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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

Water, water everywhere

It was a relief to see the government officials finally turning soil on a water project for Fresno last week. The quest to bring both water and sewer services to the area has been a long and difficult task. It will cost some serious money and take some time but at least the first step was made.

Now, this won’t be the least bit popular, but I think County Judge Bob Hebert deserves a very large pat on the back for his continued efforts in getting this funding for the project. He has personally gone to Washington D.C., on more than one occasion to get funding or attempt to get funding to bring water and sewer services to this semi-rural area of the county. Just when he thought he was getting a bill passed that would bring a large sum of money into the fold, the District 22 fiasco hit the county. We had no representative in D.C. and Hebert boarded a plane and went there to talk to the legislators personally. Then we had a national election and the Democrats gained control, so to speak. That didn’t deter Hebert, who is now feeling good about a bill that could still bring the money home and speed up the whole process for those not so patiently waiting citizens in Fresno.

So, if no one else does—here is a big pat on the back to the county judge—he deserves it.

Identity theft

I am so glad the Texas Legislators had the wherewithal to pass legislation that will allow County and District Clerks to do business as usual. I certainly don’t think these public officials should be prosecuted criminally for releasing documents with sensitive information on them. But I do agree with those who are concerned about identity theft and how putting out such information can be a detriment to innocent citizens and result in identity theft.

So, what do we do about it? I think the answer is simple—a file cabinet. If we require that all banks, loan companies, title companies, real estate companies etc. keep all sensitive information inside their offices rather than filing sensitive information in the county or district clerk’s office, the problem will be solved.

Personal accountability is another way to reduce the threat. Officials keep saying that the average person does not know that sensitive information is on a document that is filed publicly. Well, DUH! We provide this information to the entity. Have we become so stupid that we don’t know that a title or any official document is going to be filed in a courthouse and that the information we provide to get that loan or to secure a piece of real estate is not somewhere within those documents? Ask questions—is this document going to become public information? If so, ask that all of your personal information such as Social Security or driver’s license numbers be blacked out BEFORE it is filed.

It is up to each and every one of us to make sure that the information does not get out to the public. With today’s technology what it is, that might not be an easy task but insisting private information is not on a document filed in a courthouse is something we can all do. Just think and ask before you sign and before the paperwork is filed.

 

Contact skinnerc1@ev1.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:  May 02, 2007