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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 30 years."


 

A legend retires....After 35 years in business, Ursula Coates has closed her shop, The Secretary TemPower. Ursula was the role model for many women in business in Fort Bend County. She provided many women jobs with her employment agency and she provided many local companies with qualified temporary employees, many of whom stayed at some of their “temporary” jobs for 25 years.

Ursula has some health problems but we are all hoping she will be in her home before long.

It’s not just the judges.....I’ve been ranting for the past two weeks about the judicial system in Fort Bend County, particularly as it relates to a judge or two.

More than one lady called me after my last column and asked me how I got so much information about their divorces since they had never talked to me. They were jesting of course and really just called to tell me they had experienced some of the same problems as had the family I was talking about.

However, this week illustrates that it is not just the judges.

Our assistant district attorneys seem to have some of the same problems.

In one highly publicized case, Assistant District Attorney Mike Elliott, who is married to the District Clerk, was heavily involved in bringing a whole group of roofers before the bar of justice. The roofers spent many thousands of dollars on attorney fees before it was found that the district attorney had no case.

But the telling thing about all of it was that ADA Mike Elliott walked the roofing case through the Rosenberg Police Department in order for Holden Roofing to file against the former employees. Come to find out, the Holden Roofing owner had given Annie Elliott a rather large political contribution in her bid to be the next District Clerk.

So the Rosenberg police, who weren’t going to have to worry about getting an indictment from the DA’s office, took the charges. In other words, they took Mike Elliott’s presence to charge the roofers with Holden Roofing’s complaints. Rosenberg Police later accused the DA’s office of taking the case to the grand jury prematurely, misleading them, and failing to inform them that a civil lawsuit had been filed in the case.

Yes, this is the same Mike Elliott who has maintained a private practice while working at the DA’s office. The same Mike Elliott who was caught with agriculture plates on his personal pickup. The same Mike Elliott whose former wife called 9-1-1 about him then left the country shortly after.

I don’t know what he has on District Attorney John Healey, but it must be good. Any other ADA would have been long gone.

I know of many cases where the District Attorney’s office files against someone for various “crimes,” tries to get them to cop a plea, and when that fails and the supposed criminal has spent thousands of dollars on attorney fees, the DA dismisses the charges on the day of the “trial.”

No, it’s not just the judges.

Bet you didn’t know.....Several years ago, you could make a $100 contribution to some politician or cause. That $100 was a nice gesture and assured that you had the ear of that politician the next time you wanted to vent.

Okay, let’s face it. It was probably more than several years ago. When you get old, you think everything happened about six years ago. It’s an accepted phenomenon that my friends and I have discussed often in the past six years.

Anyway, I was looking at the Contribution and Expense filing that the Excellence in Education Committee had to make during this bond election, the results of which will be known after we go to press.

Now bear in mind that school districts can’t use tax money to get people to vote on bond issues. So some organization has to develop, probably spurred on by another civic organization, to publicize the bond referendum. In this particular case, the Economic Development Council developed a pact to accept money for publicizing the election.

I thought it was interesting because the days of $100 contributions carrying much weight are long gone.

For example, here are some of the contributions made in this last bond referendum. I’m only going to mention the particularly large ones.

In the Oct. 9 and Oct. 26 reports, the only two reports required so far, individuals gave a total of $3,850 in contributions to publicize the referendum and to persuade residents to vote for it. Businesses and corporations gave $75,850. Of course, some of the individual contributions were made by individuals who work for companies who will directly benefit from doing business with FBISD. Also bear in mind that it is perfectly legal and is, indeed, an accepted practice in school districts all across Texas.

Here are some of the larger contributors: Ben McMillian, Sprint, Christopher Sims Custom Homes, Curtice Real Estate, IDC Ind., Indemuehle, Jamil & Smith, Kirksey, Molina-Walker Architects, Phlugar, Rice & Gardner Consultants, Southwest Securities, Weaver, Davis & Jacob, Windstream, Trendmaker, Tolunay-Wong Engineers, Newmark and Amani Engineering all gave $1,000 each.

Archi*Technics/3, and Auto Arch Architects gave $1,500.

Automated Logic/United Environment, Huitt-Zollers, Linebarger-Goggan, Sienna/Johnson, and Sugar Land Ranch Development kicked in $2,500 each, with NNP-Telfair, SHW Group, Aliana Development, Bay Architects, PBK Architects, and Southern Land chipping in $5,000. Bob Perry ponied up $10,000.

So how was the money spent? Read on: WNW-Andre McDonald got $14,000 for political consulting. Susan Maldonado received $2,365 for graphics and Griffin Creative received $500 for the same task.

Pamela Printing was paid $28,042 for printing three mailers. Right Mail got $4,239 for yard signs and Creative Consumer Research got $4,000 for polling. Custom Design Printwear got $1,396 for tee shirts and Pamela Printing got another $1,438 for doorhangers. The Houston Chronicle was paid $4,053 for advertising with the Sun getting $1,421 and the Star getting $2,370.

You’ll notice that all of the money went to publicize the vote, well, except for the polling and consulting and one could make the case that these indirectly went for publicizing.

Here again, there is nothing wrong with any of this as long as the reports are properly filed. This is just a little of that information that you can tuck away in your already overloaded brain. I thought you might want to know who the players are.

And some more....The City of Sugar Land is not getting the $75 you will be fined if you run a red light at any of the three, soon to be four, locations where cameras will catch you. The cameras are leased from a company that will charge the city $4,750 per location. The company takes care of all the notification, etc.

Four companies bid on the job. City Manager Alan Bogard, in response to my question, said the city is not looking to make money on the situation, but to stop accidents. When you get a notification, you can look on a web site and see yourself running that red light.

Now don’t go do it just to see.

 

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:  November 28, 2007