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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."


 

Money, money money....Iíve looked at the campaign reports of County Judge Bob Hebert and Commissioner James Patterson. Hebertís ticked me off; Patterson just bored me--something I guess every politician strives for--bore the newspaper looking at your campaign expenses.

By the way, the reports are available on http://www.kissmybigbluebutt.com/ if you want to see for yourself.

In any event, this week itís Commissioner Andy Meyersí turn. Now there are some things I agree with Meyers about. Heís usually a fiscal conservative. Often itís grandstanding, like not voting for the county budget because he thinks itís too bloated when that bloat could have and should have been questioned during budget hearings. Meyers doesnít do that because the other commissioners might question his own budget and pet projects at the same time. Itís all about patting each other on the back.

Now Andy became a commissioner by telling his voters what a numbers guy he was. In fact, at one time he renewed his CPA license with questionable funds. I canít remember now if they were county funds or campaign funds, but he renewed his CPA license and Realtors license at the same time.

So this last filing, which contained several glaring mistakes, should surprise his supporters, knowing what a numbers man he is and all.

First, the report he filed was seriously outdated. It was revised in November, 1999. I talked to the Texas Ethics Commission, and the lawyer there told me the reports are revised every couple of years or so right after the legislature meets and sometimes changes the form.

Pattersonís and Hebertís reports were revised in 2003.

About the only thing that changed was the first two-page cover sheets, but these pages contained important information; i.e. how much money is left in the campaign account at the end of the reporting period, and a notary seal.

Meyersí 1999 report is missing those two important details. Thatís not a very good showing for a numbers man.

Meyersí report shows he took in $3,579--$2,000 of which came from that Florida company which partners with an engineering firm Fort Bend uses. The Florida company has been under investigation for campaign contributions that the company claims it gave, but the politicians claim they never got. Obviously, Meyers got his.

He spent $20,735. Iíve always maintained that Meyers lives on his campaign fund and this report is not much different than those previously, except in this report, his son is living on his campaign fund. Meyers paid him $1300 worth of gas, then paid another $835 on gas for another campaign car, in addition to $372 for insurance for campaign car.

According to the Texas Ethics Commission, it is only illegal to pay your wife or minor child. You can pay your adult child, even if he is still living at home.

Meyers also said he paid Master Charge $2,000 for an unspecified political activity in a pervious reporting period (didnít say for what, or which period). He also paid Master Charge another $600 for unspecified political expenditures for this period.

He spent $1,341 for cell phone bills. Iím glad to see him spending it out of his campaign account instead of tax money because a pervious investigation undertaken by this newspaper revealed that Meyers had one of the highest county-paid cell phone bills.

The county fair got $3,450 and the Katy baseball group got $2,002. He spent another $,2800 for the signs that caused such consternation in the last election. Other than a few $100 donations to various charities and chamber dues, that was the bulk of his spending.

Iím fascinated by how politicos spend their campaign money. I realize itís their money and except for a few rules, they can spend it the way they want. However, I think often it is a picture of the man, not the politician. I didnít see one cent donated to the political party that put him in office.

UPDATE: right before going to press, I talked to Commissioner Meyers and he told me he found out last Wednesday when he was in Austin that his report was outdated and he has since filed an amended report. He still doesnít have it notarized because he said he is swearing to the fact that the report is true. According to the TEC, the report is presumed to be sworn to by the signer, (in this case Commissioner Meyers) whether it is notarized or not.

Donít tell everyone....Thereís another comedy night scheduled for the Swinging Door this Friday. It may be sold out. Jay didnít want to tell me because the last group of people from Sienna who came after reading it in the newspaper, stiffed her. If you go, please pay your bill.

Hoist by their own petard...The ďrumpĒ group of Republicans who are co-hosting the Lincoln Dinner lead by Tom Campbell, are doing expensive mailers to potential sponsors and attendees in order to get them to pay them the money for their tickets, rather than County Chair Gary Gillen. I canít understand why Gillen has to get permission to spend money from either the finance committee or the executive committee when this group doesnít. They are going to eat up all their profits by the mailings they are doing to the same people who have already received an invitation.

I donít think that was what Judge Tom Culver had in mind.

I also donít think they should do all these mailings without a political disclaimer. I saw four pages with no disclaimer whatsoever. Maybe they donít have a treasurer who wants to be on the disclaimer. According to the Ethics Commission, this is also illegal.

This group has even gone off and got mega political contributor Bob Perry to outbid Dave Wallace as the speaker sponsor. Iím sure Dave took his $15,000 and said, ďPunish me.Ē

I canít understand why a small group of party hearties hate Dave Wallace so. Heís been an excellent mayor of Sugar Land. Heís a bright guy, a Catholic and very pro-life which is the defining political belief with that group.

Whatís not to like? Is he too nice looking? Does he dress too well? Do too many people like him? Are his wife and kids too cute? Is he too smart? Can he not sing well enough?

Except for beating Dean Hrbacek as mayor, I canít see that heís ever done anything to hack people off.

Thereís not a political group in the entire United States who wouldnít be glad to have Dave Wallace as their standard bearer. How long is he going to have to pay for beating Hrbacek fair and square, a beating that 55% of the people in Sugar Land approved?

Someone once wrote that I could find nothing wrong with Dave Wallace. For once, they were right. I canít.

 

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:  March 07, 2007