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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."


Until we get it right......Fort Bend ISD board of trustees early voting started Monday. Just in case you are still undecided about your voting choices, Iíll reiterate my picks for those positions.

Iíve been following the ups and downs of FBISD for 30 years, sometimes even spending long hours in board (bored) meetings. I have many very good reasons why you should vote for these three contenders--Susan Hohnbaum, Daniel Menendez and Dr. Jonita Reynolds .

My reasons? First, each of the above three are well-qualified. Former teacher Susan Hohnbaum is an administrative manager; Daniel Menendez is an engineer, and Dr. Jonita Reynolds is a former teacher and current executive officer for what used to be called ďHead Start.Ē I mistakenly said in a previous ďBevís BurnerĒ that Hohnbaum was a former teacher that did not teach in FBISD. I was wrong. She did, but it was many years ago.

These three are running against two incumbents who, when previously elected, joined a cabal lead by Lisa Richert and Ken Bryant whose primary goal was to fire the then-current superintendent Betty Baitland.

They presided over a tumultuous time in FBISD history; turmoil brought on by their very own actions.

There are three different positions in FBISD--position 4, position 5, and one at large position--BUT you get to vote in all three races. And I urge you to do so.

Remember when I said they were board (bored) meetings. We should thank our lucky stars that anybody will run for the positions. They pay nothing, offer no perks, and are thankless tasks.

So thank everyone for running, but please vote for the three people I recommend.

Early voting started Monday and I felt so sure about my choices I voted then. I sometimes wait because Iím afraid more information might be available and Iíll vote early then regret it. Not this time.

Trips and more trips....One of the few things you get to do as a school board member is you get to attend conferences all over the country at the taxpayers expense. These conferences arenít exactly a perk because if youíve ever been to one, you know you have to get up early and have meetings all day then usually some social event with the same people at night. Not exactly a vacation event.

But since last year, the two incumbents who caused such turmoil and still have the nerve to run again--Stan Magee and Laurie Caldwell--have trotted all over the country on school district paid trips. Laurie Caldwell has travelled as much as school board president Cynthia Knox (whoís sorta expected to go to all these things to represent the district). Caldwell has been to Dallas, San Antonio and New York City on school district conferences.

The San Antonio trip was a trip that most of the board members made because they have to get so many hours of professional development, but Caldwell racked up $32.50 per day for three days in valet parking fees. One of the other board members had his car there also, but paid much lesser self parking fees for two days.

But the best traveller of all is incumbent Stan Magee who racked up four trips since last April. Magee when to San Antonio, Nashville, San Francisco, and Orlando. It cost him $40 per day for valet parking in San Antonio, and he also charged the district for three days.

So much for the fiscal responsibility they rode into office on.

FYI: all of the above information was obtained through open record requests.

Iíve lost at least six inches.....If my back end looks smaller this week, itís due to the fact that itís been chewed on by several people about what I wrote last week about the Houston 80-20 Asian American PAC which is supporting several candidates in the Sugar Land race. The chewersí major complaint was that the PAC was from Houston and was trying to influence a Sugar Land race.

Well, thatís kind of a different story and while many of the people in the Houston 80-20 Asian American PAC came to this country for the freedom it offered and they are now taking advantage of it, as they should, Houston political influence is resented here in Fort Bend County. Although Houston political influence happens all the time what with the large contributions by Houston engineers, architects, construction companies, and other non-bid vendors, it usually is campaign cash instead of door knocking, block walking, bloc voting, and phone treeing.

Another concern is that the PAC is accused of being racist since it endorses only Asian American candidates. I agree with that assessment. It is racist, something we have usually avoided in Sugar Land.


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:  May 28, 2008