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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."


 

Here I am due to be out of the office a couple of days at the first of this week, and instead of working on my column and other things necessary for me to take a few days off, I have spent the better part of Sunday reading blogs and spitting my Diet Coke into my computer keyboard as I laughed my....well, you get the picture.

It all started last week when someone started a blog called “cd22watcher” (standing for Congressional District 22 in which Fort Bend County is located and which has as many candidates running for Nick Lampson’s seat as Republicans who think they would make very good presidents).

The diatribe on the blog criticized all of the candidates EXCEPT that brilliant Dean Hrbacek, the man who once dialed a call-in radio talk show and tried to pass himself off as someone else. (Hrbacek has a very recognizable voice pattern.) The blog purported to be anti-Nick Lampson, but it spent an inordinate amount of time and a majority of space criticizing all the other CD 22 candidates (except Hrbacek).

In my column last week, I revealed that the blog was started by our very own Liz Mitton, famous for spinning everything former FBISD board president Lisa Rickert said. When Rickert spoke, Mitton moved her mouth.

Now I had very good proof from several different computer gurus--people far more computer literate than I, but even I kinda knew how they had captured Liz’s attempt to remain anonymous.

She screamed like a cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, denying it was her.

We couldn’t figure out if Liz was ashamed of her support of Hrbacek, or she was worried about the lack of a political disclaimer on the blog. That could be illegal and subject the originator to a hefty fine. All the other candidates have the required disclaimer. Some people are checking with the Federal Ethics Commission. The FEC may eventually get around to checking it.

Liz sent out an e-mail blast telling everybody why I was wrong, wrong, wrong. She even tied me with Susan Bankston and had some choice words to say about Susan. I guess she is mad at Susan because her blog is more popular than Liz’s.

Let’s get something straight. I’m not one bit ashamed of my association--either past, present or future, with Susan Bankston. I am a faithful reader of her very funny blog.

In any event, after Liz’s email blast, Susan pointed out in a scathing entry several places where the author of the cd22watcher was revealed to be Liz. You can see it on http://www.kissmybigbluebutt.com/#dec2lizmittons. Place this in your browser to read on your computer.

Every time Susan pointed out a place with examples of where Liz was revealed, sure enough, Liz would go to the source on the site and erase it.

While all this was going on, someone else started a blog called cd22rubbernecker.blogspot.com, most probably Susan’s son Mark who also has her wicked sense of humor.

It is a hoot and in addition to poking fun at Mitton, Hrbacek, and other candidates, it dispels the iconic nature of Ronald Reagan beliefs. Many Republicans now have very fuzzy memories of Reagan’s beliefs, and they throw his name around when they are too embarrassed by Bush or even Nixon. It uses his own words.

But you better not tick off Susan because she announced at the end of her Liz complaint that she had started a new web site. http://www.lizmitton.com/

Go spend an hour at the cd22rubbernecker,blogspot.com and kissmybigbluebutt.com and spit things on your computer keyboard.

HoHum.....The loudest thing at the Republican executive meeting last week was the loud snoring going on in the audience. It even woke me up!

The meeting was to replace the whole Republican leadership which resigned en masse last month. One executive member (precinct chair) remarked after the meeting, “Well, that was certainly calm.”

“Why wouldn’t it be?” I asked. The people throwing bombs at the previous leadership have now been elected. Everybody else has given up because they have seen what happens if you go against that group.

A coup d’Ètat has occurred in the local Republican Party. Time will tell whether it will be successful, but the past year has been a total waste for the party. The opposition spent the past year and half throwing stones at Gary Gillen and he spent all his time dodging stones. It will now be a case of the inmates running the asylum.

Copy cat.....I notice the new group in power used to make a big deal about “transparency” in the party. Yet, their new treasurer, Frank Hester, formed a new PAC (political action committee) scant days before Gillen resigned. Those critical of Gillen had earlier sued him for forming a PAC to handle the last Lincoln Dinner fund-raiser.

That whole group are a “Do as I say, not as I do” organization.

Hester’s new PAC is titled the Fort Bend GOP Conservative PAC. Its name closely mirrors that of a new PAC formed by those who are interested in fiscal conservative policies rather that social conservatives. That group was started by Dave Wallace and a group of Fort Bend leaders and is called “The Fort Bend Conservative Club,” loosely referred to as the “C” club, after the same type of community leaders in Houston.

The oddest thing....... about the meeting last week was that both Rick Miller, who had planned to run for county chair in the March primary ran for the interim chair and was challenged by Linda Howell, who lost to Gillen, but who was going to be Miller’s campaign manager.

Then when Rick Forlano and Dave Stone were both nominated as interim general counsel, Stone got up and said he would only serve until March because he would never run another primary election. Then he told the audience that whoever was elected would have to deal with three federal agencies and one state agency, referring to problems Stone pointed out before the other officers resigned.

Stone hinted that someone had contacted the agencies because the local party had endorsed candidates in its newsletter but failed to file an “in kind” contribution report.

Most people feel this is an obscure part of the law that is never enforced in addition to the fact that the agencies themselves are unsure about its enforceability.

Most party newsletters exist solely to endorse Republican candidates. But Stone’s 25 page legal brief was probably the tipping point to the other officers resigning. Not because they felt guilty, but because they realized that a majority of precinct chairs who regularly attend executive meetings were not going to give up on forcing Gillen, who was elected by a majority of Republican voters, to resign or see the Republican party continue to self-destruct.

I predict that it will take many years for the local Republican party to recover from this debacle and the national melt down doesn’t help the situation.

The school thing.....District Attorney John Healey announced late last week that his two-year investigation into accusations about financial malfeasance in FBISD’s risk management department had yielded no criminal charges.

You remember that after FBISD voters elected Lisa Rickert, Ken Bryant, Stan Magee, and Laurie Caldwell as a majority of board members that Superintendent Betty Baitland came under heavy criticism for the handling of audit reports from the school’s internal audit department.

Baitland and other board members reminded the new members that audit reports were presented at board meetings and departments were expected to act on the audit findings by presenting an action plan to address the problems.

Critics said the audits should be in open session and departments couldn’t correct themselves.

To the tune of about $80,000 the board hired Lloyd Kelley as a special attorney and the forensic audit firm of Mir Fox.

Lloyd Kelley was the former Houston City Controller and Houston City Council member who was shown on one of Houston television news as washing his car and going to the park during office hours. He lost the next election.

While working for FBISD, his office was listed as a postal box in Bellaire of which I took a picture. He contacted my office and gave me another office closer to downtown at an Asian firm. I went there and took a picture of the office where he had his name. It had a very feminine side with red velvet covered furniture and lots of gold.

However, his address has gone back to the postal box., according to his address that he updated in April, 2007.

I heard that at the closed session where Kelley presented his report, Stan Magee threw his pencil on the desk and said, “Is that all you got?”

So after lots of money, changing the district’s long-time legal counsel, an “early retirement” by the Superintendent, the hiring of an interim superintendent who wasn’t even rehired as the personnel executive after the debacle, the resignation of many excellent employees, and a two year investigation by the DA, nothing criminal was found.

Rickert and Bryant were summarily defeated at the next election.

I figure Baitland and Gillen both decided it was better to resign than stand in the way of work getting done in institutions they loved. They are both lovely people who got in the way of a small group of people who didn’t care who or what they hurt to accomplish their goals. It bit Baitland’s critics in their collective butts; it’s too early to tell about Gillen but I think it has hurt both institutions, the Republican Party and FBISD and it will take a long time to make up for that time lost.

 

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 09, 2008