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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."


 

Down to the wire.....Political races for the mayor and city councils in both Sugar Land and Missouri City and the school board race in Fort Bend ISD have been hotly contested this year. Stafford has several candidates in both city council and the school board, but they have kept the races low profile and although I’m sure the citizens of Stafford have heard all the claims and counter-claims, the candidates have managed to keep them under my radar.

Two plus two equal six.....In Fort Bend ISD where two incumbents are defending their tenure against two challengers, and two candidates are running for retiring board president Cynthia Knox’s position, six former board members, several of whom served with the two incumbents, have sent out a letter asking voters to support the two challengers, Susan Hohnbaum and Dr. Jonita Reynolds, and also Daniel Menendez. The letter from the six former members, who left the board after many years of service, is a break from tradition which I think was only taken because serving board member Steve Smelley has campaigned so hard for an incumbent. Smelley has circulated some rumors which live up to his name--Smelley.

One of his stories, that Dr. Jonita Reynolds “bought” her doctor’s degree, was put to rest when it was discovered that former superintendents Betty Baitland and Don Hopper taught Dr. Reynolds at U of H, where she received her doctorate degree.

It’s been a big flap and Smelley has really angered some people.

When a start-up newspaper ran three stories about FBISD in its (fair and balanced) pages last week, many people saw the hand of former board member Lisa Rickert and school activist Liz Mitton in two of the obscure stories that seemed to apologize for actions of Rickert, Magee, and Caldwell. It appears that incumbent Laurie Caldwell is still being lead by the nose by former and other board members.

Meanwhile, back at the golf course.....In Missouri City, the candidates themselves have managed to stay above the fray, except for a word hurling incident and police complaint about signs. Challenger Noel Pinnock’s wife ran to the police station with a complaint that Jerry Wyatt had said some bad things to her. Most people believed Wyatt after Mrs. Pinnock ran crying to the police.

The most that’s gone on in Missouri City seems to be on the blogs where the usual suspects, many of whom don’t live in Missouri City, have weighed in and in and in.

Everything hasn’t been sweeter....In Sugar Land, where a new mayor and new city council person are on the ballot, the public contest has been something Fort Bend County has seldom seen--overt racism...of the Asian kind.

I received a letter from a writer with a supposed Chinese surname, Ahmed Zhiang. Since no telephone number was on the letter and I couldn’t verify the writer, I didn’t run it.

However, Mr. Zhiang sounds like he is well-connected in the Asian community. He claims that since Sugar Land has 30% Asian population, and the city government likes to color itself as “diverse” and “multicultural,” it is ripe for the election of an Asian mayor.

Mr. Zhiang calls it a conspiracy because its goal is race-based. “A.J. Durrani, who chairs the (Houston 80-20 Asian American Political Action committee) PAC’s Endorsement Committee, denies any conspiracy, but admits that the group rarely endorses a candidate based on his qualifications, but instead looks only at his racial background. If the candidate is Asian, he gets the endorsement. “

Mr. Zhiang says that the conspiracy has entered into religious institutions of the Asian community, including Buddhist and Hindu temples, Islamic Mosques and even Christian churches where Asians predominate where classes are given in the worship centers on how to go about voting for only Asians. He says instructions are given on how to register to vote, without regard to citizenship.

According to Mr. Zhiang, a Chinese man named Fong, whose head is shaven to make him look like a Buddhist monk, is a central figure in the conspiracy. In addition to serving on the 80-20 endorsement committee, he spends virtually full-time in teaching Asians to vote a race based-ticket. A major supporter of Hubert Vo, a state legislator who was recently in the news because of his ownership of slum-like apartments in Houston, Fong readily admitted that his only goal in politics is to achieve election results based upon race. Fong and another conspirator, known only as Mustafa, regularly address the Asian community groups urging them to vote solely upon the issue of race.”

I called some of my acquaintances who had complained about the 80-20 PAC and laughingly asked if they had written the letter, but the writer seems to know too many details that only an Asian would know.

I’m still staying out of the mayor’s race, although I will tell you that both retiring Mayor David Wallace has sent out letters in support of James (Jimmy) Thompson as has former councilwoman Cyril Hosely.

But I will weigh in on the council race. Jacquie Chaumette has served on many volunteer positions in Sugar Land and Fort Bend County for many years. She has a master’s degree in planning and is very qualified to serve on the council.

Her opponent, S.B. Gaddi, came out of the blue about two months ago. He has provoked several groups by claiming connections with them when they had never heard of him or only recently met him.

I didn’t support Jacquie Chaumette earlier, dismissing her opponent because he was not visible and thinking she did not need my help. She probably still doesn’t need my help, except for a reminder to get out and vote on Saturday for her.

But Mr. Gaddi has signs all over the place. If he sees a sign in your yard, he will knock on your door and try to have you put one in your yard for him. In the last two months, he decided to work hard. He may be very qualified, but he needs to serve on some volunteer positions first before he jumps out to become a city councilman.

 

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