What about Bob.....Former Fort Bend
Star columnist Susan DuQuesnay Bankston now has a web site
called, ďKiss My Big Blue ButtĒ complete with a picture of a
donkey at the top. I can only assume that the Big Blue Butt
refers to her donkey (ass) representing the Democrats. Yes,
Susan is an unrepentant Democrat and it appears at this time
that maybe she has been right all along.
In any event, Susan takes great pleasure
in scampering over to the courthouse several times a year as
soon as the political contribution and expense reports come
out. As a public service, she scans the reports and posts
them on her web site.
The first report she scanned this year
was County Judge Bob Hebert. After posting them, she threw a
wall-eyed, snot-nose, hissy fit about him paying his wife a
total of $6,200 for keeping his campaign books. Susan
contended it was bad form since she says Hebert tells
everyone one he is independently wealthy. She goes on to
point out that he voted an 18% raise for himself and the
other commissioners, while giving the other county employees
a 3.3% increase.
She rightly points out that the man makes
$105,000 so it isnít like he is starving. And to top it off,
giving his wife the $6,200 is ILLEGAL, particularly since
some of the amount was for past years in which the records
have been destroyed. She contends that this could have been
the second or third time he has paid his wife for her
bookkeeping services since the records have been destroyed
for us to check. Plus, itís still ILLEGAL to pay your wife
for any personal services with campaign funds.
So after reading all this, I decided I
would call my friend Bob and see if he realized what he was
doing was ILLEGAL.
In speaking with Bob, he assured me that
the practice was totally legal and that he had promised his
wife $100 a month for keeping his campaign accounts and
since he had money left over this year, he just caught her
up on several years when he had not paid her. His reports
said, ď$5,000 for campaigns 12-18-01 to 12-31-05.Ē Then
another $1,200 for campaign 2006.
Okay, so I took Judge Hebert at his word
although I fully intended to explore the legality question a
little further when the very next day, Judge Hebert called
back and said on second thought, the practice was illegal
and he had reimbursed his campaign and filed an amended
report. Bob said the law had changed recently, and he got to
thinking about it and called the ethics commission where he
found that he was indeed in violation of the law.
Well, by then I was curious about just
who Judge Bob had given his campaign money to.
He had given away about $70,000 that had
been contributed to him for his campaign. The big winners
were the ARC ($14,100), Child Advocates of Fort Bend
($5,000), the Fort Bend Fair Association ($5975), and the
Rose Rich Chamber ($5,000). The Fort Bend CORPS received
$3,000 with $2500 going to the American Cancer and $2650 to
the American Heart. The Richmond Historical Assn. got $2500
and Sekula-Gibbs got $2100 for her ill-fated campaign.
Various other charities received $500 to $1000 donations
Remember also this is for only the last
half of the year. At the end of December, 2006, Judge Hebert
still had $53,137 left in his campaign coffers.
You can see Judge Hebertís report and the
other commissioners at http://www.kissmybigbluebutt.com.
I will say this about Bob, many other
politicians would have ignored the question and refused to
take another look at the situation, knowing full well that
John Healey would do nothing even if it was against the law.
But Judge Hebert called the ethics commission right away,
then called me to tell me Susan was right after all. I know
Susan gets all bent out of shape about politicians using the
money that non-bid vendors give them to donate to charity.
She claims its taxpayer money because it is profits made by
companies who donít have to bid.
Itís a hard sell, because they are giving
the money to non-profits for whatever reason (to get their
names in the newspaper, Susan says). But Judge Hebert does
so much good with his campaign money, that itís good to see
that he wants to make sure itís not tainted. I gotta hand it
to him for that.
What a waste.....Houston home builder
Bob Perry gave over $16 million to state and federal
political candidates, yet 34% of those receiving money from
him lost their races. Interestingly, that $16 million
doesnít even take into account the contributions Perry makes
to local candidates. Iím reminded of this because he made a
$1000 contribution to James Patterson for this past cycle.
Those little thousand dollar contributions never make it to
ďMoney WatchĒ which tracks state and federal campaign
I canít help but think what that $16
million could do if donated to some charity or disease
fighting organization. It could probably wipe out hunger in
Houston and find a cure for something. I guess political
power is more important to some than helping others. Itís
not much of a legacy.
I know Iím going to get in trouble for
this.....I went to the annual Fort Bend Chamber banquet
this past weekend and as usual it was a first rate affair.
Two dear friends, Ursula Coates of Tempower and Bridget
Yeung of Fort Bend Financial, were awarded the Volunteer of
the Year and the Vickie Hamilton Award respectively. Both
were very deserving.
However, three taxing entities to whom I
pay taxes, had each purchased tables for the event. A table
is $1,000. Guilty parties are Fort Bend ISD, City of Sugar
Land, and City of Missouri City (I still havenít sold my
Now Iím sorry folks, but that is just
wrong. Thatís my tax money and even though in the greater
scheme of things, itís just pennies, it is still wrong.
Itís nice for members of the various
boards to take an interest in the community and attend the
social/civic event of the year, but there is not a person on
any of the boards who could not afford the $100 per person
tag. Even though FBISD board members do not get paid, the
cities pay their council men/women a stipend of several
hundred dollars a month, so they can darn well afford it.
And there is no justification for it. It
is not an educational event. It is strictly entertainment
and except for the public relations factor, there is no
reason for the politicos to be there. Let them politick on
their own dime.