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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."


Just how dumb?.....I’ve been told by several people that Dean Hrbacek, the former mayor of Sugar Land, is an intelligent man. If that be the case, I should probably title this column, “Just how smart?”

But my experience with him is to the contrary and makes me think that if he’s very smart, he sure has a dumb way of covering it up; hence the “Just how dumb” question.

How dumb? He’s running for U.S. Congressman when he couldn’t get elected mayor of sweet little ol’ Sugar Land.

How dumb? He sued the publisher of the largest circulated newspaper in Fort Bend--me.

I realize I’m not the political Sherpa of Fort Bend County, but I do own a newspaper that has a larger circulation than the Houston Chronicle in Fort Bend.

How dumb? He has carried on a political vendetta against the ever-popular Dave Wallace, the Gentlemen Quarterly mayor of Sugar Land. Therefore he continues to make Dave Wallace mad AND all his supporters.

How dumb? Immediately after a new Republican party county chair was sworn in, Hrbacek used parliamentary procedures to shoehorn in a new set of by-laws that half the precinct chairs had never read and that stripped the party chair of any power. The Fort Bend Republican Party has been in chaos since. And he expects to get elected with no party organization how?

He cobbled together a coalition of God, guns, and gays precinct chairs along with malcontents who were either mad at former chair Eric Thode and/or Gary Gillen. I would image that many of those “value voters” had never seen hide nor hair of Hrbacek before. The man is not smart; he’s an opportunist.

It puts me in mind of a certain judge who pulled the wool over the “family values” group. They found too late that his skeletons were rattling around.

How dumb? His campaign staff started a very transparent web site that purports to be a fair look at all candidates running in Congressional District 22, but is very obvious authored by Hrbacek’s campaign staff. The “dumbness factor?” Even though the site is obviously authored by Hrbacek’s paid staff, it lacks the proper disclaimer, which can subject them to a daily fine.

I would think someone who wants to be a leader among men would want to make sure his campaign was run legally.

How dumb? (I promise this is the last one.) Failure to timely file a campaign finance report with the Texas Ethics Commission as recently as July, 2007.

Now you would think a LAWYER with much political experience would file his campaign reports on time, wouldn’t you? Not if he’s dumb!

A clean sweep!....There’s an ad currently running advertising Swifter broom/mop which shows a courtroom with a woman on the stand testifying that her current mop is guilty of leaving dirt on her floors. As the woman points to the guilty party, the camera cuts to the mop in a bucket with a drop of water dripping from the mop.

It is particularly funny to me because it epitomizes the current state of affairs at the Fort Bend courthouse in some departments. They are needing a “clean sweep!”

No other political endorsement has brought me such pain as the one I made for Sheriff Milton Wright.

Fort Bend--I apologize!

I call Milton “Howdy Doody,” not only for his looks but for his wooden head. I was warned before the election that Milton has little experience in management, serving as a “lone Texas Ranger” until retirement and running for Sheriff. I had no idea who he would choose as his chief deputy and had I known, that would have certainly influenced my decision to support him.

We get calls at our office almost weekly from residents who ask for our help in getting something done because they feel they have exhausted their options with the sheriff’s department. Inevitability when we bring their complaints to light to try to get action for them, they receive a “visit” from the sheriff’s department, sometimes the sheriff himself, who tells them what horrible people we are and how all our complaints are personally motivated.

Yep, our complaints sure are personally motivated. I personally want my sheriff’s department, paid for with my tax dollars, to behave and do their work with intelligence, perseverance, and fairness.

Horns of a dilemma...The definition of the horns of a dilemma is when one of your campaign contributors gets mad because you won’t take any action against an even larger campaign contributor.

That seems to be the case in several episodes involving the “Z” Bar, a hangout near Greatwood for local cops, reporters, and others of that ilk, purportedly owned by developer and campaign contributor Bob Elberger. So what are you going to do when a local resident and campaign supporter like Bobby Freeman makes an outcry about the noise coming from the “Z” Bar?

I guess the first thing is tell Mr. Freeman how terrible those newspaper reporters are and convince him to go to commissioners court and “set the record straight.” Mr. Freeman took his more that three minutes in commissioners court to add a “correction to the newspaper article about the noise.” He then chided the reporter for “diverting the article to the leaders rather than the issue.”

Note to Mr. Freeman: You can’t correct the newspaper. Only we can do that. And we only reported what another speaker before commissioner’s court said about the noise and her experience with the sheriff’s department.

Mr. Freeman’s rambling discussion was followed by another outcry from Jimmy Kirby, the husband of the lady who first came to court to complain about the noise. Mr. Kirby said the fire marshal and health department could also take a look at the “Z” Bar. He mentioned Mr. Elberger’s deep pockets and warned those listening that they should not be moved by campaign contributions but by voters. Kirby said unhappy voters participate in the process in a higher percentage than happy voters.

In this particular case, Mrs. Kirby was first told when she first called in to the Sheriff’s department to complain about the noise, that the people at the “Z” Bar had as much right to listen to music as Mrs. Kirby’s family had to sleep. Now I don’t know who in the Sheriff’s department made such an insensitive comment, but I can tell you it is typical of the attitude from many people in the sheriff’s department. They think they are there to protect their friends, not necessarily the Fort Bend taxpayers.

I wonder about the number of people who don’t call us but just put up with it from the sheriff’s department.

Then Sheriff Wright and his “Chief” Deputy Craig Brady spend the next days playing CYA and talking trash about the newspaper who reported what happened in commissioners court. Rather than trying to convince the residents that this newspaper has a vendetta against their department, they should be spending their time teaching their employees to behave as if they had a lick of sense.

No, they just get in deeper and deeper.

I used to blame Sheriff Wright’s actions in not controlling his deputy on the suspicion that the deputy had something on him. I’ve come to believe that Sheriff Wright’s inactions concerning his deputy are motivated not by a fear of revelation, but simply by the fact that he really doesn’t know how to run a sheriff’s department and has to depend on Deputy Dog. I have a list of his actions that would have gotten any other deputy summarily fired.

I feel vindicated and proud of citizens who care enough and have the guts to make an outcry when the serenity of their neighborhood is threatened. Good on you, Kirby!


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:  January 02, 2008