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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.


Seniors keep plugging

Those little senior citizens down in Needville are just not going to give up the ship despite a decision by the Fort Bend Seniors Organization to shut down the center and cease providing meals or transportation.

The organization says the center doesn’t generate enough participants to justify spending the funds. The seniors say they provide everything from rent to utilities so the costs should be minimal. The seniors also note that without the transportation to the center that was previously provided, some who would like to participate can’t. “Two of them are on scooters and when it rains they can’t come. One can’t drive,” they said this week.

While the organization’s intent is apparently to serve as many as they can on what resources they get from the various fund-raisers, government grants, volunteers and donations from within the community, their response to questions from officials and the media has not been detailed. In fact, so far they have been in a defensive “don’t pick on me” mode. Actually, all the board members who have called griping about this or that say the media, former board members, Needville seniors and others are picking on the director and “feeding her to the wolves.”

Well, it appears the person who is being “fed to the wolves” is the one who decided, supposedly for financial reasons, to shut down the Needville annex that serves a group of really outspoken and independent seniors. If you hold a position of power and you wield the power given to you—being asked to account for questionable decisions is not being thrown to the wolves. The seniors are asking, the media is digging and a few of the board members are hedging.

Board members have defended these cost cutting measures, saying the primary purpose is the Meals on Wheels Program and not recreation or entertainment. That’s not what their website says. It says the group provides Meals on Wheels, congregate meals, transportation, and recreation to name a few of the services to entice donors to give. On top of that if the Meals on Wheels program is the primary reason for existence, just why in the heck would that group spend nearly $40,000 to change the name from Fort Bend Seniors to Meals on Wheels and Much Much More. They did and apparently the slogan didn’t catch, so now they are back to Fort Bend Seniors, although their website has the new slogan below it. All the Needville seniors are asking for is Meals on Wheels and “a little bit more.”

Some board members resent Commissioner Tom Stavinoha’s intervention on behalf of the Needville senior citizens. I applaud it. Some board members resent the media’s attention because they fear it will hurt fund-raising efforts.

I think they should have thought of all of that before they closed the center.

Weather radar not important to the health and well being of the citizens?

I found it extremely amusing, not to mention ludicrous, that the attorneys representing Allied Waste plan to contend that the possible blocking of three major television networks Doppler radar is not a matter of public safety but is an issue of economics.

Well, Duh! Here is a large company who wants to build a tower of trash claiming everyone in watching distance of Channel 11, 13 and 26, can just go out and look at the sky to see if a hurricane is approaching or a funnel cloud swirling in the sky. Give me a break! And, to claim that the TV stations could just relocate those towers elsewhere is strange coming from a garbage company who says it would be “too costly” to relocate that heap somewhere else in the county (or state—hint, hint).

I would think all the citizens in those viewing areas would consider it a matter of public safety. Now what the state regulatory agency thinks should be interesting. Somehow, they always seem to favor the landfills. I wonder if they get tipping fees too.

The ball is in the court or does the commissioner court have the balls?

It is going to be very interesting to see how the commissioners and county judge play out the game of voter consolidation. Will they look at the figures provided by the election administrator and say “Wow, we really need to save the county $300,000,” or will they look at the names of the Republican Precinct chairs who will be ousted and determine that each of these political positions is worth the cost to the rest of the county?

Someone said the ball is in the court now. I think it is more of a question as to whether the court has the balls—to do what is best for the county and not politically correct for any future reelection bid.

This is one game I don’t want to miss.


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:  August 02, 2007