Important election notice....This
past Monday was the first day to file to run for the FBISD
board of trustees with March 12 being the last day to sign
up. And on that same subject, April 12 is the last day to
register to vote for the Sat. May 12 election.
I’m reminding you of this because the two
FBISD positions up for election are currently held by former
board president Lisa Rickert, famous for running off good
personnel and costing the district big bucks while touting
savings, and her fellow traveller, Ken Bryant.
You remember the headlines all during
2005-06 until Steve Smelley was elected to calm things down.
Rickert and Bryant led the charge to “retire” Superintendent
Betty Baitland. Rickert took liberties while serving as
president by stopping meetings mid-meeting, spending hours
in executive session, sometimes until 2 a.m.. and running up
huge legal bills before firing the board’s attorney.
You remember Rickert and Bryant who voted
to pay $40,000 to attorney Lloyd Kelley to find out dirt on
Baitland. After his report, to paraphrase one board member,
“Is that all there is?”
It is incumbent upon us to field good
candidates, and particularly in case either of these two
rampageous board members decide to run again, Due to their
chaotic actions, Fort Bend ISD lost at least a year of
development. I can’t begin to tell you how bad it was, but
we must make sure that people who care about education,
rather than political power, run for these important
What a mess.....The Republican
Lincoln-Reagan Dinner (both men are currently twirling in
their respective graves) continues to astonish many members
of party insiders and those of us that keep us with those
When that group of precinct chairs, lead
by Dean Hrbacek, Teresa Raia, Linda Howell, and several
others decided to take all power away from their duly
elected county chairman, Gary Gillen, with a set of
Draconian by-laws, Gillen was unable to make any decisions
without consulting powerful committees or all the precinct
He established a political action
committee to handle the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner, a
traditionally large money-raiser for the party.
They took him to court, he counter sued
and Judge Tom Culver presided over an agreement between the
two competing parties to host the dinner. Tom Campbell, who
had formerly run against U.S. Representative Tom DeLay, was
mutually agreed upon as the co-host.
Something I think everybody has forgotten
is that Gary Gillen is head of both groups--the Republican
party and the PAC. The reason I think they have forgotten
this is that the traditional role of the county chair in
planning the program for the dinner is now being shared with
Tom Campbell, who has behaved either incredibly naÔve or
stupid, or maybe a little of both.
First rattle out of the box is the
Campbell group sent out thousands of pages of information
about the dinner to potential attendees who had already
received an invitation, all without a political disclaimer.
They said the judge had allowed them to do this, although I
don’t think the judge wanted them to break the law. They
ignored the by-laws that they had used to hamstring Gillen.
Next, they solicited Bob Perry to bid
$20,000 as speaker sponsor, then called Dave Wallace whose
$15,000 had already been accepted and whose $15,000 had paid
for this for several years, and asked him to up his bid if
he wanted the privilege of introducing the speaker. Dave was
rightfully ethically offended that he was pulled from the
program and asked to ante up more. He took his $15,000 and
Then the Campbell group decided that
Sugar Land City Councilman Thomas Abraham, who might be
running for mayor, was pulled from the program to lead the
Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Thomas had bought
a table and his good friend had donated some very expensive
jewelry for auction items. That was pulled.
Additionally, many elected officials say
they are skipping the dinner this year and several big
spenders have vowed to sit on their hands during the live
The spin...At this point in time, it
doesn’t seem that the dinner will make as much money as
previously, but mark by words, there will be spinning that
it is Gillen’s fault.
I called Tom Campbell because I had
supported his bid against DeLay and felt like he was an
honorable man. Campbell is such a nice guy that it is hard
to be mad at him, but I told him I thought the “bidding” for
places on the program wasn’t nice. Campbell retorted that it
was not nice to support one Republican candidate over
another, thereby buttressing my theory that some people in
the party are still mad at former chairman Eric Thode and
are taking it out on Gillen. I think Campbell is mad because
he was left off the “informal” poll that Thode sent out
right before his term expired.
Campbell thinks the dinner can still be a
success and that a lot of different people will attend as a
result of the additional mailing.
Death by by-laws.....I’ll have to
admit that I formed my opinions early. I called Gillen the
morning after his first meeting of precinct chairs in May, a
meeting I call “the night of the long swords.” I told Gary
that morning that I thought he should resign because the
people supporting Linda Howell would never give up and would
continue to snipe at him until they destroyed the local
party. “Give it up,” I said. I felt they had never made
donations to the local party and would soon self-destruct.
Then he could come back in a few years and “save” us. Gillen
told me then that he refused to preside over the demise of
the local Republican party and was going to stay the course.
Tom Campbell can put as good a face on it
as he can, but I still think this ain’t over. I'll bet they
wish they had let Gary handle it now.
Me, I’m trying to score a ticket to the
Friday event at Quail Valley Country Club honoring State
Representative Rick Noriega, a Democrat in District 145, who
recently served 14 months in Afghanistan. His wife served in
Rick’s place in the Texas house and the night is being
billed as “A Tribute to an American Family.”
That sounds nice.