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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.


Is proposed justice complex really needed?

Some residents are asking if the proposed criminal justice center is actually needed and if there is a building/office shortage facing the county government that warrants such an expenditure.

County officials certainly believe it is and based on the information given to me last week by County Judge Bob Hebert, I have a strong suspicion that he will be enthusiastic and articulate enough to push this measure favorably to the public.

For those who have second thoughts, might I suggest going to the courthouse on Tuesdays when commissioner’s court is meeting and all the courtrooms are operating and regular county business is booming. Try to find a parking place without circling the available parking locations for at least 20 minutes.

Then, trudge on foot to the courthouse on a windy or rainy day from the parking spot you were lucky enough to find four or five blocks away. If you are lucky enough to make it that far, plan on waiting a substantial amount of time to go through the metal detector. Then, if all the elevators are working (usually not) you are home free—maybe—provided one of the working elevators doesn’t stall mid-floor and scare the weegeebies out of you!

In other words, the current situation is a disaster and does need to be fixed. Parking at any of the three Richmond courthouses has been deplorable for as many years and I’ve been covering that beat since I was a rookie reporter in 1978! I have to say that back then I could find a parking place in the actual designated parking area of the courthouse, enter the courtrooms without having to go through metal detectors and generally get the job done with ease.

Not too many years later as the population started to grow at an unprecedented pace, all of these wonderful amenities of living and working in small town America were tested to the limit and eventually disappeared entirely for the most part. Unless, of course, you want to compare the local problems with downtown Houston—that is another story entirely.

Whether our illustrious county forefathers lacked the wherewithal to prepare for such growth is no longer an issue. What counts now is taking care of present problems and looking to the future needs of the citizens who will be doing business in the county. With that in mind, Hebert’s “sell” on the need for the judicial complex is probably accurate.

Keep in mind that Hebert did say that while the new complex would satisfy the goal of safety, security and accessibility it would not be luxurious. That is important. We need to make sure that if the building is approved by the voters, the $70-80 million price tag isn’t doubled by all the extras that various officials want to add after completion. We need to be able to go to the courthouse and conduct business in a reasonable length of time, we don’t expect our public officials to be sitting in their new offices with custom made desks or personalized chairs. So, if you support the proposed bond election, let each elected official who plans to occupy that space, none of your dollars will be used to enhance any ego! That should save a bundle!


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:  March 12, 2008