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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.

Those voting machines

I spoke with an older family member last week who was a little more than frustrated about those wonderful “click and vote” eSlate machines. She, like many elderly, is somewhat computer challenged and the eSlate is not for those who find technology a challenge. She said when she went to the polls a nice election worker had to explain how to work the thing. Then when she tried to actually cast her vote, the election worker had to stand by to show her step by step how to do it. She walked out of the polls feeling less than confident that her vote was cast properly, tabulated and would count. That is not a good feeling to have, especially since this election is heated and each vote is so very important.

This happened in Harris County, but the same machines are being used right here on our doorstep and I can’t help but wonder how many voters are experiencing the same type of delays at the polls. While early voting (PLEASE DO) locations probably will allow for this type of individual assistance, on March 4, if the anticipated lines are there, the election workers are going to be stressed to the limit. These frustrations and delays might just be what J.R. Perez was talking about when he tried to get the county to switch back to the old system to give the voters what they wanted—ease and a paper trail.

I am not going to even go to the criticism of the Hart Interactive eSlate machines. Look where it got Perez.

Fort Bend County is experiencing an unprecedented voter turnout. That is good—no matter what kind of machine is being used. And, the Democrats are, without a doubt, coming out of closets, woodwork and assorted other locations where they have hidden dormant for so many years. About 30 years ago, Fort Bend County was totally Democrat. If you were a Republican it was doomsday at the polls. They always say the pendulum swings back and history repeats itself.

The pendulum is swinging, so sit back—enjoy—we are watching history in the making!

The Sheriff

I was going to stay out of the Sheriff’s race—Bev’s Burner has covered the topic quite well. However, I feel compelled to say something and remember this is totally my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the newspaper.

It is now a well-known fact that current Sheriff Milton Wright detests this newspaper and apparently all who are associated with it. I was shocked when he projected that feeling, in no uncertain terms, to me a few weeks ago. I called to get an explanation on a request he had placed on the commissioner’s court agenda. It was a simple request and would have taken all of a couple of minutes to answer. Instead, he took the time to get on the phone to tell me that he would never talk to me again. A few other choice comments were made before he slammed down in my ear. He accused me of having misquoted him after a “long interview.” I hadn’t had a long interview with him in many months and I couldn’t recall a story quoting him.

After checking my stories I found that I hadn’t had a mental lapse. There was no lengthy interview; no misquotes--–in fact I couldn’t find a recent story in which I quoted him, much less misquoted him.

So, I checked with my fellow staff members. One had indeed done an interview recently but it did not result in a story. Obviously you can’t misquote someone if you don’t quote them in the first place, so, I’m still mystified about the “this will be the last time I ever talk to you—don’t call me again” outburst.

Last week I heard that some nasty underhanded stuff has been distributed to the public on Billiy Frank Teague, presumably by Milton or some folks in his immediate support group. I spoke with Billy Frank about the information packets that were given out at a political forum (and picked up at the end of the forum by a close family member of the Sheriff) and he had some very adequate explanations for all the outdated paperwork.

I must say that based on the recent encounter I had with Milton and his references to all the things that he claimed I did that I actually didn’t do—well—I would just take anything he said with a grain of salt. In other words, plainly put, I now wouldn’t believe a thing that came out of his mouth!

I think it is time to return professionalism to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. It isn’t the Milton Hilton as he so proudly dubbed the Fort Bend County Jail when he took office. And the Milton Mafia shouldn’t run rough-shod over those who don’t see it their way. Milton’s flippant comments and Howdy-Doody grin have worn thin.

I’ve known Billy Frank Teague since he was an employee of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department some 25 plus years ago. I know he is up against an entrenched incumbent and that is a huge obstacle to overcome. But he is honest, has worked his way through the ranks as a dispatcher, patrol officer, and a detective in a regular law enforcement environment. He then went on to have a 16-year career with the Texas DPS and after retiring eventually returned to law enforcement as the lieutenant of the patrol division of the Richmond Police Department. He is one heck of a good guy and, in my opinion, would make a wonderful Sheriff.

Vote for a change—vote Billy Frank. Now I feel better.


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:  April 02, 2008