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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.


Patterson lauds County Judge, sort of

Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert said he was just pleased as punch when Precinct 4 Commissioner James Patterson approached him recently and told him what a wonderful job he was doing as county judge. All good things must come to an end and Patterson saved the kicker for last. “I just wonder how much better you could have done if you had an education.” Now that hurts! Remember the diploma mill expose done by a TV reporter here recently? Well, apparently Patterson just couldn’t help himself.

Hebert says his first initial reaction was the feeling he needed to kick in the automatic defensive mechanism and defend his honor. But within two seconds he saw the humor in the comment and cracked up laughing. “I laughed all day—I have to hand it to the commissioner that was a good one,” he said.

And, he was NOT homecoming queen

A really good friend (I would question this, judge) started a rumor about Hebert. He admits this person is a friend, but he is suspicious that the latest rumor was generated by this person and wants to put an end to the rumor. Bob Hebert was not homecoming queen. OK—that’s what the judge says. He says he thinks it started out in local circles as homecoming “king” but it sounded better the way it ended up circulating. He wasn’t the king, he wasn’t the queen, but he was class president.

“I was class president by a unanimous vote. I voted for myself and no one else voted,” he quipped.

Isn’t it nice to have public officials with a sense of humor?

Pandora’s Box

Every time some disgruntled member of the Fort Bend Republican Party calls to complain about something Gary Gillen said or did, I do the normal thing and report it. Of course, I also call Gary to get a response and darned if he doesn’t always have documentation to support his comments. Now, how refreshing is that?

Last week when Gary read about his failure to send a check to Rick Miller, he gleefully provided an e-mail that supported his belief that a refund was not warranted. After reading the e-mail, I couldn’t help but agree. Now granted, the party could come up and say all of this was straightened out before Gary left office and he was just being a vindictive little person by not giving his opponent a refund for the newsletter. I would write that too, if that claim was made. Then, I’d call Gary and most likely he would have something even better hidden in his defense file that he hadn’t yet pulled out.

I wrote the above two paragraphs right after I had turned in my story last week because it seemed incredulous to me that Gillen could stand before the firing squad for so long and not fall over. However, before the original story could even be printed (and had to be changed, much to my chagrin), Gillen admitted that the e-mail sent by Miller’s campaign treasurer referred to a different check issued by Miller and that Miller said his $1,200 check had been deposited and cashed prior to the sending of the e-mail about not depositing the check.

Despite those claims, Gillen seemed somewhat weary and not totally confident that the e-mail didn’t refer to the newsletter ad payment. In fact, for the first time since all this started a year and a half ago, he sounded downright defiant. “They created the problem, they will have to deal with it,” he said.

He said the whole mess would probably never have occurred if the people in the segment of the party fighting him hadn’t been hell bent on keeping him out of the mix on anything and everything they could. While that may sound like a cop-out to those who admittedly never joined the Gary Gillen fan club, it kind of makes sense.

Back when the whole newsletter debacle started, one of the reasons Gillen gave for withholding payment to the printer and mail house was that a number of ads had not been paid for.

Well, it didn’t take five minutes for that to be disputed. Andre McDonald said all the ads had been paid for, the committee had sold all the ads and collected for the ads and made sure that the payments had been made before publishing the newsletter. On the other side of the fence, Gillen said that if that was true, not all the documentation on the ads and payment had yet been received. So, his claims last week have some credence.

This whole thing is very sad and the public image it is creating has more than a few people worried — most of them elected Republicans. Several have said, off the record of course, they are not happy with what is going on; worry about their own re-election efforts in light of the chaos and feel sorry for the Fort Bend voters. One said Gillen is being held out to dry for things that happened in the Party years before he was elected to the position of Chairman. “He’s being Thoded,” said another.

The most accurate statement I heard from a prominent Republican was “I fear they are going to implode.”

Now that they don’t have Gary to kick around any more, people are putting out bets as to who will survive the apparent rift reportedly developing between a couple of Party Chairman hopefuls.

You’d think this was a presidential election and being Chairman of the Fort Bend Republican Party was a position just one seat under that of the Pope, for heaven’s sakes. What ever happened to the Party being there for the candidates and to inform the voters. Some say if the ego trips and in-fighting don’t stop soon, there will be no Republicans to inform.

Now that is the most factual statement I have heard in a long while.

The U.S. Postal Service

OK—one last Gary thing—the Republican Party people who have an I hate Gary agenda, claimed none of the advertisers in the newsletter received the reimbursements until Nov. 13, despite Gary’s claim they had been mailed on the 8th, the day he and the treasurer resigned from their slots.

I know for a fact that all the mail I was expecting on Saturday Nov. 10 (that had reportedly been mailed on Nov. 6 and 7th) did not arrive until Nov. 13 and 14. I was all in a tizzy then, but then it dawned on me the U.S. Postal Service does not deliver on national holidays and Nov. 12 was Veteran’s Day so everything run by the feds was shut down.

Therefore, when Gary said he had mailed it and some were claiming he was violating laws, deserved capital punishment and flogging on the courthouse square, I couldn’t help but be somewhat sympathetic to his plight. Of course, there is always a chance the other side is right, but then there isn’t.


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:  January 02, 2008