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Letter to the Editor (old)

Transportation barrier a
problem for youths, says reader

Dear Editor

I’m writing you this letter to inform the community of Fort Bend County of the transportation barrier that many of our youths have when trying to access services from the Fort Bend Unit/Community Center.

Fort Bend County sponsors a community center in Missouri City, which is operated by the non-profit organization, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston. The community center offers a variety of programs to youths, who are disadvantaged and is at risk for academic failure, pregnancy, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency.

Early intervention community-based programs is vital to our community and to our youths, such programs as academic achievement, socialization skills, leadership building, self-esteem enhancement, arts and crafts, and computer technology. The community center also prepares our youths for adulthood so that they can become productive members in our community.

Due to the fact that there is no public transportation in Fort Bend County, I advocating that the county provide transportation from our community to and from the community center so that those youths who want to attend can.

As a concern member of the community, I would like to encourage others in the community to join me in advocating for transportation for our youths by calling or writing your precinct commissioner and ask them to advocate to the commissioners court for the funds to transport our youths.

Thank you,

Name withheld by request

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First Colony Community Association
negligent, bends rules as it sees fit

Dear Steve,

The area behind Connies Ct was mowed during the summer, but now has weeds that exceed 5 to 10 feet high in the ditch. The company that did the work never cleaned out the ditch. Neighbors cleaned it out but it is dirty and weedy again.

The other area that the county owns is not the issue. I was forced to contact the city the last time that it got bad since these high weeds violates the city ordinance. If we lived in Sugar Land, would this reserve be allowed to have weeds this high?

I do not understand why residents are held to such high standards such as grass and weed height and garbage cans out past a certain time but the association can grow weeds up to 15 feet high and keep their garbage cans out on Austin Parkway all weekend. It seems to be a double standard that bends as needed by FCCA.

You did say the middle of November but it is past the middle and we still have seen no plants. I understand that as you say, they are on the way. And thank you for that, but many neighbors think that a year is a long time to wait for plants that should be a standard beautification item for the hugh amount of HOA dues that each home pays each year.

I have lived in Plantation park for over five years and have never seen the irrigation system working. This may be a problem with keeping plants alive. Our neighborhood has one of the ugliest beds in all of FCCA which is a real concern for neighbors and I would think that the association would be concerned too.

Thank you for your time in this matter.

James White

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Thompsons reader thinks Fort Bend’s
animal control attitude stinks

Dear Editor,

As a Fort Bend resident who lives in the country, I was shocked about the recent incidents involving rabid skunks and the county’s policy on dealing with rabid animals.

Recently a local resident, Mrs. Jolie Zulkowski spent hours trying to find out what to do with a suspected rabid skunk (which did test positive). The poor lady practically had to beg Animal Control to come get the animal, then worried that the animal might not be tested or disposed of properly, so she followed the Animal Control officer who somehow felt threatened by two ladies following him which resulted in the ladies being pulled over and questioned by police.

What is most unbelievable is that she was originally told to just “double bag the animal and throw it away!” Then another article came out in the Herald saying that residents could either throw it in their trash or come to Animal Control and throw it away in their trash. Is this really what we should do with suspected rabid animals that haven’t bitten anyone? Isn’t there any concern for animals that may get into the trash or for the sanitation workers who have no idea what they are carrying? Children sometimes foolishly play in dumpsters. So just throw it away?

That got me to wondering if any realistic guidelines exist for disposal of rabid animals and I found some. They exist under a law passed by Congress in 1988 called the “Medical Wastes Tracking Act” which established guidelines for the EPA to oversee the tracking and proper disposal of medical wastes. The EPA Guideline 11709 created criteria for exactly “what medical waste might consist of”. There in the section in this document devoted to the proper disposal of rabid animals. It calls for the animals to be sealed in clearly marked “BioHazard” containers and shipped to a landfill designated for such items. It also says burial or burning could be proper in some states.

While it is understood that not enough funds exist for testing of every animal suspected of being rabid, it seems illogical and dangerous to tell the public to just “bag it and chunk it” when what we are dealing with poses such a huge health risk to those in possible contact. Why couldn’t Animal Control at least come pick up any suspected rabid critter since they seem better trained to deal with them as they did so bravely and cheerfully for Mrs. Zulkowski?

I really think Animal Control needs to reconsider this lax attitude and strive to better serve the community, without having us jump through hoops or being pulled over by police.

Patrick S. Calnan
Thompsons

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Reader says skunk incident
shows a lack of leadership

Dear Commissioners,

I just read the front page article that is in the current edition of the Fort Bend Star regarding the incident regarding fellow taxpayer Jolie Zulkowski and her very bad experience with Fort Bend County Animal Control in trying to get appropriate action for removal of a potentially rabid skunk from her property. This incident is just one of many that shows a total lack of leadership by Vernon Abschneider and his staff and I personally consider this a “firing offense”. I hope that appropriate action has been taken against Vernon and the animal control officer involved in regards to this matter.

It is the responsibility of FBCAC to have certain policies and procedures in place to handle these types of life-threatening matters and FBCAC continues to do a very poor job. FBCAC needs a total overall with a new director and staff who can adequately meet the needs of the taxpayers, as well as the construction of a new facility to help the thousands of domesticated animals in our county that are continually being euthanized each year. The taxpayers and animals of Fort Bend County certainly deserve better than what is currently in place and it is your duty as our elected officials to ensure this will be done.

Our organization has met with three of the commissioners and will be meeting with Commissioner Meyers soon to discuss the process for ensuring that a more qualified director and staff is put into place at FBCAC, hopefully in the very near future. As we have stated to Commissioners Morrison, Prestage and Patterson, we have an excellent candidate in mind who is very experienced and currently working for another animal control agency in our community that can lead FBCAC into a new, positive direction so incidents like this don’t continue to happen. According to the article, this was the second such incident that has happened regarding a rabid skunk and a person was actually bit and it took over 12 hours for FBCAC to respond. So this is obviously a continual, ongoing problem that needs to be adequately addressed immediately.

Please let our organization know what action you plan to take regarding these matters. In the meantime, I will be contacting appropriate state officials regarding their input.

Sincerely,
Susan Culver

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Commissioner Morrison responds to Culver letter

Ms. Culver, thank you for your email. I have talked with Mrs. Zulkowski about the skunk incident. Please know that it is currently being tested for rabies and we expect the results back soon. I assure you protocols were followed by the County regarding the skunk.

However, the county was below par in its timeliness in handling the incident. As I stated in the newspaper, we have improved since the last incident, but more improvement is needed. Five hours is too long a time to respond and I will continue to work with the Sheriffs Office to make sure that the County will respond in a more timely manner.

As always, I thank your for your vigilance and your passion.

Richard Morrison

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Proposed health care in
America frightening says reader

Dear Editor,

In the last 6 months America has been presented with non-stop coverage of the pros and cons of a radically reformed health care system for the future. While one side is ecstatic with the idea of every living person within the borders of America being covered cradle to grave with health care, the other side is deeply concerned with the cost and success of this program in light of the comparative government run programs that have been such a financial failure and woefully short on deliverables that were promised. To save a complete listing here, simply begin with Social Security and end with Cash for Clunkers and fill in the balance from a host of government run disasters.

During this period of debate on the future of Health Care in America, I have heard of the costs related to insurance, the costs related to doctor’s fees, the costs related to prescription drugs, the costs related to tort reform, the costs related to Medicare and Medicaid, the costs related procedures and many other related items. The one part of the equation that I have missed is the massive infrastructure we have in this country that is currently predominately, privately held.

The proponents of government run (a.k.a. socialized) health care are prepared to take on the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the doctors, and even possibly the lawyers. They are willing to make serious challenges and take over nearly every aspect of the process and control those costs (read raise taxes).

Yet, no one has addressed a huge elephant in the room related to health care. We are blessed in this country with an incredible privately held hospital system that covers the country. Yes, there are a few government run (county, state and federal) hospitals, but the vast majority of our infrastructure is privately held. Unlike government run programs, these folks must break even or make a profit. Once the program is passed and implemented -- how much will it cost the taxpayer to ultimately have to buy The Texas Medical Center, MD Anderson, Sugar Land Methodist Hospital and on and on and on........ I cannot even imagine what that dollar estimate might be.

When the government takes over medical care, it will very likely have to take over the medical facilities. That is absolutely frightening. Imagine the hospital being run like your local Social Security office!! And at what cost to the taxpayer? Where are those numbers??

David J. Fish
Missouri City

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Reader responds to Bev’s
Burner of November 4 article

Well, I am not as well known or politically connected perhaps as Bev Carter, but I can hold my own on both sides of the aisle. Certainly living in Memorial for sixteen years my calls were returned from Ashley Smith and Joe Nixon and Don Henderson and Bill Archer and John Culberson and many more. Although of the opposite party, I proudly display their pictures on my wall. Even though vehemently disagreeing on many issues, the line of communication was open. My former students sit on city government (a city larger than our own), sit in the state legislature and run (and found) Fortune 500 companies. OK, so I haven’t been in a major film like Ms. Carter.

I liked our last Congressman, but I was impressed with the staff of Representative Olson when he was elected. I asked for a meeting about my favorite issue the Social Security Offsets (the GPO and WEP) which impact public employees in Texas. It took some time and tons of emails, but my colleague and I were graciously greeted when arriving at our assigned time. We were treated most professionally and were quite impressed that we were the first to meet with the Congressman after his surgery. His two aides recorded our concerns and I felt comfortable enough to share a personal letter I had sent one of his colleagues. It was about the death of my husband and the loss of over $90,000 that he contributed to Social Security and yet I do not receive one penny of benefit from the federal government. Pictures were taken and we left. A month or so passed and I hadn’t received even a form letter acknowledging any research on the topic or the standard why I don’t support the legislation notice. I called the office-actually I called twice.

Now you get the reason for my response to Ms. Carter’s editorial. I guess I am also on that “do not return calls” list and “do not send a newsletter” (maybe I got it and I just don’t remember as I am aging waiting for the legislation to be equitable to public employees). I have taught for 39 years. I thought there would be a bridge of communication even though there wouldn’t be an agreement of the minds. If the picture ever arrived it would still be proudly hanged on the wall.

Yes, I am an activist. I am also a constituent. Yes, I continue to be an idealist even though I teach United States Government and Politics—maybe because I do.

I watched two local politicians, running in nonpartisan races (although we know that is an oxymoron in this area) come to a Democratic function last year and greet those of the other side. I was so impressed. You should be too! We all care about our local, state and national agendas; we just might disagree on how to achieve them. In the meantime let’s show respect and give respect. Let’s communicate. Let’s return phone calls and letters even if they have left harsh messages. In the long run we will all be better for it. And Mr. Olson, if you send the picture, drop by and I will show you the good company you will be keeping on my wall.
Joyce Roberta Miller-Alper, Ed.S.

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Reader says he wouldn’t call Beverly back either

Dear Editor,

If I were Pete Olson I would not answer Ms. Carter’s mail or return her calls either.

Anyone who equates capital punishment with killing an innocent baby in the womb doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. I imagine her future harangues will be justifiably ignored as well.

You might like to inform her that the “thou shall not kill” commandment is correctly interpreted as “thou shall not murder.” I don’t expect her to believe that but that’s the way it is.

Richard Avery

Publisher's Note: I did not advocate abortion in my column. I take no stand because I am no longer of child-bearing years. Oh right, you are not of child bearing sex. I guess it's neither of our business. Bkc

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This is the first time that I have felt moved to respond to an article in the Star but I was appalled by the comments made by Michael Fredrickson in his "I'm Sick and Tired" column. His use of language is insulting and demeaning. To call people who support their government fascists is outrageous. "Liberal Fascists" is a contradiction in terms since fascists are anything but liberal. To call President Obama's efforts to have medical insurance available to everyone "socialized medicine" shows that Mr. Fredrickson does not understand what socialized medicine as practiced in the U.K. nor is he wanting plan for insuring all citizens. Will Mr. Fredrickson still have health care coverage if he loses his job and can't get another? Will he be a fascist when a government of his choosing is in power?

Disgusted reader and Whole Foods shopper,
Sheila Finch

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Health Care Reform

Bev,

If we have the best (or 37th best) health care, it counts only if we have insurance. If two people are found to have the same illness, it is almost certain the one without insurance will die first. We have “death panels” every time four people need an ICU bed but there is only one available.
Some years ago insurance companies didn’t cover annual physicals. If an illness was found early, the patient lived longer and cost more. Today we have preconditions. Medicines cost us more than in other developed countries. The pills cost the same to make. Research costs are spread equally. Why do we pay more? Do we need health care reform?

The Rev. Jim Alcorn

P.S. You say you are nearing 1,000 years old and many of your staff are in the 700 age category. I’m sorry but you must continue until you are near 2,000 or I die. You are the independent voice of the county and if you retire the Star will dim or fade away. Keep on keeping on.

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Swine Flu

Dear Editor,

We hear a lot about Swine Flu, but at least at my high school, they don't seem to be doing much about it. I went on a cruise this summer to Alaska, and the cruise line was worried about sickness spreading throughout the ship, so they put hand sanitizer dispensers at entrance/exits to major areas and dining halls. At my school there is nothing like this to suppress Swine Flu and other sickness from spreading. They talk about how it's dangerous, and it spreads faster than other types of flu, so wouldn't it make sense to have measures in place to contain it?

Thank you,
Adam

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First Colony resident says rules
changed regarding fences

Dear Editor,

FCCSA has altered the rules on fences. Originally each homeowner was responsible for the entire fence on one side and half of the fence in the back. One Fence, One Owner.

Now, each homeowner is responsible for half of each fence. This has resulted in no one being responsible for the fence (two people can barely agree on where to eat let alone how to repair several hundred dollars worth of fence) or one person deciding to have it repaired and expecting each neighbor to pick up half of the bill.

This discourages do-it-yourselfers and encourages buying the most
expensive fence possible because your neighbor is forced to pay half. One neighbor had just lost his job and the neighbor behind him was trying to sell their home so they bought a new fence so it would help the house sell. Needless to say the recently unemployed neighbor was not too thrilled to get a bill he did not expect especially when he had plenty of time to do it by hand for a significant savings. However, none of us are sad that neighbor sold their house.

Clearly, the purpose of the rule change is to get neighbors to fight with one another. FCCSA makes this clear when they decreed that the rule does not apply to those fences adjacent to public areas or streets. FCCSA has sole control over those. FCCSA refuses to cooperate with any homeowner over fences but encourages homeowners to rip each other off.

What will be next? FCCSA does everything it can to encourage people to live elsewhere.

Unhappy First Colony resident

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U.S. spends more, gets less on health care

Dear Editor:

I cannot allow Michael’s column (September 2 issue) about health care to pass without comment.

He wrote: “...that would reform health care ‘cost’ and not destroy the number one health care system in the world.”

I wasn’t entirely sure what health care system he was referring to, but based on the context, I’m assuming it wasn’t France, which according to the World Health Organization is number one. France also has the fewest preventable deaths, and is number three in life expectancy behind Japan and Australia.

The U.S. ranks number 37 in the world’s health systems. Our rank is below every industrialized nation (unless you count Poland and New Zealand -- in which case, we’re ahead), as well as Chile (#33) and Costa Rica (#36).

And on the preventable deaths list, they only rank 14 countries. We’re dead last, so to speak. We’re number 24 in life expectancy.

And yet we’re ranked number two in spending as a percentage of GDP. So we pay more and get less.

I can’t wait to run into my radical right-wing brother on the aisles of Whole Foods to show him some alternatives to the items he’s accustomed to buying. Yeah, that’ll be the day.

Sincerely,
Sherry Carter

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Cook responds to Damn Socialists!

Editor:

Wondering why, at the tirade by Paul Pappas against Michael Fredrickson, I took the time to read Michael Fredrickson’s article last week against the government’s attempt to takeover America’s health care coverage and realized again that the method of liberals is personal attack and lie, hoping to influence the weak minded.

The tirade went as follows:

Paragraph 1 – All personal attack. No comment.

Paragraph 2 – Cuba’s heath care is better than ours based on incorrect information. I say the fact is there are no people struggling to get to Cuba for health care or to birth their babies.

Paragraph 3 – Medicare and Medicaid are sited as examples of socialistic programs. I say what of the fact of millions of dollars worth of fraud that has been occurring for years in both of those socialist programs, the fact of massive paperwork that frustrates patients and perpetuates fraud, the fact that doctors providing these service are underpaid by the government and must manage their operations by having enough private sector patients to cover for the lack of funds, and the fact that the programs are over budget, broke, and unaccountable.

Paragraph 4 - Veterans Administration efficiency? Are you kidding! The wait to get treatment is five times longer than it is in the private sector, the paperwork is overwhelming, and if your care is mismanaged there is no recourse, because you cannot sue the unaccountable government. God bless and help our veterans.

This debate is not about health care, but about THE MONEY THAT WILL BE RAKED IN by the unaccountable government as producers are taxed to pay for everyone’s health care coverage. It will be more money, control, and fraud for the government and less money, service, and freedom for the people.

The government could fix their Medicaid and Medicare programs, stop frivolous lawsuits, remove government’s restrictions concerning interstate insurance membership, and a whole host of other reforms that have been proposed by conservatives and obstructed by liberals. But the liberals have their fingers in their ears going la, la, la, la at anything that does not involve growth of government at its very core.

Socialism IS scary to most Americans! The wing nuts are the ones who think we need to follow in the footsteps of Cuba or any other socialists system. Get the government out of anything to do with health care coverage. Damn the socialists.

Respectfully,

Mary Cook

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The price of traffic flow: is it worth it?

Dear Editor,

It would appear that some of the administration at the City of Sugar Land cares more about the traffic flow on Highway 90 than they do about accidents resulting in possible injury or fatality.

For 4 years Deputies from the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office have worked traffic at the exit of the Nalco Chemical Company. This started several years ago when the State widened Highway 90. While the construction was going on, traffic from Nalco had to cross numerous lanes of traffic to get to the eastbound side. As the project progressed and more and more traffic started to traverse the new 4 and 5 lane highway, the traffic steadily increased 10-fold.

The employees and the safety and security manager realized with the increase in traffic it was going to be next to impossible for their employees to leave work safely. After the widening of Highway 90 was complete the Nalco Chemical Company decided to keep the Deputies onboard as it made it possible for their employees to enter Highway 90 in a safe way.

On June 9, 2009 an e-mail was sent to the Public Works Department at the City of Sugar Land stating that the traffic light at Highway 90 and Highway 6 was cycling on green too fast (10 seconds) to be exact. The very next day, at the request of a Sugar Land administrator, the deputies that work the Nalco extra job were told that they had to terminate the job because they were creating a traffic congestion by stopping traffic on Highway 90 and allowing employees from Nalco to safely get out of the plant. The stops were no longer than 5 – 15 seconds long.

The traffic congestion was not at Nalco but at the Highway 6 intersection, not to mention the numerous trains that pass through Sugar Land on a daily basis that change the cycle of all the traffic lights. Is the price of a possible serious injury or fatality become so cheap that Sugar Land administrators would rather keep traffic flowing at a steady pace through their city?

I am still trying to figure out how a Sugar Land City Official can stop a Fort Bend County Deputy from working within their own county. I guess the many churches in Sugar Land that employ officers to direct traffic will be next to get the axe!

Bill Butera, President

Ft. Bend Deputy Sheriff’s Assoc.

Sugar Land responds

Prior and during the construction of US90A, officers were needed to assist the employees of NALCO entering onto 90A. The previous infrastructure did not have the capacity to carry the amount of traffic volumes utilizing 90A, which made it difficult for NALCO to enter onto 90A.

Texas Department of Transportation, along with the City of Sugar Land, reconstructed 90A to include additional lanes to handle current and future capacity.

Starting in January of 2009, Public Works began implementing new traffic signal timings to address a.m. and p.m. peak traffic.

In April, we asked NALCO if they would agree to forego using the deputies to manage the driveway so we could evaluate the need after implementing the new timings. They agreed and allowed us two days to observe.

The results we found were that NALCO drivers experienced very little delay and were able to safely enter 90A thanks to both the infrastructure improvement and optimized traffic signal timings.

Under the traffic direction of deputies, three lanes were coned out from the NALCO driveway. When a NALCO employee drove up, the deputy would immediately enter 90A to stop traffic. In many cases, the unexpected stop forced drivers to stop quickly to prevent rear-end accidents.

NALCO driveway has no sight distance problems and therefore, is able to see all on-coming traffic.

We have not heard any concerns from NALCO since the deputies stopped managing the intersection.

Bill Butera has been in constant contact with Public Works Director Mike Hobbs with his concerns. We have respectfully reviewed and addressed each concern raised by Mr. Butera including his request for us to monitor traffic during the peak traffic time between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.

Even during the busiest 15 minutes experienced, a total of 31 vehicles departed NALCO with relatively little delay.

Pat Pollicoff
Communications Director

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Setting Fredrickson straight on global warming

Dear Editor,

Bravo to Paul Pappas in taking the time to write in and take Michael Fredrickson to the woodshed this week. His rant about global climate change a few weeks ago took the cake.

He claimed he was “sick and tired” of uninformed people trying to convince him of global warming then goes on to spout misinformation himself in his attempt to undermine an anthropogenic explanation for global warming.

That’s my $5 word, not his, because you see, anyone who has seriously investigated global warming would be very familiar with that word and would most likely use it in any column about man-made global warming. But then why would I expect serious research on the matter from someone who claimed that Mt. Pinatubo created more CO2 than mankind has created in the past 100 years? Or was it the past year? Or was it 100 times more than man creates in one year?

So many urban myths it’s hard to keep track of them all. And that’s what any statement you hear about volcanoes from a climate change denier is - urban myth that they saw in a chain e-mail or on some right-wing websight.

Go try to document that claim and get back to me Michael. I’ll be waiting.

And anyone serious about getting an answer to the question often posed by the deniers - what caused global warming in the past - would have also come across The Milankovitch Cycles. But again, an unbiased search for answers has never been a strong-suit of right-wingers.

It’s probably a good thing that Fredrickson only writes a column sporadically. Even I’d feel sorry for him if he embarrassed himself every single week. And Michael, putting things in ALL CAPS and using lots of exclamation points to drive home your point should be left to 13 year old girls on their MySpace account.

L. Collins
Sugar Land

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Chandler tells why S. Ramji withdrew contract with Goldshire Townhomes

Dear Editor,

Regarding the Star’s July 16 article by Cheryl Skinner about S. Ramji’s withdrawal of a contract to sell his property on Old Richmond Road to Goldshire Townhomes, there were several reasons that Ramji didn’t bother to mention.

For one, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs was investigating a charge that Ramji and his realtor had formed an “Old Richmond Road Homeowners Association” endorsing this project. But through neighbors’ investigation, it was revealed that Ramji and his realtor were the only members of that association, which County Attorney Roy Cordes confirmed never had been registered as a homeowners association. Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Commissioner James Patterson called this to the attention of the state agency.

The main reason that the Goldshire deal didn’t happen was because this Old Richmond site was a bad location for a low-income, 150-unit multifamily project: no utilities lined up for water or sewer; a narrow road for emergency or school bus access; no public transportation; no sidewalks. These children would be going to schools that already are using outbuildings at all three levels. The site is over a flight pattern for a busy airport.

Residents from a dozen nearby neighborhoods soon recognized that millions of tax dollars would be going to a developer who didn’t live in the neighborhood, where the families would have no vested interest in maintaining property values.

These concerned neighbors and their representatives quickly formed United 77498 (our zip code), met weekly for four months to promote a calm but convincing campaign against this project. More than 100 representatives attended a TDHCA hearing in downtown Houston where some 20 residents from various neighborhoods spoke against the project.

United 77498 representatives attended TDHCA board meetings in Austin on April 23, May 21 and June 25, and presented cases against Goldshire. On the final meeting, our representatives provided thick binders to each board member which included letters of opposition from virtually every HOA and HUD within five miles of the proposed site.

TDHCA staffers said that the board received 2,605 individual letters and email messages from residents in opposition to this project.

TDHCA staffers said that there were many other applicants which the department rated higher in priority than Goldshire to merit the tax dollars.

That’s why S. Ramji withdrew his contract with Goldshire.

Best of all for the concerned neighborhoods, United 77498 is here to stay. Representatives from the various entities have developed a rapport, and recognize that there will be other issues in which they all may have a common interest. They plan to meet, probably quarterly, mainly for social and communicative reasons. We’ve recognized that we have a lot of smart, concerned, willing neighbors in this 5,000- property area. They have recognized that there may be other democratic, peaceful, constructive ways to determine our destiny.

Wayne Chandler
Village of Oak Lake Sugar Land

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Reader’s take on Global Science Center
is terrible misuse of public funds

Beverly,

Thank you for all of your info in Bev’s Burner. It is great reading!

I would like to interject some opinion regarding the “Global” Science Center:

The concept of this project is misguided and appears to be on the verge of a terrible misuse of public funds, something that every taxpayer in Fort Bend County should take note of.

1. 70% of the teachers said that they do not feel they have enough knowledge to teach science. It would seem that the best solution would be to train the teachers better, or hire Science teachers.

2. Teachers say thet they do not have enough time in a day to teach the subject sufficiently. But if students would have to be bussed from their campus to the “Global” Science Center (GSC), that would result in wasted time.

3. Students will attend this GSC only 3 or 4 times per year. How much impact can such few visits really have?

4. The GSC will only service grade 2 - 8. It would seem appropriate to spend significant funds on high-intellectual Masters and Doctorate Degree level work, not grade school level.

5. “State-of-the-Art,” “World Class” - sounds great, but what does it really mean? And, as we all can summise, “State-of-the-Art,” “World Class” is not, can not, and will not be low cost. How much will it cost? We will find out after this is so hyped up it will sound like “the greatest investment” no matter what the cost is.

6. Transportation personnel have indicated that the cost of operating the fleet of bus vehicles is very expensive. In fact, they want to spend a large sum of money to monitor the use of each vehicle. Well, that cost is going to get even higher if they are busing children to and from the GSC.

7. Student population is declining. A large investment would be made to service a shrinking number of students, increasing the cost per student.

8. “We have had talks with private businesses and institutions that have expressed interest in the possibilities of forming collaborative partnerships to help fund the Center. If we could move in that direction, we believe the Center could be funded without any need to raise taxes, or take away resources already allocated for other district purposes,” said Wallace. With the economy the way it is now, that does not sound like a reality. “If we could...” and “...we believe” holds no water. Does anybody remember “No new taxes”? Nor does this account for the ongoing cost of this facility. And, how soon will it get outdated and need to be “re-modernized?”

9. According to information provided regarding funding of the center, there is no need to raise taxes for this project because sufficient funds exist in other FBISD accounts. If that is really the case, pay back the excessive funds to the taxpayers! We surely would approve of a lower tax rate!

10. The rest of the story... That is the BIG question. Why spend so much time and effort to “sell” a GSC idea when that time and effort would be much better allocated to training teachers more about science? Is there another purpose behind this big project?

In finishing up, I find it rather curious that the main purpose of this “Global Center” is to improve the TAKS test, but nobody has indicated what verifiable improvement this Center would have regarding TAKS scores or how many students would actually be enlightened to become a Scientist.

Seems to me the FBISD board should set up a Learning Center for their own use: Financing, Budgeting, and Living Within Your Means. Now, ALL of America could benefit from that!

BRUCE HUTTON
REALTOR, Realty Associates

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Oyster Creek Park money wasted

Dear Coucilmen Schiff,

I have been a homeowner in your district for the past 25 years and have seen remarkable changes and progress in that time. One of those great changes is the addition of Oyster Creek Park. It is a wonderful addition to the city parks and particularly to the district 4 area.

There is however an issue that burns me because it involves a waste (as I see it, hopefully you can give me a logical answer) of time, material, resources, and most importantly, tax dollars. You see, ever since the 4th of July celebration has been held at Oyster Creek, the city, in preparing the park for the hords of people, seem intent on an annual ritual of breaking up curbs in front of the park to allow people to enter the park. Then repairing them the next day after the celebration. So in essence they break up prefectly good concrete for an 8 hour (at most) event and then replace it.

Questions:1 Why are they(City Parks) engaging in this annual event of wasting time, money, material? There are lots of places that concrete could be used in this city on a more permanent basis(my neighborhood to name one). 2. Has anyone at that department thought about puting in a permanent apron with nice decorative posts matching the restroom facade with a nice black chain and lock. Seems like a simple less expensive LONG TERM solution. I know this country has a problem with the concept of long term.

Please advise.

Respectfully yours,
R Rubin
Sugar Land

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Resident says it felt different this year regarding Independence Day

Dear Editor,

Independence Day, a day to celebrate America’s freedom and a day to reflect on this country’s great successes. It just didn’t seem quite that way this year. It seemed different, almost disappointing.

Is it the lack of freedom that we experience? Rules so domineering administered by local authorities like Fort Bend ISD and local Home Owner Associations. The first says you are a criminal if your child misses more than 2 days of school “unexcused” and the latter can issue a fine indiscriminately according to their “rules.” Is this really “freedom”?

We remember the Boston Tea Party. But are we aware, that as residents of Fort Bend County, that we have the 8th highest property tax rate of ALL counties in America? And statewide, Texas rates are the highest among all states? Please Fort Bend, give your residents a break! A 3.5 cent increase? And HOA fees – up,up,up....

Does a day go by that we don’t hear a story about a ponzi scheme, mortgage fraud, and the financial crisis? Perhaps we have earned a new moniker, “Land of the Greed.”

Perhaps more American flags will be sold when people feel they really live in “The Land of the Free”! Let’s hope that starts right here in Fort Bend County! Call your local Representative and let him/her know that you DO want to live in “The Land of the Free”!!

Regards,
Bruce Hutton
REALTOR, Realty Associates


Damn Socialists!

Dear Editor,

In a culture where ignorance is explained away as “common” it is no wonder a newspaper General Manager believes he can pass as a writer.

But this is not about Michael Fredrickson. It is about the assumption that we Americans have a superior health care system overall and that government operated health care is inferior. Neither of those contentions are valid. We, in the United States, have the lowest life expectancies and the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world. That is not my opinion, it is a fact. A baby born today in Cuba has a better chance of living until age 5 than one born in the United States. What better means do we have to measure quality of health care than infant moralities and life expectancies?

Anybody who does not think we already have socialized health insurance must not read much. We have programs called Medicare and Medicaid that manage the health care of millions of Americans. And since Micheal has chosen to make his insults personal, he must be as dumb as a box of rocks not to be aware of Medicare.

Another Government operated health care plan we have is called the Veterans Administration. I challenge Micheal to find any medical and hospital system in the world that is administered more efficiently. The VA in Houston serves more than 800,000 patients a year. It is a lifeline for millions of Americans.

It’s time the Righties learn that the term “socialist” is not as scary to most Americans as it seems to be for a few wing nuts. Now I am off to remodel my bathroom.

Paul Pappas
Sugar Land

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Carter responds to Sick & Tired article of July 8

Dear Editor:

I’m writing in response to Michael Fredrickson’s recent column about man-made global warming being a hoax. I don’t think it’s a hoax, but I’m pretty sure that Hell might be about to freeze over, because I do agree with him about cap and trade.

What we need to do is encourage the development of renewable energy technologies that don’t produce greenhouse gases. Because it wouldn’t hurt the environment, it might help and at the very least, it would help us end our dependence on foreign oil.

I think cap and trade is of dubious benefit in combatting climate change (which is really what it is -- global warming is a misnomer).

Sincerely,
Sherry Carter

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Accident victim needs help in finding person

Dear Editor,

I am sending this letter to you in hopes that someone will help with information regarding a car accident I had.

Last Sunday, June 28, at 4pm, I was the victim of a hit and run collision on Lakefield Way, in the Lakefield Subdivision, in Sugar Land.

A caucasian man, wearing a plaid shirt, sunglasses and a white baseball cap, approx. age 35-45, driving a large black 4x4 truck, was driving on the wrong side of the road on Lakefield Way and hit me and my daughter head on. He then backed up, disentangling his truck from my car, he pulled up alongside my car, asked if we were okay and then drove off. We believe he lives on Great Lakes Ave. in the Lakefield Subdivision.

One of the police officers who responded, went on foot in the neighborhood, and saw a man fitting the description, go into a house there (I have the actual house number but I am withholding it here). As of yet, no one has responded to knocks at the door. A neighbor confirmed to the police officer that someone at that house does drive a black 4x4 truck.

If anyone has any information regarding the owner of this truck, please contact the Sugar Land Police Department. My car is totaled and I would like the driver to own up to his financial responsibility.

Thank you,
LC - Missouri City

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Reader says CAD not responsive to taxpayers

Dear Editor:

Bev, as comment to your Bev’s Burner column last week, I’m with Commissioner Andy Meyers about the CAD’s plan. I think that the new location, which I assume the CAD will get, should be on the east side of the Brazos River. Mr. Whitehead , the chief appraiser, says that someday there will be more people on the west side of the county. Meanwhile, for 30 years, the majority of taxpayers have had to go the longer distances. Meyers says that he has a couple of landowners who are willing to donate land along the Grand Parkway. That would be a lot more convenient for for a majority of the property owners.

It hasn’t bothered the CAD that all protestors in May are inconvenienced by the hours of operation. Many people can’t get to the CAD from 8 to 4:30, Monday through Friday. No extended hours in May. No Saturdays or Sundays. Of course, they don’t really want to see protestors, anyway.

For the past 10 years my appraisal has gone up nearly the legal limit each year, and I always protest because my income hasn’t matched the CAD increases. Some years I get some reduction, but this year takes the cake. There are 21 Plantation (Baltimore model) homes in my neighborhood, all almost identical square footage and building date. About five years ago one of these nerighborts got a huge reduction in his appraisal, when none of the other property owners got such a reduction. For each of the years since, he always comes away with a lower appraisal than any of the other Plantation homeowners. This year, his settlement is $17,000, lower than my settlement.

I have pointed this out to my CAD handler but they just tell me that his documentation is better than mine. These appraisals are supposed to be made from photos of the front of the houses. That being the case, all 21 of these appraisals should be virtually identical. I think that this year there were 14 different numbers among these 21 properties, before protests.

This CAD system may be better than before the CAD, but it certainly isn’t perfect.

Wayne Chandler
Sugar Land

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First Colony homeowner frustrated

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the article in your 7-1 paper on the First Colony Homeowners association. Did FCCSA ever state in their interview why it is okay for one section of First Colony to have a particular type of fence such as the shadowbox but that it is not okay in other parts of First Colony? It looks like the question was asked and never answered.

The property you list in your article had the shadowbox fence on one side of the public street in public view for years and nothing was ever said until the other side of the corner lot was changed after the hurricane. The inspector from FCCSA spends a lot of time on Marigold Drive and Caladium Drive, so much so that she and her vehicle are easily recognized by the homeowners.

There is one homeowner that had the edges of their driveway widened with flagstone pavers. There are homes all over First Colony with this done. The homeowner was told that they had to have theirs removed because it was not approved for their section.

First Colony has a policy of what is good and okay for some is not good and okay for others based on the outcomes that we hear from Homeowners who have petitioned to FCCSA for modifications and appeals in the past.

We personally get a violation letter from them every spring stating we need to trim our bushes in the front yard and two weeks later the whole front yard is one huge azalea bloom. We have written letters and even requested the horticulturist address this with Jeanette the lady who inspects the neighborhood to no avail. You don’t cut plants back when they are going to bloom or during bloom. You cut plants back after they have finished their blooming process. We have even sent in photos with our letters with no response to this ongoing issue.

FCCSA needs to start focusing on the major issues in the neighborhoods and the public right of ways that they are in charge of, such as dead plants and nothing but weeds in right of ways and in front of homes, homes with guttering falling off, mold and mildew all over the homes, rotten wood.

FCCSA needs to leave the homeowners who take care of the homes and have pride in the way their homes and their subdivisions look alone.

Thank you
Nona Taylor

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Readers says thanks for Homeowner Assn. story

Dear Editor:

Thank you Beverly Carter for printing “First Colony homeowner frustrated about homeowner’s association rules on fences.”

Making HOA issues public, is desperately needed in order to collectively address the damages that are done, by our HOAs, to each of us, in isolation.

“The purple house” fear tool of the HOA is the very least of things that we should be afraid of! http://www.newterritorysentinel.com.

Sincerely,
Nancy

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False promises says reader
about “Clean Energy”

Bev,

I used to work for HL&P, and I did a lot of work at the W A Parish Plant. I’ve worked up an analysis on this effort to change our energy policy that I have not seen in any news articles. You may print this as something people should consider.

I have done a little research into the “Clean Energy” movement, and it’s false promises. The promise is that it will have little cost impact on you and I. The Bill in Congress is designed to either do away with coal fired generating plants, or make them so expensive, they’ll just have to shut down.

Just southwest of our area, is the largest coal fired electric generating plant in the US - W A Parish. It, and the South Texas Nuclear Plant, produce most of the power generated for the Houston area.

W A Parish has four coal fired units, producing 2,520 MW output. The largest modern windmill will produce up to 1.5 MW, if enough wind continues to drive it. Now that means it would take 1,680 windmills to equal the Parish Plant output. Each windmill has a diameter of 230 feet. Assuming it would take another 230 feet of separation to the next one, 1,680 windmills would stretch end to end, 159 miles. That would stretch from the Parish Plant to San Antonio.

All of this will be accomplished for “only $150 a year increase” in our electric bills. And all who believe that, I’ve got a lump of coal to help you keep warm this winter.

Don Braley
Missouri City

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Thank you for making this a front page item!

Dear Editor,

I rec’d two very similiarly worded responses to items I was selling on Craigslist. Broken English, etc. I spotted it for a scam and called SLPD. They referred me to HPD, whom I called. Left brief details and name/phone number. Never got a call back.

I still hold a UPS delivered check for $2350. I replied to one of the scammers that if they wanted their check back, they could get it at HPD. The other scammer’s e-mail was not functioning.

I called the 800 number of the Alabama bank that the check was written on. They verified it was fraudulent.

Thanks for warning the public!
Bill Dunavan

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Why not utilize empty strip malls for CAD?

Beverly,

One thought for you, although I find it hard to believe that you have not had it also, why can’t our representatives, county wide, see the possibilities of utilizing some of the empty strip malls for office space etc.

I would think that the CAD would have a good list of these places and I feel sure that sub stations would be far better and less expensive for us taxpayers. It would also help to remove some of these blights in our cities.

Oh! Maybe it would make the CAD to accessible to the general taxpayer population etc.

Congratulations on 31 years.

C.W. Riley

*Editor’s Note: You give me far too much credit. You give our representatives far too much credit. I had never thought of your idea but I’ll admit it is a capital one. Let’s see what happens.-bkc

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Resident asks District C rep. for help

Mr. Elackatt,

I am writing you in hopes that you can help the residents of Plantation Park. I have been trying to get the FCCA to maintain their drainage reserve behind our subdivision for two years. This reserve is located between two subdivisions, ours and another located closer to Lexington Creek Elementary and in back of homes in the 4500 block of Connies Court.

Last year when Ms. Gibson saw the reserve her response was, atrocious, awful, and an insult to the neighbors who have to live close to it. The city had to force FCCA to mow and cut down weeds and FCCA promised to maintain it on an ongoing basis. It has not been mowed but the one time.

Everything that can be seen from Dulles is neatly manicured but when you get out of eyesight, it is weedy and deplorable. Standing water is the norm. We have excess mosquito activity due to the water. Before the election, Ms. Gibson and Mr. Mc Keever had spoken with the association and they had promised to clean the area but nothing has been done.

I would be most appreciative if you would visit this area and see for yourself. I have taken photos of this on my camera phone but you can’t see the true nature of the problem unless you see it first hand.

If we, the residents of both Missouri City and FCCA residents would keep our property just 10% this bad, we would be taken to court immediately. How can residents be asked to keep their property if the entities that oversee us can’t be held to the same standards. I have heard that FCCA residents in Missouri City are step children to both entities. This is a prime example of this accusation. If we lived in Sugar Land, this would never have occurred.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I am forwarding this inquiry to our residents in a for their feedback and I encourage them to voice their concern to you also.

Jim White
Missouri City resident

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Bev, keep up the good work

Dear Beverly,

I wanted to say that I truly enjoy reading your opinions! I’m glad someone in the county isn’t afriad to express them. After reading your article about the sheriff’s cars I thought I would write to you.

I’ve wondered for a while now how (Deputy) Sheriff Brady was able to afford the 5 cars parked in his driveway. Now I know it’s because he didn’t pay for them. The taxpayers did. Also, since you ran the article about the new Dodge Chargers, his black one has not been in the driveway. What a coincidence?

Well, today’s the day!! When I got home... I looked over at the sheriff’s driveway and what did I see.....a new silver/white Dodge Charger parked in the driveway. I guess they had already put the order in before they went to commissioners court.

Keep up the good work Bev and next sheriff’s election should be fun!

Please withhold my name. Several of his neighbors have had problems with him. Our concern is that he will have us pulled over every time we leave our homes. My husband says there is nothing you can do because of how the “buddy” system is here in Fort Bend.

(Naturally)
Name withheld

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Teacher speaks out about
proposed Global Science Center

Dear Bev,

I enjoy reading the Star, to help keep me current on local Ft. Bend happenings, but I must admit, one of the first things I read is your column. I like the way you scorch people on Bev’s Burner.

I am a former teacher & current tax-payer in FBISD. We own a home and live in this district, but in my opinion, we need this new $26 Mil. Science Center, about as much as I need another navel.

I would be very interested on your ‘take’ about the rush to build a 26 million dollar science center for FBISD. AND the fact that there will be NO tax increase. This must be some kind of magic, no? Who ARE these “public-private partnerships” through which the purported financing will occur, and what do THEY have to gain?

Also I would be very interested in finding out EXACTLY how the FBISD faculty voted when this “study” was done. The report states that,...”the proposed science and tech center got high marks from the local business community and from FBISD teachers.” There is also a somewhat contradictory statement in the article which says...”A bond election isn’t a consideration since ‘the clear message the feasibility committee heard repeatedly is the public has no current appetite to fund this initiative’ with more taxes.”

It seems to me, that the most enthusiastic endorsement to build, comes from the CEO of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners. If THEY think this is such a grand idea, I propose they build it, privatize it, and then rent out the facilities to FBISD on an ‘as needed’ basis.

Thanks for lending me an ear, keep up the pit-bull journalism.

Sincerely,
Name withheld by request

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Teacher says no to Tech Center,
spend the money on campuses in need

Dear Beverly,

I always read your column first and look forward to it. I’d like you to look into the science center issue. I am a teacher who has been in FBISD for 26 years and am retiring this year (after 41 years). I, along with most teachers I know (and I know a lot of them), do not support the center. We think the money should be spent on the campuses, not on ongoing transportation and maintenance no matter who pays to build it.

I am currently more interested in a quote from David Wallace’s report that I read in The “Star” today that says there is enough bond money from previous issues to fund the center in its entirety. If that’s true why don’t they use the money to replace the AC systems in older schools instead of telling us we have to wait 1 or 2 more years? I have been at ----- Elementary for 23 years and the AC system is in bad shape. Many mornings we don’t have air and they have to jump start it or some such thing.

You probably shouldn’t use my name or my school’s name because I don’t want the school to have to wait 5 more years in retaliation and my principal doesn’t know I’m writing this.

Name withheld by request

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Healey’s lack of leadership exposed

 

Dear Editor,

In an effort to cover his political hide, District Attorney John Healey has exposed his lack of leadership and character.

A true leader would have been forthright in firing an employee, not tape the termination letter to the underside of a glass table.

Healey’s moral compass is not set on true north but on R for reelection at any cost.

His actions might be laughable if they weren’t a bad joke, one that is being perpetrated against the citizens of Fort Bend County.

It’s time for the citizens to send Healey out the same door that he sent Elliott.

Hopefully a new district attorney would truly believe in the concept of justice that Healey espouses but which he and his staff disregard in the “get-a-conviction-at-any-cost” mentality that pervades the office.

Norma Corbitt - Missouri City

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Dog owner says facts distorted in article

Dear Editor,

The information stated in this story (05-06-09) is completely incorrect. I am the owner of the dog that was harmed by the police officer. A police officer is not what you call someone who is cruel to animals.

The officer had no reason to shot (sic) our dog. The dog simply stood up and was barking at the officer, like any dog would do when a new person walks up. Our dog is not aggressive or attacking in any way and she never approached him in an aggressive manner.

The officer shot his weapon at the same time he told my husband to secure the dog. The dog was at least 10 feet away from the officer. The officer shot in the same direction of my husband and several other people. It is a miracle that the officer did not shot (sic) an innocent bystander.

We have three witnesses that confirm the officer was too trigger happy. The officer was completely out of line in the way he handled the situation. LeaAnne Klentzman should have gotten the facts of this story correct before she sent this to print.

We have not been contacted by Sugar Land Police Dept. or Animal Services and we did not receive any fines or tickets because the police know that their officer was in the wrong.

My husband is completely offended that he is considered the Dumb Criminal of the Week when it should be the police officer listed as the Dumb Criminal.

Any police officer that needlessly pulls out his weapon should be taken off the police force. He is clearly not a police officer that I would want protecting me because he would probably shoot me instead of the criminal.

Tanya Williams

*Editor’s Note:
Okay folks - about the officer shooting the dog - there are police reports and tapes of the incident. Keep your dog on a leash like the law prescribes and ...you won’t have this problem again.

By the way, didn’t you call the cops to come there in the first place? Furthermore, I never mentioned your husband’s name Ms. Williams - you are the one who outed his idenity. Offended? Most weeks we just outrage!

In the timeless words of the Bard - The lady doth protest too much, methink. LAK

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Reader seeks ALS awareness
and support for MDA

Dear Editor,

A-L-S. Those three letters never held much significance for me until 10 years ago, when I learned I have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

For those who don’t know, ALS is a ruthless killer; it gradually paralyzes all voluntary muscles, including those used for walking, talking, swallowing and breathing. There’s no cure, and most people survive only about three to five years.

One thing about receiving such a terrible diagnosis - you learn who you can count on. My family and friends are absolutely amazing. In addition, the Muscular Dystrophy Association provides invaluable help.

Besides sponsoring a worldwide program of ALS research, MDA provides me with medical care at the MDA/ALS Clinic at Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston. MDA helps people with ALS obtain expensive assistive equipment, and its support groups and online communities offer advice and hope.

May is National ALS Awareness Month and in this area, MDA will sponsor an ALS Lock-Up on Thursday, May 14 at the Outback Steakhouse in Katy. This event will provide information about ALS and raise funds to support MDA’s programs of ALS research, services and information.

ALS attacks healthy adults in the prime of life – like me. This May, please help conquer this disease by supporting MDA. To learn more, call (800) 572-1717 or visit www.als-mda.org.

Thank you for all of your support.

Sincerely,
Keith Gawrick
Katy, TX

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County at Large column draws attention

Ms. Skinner,

Your statement of “was not required of us by Federal or State law. Nor, did it require anything that was not already a goal of our department” is a bunch of hog-wash that we get from your type.

I might be mistaken, but the federal law was approved in year ~2000 and Fort Bend County is just now getting around to implementing it and I know why there is a lot of feet dragging.

Within a very few years, the Hispanic vote is going to be the majority vote and we will replace most state and local offices where the real political power exist.

And I know that’s where your fears are coming from. I would also fear if I was in your shoes because there is going to be a lot of “pay-back time” involved.

Of course, when that time comes, we will have double labels in Spanish & English on all cans of corn.

Basta, galleta! - Juan

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Skinner responds to feedback

Juan,

That was not MY statement, but the statement of the elections administrator of Fort Bend County.

My commentary on Spanish stands. I would like to know how you construed that I have “fears” pertaining to Spanish speaking individuals. I have a lot of Hispanic friends and associates who I admire and respect. Their attitude is like mine .. so please refrain from putting a label on me. I made that clear in my article.

So, your plan to take back the Alamo, with an attitude, is apparently not shared by all Spanish speaking or Mexican-Americans in this great country.

I would also like to know exactly what you mean when you say, and I quote:

“I would also fear if I was in your shoes because there is going to be a lot of “pay-back time” involved.”

Believe me when I say “fear” long since disappeared from my vocabulary.

Thank you for your feedback. I am forwarding your letter to our Editor for publication.

Cheryl

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Reader shares facts about
the various flu epidemics

Dear Editor:

The World Health Organization has just ratcheted up the threat alert for the swine flu epidemic to Phase 4 (out of 6). Along with the avian flu of a decade ago, the Hong Kong flu of 1968, and the Asian flu of 1957, swine flu has been traced to animal waste in a factory farm. Its H1N1 type virus is nearly identical to that of the Spanish flu, which killed more than 50 million people in 1918-19.

Today’s factory farms constantly expose sick, crowded, highly stressed animals to contaminated feces, urine, and other secretions. They provide ideal breeding grounds for the replication and mutation of viruses and bacteria into more lethal forms.

In fact, Wikipedia lists more than 70 human diseases that are developed and transmitted by animals, frequently through confinement and crowding. Among these are such infamous killers as AIDS, bubonic plague, cholera, diphtheria, Ebola and dengue fever, measles, SARS, smallpox, West Nile virus, and yellow fever (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoonotic_diseases).

Every one of us can help prevent the development and spread of these killer diseases by replacing animal products in our diet with healthful vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains. These foods don’t carry deadly microbes (unless contaminated by animal waste), are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.

Sincerely,

Stanley Stryker
Stafford

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Resident speaks out about Tea Party gathering

Bev,

I read with interest and some amazement Michael Fjetland’s comments and your PS- also noting that he managed to get in a plug for a local eatery! Amazement that such a supposedly intelligent and well connected person would so obviously miss the point.

The Tea Parties expressed the outrage that people feel against CONGRESS and the political classes, irrespective of party affiliations, who have for decades, misspent trillions of our tax dollars .

There were some anti Obamans at the Sugar Land rally, which I attended, entitled to express their opinion, but for most of the “party goers” - their frustration and anger was directed at the system as a whole, and Congress in particular. Rep. Pete Olsen’s anti-Democratic comments were met with tepid applause, whereas Dr Neil Frank’s concise explanation of the Global Warming phenomenon was loudly endorsed.

It does seem from the mainstream media’s dismissal and ridicule of this “grass roots” movement, that when it is a Democratic movement it is lauded, but anything else is either ridiculous, stupid, misdirected or downright anti-American.

(Mrs) Lee Chapman
Sugar Land

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DA responds ... says Robert prosecution justified

Dear Editor;
Contrary to the opinion of Mr. Dick Tate, one of the attorneys for Fulshear Mayor Jamie Roberts, I still have my moral compass. It is my conscience that guides my professional life. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure admonishes every prosecutor “to see that justice is done.” This grave responsibility guides me as I work with the 44 prosecutors of my office in examining approximately 11,000 cases annually for consideration of criminal prosecution. Additionally, almost all major decisions are discussed and analyzed by myself, key personnel, and or chief prosecutors, prior to their implementation.

In the matter of Mayor Roberts, he, his defense team, and political pundits have suggested that the goal of my office was to force his resignation. This assertion is false and not supported by my relationship with Mayor Roberts. In fact, before Mayor Roberts’ actions pertaining to this case, I was pleased that he was Fulshear’s mayor as well as a friend and supporter of mine. He allowed his name to be used in support of my re-election efforts. He called me during the investigation by the sheriff’s office into his alleged theft of two carports. We spoke cordially several times after he was indicted and shook hands even during his trial.

I was aware that bringing charges against a popular public figure was politically unwise. But no citizen is above the law, and so the Judicial Process was followed. A police investigation took place. The Grand Jury heard from over thirty witnesses including Jamie himself. Mayor Roberts was indicted and a trial was conducted.

Many criminal matters result in negotiated settlements, just like in civil cases. But when the sides to a criminal lawsuit can not resolve the issue, a full trial is frequently had. When negotiations failed in the Roberts case, the choice was to either try the case involving alleged misuse of tax dollars or to drop the matter. The latter choice would send a clear message that the District Attorney’s Office allows similar actions to go unchallenged.

Important facts on which the state based its decision to seek indictments of Mayor Roberts were as follows:

In October, of 2006, the late Jim Gibson reported that two of his carports had been taken from an easement. This easement was not on property owned by the city of Fulshear, nor Jamie Roberts, nor Metro. It was on private land.

In September of 2006, a man named David Rabius approached Roberts about two carports located on property set back from the intersection of FM 359 and FM 1093. Roberts told Rabius that if Rabius moved one of the carports to Roberts’ property, then Rabius could have the second carport. Roberts told Rabius which carport he wanted and where to take it. The second carport was subsequently attached to Rabius’ garage.

In a sworn statement, given on October 11, 2006, Roberts stated:

1.) David had inquired as to two carports on the property located at the south east corner of FM 1093 and FM 359.

2.) The carports were abandoned.

3.) David took carports and delivered one to my place.

4.) I had no knowledge that the carports belonged to any individual.

Yet, in another sworn statement dated 2/5/07, Mayor Roberts stated:

1.) They (the carports) belong to a gentleman, and I called him on his cell phone, Jesse.

2.) And I asked Jesse what do you want to do with these (the carports).

3.) And he said : have him (the carport mover, Rabius) put one of them at the barn, but the other one he can just have.

Roberts had completely contradicted his earlier sworn statement that the carports were abandoned and unowned!

Roberts’ sworn statement mentioned several times that Roberts had called Jesse on the day he and Rabius went to the location of the carports. Roberts said that he called from his cell phone, and he gave its number, yet a subsequent check of Roberts’ cell phone records showed that no call had been made to Jesse’s cell phone for the month of September 2006.

Roberts claimed in this statement, that in his October 11, 2006 statement, that he had told the Sheriff’s Department detective that Jesse had been the owner of the carports, but that the detective chose to omit it from Roberts’ October 11, 2006 statement. Under oath at trial, the detective denied this assertion.

Ultimately, the cases regarding the alleged theft of the carports could not be pursued because the law requires that for a theft conviction, it must be proven that the owner did not give his consent to the taking of his property. The death of the owner made a conviction unlikely, so they were dismissed. The most serious case for which Roberts was tried consisted of Roberts’ alleged use of taxpayers’ money to pay for a survey, allegedly used in defending himself in his carport case and not for the city’s business.

Trial evidence showed:

1.) Mayor Roberts claimed the survey showed the location of the carports at the time they were moved by Rabius.

2.) Mayor Roberts under oath on September 17, 2007 told multiple stories as to the reason he ordered the survey.

3.) The survey was ordered approximately three weeks prior to its presentation to authorities.

4.) Roberts under oath on September 17, 2007 said that the purpose of the survey was for mowing and beautification, yet this statement indicated that mowing had been going on for approximately a year prior to the survey being ordered.

5.) Mayor Roberts knew that the city was to be charged for the survey he ordered.

6.) The city paid this bill of over $1,100.00.

Long before the trial, efforts were made by my office to resolve the matter. Mr. Tate has claimed that “the D.A. told the mayor’s first lawyer the charges would be dropped if Roberts would resign. There was no effort to get the property back.” This statement by Mr. Tate is factually inaccurate. After becoming aware of the evidence regarding the carports, I had the following offer conveyed to Mr. Roberts’ first attorney: That the mayor should, to avoid prosecution, pay full restitution to the owner of the carports, make a public statement in which he accepted responsibility for their taking, and resign from office.

Public officials who have run afoul of the legal system have frequently been expected by the public and prosecutors to resign their office to avoid prosecution. The Mayor’s attorney responded that he thought that the Mayor may be agreeable to the offer, except that he would not resign his office. I believe that my offer was conveyed to the mayor, because attorneys have an ethical responsibility to convey offers to their clients.

Mr. Tate and I met a few weeks before trial. By this time the owner of the carports had died and we had conveyed that fact to Mayor Roberts’ legal team. We were focusing on the charge involving the misuse of taxpayer money. Mr. Tate asked if there was any way that they could avoid the Mayor’s resignation. “What if we paid restitution?” Mr. Tate inquired. I felt the public had a right to expect restitution, (now to the estate of the carport owner and to the city of Fulshear) and an explanation and resignation. I declined Mr. Tate’s suggestion. He promptly said “Then we’ll go to trial.” And we did.

Multiple trials occur almost every week in the Fort Bent County Courthouse and our office wins the majority. Both the accused and state place the facts before a jury. To prevail, the state must prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Mr. Roberts’ acquittal meant that the jury was not convinced of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

My office accepts and respects the jury’s verdict. We have convicted murderers, child molesters, robbers, drivers driving while intoxicated, thiefs, burglars, and drug dealers to name a few. I can assure you that before, during, and after the Roberts case, I listened to, and will continue to listen to, that voice inside of me that seeks to do JUSTICE.

John Healey

District Attorney
Fort Bend County

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Reader says it’s too late for the TEA

Bev,

I got to my Ft. Bend office for the first time in over a week and saw the Star while I had lunch at the Texan Grill.

The photo of the tons of people in SL square for the Tea Party was too funny. I couldn’t help but laugh. WHERE were all these people the last 8 years when Bush and the GOP was doubling our national debt? Where was their concern then for pushing the costs off on future generations - and doubling a debt in 8 years that took 200+ years to build?

The last government was happy to borrow heavily to pay for wars even during the good economic times, when being conservative should have applied to the budget.

Too funny. And what is the new President who inherits a ship piled up on a reef supposed to do...NOTHING? People aren’t going to elect a do-nothing leader (except maybe for Gov of Texas). It takes money to pull the Exxon Valdez off the reef and clean up the mess. Only rich people can survive a leader doing nothing in such times.

Let’s get real people. You are criticizing the clean-up efforts caused by other people - Obama wasn’t President the last 8 years. He wasn’t given the luxury of a stable hand-off to work with. He’s had to be more like an emergency doctor when a patient is brought in with massive bleeding. You can’t criticize the doctor in that situation...

So spare me the tea...

Michael Fjetland

*Publisher’s note: The funniest thing I’ve seen about the tea party are those little Republican woman wearing tea bags on their ears for earrings! Don’t they know how silly they look and can they expect us to take them seriously? BKC

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Star reporter hit the mark on this one

Dear Editor,

I was angry after reading “Fort Bend agrees with Feds on Spanish Voting” (Star, Page 1, April 15. I want to thank Cheryl Skinner for her response to this article (page 5 )...I know you spoke for many Americans, Cheryl.

Where does the County Commissioners (arrogantly) agree with the D.O.J. on violation of our Immigration laws? .You must be a citizen to be eligable to vote, and knowledge of the English Language is required for citizensip.

Your story of your grandparents can be told of millions of immigrants that came here more than a century ago.

The Mexicans (illegal) are favored by the law that gives them free education for their children, free emergency health care ( with interpretors ), welfare, and jobs that Americans DO want, but can’t support a family on the low wages.

They have Spanish speakng TV, radio stations. and spanish language on virtually everything that is published. Now we must let them vote( and as you noted, unintelligently).

They hogged our roads a few years ago, waving the Mexican flag, and protesting...I’m not sure what. In California, at one school( I believe it was Whittier),they hung the Mexican flag, with the Amercan flag underneath, upside down. In the Military that means durress, under seige...and they got by with it.

They have 3 political organizations (LULAC, MALDEF,lA RAZA) That are fighting our government to give them rights that are researved for American citizens. If they get citizenship rights, then we no longer have a solvern country.

If you get “tarred and feathered” for your article, it will probably be by “left-wing terrorists”, and if this article gets published, I will be branded a racists and immigration-basher.

I WONDER WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF ALL THE ALIENS COMMING HERE FROM MANY DIFFERENT PLACES DEMANDED THE SAME BENEFITS GIVEN THE MEXICANS ?

Edward F Stimach ( patriotic and loyal citizen )

Stafford,Tx

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Hello Cheryl,

I totally agree with your views as stated in your article of April 15.

My ancestors also had to learn English. It is stated in the constitution to become a US citizen one must know English. My ancestors were not met with free health care, food stamps and numerous other subsidies that are available to current immigrants (legal and illegal). They learned about politics from newspapers in their language. The newspapers were paid for by subscribers and advertisements. From their newspapers and community gatherings, voting decisions could be made before they arrived at the voting booths.

Billions of taxpayer’s dollars could be saved if English were the official language of the United States of America. Is there a politician that has the guts to push for this???

Thank you for listening.

G. Primm

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Dear Editor,

I agree with Cheryl Skinner. If you don’t speak, write, understand ENGLISH, YOU DON’T VOTE.

Voting is a very responsible thing and if you are not able to do your homework on the canidates and propositions think of the outcome. Not to mention the so called special interpreters who could turn the vote by prompting these people to vote as they wanted them to. Stacked elections I thought were illegal?

If these people have been in the US long enough to vote and hopefully are citizens?, I would wonder why they do not speak ENGLISH. My grandfather and his family also came from a foreign country, they learned to speak ENGLISH, were proud to be AMERICANS. They flew the AMERICAN flag not that of their country and kept thier customs in the family, not in the courts trying to force thier their ways upon us and break down our values.

Lynn Eissler

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Dear Editor,

In response to Ms. Cheryl Skinner’s article on “Spanish language in the voting booth” in Wednesday’s paper, I agree with her assessment.

It does not make any sense to make it easy for Mexicans only. They’re the only race in the United States that have things laid out for them in their native tongue.

Please be aware that this country was built on the backs of African slaves and not immigrants from Spain, England, Ireland, Italy, Germany Poland and other countries.

Sincerely,

Audie Culbert

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Dear Ms. Skinner,

Thank you for your article “SPANISH LANGUAGE IN THE VOTING BOOTH”

This was an excellent article and contained the feelings of many of we Americans whose ancestors came here from other countries.

My family came though Ellis Island from Italy and we spoke English in our home. All the immigrants that come her now, from other countries, excel because they too speak English.

But the Spanish population lags behind because of their indifference to this requirement. We are constantly making exceptions for this and it needs to stop.

THIS IS AMERICA AND WE SPEAK ENGLISH HERE.

Terrie Bowen

Cheryl,

Your article of April 15, 2009 was RIGHT ON!!! There is nothing I can add to your thoughts.

Why don’t our weak kneed politicians see things this way?? All they want is votes from whomever and think giving away our country to keep their job is paramount.

Keep up the good work. I hope most of your readers support you.

Tom Altenbern

Missouri City

Cheryl,

Amen...I could not have said it any better.....I work in the public and I am completely appalled at the number of people that EXPECT us to have someone to translate for them.

This is America and the language spoken is English...so either learn it or go back to where you came from!

Terri Bradley

Reader tells Bev she should have
bashed county auditor in her “Burner”

Bev,

Wake up - I can’t believe you allowed a page 1 story about the county auditor to slide by without at least pointing out the absurdity of his position in your column!!

His comments harken back to Enron - we can keep our future liabilities off the balance sheet - you don’t need to know what’s fixin to happen to you. Or perhaps, the similarity to the AIG mess is more apt - we can sell the credit default swap now and not worry about the risk of default and loss unless it actually happens later - well it happened to AIG and will happen to the county in the future.

For example, with the county’s worker’s compensation program, while the actuary may not know the precise amount the county will have to pay, we know we will have to pay something for officers and employees already injured (indeed even Sturdivant admits that) with on-going care needs. The actuary’s estimate is just that, but insurers and others routinely rely on those very same types of estimates to establish their financial reserves and stability. Sturdivant’s attitude will lead to the county to over spend by ignoring incurred liabilities payable in future years.

It is interesting to note that Ed Sturdivant didn’t significantly question the accuracy of the actuary’s methodology, only that people were being told how much the county would have to pay in the future. Would your banker accept a fiancial statement that didn’t include your known future year liabilities (like the lease on your plant??).

This is dangerous, especially if the commissioners are too dumb to understand they are being sold down the river!!!

Name Withheld

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Fort Bend District Attorney
accused of abuse of power

Dear Editor:

It has now been two months since the jury’s swift not guilty verdict in the Jamie Roberts trial. Many of the thoughts contained in this letter were written on the night of the jury’s verdict. I have waited until now to finalize this letter to ensure that I did not simply react to the emotion of the moment, but that my comments could stand the test of deliberate reflection upon the facts.

At the outset, I disclose that I was a member of his defense team assisting lead lawyer Rusty Hardin, Mr. Hardin’s partner Andy Drumheller and Mr. Hardin’s investigator Jim Yarborough. They were an extraordinary defense team whose skills became absolutely necessary due to the prosecution’s total obsession with obtaining Mr. Roberts’ resignation as Mayor or a conviction that would force his resignation.

I am a civil lawyer. The Roberts trial was the first criminal trial in which I have been involved. Though I have not practiced criminal law, I have been privileged to work with and against many of the finest trial lawyers in Texas. I recognize competent, ethical trial tactics and conduct. I recognize unfair, unethical trial tactics and conduct. I recognize the difference between the two. To my great disappointment, I witnessed an abusive, result-oriented prosecution, and an incompetent and tunnel-visioned investigation by a sheriff’s detective, combine to almost destroy the life of a good man. As soon as the verdict was read, one of Jamie’s friends and fellow church members who sat through the trial said, “Thank God.” Another ran up to Jamie and said, “God is good.” To which Jamie responded, “God is indeed good.” Typical of Jamie’s tendency to see the good in everything.

Throughout the trial, just when I thought the prosecution had reached a new low in its abusive tactics, another abusive tactic emerged. The number of abusive tactics are too many to cover in one letter. I will focus only on the first, the prosecution’s decision to initiate a criminal case. The case started with a charge that Mr. Roberts, acting in his official capacity as Mayor of Fulshear, stole two metal carports from Jim Gibson. The crime charged was a specific intent crime. That is, if Mayor Roberts did not intend to deprive Mr. Gibson of Mr. Gibson’s property, then he could not have committed the crime.

The carports in question were two carports of questionable value, whose ownership was seriously in question, that Mr. Roberts believed were located on a Metro Right of Way, on which the City of Fulshear had a license from Metro and had the right to clean and beautify. The carports were an eyesore and had long been the subject of numerous complaints by citizens of Fulshear. The Mayor believed he was simply carrying out his responsibilities and acting within his authority as Mayor to have the carports removed and beautify the City.

Against this backdrop, the dispute should have been nothing more than a civil dispute. Even if the carports belonged to Mr. Gibson and had been taken improperly, the DA knew exactly where they were. One of the carports was in Wharton on the property of the man who moved them. That man has never offered to return the carport and the DA has never asked him to do so. Interestingly he was one of the DA’s star witnesses against Mr. Roberts. The other carport is in the possession of Jessie Montes, the man the Mayor believed to be the owner of the carports at the time they were moved. Mr. Montes offered to give that carport to Mr. Gibson but neither Mr. Gibson nor the DA were interested. Instead, the DA also indicted Mr. Montes. Both carports could have been easily returned, ending the matter. After all, if Mr. Gibson had gotten the carports back, he would have suffered no damage.

However, it became apparent from the outset that the case was not about allegedly stolen carports but all about an attempt by the DA’s office to accomplish for Mr. Roberts’ political enemies what those enemies could not accomplish at the ballot box–getting Mayor Roberts out of office. Shortly after the charges were filed the DA told the Mayor’s first lawyer that the charges would be dropped if Mr. Roberts would resign. What is wrong with this picture? There is no effort to get the property back but only to get the Mayor to resign! When the Mayor refused to resign, the DA assigned not only Mike Elliott, one of his most experienced prosecutors but also 11 year veteran Mark Hanna to conduct the prosecution. And, apparently that was not enough firepower, so the DA’s First Assistant, Fred Felcman, joined in a relentless triple team cross examination of Mr. Roberts during his second grand jury appearance.

As if a top heavy prosecution team of Senior Assistant District Attorneys was not enough, Mr. Roberts also had to face an incompetent, tunnel-visioned investigation by a detective who rushed to judgment and ignored incredibly relevant evidence that Mr. Roberts was just doing his job as Mayor, that he had no intent to violate the law, that the carports did not belong to Mr. Gibson and were not located on Mr. Gibson’s land. At trial, Chief Deputy Craig Brady of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department testified that in his opinion the investigation demonstrated “gross incompetence” and was “an embarrassment” to him as Chief Deputy and to the Fort Bend Sheriff’s Department as a whole. Unlike the DA, the Sheriff’s office recognized the injustices of the investigation and demoted the investigator.

So, at the outset the DA was evaluating a charge of theft, requiring specific intent, against a highly respected man, a strong family man of impeccable reputation in the community, with a long history of dedicated service as Mayor of Fulshear and President of the Lamar CISD School Board, active and highly respected in his church. The property supposedly stolen were two carports of questionable value, questionable ownership and questionable location, readily available to be returned with no harm to Mr. Gibson. The DA (if he had correctly read the appropriate Metro licensing agreements) should have realized that the City of Fulshear had the right to remove the carports from the Metro right of way and, until a survey was subsequently done, no one could say for sure that the carports were or were not on the Metro right of way. A reasonable DA would have simply arranged for the return of the carports and moved on to matters that deserved the attention of his office. However, Mr. Healey chose not to do so, choosing instead to mount a misguided all out assault to obtain the Mayor’s resignation. When the DA could not get Mr. Roberts to resign, he chose to assign his top three prosecutors to the task of bringing Mr. Roberts down no matter what the cost to the taxpayers (and that cost was enormous), no matter what the cost to Mr. Roberts (once again enormous), no matter what the danger to Mr. Roberts health ( he suffered a heart attack following the indictments), no matter what the impact upon his family (how does one eradicate from the minds of his grandchildren the trauma of his arrest and the humiliation they suffered at their schools) and no matter what the damage to his good name (where does he go to restore his good name?).

In closing, I also disclose that I was President of the Fort Bend County Bar Association at the time that Mr. Healey was appointed by visiting Judge Jim Clawson to replace Jack Stern who was removed from office. Ironically, Mr. Hardin represented Fort Bend County in the removal action upon the request of then County Attorney Bud Childers. After Mr. Hardin successfully obtained a verdict requiring Mr. Stern’s removal, Judge Clawson asked both Mr. Hardin, in his capacity as the county’s lawyer in the matter, and me, in my capacity as Bar Association President, to recommend a replacement District Attorney. After conferring with my executive committee, I gave Judge Clawson three names for his consideration, one of whom was John Healey. Mr. Hardin also recommended Mr. Healey. During the ensuing 16 years I have remained a friend of John Healey despite many situations where his judgment has been questionable. However, having now observed his conduct and that of his office during the grand jury and the trial phases of Jamie Roberts’ case; and, having now observed not only his refusal to apologize to Mr. Roberts and his family, but his desperate attempt to justify this groundless prosecution, I regretfully conclude that Mr. Healey has lost his moral compass and, in my opinion, is no longer professionally or ethically deserving to hold the office of District Attorney.

Respectfully,
Dick Tate

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Co. mandates mail order prescriptions

Dear Comm: James Patterson, Andy Meyers, Grady Prestage, Richard Morrison,

It has come to my attention that you have decided to use a mandatory mail order pharmacy for county employees and families. This means I can no longer fill prescriptions for long-time customers.

What a slap in the face for all Fort Bend pharmacies, especially locally owned and operated. In your desire to achieve a perceived cost reduction, you have overlooked a few details.

In the pharmacy business it is a well-known fact that mail order prescriptions do not save you, the employer, any money. It moves these dollars out of the county and out of the state.

Does your mail order pharmacy live in Fort Bend County?

Does your mail order pharmacy hire employees in Fort Bend County? ( I have 15)

Does your mail order pharmacy shop locally for other goods and services in Fort Bend County?

Does your mail order pharmacy pay taxes in Fort Bend County? ( I do, personal and business)

I have an example of money lost by me and the county for just one family that I can no longer service.

For 2008 this one family had a total cost of drugs $9,131.35 plus copays of $1,834.03 for a total of $ 10,965.38. This will be gone for me and for dollars turned in Fort Bend County to generate our economy.

Please review your decision and notice how it affects the total community. I am available at most any time to talk to you or hear your explanation.

Sincerely,
Ed Sziy
Ed’s Pharmacy

*Editor’s Note: Ed, I don’t know what you expect from a bunch of men who have named the India Herald as their official county newspaper. The India Herald is not even published in Fort Bend County. BKC

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Reader asking for help for
stray dogs/cats in shelter

Dear Editor,THREE DAYS ONLY and we will be euthanized. Yes, this is what happens to cats and dogs at the Fort Bend County Shelter after three days.This facility takes in approximately 600 cats and dogs per month in Fort Bend County.

Because of these high numbers, owner’s turn ins are euthanized almost immediately and strays are given 3 days before they are euthanized. People, wake up, we have a problem here and something has to be done, remember the employees at Fort Bend County are only doing their job and they did not create this problem but irresponsible pet owners have.

Please do not think because this is a shelter that your pets are safe, they are not, this is the county pound and they do what they have to do to make room for others that come in everyday. If you have ever thought about volunteering (church groups, honor society groups, etc...), now is the time to act.

I encourage the community to form a group similar to Friends of Barc to help these cats and dogs so that they may have a chance at a better life which is what each and every one of them deserve. I encourage you to visit the pound, the facility is immaculate and they have wonderful cats and dogs available for adoption that are desperate and pleading for your help. I also encourage you to spay, neutor and microchip or tag your pets for easy identification.

If your pet comes up missing in Fort Bend County or surrounding areas act immediately by visiting this facility because your description of your pet may not match theirs over the phone.I have been a rescuer for over 20 years and I know people do not think about what is going on but everyone needs to know the reality of what is happening to these cats and dogs everyday so we can stop this and give them hope.

This is why I felt the need to bring it to light because we as rescuers need help too, there are few too many of us trying to help all of them and we cannot do it alone. We all need to do our part in our communities to address this problem and end overpopulation.

They need your help, please get involved.If you are interested contact Fort Bend County Animal Control located at 1210 Blume Road Rosenberg. Their number is 281-342-1512. Visitation hours are 10-4 Monday thru Friday.

Sincerely,
Sharon Rode

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“Bailout”, I think not - looting
more like it says reader

Dear Editor,More news of the looting, er, “bailout.”Just what part of “it’s OUR money” don’t these people understand?Two trillion (yep) given out in loans, with no indication as to where it (OUR money) went. Bloomberg has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out what the heck they are doing with OUR money. (“Fed Defies Transparency Aim in Refusal to Disclose” at www.bloomberg.com.)And Neel Kashkari, interim head of the new Office of Financial Stability (i.e., Chief Bailout Honcho), is apparently allergic to questions, according to the New York Post. (“Answers, Please! Kashkari Angers Troubled Financial Execs” at www.nypost.com.)I’m not any kind of an economist. I can see that we’re in trouble, and I hope that something will be done that will help - that’s about it.But, I don’t have to be an economist to feel that there’s something wrong with taking a whole bunch of OUR money, putting it in the hands of the wolves (both Paulson and Kashkari are formerly of Goldman Sachs), and refusing to answer questions about it and/or acting as if the questions (about OUR money) are impertinent.Vicki Coffman

Richmond, TX

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Newspaper junkie appalled
at publishers editorial on November 5

Dear Bev,

As a news junkie who would like to count on my local news sources to report the facts as they actually transpired, I am appalled at the photoshop altering and partial reporting of the endorsements of the 4 propositions on the ballot last week.

Yes, it is your newspaper and you have the right to editorialize in any way you want and to choose what news to report or not report. But, once determining that a story is news worthy it is unethical to alter the facts. We, the readers, need to know that the facts reported as news (different from an editorial) are news.

If a newspaper, for instance, chooses to only report crimes committed by blacks, that is the owner’s/editor’s right (even though such exclusive reporting would be recognized and detrimental to the newspaper). However, if the newspaper were to run a story about a bank robbery that, in actuality, was commited by 6 criminals, 3 black and 3 white, and the newspaper reported it as a crime by 3 black men, that would be unethical changing of the facts to promote an agenda.

In the case of the propositions endorsements, if you wanted to write an editorial influencing readers’ votes, that is certainly your right, as long as it is clear that it is an editorial and not a report of facts. But, if you are reporting facts, like who endorses the issue (or candidate), when those endorsements could affect voters’ votes, you can no more misrepresent those facts than can you legally claim the proposals/bills say anything different than what they actually say. I fear, as President of our local Optimist Club (although everything written here are my own opinions and do not reflect the opinions or sentiments of the Optimist club), that if we submit a photo of Oratorical contest winners that includes a child of an unacceptable ethnicity or family, that photo could be altered to replace an actual winner with (say) Bev’s grandson.

Respectfully submitted,
Judy Karonika

Bev responds

First, let me say that the letter above was edited to take out all inflamatory words. I believe I made it very clear the whys of my editing out a ligtious attorney from my newspaper. I’m afraid he might sue me again. I want to point out that the photo I cut was a photo expressing an editorial opinion, rather than a news item. I don’t think you can ever find an incidence where I or any of my reporters have failed to report the news in an unbiased fashion. I might also point out that if you are a news junkie, then you know the Star prints more news about Fort Bend County than any other newspaper.

Your comment that I have an obligation to report who is endorsing the bond is true. And I did report the FOUR mayors who were. I just didn’t report everybody who was, including the fifth former mayor because he sued me before and I was afraid he would sue me again. I also didn’t report the he didn’t endorse it. I just ignored him.

If you know me, my family, and my newspaper, you must know there is NO child of unacceptable ethnicity as far as I’m concerned, and the fact that you might come up with such a ludicrous comment tells me where your feelings are. The idea that I would replace a winner with the face of my own grandchild flies in the face of the thousands of children we have pictured in the pages of the Star over the past 30 years. And I particularly think it is funny that you bill yourself as president of the Optimist Club but claim to not represent the other club members. Then why did you bring it up?

Bev Carter

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Tree removal stirs anger
in Sugar Land residents

Dear Editor,

My husband and I attended the October board meeting of Fort Bend L.I.D.#2.

It is worth noting that the Fort Bend L.I.D. board’s attorney did contact me several days after the meeting and assured me that the tree cutting that had been authorized was only for removal of damaged or diseased trees. This statement does not match up with the work they actually performed. The following day, Glen Gill arranged a meeting with Greg Franks, the engineer from Costello Engineering who is Fort Bend L.I.D. #2’s engineer, along with my husband and I and four others.

The engineer defined what was necessary to comply with the Corps of Engineers R.I.P. (Rehabilitation and Inspection Program), which is what the board is attempting to do with all of their levees in spite of the fact that they cannot comply with several of the standards including no trees on the levee or on either side of the levee for 15 feet out from the toe of the levee.

Commonwealth and Avalon homeowners own the 15 feet out from the toe of the levee on the interior side and Fort Bend L.I.D. #2 does not have the right to come into our yards. Also, the intersections that the levee crosses under would need to be raised as well and the board has no plans for that since it is cost prohibitive. So our stance is, why are they destroying the trees which do have much value to the neighborhood and community when they can’t comply with what they are striving for and the perimeter levee was sufficient for FEMA to grant certification on in the first place.

Sincerely,
Lou Davenport
Sugar Land

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SL resident says LID #2 should
have done its homework

Dear Editor,

First, let me say THANK YOU for publishing an article about this subject (yours was the first I’ve seen). I live along this levee in Avalon Gardens and was flabbergasted when I saw that they were removing trees that were not damaged from the storm. I took pictures along the levee near us of the tree damage the day after Ike hit and there were VERY FEW trees damaged and even fewer pulled down by the storm. I would guess less than 5 % of the trees were effected by Ike. That says a lot about the strength/integrity of those trees because this was a very unusual storm where they had to withstand hurricane force winds for a much longer period of time than normal, even for a hurricane.

One item in contention that your article didn’t mention was if they plan to raise the levees to bring them into compliance with the new stricter requirements and keep us from having to buy flood insurance, do they plan to raise the levees at the street intersections as well? If not, they can’t comply anyway so why did they remove all the trees? Seems like someone didn’t do their homework on this one and now we are without shade & beauty, and the deer, wood ducks, birds, armadillos, etc are without a home.

Sue McFee
Sugar Land

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Infuriating, though not surprising says Coffman

Dear Editor,The banks that are receiving bailout funds are basically doing whatever they please with the money (yes, we knew that was going to happen, but it is infuriating nonetheless). “Whatever they please” apparently includes a lot more acquisitions than loans. This appears to be fine with Mr. Paulson. It’s not fine with me.For details, please refer to the New York Times editorial of October 28, 2008, entitled “Loans? Did We Say We’d Do Loans?”

I recommend you read the whole thing for yourself (www.nytimes.com), but it basically describes pigs feeding at the trough we’ve filled for them.You might want to have a look at “So When Will Banks Give Loans?” (also from the New York Times), the origin of the editorial. A journalist got a call-in number for a JPMorgan conference call where the truth was told ... that the the money is going to be used for the banks’ own bottom line, period.

We’re lucky the truth got out. And now we need to do something about it. I’ve started by screaming bloody murder to my representatives, and I’m going to keep on doing so for as long as it takes. I’m tired of living in a plutocracy, and I’m tired of no-questions-asked corporate welfare.
Vicki Coffman

Richmond, Texas

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