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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."


 

My dog ate my homework.....Itís kind of funny that school board candidate Ken Bryant is using the same political signs for his school board campaign as he did for his losing run for state legislature against Dora Olivo last year.

Sure enough, Bryant taped over the office he was seeking on his political signs from ďstate representativeĒ and inserted ďFort Bend ISD Trustee.Ē Same issues, the very same sign. Only problem is, he forgot to do it on the other side of one and a inquiring photographer noticed it.

However, what is not so funny is that Bryant, a lawyer and an incumbent who should know better, is sending out political mailings that not only break the law by not having a political disclosure, but also, according to his most recent Campaign Finance Report, he doesnít even have the money for.

Bryant filed the report on April 20, which was already eight days late, which claimed he had no contributions nor any expenses.

Yet on April 24, I received a four color mail out from Mr. Bryant. Now I know printing and I also know a little about the post office. I know it is physically impossible to have a four-color mail out prepared, printed, taken to the post office and delivered to my mailbox in four days. Ainít gonna happen.

So what money was used for the mail out? Who knows since there was no political disclaimer as required by law. But even if someone did it for Bryant or if Bryant paid for it himself, he is required by law to list that on his campaign finance report as either a gift or contribution if from someone else, or a loan from himself if he paid for it himself.

Nope, Mr. Bryant doesnít like to do his homework. What is so egregious about this is that Ken Bryant is an attorney and should know the law, rules, and regulations. He also had run for political office several times before and should know the law, rules and regulations. Maybe those are for someone else.

Bryant is not tardy alone......Only two candidates turned in their campaign finance reports on time. I know because I went to the school administration and looked them up. The two candidates who somehow had the time to do their homework and the ethics to do it on time were Bob Broxson and David Reitz, both of whom had their reports date-stamped by the deadline of April 12. Both candidates reported receiving money.

The rest of the candidates, including both incumbents, were either much too busy to follow the rules or didnít think the rules applied to them.

Incumbent Lisa Rickert turned hers in on April 19. She reported no contributions or no expenditures. Bryant got his in on April 20 as has been mentioned previously with no contributions or expenditures. And Ann Hopkins dragged up on April 23, again with no contributions and no expenses.

Tardy AND unreadable....A special case is Noel Pinnock. His report was not only late (April 18), but it was also unreadable.

Now Pinnock has run before so he should be aware of the laws and rules. Any candidate can either get the forms from the state ethics committee or download them online from the ethics committee. The forms are readily accessible.

But Pinnock had only the first page of the report, and (youíre not going to believe this) paper clipped to it was a sheet of lined notebook paper with a listing of names and amounts by the names. We donít know if the amounts listed were contributions or expenditures. We donít have addresses of the contributors (if there were any), nor do we have what the expenditures were for (if there were any). Running for office before, he should know better, but I guess he doesnít believe in homework either.

Remember, you can vote in both positions no matter the part of Fort Bend ISD in which you live. If you want to turn your school district over to a bunch of rule-breaking yaloos, then donít vote. But remember that our property values are contingent in some part on our schools.

Iíve already received several emails about signs in the right-of-way. Lisa Rickert is guilty of that in several places. Signs, no matter who they are for and how long until the election, are not to be posted on right-of-ways or property without the ownerís permission.

We need people who can follow the simple rules on filing their campaign reports. We need people who do their homework and treat the positions for which they are running with ethics and respect. We need people like Bob Broxson and David Reitz who can at least, among other things, turn in their reports on time and, following simple instructions, fill them out correctly.

Beaten by their own game.....I mentioned in my column last week about an incident in the Chinese community where a student has been punished with the refusal to let him walk across the stage during graduation. A contingent of residents were at the last school board meeting to protest and called his punishment a racial overreaction based on the recent incident at Virginia Tech.

The two incumbents who are running for the school board met with the protesters in the parking lot during the meeting. I remarked last week that was not right for them to do so.

There is a procedure for students to follow if they think they have been treated unfairly and it involves four steps or levels, as the school calls them. This student can easily complete the four levels and resolve this on one side or another before graduation. However, it will most likely be after the May 12 election.

So Lisa Rickert and Ken Bryant, the two incumbents, perhaps looking for a bloc of votes, have pushed for expediting this discipline problem.

Bryant, and board member Stan Magee even went so far as to request an emergency board meeting. Under local rules, any two members can request an emergency board meeting and it has to happen. (Funny that Bryant knew all about that rule.)

So board president Steve Smelley called the meeting as required, but a quorum did not attend. It seems the other board members were either out of

town, or otherwise occupied.

I guess they tried and the studentís defenders are happy. However, you, dear voter, should be aware that three of the board members wanted to offer special treatment about student discipline before the election, and two of the incumbents will do anything to get re-elected.

 

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:  May 31, 2007