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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."


Who knew?.....Many of us went to the Republican Lincoln-Reagan Dinner this past Saturday and were shocked by the fact that several Republicans on the program were oratorically challenged. Many of us were there simply because we were afraid we might miss something. If you are a reader of this column, you know that the Republicans have been fighting so much that their feud had even spilled over to the courtroom.

And because of the court suit, two groups were in charge of the festivities--the elected county chairman of the Republican party Gary Gillen and a disgruntled coalition of Christian conservatives, Eric Thode (former chairman) haters, David Wallace hater Dean Hrbacek, and Linda Howell, who lost her bid to become the county chair. The court suit meant that Gillen and the coalition’s representative Tom Campbell were co-hosts and shared program responsibilities.

Although many of us thought the court suit meant that the two groups would share the proceeds, it soon became clear that the coalition wanted to be center stage as far as emceeing the event.

Someone recruited Bob Perry to donate $20,000 to outbid Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace’s $15,000 and get to introduce the speaker. Since Bob’s son Will is suing Wallace after Wallace left the partnership, it was pretty obvious who had recruited Perry.

And since neither of the Perrys nor Wallace showed up at the event, the evening degenerated into a snoozer.

However, Teresa Raia was the dowager of the Perry tables and invited all her non-paying Republican friends to sit at her table.

Therefore the group, which never gives money to the local party, was able to retain their unblemished reputation for not donating one red cent.

Who knew that Tom Campbell, who introduced local office holders, couldn’t pronounce several of their names.

I knew that Sheriff Milton Wright couldn’t read. I’ve been telling you for years that he was stupid; now we find that he can’t read as he was trying to read the description of the live auction items.

And speaker Fred Barnes? Have you ever seen 800 people snore? It is not a pretty sight. However, it did mean there was not a crush to leave all at once as diners were bailing out throughout his speech.

Barnes is not a dynamic speaker, but in 30 second sound bites on Fox News, this was not so evident until Saturday night.

But poor Republicans! Barnes is just about the only Bush apologist left. Most other pundits are too embarrassed to go out into the hither lands and defend the actions of the Bush administration, so the pool of dinner speakers for Republican events gets smaller every year.

So the program had a mumbler (Campbell), an illiterate (Wright) and a bore (Barnes).

The program had a few bright spots: the local elected officials who spoke, Senator Kyle Janek, State Representatives John Zerwas and Charlie Howard, gave brief, succinct remarks.

I’ve heard that attendance was down to about 800, but the live auction yielded a little over $50,000, which is about the average of other Dinners. The event was not a financial disaster, but proceeds will probably be less as both groups did a large mail-out.

What a contrast.....I did attend the Democratic event the night before at Quail Valley Country Club. Billed as “A Tribute to an American Family,” the event was a heart-warming tribute to Rick and Melissa Noriega. Rick is a state legislator whose wife, Melissa, took his place in the legislature during his 14-month stint in Afghanistan. Melissa is running for Houston City Council in Shelley Sekula Gibbs vacated seat. As she said at the dinner, “Public service is what we do.”

Melissa’s father made a 30 minute introduction to the couple which did drag on a little too long, but the couple showed photos from Afghanistan and talked of their commitment to public service and raising a family in faith. They are an example of a couple who not only talk the talk, but walk the walk as well.

The contrast between the two events was huge. The cost of the events was $95 for the Republicans and $35 for the Democrats. The Republicans had a Fox commentator for their guest speaker. The Democrats had a local family as their guest speakers. The Republicans had an expensive live auction including a $12,000 trip to Hawaii; the Democrats had a small silent auction with inexpensive items.

I guess it’s really true that Republicans are for the rich.

A strange phone call......At 9 a.m. the Saturday morning after Governor Perry signed an executive order about the HPV vaccine, Linda Howell telephoned me. She was trying to get me riled up about Perry’s actions. It didn’t work. That is the one thing that Perry has done that I have applauded. When I asked Howell why she called me, she said it was because I had influence and I could write about it.

Now Linda belongs to a group that even has web sites devoted to the premise that I have no influence and my words are inconsequential.

Wonder what that phone call was all about? Maybe she was just trying to wake me up on Saturday morning.

On the other hand.....I’m so mad at Gov. Perry that I hope the religious conservatives excoriate him properly. I’m not mad about the vaccine, but about his appointment for a new district judge in Fort Bend. Perry has had about a year to think about who he was going to appoint, yet it took action by the Fort Bend board of judges in naming a visiting judge to get Perry to take action. Then he appointed another Anglo male to fill the spot.

I have nothing against his appointment, Jim Shoemake. He is a competent jurist as far as I know. I’m mad because this was an opportunity for the governor to name a minority or a female to the bench in Fort Bend County. There are 10 judges in Fort Bend and only one is female.

It’s not like the county doesn’t already have minorities and females who have fulfilled judicial duties before. Vicki Pinak and Nina Schaefer have both had judicial experience as have Pedro Ruiz and Harold Kennedy.

The next time there is a move to elect judges in “single member” districts, thereby insuring more minority participation, we have only appointments like this to blame.

Who’s running for mayor of Sugar Land?.....Everybody!


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