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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.


Vintage year—1969

Sometimes things are said at meetings by officials that only seasoned citizens or reporters would understand. Such was the case last week when a routine agenda item on changing the “extended hours in the unincorporated area of Fort Bend County under Alcohol Beverage Code Sections 105.03 and 105.05.

That would have been a rather mundane item without a comment from the longest serving county commissioner, Grady Prestage. County Judge Bob Hebert said the item pertained to 1969—when those commissioners extended the hours of retail establishments and it was simply an update of the policy to comply with newer ABC codes.

With a sly grin, Prestage said “Yeah, that was the year Josh Gates was county judge and Johnny Pustka was commissioner and Louis Teykl was.....(county commissioner)”

Now the comment resulted in laughter from fellow court members and some members of the audience. They were apparently presuming Grady was slyly making reference to some of the old court members who later sort of established a reputation---well--for imbibing a little bit.

Apparently not wanting to take that comment any further, Hebert interjected: “1969 was a very good year. Any further discussion.”

There wasn’t and if you don’t know what we are all talking about here, I can assure you—1969 and quite a few years afterwards were very good years in Fort Bend County’s colorful history of government.

After the meeting, Grady said that he was actually only reading the original “historical” document containing the names of court members who signed the extended hours order. And, he even provided the document so I could see it. Regardless of his motivation, it did provide a light-hearted glimpse into the past!

Playing to the media

No one plays to the media as much as Precinct 4 Commissioner James Patterson. Hardly a week goes by without him broaching a topic on the court agenda for clarification “because of the media out there.” While his interest in getting the topic perfectly clear to those of us in the audience or who watch the court on the internet is commendable, it is sometimes downright aggravating. A topic that might have taken five minutes, max, can turn into a long drawn out affair.

Last week, me thinks County Judge Bob Hebert might have been playing a little too when he got all worked up over the presentation by Don Brady on the proposed county jail. Hebert quickly and clarified several monetary issues he felt would be misconstrued by the public and the media and made it quite clear that in the future he wanted those figures defined in a way that could be easily understood.

Poor Don—he caught it. But later, Hebert commended him for his efforts to keep costs down and somewhat soothed his must be burning skin!

Ocean front property

I’ve got the equivalent of ocean front property in Arizona for sale. Well, not really but after reading last week that a photo with President George Bush was commandeering a hefty $5000 donation (down to less than half of what it costs a year ago and nearly a third less than when Bush was popular, the story said) I figured I could go on e-bay and sell the photo of the Prez and yours truly.

I didn’t pay a dime for the thing but if I could get something out of it, I’d sell it in a heartbeat. I can’t believe there are really people who pay for a photo op with someone who works for them. Geez, we need to get this in perspective people. Our elected officials—be they city, county, state or federal—are not anointed, they are just regular folks who we hired to do a job.

With that said, please send all bids to me for my pre-e-bay sale!

The Milton Hilton

A lot of folks are still fuming that any jail addition is being built to accommodate inmates here in Fort Bend County. Some think that with different management this could have been put off for years. On one local blog, the writer said Sheriff Milton Wright having an entire floor set aside for federal immigration detainees and was something that should be stopped. Well it was--four years ago. There are no federal detainees in the jail—at least not a whole floor of them anymore. They do, according to Wright, take in detainees a couple at a time on an emergency basis, but overcrowding stopped the practice of housing the federal inmates a long time ago.

Now, some of the community may feel that keeping state inmates (those already sentenced to real prison) as a “stay forever” trusty is not quite acceptable. If you remember we asked jail officials about this and those trusty type state crooks can cook better kolaches than Aunt Mabel and they can make a floor so shiny that even Mr. Clean would approve.

They don’t call it the Milton Hilton without reason, you know.


Contact skinnerc1@tconline.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:  July 04, 2007