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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."


 

Who’s your daddy?.....A story on the front page of the Star last week detailed how Tarah Hamilton, who was a 17-years-old at the time, was found guilty of intoxicated manslaughter and received a 10 year probated sentence. Her second chance carried several conditions and after she violated her probation several times, it was revoked and she was finally sentenced to six years in prison in May.

After the daughter of the woman killed by Hamilton, Paula Craig, started complaining about Hamilton’s continuing lack of punishment after being given a second chance, she started questioning Hamilton’s treatment. She discovered that Hamilton’s father had contributed more than $9,000 to Sheriff Milton Wright, $4,800 of it in April, 2006 immediately before his daughter’s prison sentence, and that Mr. Hamilton has police security 24/7 at his Fort Bend house for which he pays $20 per hour to off duty policemen. This arrangement is supposedly handled by the local Texas Ranger Jeff Cook, and employs many of the sheriff’s employees including some of his ranking command staff.

Even after a letter from State District Judge Tom Culver, the sheriff refused to send Hamilton to prison, claiming she was a “trusty” although he didn’t seem to know what her job was. Hamilton also gets meetings with her family in the sheriff’s administrative offices, a privilege not allowed most prisoners.

If this is not a blatant example of quid pro quo, then I don’t know what is. In my opinion, Milton Wright has turned out to be the worst sheriff Fort Bend has ever had. He doesn’t know how to run the sheriff’s department, and doesn’t even spend much time there. From all reports, he can usually be found on the golf course. And from other reports, the morale around the department is the worst it has ever been. They can’t seem to hire anyone except family members, and some of those family members are fired by other hard-working department heads, then are rehired by others. Milton Wright should be ashamed of himself.

Other police gripes.....I was eating at a local restaurant last week. When I pulled in, I noticed three Missouri City police cars in the parking lot with their motors running. After placing my order, I approached a table of uniformed police people and asked them if they knew their motors were running. (I thought they just didn’t want to get into a hot car after lunch. I could hear my tax money being burned up in idling cars.)

They told me their cars were equipped with some very expensive equipment, like computers that had to be kept cool.

Since I always try to check “street” information, I called Missouri City Police Chief Ron Eckols. He backed up the patrolmen’s reasons and told me the cameras and computers were not “dockable, “ (capable of being easily removed then plugged back in). I told the chief that the patrolmen “skedaddled” shortly after I questioned then.

So if you see an idling police car, don’t think they are just wasting gas. They are protecting computers!

And then there’s Sugar Land.....My gripe about my new home of Sugar Land is my water bill. I used to complain all the time in Missouri City about the fact that I didn’t get a self-addressed envelope for my water bill. I would have to search around for a blank envelope, then copy the address onto the envelope before I paid the bill.

I know it’s a minor thing, but I told them many times (and even wrote notes on my bill) that they would get their money faster if they included an envelope. I knew that from my business experience when I started enclosing an envelope with our advertising bills. We got paid a lot faster.

The Quail Valley Utility District finally started putting an envelope in their bill and I was happy. I don’t knew if it was the result of my lobbying, or they just woke up, but I like to take credit for it, at least to myself.

Then I moved to Sugar Land. The first rattle out of the box, I called and complained about the lack of an envelope in my water bill. In Sugar Land, you simply get a post card.

I thought, “Here I go again. The great envelope hunt!” I also noticed that the water was much higher than in Missouri City. You see, in Quail Valley, you pay for your garbage in your maintenance fees so your water bill doesn’t seem so high.

Once a year, most Quail Valley residents pay about $230 to the Quail Valley Fund. It covers garbage and the maintenance of common areas. From the cost of garbage pick-up in Sugar Land, QV needs to increase their fees.

Anyway, when I called the Sugar Land water department, they were sympathetic but showed no inclination to change their ways. They did agree to send me enough envelopes to last a year. That helps a little, but now if I can just remember when I put the darn thing every month!

And if I can just get my CPA to do the same thing.

I guess she was right.....On a trip to the Cayman Islands several years ago, we took a side trip while there to engage in a very popular thing for tourists in the Caymans. We went swimming with the String rays! Except Sugar Creeker Margot Taylor, who refused to jump in the sea with a bunch of circling String rays. Not me. I jumped right in with my sister-in -law Joyce Carter and Pecan Grove resident Judy Maciver, who talked us into the Stingray adventure in the first place. One kind of nipped me as I was trying to feed him/her, but it was supposedly an accident.

But after hearing about Alligator Hunter Steve Irwin’s death, I guess Margot was right all along. I’ve already got an “I told you so” phone call.

Can you believe it?.....Fort Bend County Commissioners are trying to tie their salaries to that of State District Judges. This is a scam used all over the country and a way to get a raise without the populace knowing it. County Commissioners have even tried to have a bill passed in the state legislature to make it mandatory. (It has always failed.) But this year, Fort Bend Commissioners floated it and gave all the other department heads huge raises so no outcry would result.

Sure enough. Only lame duck District Clerk Glory Hopkins has been the only elected official to raise her voice.

Most of the Fort Bend County Commissioners and the County Judge ran for their offices only after they retired from other jobs (except Grady Prestage who was very young when first elected and was formerly an engineer). So since this is a second job for the vast majority of them, you wouldn’t think they would be so greedy would you? You’re wrong. They voted themselves a $15,000 (plus or minus a couple of hundred $$s) increase a year and nobody said a word. Okay, we deserve what we get.

First mistake I ever made (not).....I was wrong when I said a special election could be won by a simple plurality. I didn’t know until the upcoming one called by Governor Good Hair that a majority must win. With all the candidates, it’s probably a forgone conclusion there will be run-off, making the winner take office sometime in December.

Now IF Tom DeLay would have left office when he first announced he was “moving,” and IF Gov. Good Hair had put party politics aside and done what was right for the residents of Fort Bend County, we would have had a representative long before now.

 

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:  October 04, 2006