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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


2006 in review

OK—I started to do one of those year in review things that all media outlets do each year to take up space and to allow reporters a day off for Christmas and New Year celebrations. But as I reviewed my stories for the year, I figured instead of 200 inches of copy, I could sum it up right here.

Year in review: primary elections; Congressman Tom DeLay chosen as Republican candidate; DeLay announces he will retire someday; DeLay announces he will probably retire in May or June; District 22 goes to court; District 22 falls apart; DeLay finally makes it official; District 22 falls apart—big time; Shelly whoever chosen as write-in candidate; Lampson wins real election; Shelly goes to Washington—for a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, residents of Richmond fight jail noise; residents of Fresno fight landfill expansion plans and prices for housing inmates out of county rise. That and tons of crime captured the headlines throughout the year. So, there it is in a nutshell.

With that said.....

With that detailed wrap-up now behind us, I want to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year. Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday we were bringing in 2006 and here we are celebrating another new year and another new beginning. This year promises to be interesting and there will, most likely, be a lot of fireworks as cities, the county and the school districts decide on how to spend bond money or get more bonds approved for various major projects. There is still the jail noise issue, not to mention some of the finer points brought up by neighbors who question the safety of a multi-story facility should a fire break out where inmates are housed.

Harold Mathis noted that a courthouse fire last week prompted the evacuation of the facility and it was quite a while before citizens and employees were allowed to return to the building. He asked how 800 plus inmates (now) or 1800 inmates (once the tower is constructed) could be safely and quickly evacuated in case of a fire and where they would go while awaiting clearance. I certainly can’t answer that one, but it is a good question.

The folks out in the Fresno area will, I am sure, continue to fight the planned expansion of the landfill. Their fight is somewhat of an uphill battle because the landfill already exists, already has a permit to operate and already has agreements with the major governmental entities that pretty much stipulates they won’t oppose any expansion plans.

While the stench of garbage is listed as one of the concerns, the safety of the water and other long-lasting environmental concerns should be the focus of the state regulatory agency. One of the opponents pointed out that it was only after the Fort Bend Star published a story saying that the state had received only a handful of complaints over the past years that suddenly letters of complaint started popping up at the state’s website. It’s funny how things like that happen.

I admire all of these citizens for standing up for their beliefs, the safety of their communities and the sanctity of their neighborhoods. They may not win, but they certainly are making a difference.

Happy New Year to all and keep the letters and information coming.


Contact skinnerc1@ev1.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:  February 08, 2007