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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."


Poor Gary Geick.....Justice of the Peace Gary Geick called to complain that the story we ran last week of him refusing to evict people during Christmas made it seem he did not work during the month December. I don’t usually sympathize with many politicians and their complaints about unfair press treatment, but I have to put it in the record that Geick habitually puts more money in the county coffers in the form of fines and such than his other four JP peers do altogether. Of course, many more cases are filed in Geick’s court than in the others, but figures indicate that he is one of the most hardworking JPs in the county. It was a slow news week Gary, and someone was complaining. Of course we’re going to do a story.

The most money I ever made.....percentage-wise at least. In years before, it seems that every share of stock I buy takes an immediate $10 downturn. Heck fire, I am one of only a handful of people worldwide who lost money in Wal-Mart stock. Except for the investment club I belong to which does very well, thank you very much.

We meet once a month (on the first Wednesday) for a couple of hours (less if we have no money to invest) at Riverbend Country Club, and it’s been profitable for me (so far). Of course, I take great pains to never recommend a new stock what with my track record and all.

We are a very disparate group: a political campaign manager, a retired military, a librarian, a publisher, a videographer, an alto and a tenor.

We are recruiting new members for this year and if you have an interest in investments, come join us. We’re giving away a two day stay in Galveston, and dinner at a couple of restaurants as door prizes. For information, please call Sherry at 281-413-5748 about our next introductory meeting in February.

Other fun.....This Friday night and all day Saturday is the Invitational Charity Women’s Gin Tournament in Richmond at the Swinging Door. We’ve had arguments about when this tournament started, but I know I’ve been playing in it for about 20 years although it started way before that. Entry fee is $35 and winning is a huge honor! If you don’t know how to play, that’s even better. Just bring your money and we’ll teach you (thereby giving some of us old hands a better chance of winning!) Call Judy Kveton at 281-341-7670 or 281-342-5256 if you are interested and want a (much sought after) invitation. Proceeds to benefit the American Cancer Society this year.

I thought Monday was going to be about as much fun.......as I can now have as a grandmother. Certain disgruntled elements of the local Republican party were suing its own chairman over a fund-raiser. You know how Republicans are about money. You can trample on the Constitution in the name of terrorists, but don’t start messing with their pocketbooks.

I’m sure only about ten of you are interested in this, but to recap: Gary Gillen beat Linda Howell for chairmanship of the Republican Party last March. Boy, did that tick off those that thought they were going to gain control of the party through Linda. You know, those that wouldn’t run themselves because they knew they couldn’t win.

So if they couldn’t get their puppet elected to lead the party, they would do the next best thing. They would change the by-laws and force Linda on Gillen as the vice-chair of the party. At the same time, they would seriously curtail his power because they were still mad at that high-living former chairman Eric Thode.

Eric has been gone eight months but the local anonymous bloggers still can’t get over him. They are consumed by thoughts of him. Eric doesn’t give a rats. He doesn’t even live in Fort Bend anymore. Maddest leader is former Sugar Land Mayor Dean Hrbacek who still blames Thode for his perceived support of David Wallace and Wallace’s subsequent victory over Hrbacek for mayor.

Anyhoo, after a precinct chair told Gillen at his first meeting that he didn’t have the authority to make decisions about the major fund-raiser, and it didn’t get any nicer after that, Gillen took his wallet into his own hands, and established a PAC (political action committee) to host the money tree event.

Some of the precinct chairs got together, voted to sue Gillen. Gillen counter-sued also ran Linda Howell, former Sugar Land Mayor Dean Hrbacek, attorney Dave Stone, Jim Hammack (Hrbacek’s law office mate) and bail bondsman Billy Benton. And this was what Monday was all about in District Judge Thomas Culver’s 240th courtroom (which looks like it is straight out of “To Kill a Mockingbird”).

Imagine my disappointment when all negotiations took place behind closed doors with lawyers running back and forth between the two warring parties for five hours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. with no break for lunch (the torture, the horror).

I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Aw, why don’t they just settle this like the Democrats. Go duke it out in the parking lot!”

I find it ironic that Republicans complain about lawyers all the time and always want to limit them, but the first cross words or minor disagreement, and they dial 1-800-Find a Shark.

The upshot of the agreement was that Gary Gillen is still in charge of the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner (both men are rolling in their respective graves) and his co-chair is Tom Campbell, a representative of the precinct chairs and a former primary foe of Tom DeLay’s.

At this point in time, I would suspect that all the decisions have been made about the February event. So Gillen is hosting the party jointly with himself as head of the PAC and head of the Republican party. I guess Campbell will serve as oversight, to make sure Gillen deposits all the money in the PAC and party accounts.

Oh yeah, the judge called for the establishment of two accounts--one to handle corporate checks and one to handle private donations.

Everybody dismissed their lawsuit until after the event when 30 days later the judge will meet with the parties to get a final accounting and to see if they are agreeing about how to spend the money.

Gillen is to be immediately reimbursed for the personal $20,000 he has plunked down in deposits.

The cast of characters attending the marathon butt-sitting was interesting. As a party to the suit, Linda Howell sat, stood, walked around smiling sweetly. Dean Hrbacek walked around with a perpetual smirk on his face looking alternately smug and sore.

Even Lisa Rickert of school board fame was there. Maybe she had business elsewhere in the courthouse, but she confabbed with Hrbacek. Dave Stone sat around looking lost and said he had “no idea” why he was in the suit brought by Gillen. Billy Benton sweated. About twelve precinct chairs that are ultra-right wing and Gillen-haters were in attendance along with a couple of precinct chairs who contend that Gillen was elected to lead the party and others should let him do so.

The local blogosphere is zinging with comments about who won or who lost. Since most of the anonymous blogging comments are from the far right, who are real brave as long as no one knows who they are, you can imagine who they think won.

I think it was a fair judicial tie with the Republican party as a whole winning. Except for all the negative publicity heretofore.


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:  February 08, 2007