten about as much mileage out of this write-in thing as he’s going to get and he knows it’s an ultimate losing battle, no matter who the candidate. His well-turned-out face and family have appeared on TV and most news media (announcing his decision). Now the party owes him.

I’ve said many times that he was the only logical choice and only the bitterness of former Mayor Dean Hrbacek (who Wallace defeated) kept him from being the standard bearer from the get go. For gosh sakes, Sekula-Gibbs lives in Clear Lake, an area ably represented by Nick Lampson before he fell victim to redistricting. He’ll beat her like a rented mule, bless her heart. I even heard that the Democratics in Congress will most likely restore Lampson’s seniority when he wins.

In the heat of the summer....I saw a terrible picture on the main front page or the city/state front page of the Chronicle this past week. It was of an emaciated cow that some rancher was selling for lack of rain, affecting his cattle’s food crop. The cow’s ribs stood out it was so malnourished.

I don’t know what is wrong with ranchers nowadays. My daddy was a rancher and he would have never let his cows suffer like that, even in a drought. He would have spent every cent he had to continue to feed them and when he ran out of money, he would have burned the needles off prickly pear and fed them that. That’s where the expression “pear burner,” referring to a flaming lighter, came from. Maybe there’s no comparable crops on the Gulf Coast.


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