Just who do I have to call....to get that mess over at the DPS office in Rosenberg cleaned up?
Several months ago I heard that civilians were taking over the management of the Driverís License offices in Texas. I donít know if that has been accomplished yet, but if it has, it ainít working!
I had occasion to visit the office on FM 2218 in Rosenberg not long ago. I felt I had descended into Danteís 7th ring of Hell. First, there were no parking spaces. I had to circle the parking lot like a barracuda before I swooped down over an empty space, receiving in the
process that universal symbol of displeasure that is accomplished by holding up the middle finger.
After I luckily secured a parking space I entered the building. The sea of massed humanity that met me as I entered the door was almost overwhelming.
People looked as if they had been standing in line for hours. Children were running wild. One little 4-year-old girl was literally bouncing off the walls. She would run from one side of the office, touch the wall, then careen to the other side of the room, touching that
wall. After about 10 trips, her breathing became labored with wheezing, grunting, and even a runny nose. Her parents just stood there grinning with their proverbial thumbs..... I was afraid she was going to pass out and I might be called upon to give her mouth to mouth resuscitation.
We were lined up in a snaking line that looked like an amusement park. No one was amused.
Some of the older people like me didnít even have a rail or pole to hold onto. We just had to stand there. It was excruciating. Finally, I began digging in my purse for a $100 bill to try to bribe my way to the front of the line when I realized I had already been standing
there for an hour. I decided if I were going to bribe my way to the front, I should have done it when I first entered the building, thereby getting full value for my money.
Hereís the problem: the same office over on FM 2234 has been there with no change for at least as long as Iíve been in the newspaper business--31 years. I donít know how long it was there before that, and donít even suggest I try to call there to talk to someone who knows
some of the history. They donít have time to answer the phone.
Keep in mind that many people never have to go to the Driverís License office, but that means those that do go there have a problem--which takes time to sort out. For the most part, they are not there to simply renew their license.
I would like to point out that in the ensuing 31 years, Fort Bend County has tripled in population. Thirty-one years ago, the only subdivisions in Stafford, Missouri City and Sugar Land, were Sugar Creek and Quail Valley.
There was no First Colony (over 5,000 homes), no New Territory (over 4,000 homes), no Greatwood, no Tealbriar, no etc. etc. You get the picture.
But that little old building over on FM 2218 in Rosenberg is still the only Driverís License office in Fort Bend.
I think we need to torment Governor Good Hair to get some relief in this situation.
Here is a picture I took Monday afternoon.
And we let them handle our money.....I am working on a larger story for the Fort Bend Business Journal tentatively titled, ďThe Big Business of CampaignsĒ or ďWhoís bought your commissioner?Ē
In my research, I noticed that some commissionersí semi-annually Campaign and Contributions Reports did not balance.
Not too long ago, reporting forms were changed and officials now have to list any money they have left over from report to report.
So I decided to see if the numbers jived from report to report. They donít.
Well, some do and some donít.
First, I looked at County Judge Bob Hebertís report. I discovered that about $3,500 per year was left hanging out there. I left a message with Bob to call me back about his reports. Shortly thereafter, his wife Pat, called me. She does his reports.
Pat explained to me that officials have to list ďin-kindĒ contributions as cash contributions, yet there is no corresponding way to ďspendĒ the ďin kindĒ contributions. When Allison Wen with Safari Texas made ďin kindĒ contributions two years in a row, those were rightfully
listed. However, there was no way to zero them out, so it appeared that Bob had about $7,000 left in his account that did not balance with what he had taken in and what he had spent.
Additionally, Pat told me that Bob got a little interest on his contributions and there was no place to list that on the form.
So taking all that into consideration, Hebertís forms pretty much balanced out.
Pct. 4 Commissioner James Patterson made a mistake on his report that showed he had no money left at the end of this reporting period, 7-15-09, although he had spent little and collected a lot. When I called Patterson about it, he said he had a new person doing his reports,
and he was going to hurry to correct his report. He laughingly told me that if wannabe politicians saw he had no money left, they might be encouraged to run against him. All his other reports checked out.
New commissioner Richard Morrison didnít even turn in a report. I left word at his office that he still had a chance to beat me to the courthouse and I wouldnít turn him in, but I never heard from him and his report was strangely missing.
I donít have room to tell you about Commissioners Prestage and Meyers. You canít imagine. Iíll save that for next week.
Remember these guys chose the Indian Herald as the countyís official newspaper, claiming they could save a little money. I think they just didnít want people to see the legal notices. Tune in next week.