Friday, March 16, 2012

IT AIN’T OVER YET, FEMA FRAUD CASE BACK IN THE NEWS

Continuing to differentiate herself from the other traditional longtime media, Editor Vanessa Brashier should be complimented for covering the continued saga and downfall of longtime Democrat and former County Judge Phil Fitzgerald. It is not her job to prosecute him or to defend him (like the local radio station seems to think is there job), but the paper is fulfilling the role traditional media around here has been found lacking in heretofore.

To read her paper’s story on the most recent ruling in federal court please go to:
http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/cleveland/news/former-liberty-county-judge-will-go-to-trial-for-fema/article_52ebab06-8ff3-5753-9468-5d24a066bf25.html

Liberty Dispatch is left wondering if stories about Fitzgerald and former Commissioner Lee Groce demanding that all of their attorneys’ fees be paid by the taxpayers of Liberty County had an influence on the feds handling of the most recent negotiations with the Fitzgerald. Whether it did or not, I hope some of our public officials are standing guard against further injury to the taxpayers in this case.

MCCARTY: GOOD NEIGHBOR, GREAT COMMISSIONER

At first those reading the local paper may have gotten a false impression if they read the headline about recently retired Liberty city councilman Mike McCarty’s neighborhood. Casual readers who just browse the headlines or the first couple of paragraphs of a story may have missed a really good example of how to try and be a good neighbor.

The story covers the public interaction that occurred between Mike McCarty and two people who live in the Forest Hill Subdivision that is adjacent to what has been pastureland since before any of us were born. Readers can surmise that the drama that takes place appears as a news story because Mike McCarty is a very determined and very popular candidate for Commissioner precinct #1 as his second bid to defeat Democrat incumbent Todd Fontenot has a very real chance of continuing to tip the balance of that court towards conservative leadership and away from the good ole boy system that has run the court for decades.

While the headline to the story appears negative, further examination gives readers a hint of the Mike McCarty most of us know. Mike is a nice guy and a problem solver, along with someone who is very community-minded. This story has some of the facts in it that reveal those aspects of his personality.

For those of you who haven’t lived here forever, the Forest Hills subdivision was built years ago and when it was built there was a pasture right next door. The pasture had cattle. Since those days that land and a new herd of cattle are owned by Mike McCarty. Over the years the cattle are often run out of the low lying areas by floods and when it is wet like that the cows congregate closer to the fences adjacent to backyards of Forest Hill homes.

So when some in the neighborhood are concerned about the flies and the smells and the dog barking from the McCarty farm, what would you say a good neighbor should do? As was implied earlier, the headline of the story in the paper may smell bad, but Mike McCarty is a good neighbor and a problem solver who cares about people. He didn’t simply say his land has been a cow pasture as far back as anyone remembers. He didn’t simply say every time the police have come to listen to complaints about dogs in Forest Hills, they have heard nothing from his canine.

No. Mike told looked the people who had concerns right in the eye and told them although he had never heard from any of them, he had recently administered all of the current products and technology to resolve the issues he had heard people were having. He put out product that would not only stop the propagation of flies, but because of his efforts there should be fewer flies. He put out a product cattlemen are using to make the odor of their pastures more pleasant. He incorporated his knowledge of how the oilfield muffles loud engine sounds and put up a long muffling fence between the dogs and the neighborhood. What a great guy! He spent thousands of dollars before anyone said a word to him.

Most of us have had neighbors that would have done nothing. Or if they had spent all of this money and then were confronted in public, they would have been uncooperative. But Mike listened to the problems and committed to adding more fence to muffle any dog sounds that neighbors were hearing (even if police were on record more than once saying there is no dog barking). And he has some other ideas of how to try and improve the community.

Notice please that Mike McCarty was proactive from the start. Then notice please, he also responded with great concern and kindness when people spoke with him in person.
In many ways, the paper’s account of this is not a news story. But if it is a news story because Mike McCarty is running for Commissioner then an analysis of all of the facts should lead readers to be more likely to vote for him after they read the entire story.

If reporting the incident in such a public way was meant to be anything negative, it backfired!

HENRY PATTERSON’S HIRING PROBLEM

There is a reason for the interview process when hiring someone. Forgiveness and allowing people to start with a clean slate has its place but it also has it limits. Because we have reported that Sheriff Patterson has a pattern of hiring troubled former Harris County, Liberty Dispatch thought it would be interesting to expose our readers to reading one of the worst results of that kind of hiring in law enforcement history. This part of history informs us about perhaps the most famous case indicating what is dangerous about helping troubled law enforcement officials wipe their slate clean and pin their badge back on and holster their gun to jump back into the profession they have already shown they have trouble doing without problems.

John Parker is the man who should have been sitting in front of the door leading to Abraham Lincoln as he watched the play at Ford’s theater on April 14, 1865. He wasn’t there. The pathway for John Wilkes Booth to murder the sixteenth President of the United States was unencumbered. Parker was drinking in the saloon next door waiting for the end of the play to escort Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln to their carriage to go back to the White House. Parker’s drinking next door and his prior behavior should have surprised no one who knew his track record.

Parker had a long record of mess ups in his years of service before the Lincoln assassinations. In fact he had a dismal record before he was put on trial for being drunk and disorderly at a house of prostitution. But just like his ability to overcome the testimony of witnesses saying the married father of three had spent five weeks living in that whorehouse, Parker was always able to use the reluctance of people to reprimand a hard working law enforcement officer over and over again to keep his record clean. He appeared before the police board again just two weeks later for sleeping on duty. And he appeared before them again just ninety days later for cursing at a private citizen – but nothing stuck.

Parker put his name in the pool to become one of the new people who looked out for President Lincoln and none of this was factored in when choosing the people who would protect a the most threatened President in American history. Even after he got the job when Parker continued to show up late for duty, the people in charge did nothing to him. He was several hours late to relieve the officer on duty before him on the day Lincoln was assassinated.

Why was he hired? Why wasn’t he fired rather than given one of the best jobs in law enforcement? I don’t know. Perhaps because John Parker was one of the first 150 policemen hired to serve in the new Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Force, his indiscretions were overlooked one at a time and no one knew the cumulative record of his incompetence. But even after his slothfulness and lack of sense of duty was on display for all to see, even when Lincoln no longer was alive to fulfill his duty, John Parker kept his job.

Liberty Dispatch has added our concerns to similar concerns set forth by people in this community. But our concerns have not slowed down Patterson nor have they kept certain individuals from running for office or serving in our local justice system. This community has made some great progress the last two elections, but the audacity of some among us leaves voters with important work ahead.

Stay tuned as we try to give the voters the same kind of information those who hired John Parker had and ignored.

Dear Liberty Dispatch

A few weeks ago the blog that follows wreckers around and post the pictures of the latest car crash complained about Sheriff Patterson and the press releases coming out of his department. That blog seemed to indicate some of the meth bust were possibly made up. At the time I read it I thought maybe it was just more Republican hating by a blog that clearly loves liberal Democrats.

But now that we have all of these different marijuana bust where there seems to be no people arrested, I am becoming suspicious. Remember the one where seeds were found and unnamed citizens led officials to them. Or the two large fields where pot was grown and one of them never had an arrest connected with it and the other one only had someone arrested when Liberty Dispatch kept the spotlight on the sheriff’s “arresting pot plants”.

But then just as I think Sheriff Patterson and Rex Evans wouldn’t dare abuse press releases this way that man in Plum Grove went missing Thursday morning a week ago. That one incident has generated a sensational story a day with the Sheriff switching tactics with the weather and all kinds of other factors. I have never seen such a bombastic series of news releases. It looks like the Sheriff either does not have proper training of how to handle this kind of situation or, just as the blog said, he is using the media to keep his name constantly in front of voters.

Shame on Sheriff Patterson for doing this. His deputies are doing plenty of good work in the county and if he wants to release newsworthy real stuff, give them their due. We do not need him and Rex Evans trying to play Superman at election time. This missing man and every other real tragic event deserve the dignity involved in such heart wrenching conditions. They should not be used as a pawn for a sheriff’s re-election.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ballot Positions- 2012 Liberty County Republican Primary Race

LIBERTY COUNTY RACES:

TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR
1. BROWN, Richard
2. GLENN, Debra

COUNTY ATTORNEY
1. HINCH, Wesley
2. FARMER, James

DISTRICT ATTORNEY
1. McNAIR, Karen
2. PICKETT, Logan

SHERIFF
1. RADER, Bobby
2. PATTERSON, Henry
3. COX, Will

COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 1
1. ORESCHNIGG, Hebert
2. McCARTY, Mike

COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 3
1. LOWERY, Eddie G.
2. WHITMIRE, David S.
3. WARD, Chance

CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 1
1. ALLISON, Tim
2. BOWDOIN, A. W.

CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 2
1. ALFARRO, Juan

CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 3
1. KOEN, Tommy
2. ELLIOTT, Darrell
3. FRANKUM, Danny

CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 4
1. HANEL, Leroy
2. PAFFORD, Chad
3. THORNTON, JR., Robert “Robby” Earl

CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 5
1. DESPAIN, L. W.

CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 6
1. McQUEEN, James
2. JOSLIN, John

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE, PRECINCT 1 (UNEXPIRED TERM)
1. DIAZ, Darla
2. WILSON, John Wayne
3. SIMONSON, Libby
4. WAGNON, Lawrence Wilson
5. HEBERT, Stephen
6. HOUSE, Roy

Sunday, March 11, 2012

LITTLE CORRECTS PICKETT- CHILDREN WILL BE DEFENDED

When readers first heard that eight out of the eleven small children found in the infamous house in Dayton were locked in a room with some tied to tiny beds in a ten foot by ten foot room and that has no electric lights and the window is boarded up from the inside, many may have wanted to be on the jury when justice is pursued. But then readers were shocked to read in The Chronicle that Liberty County’s youngest Assistant District Attorney, Logan Pickett “Found insufficient evidence to pursue any criminal charges”.

Whoa! Four of the eight children in that room, including a “5-year-old legally blind girl found on a filthy mattress”, were tied with some kind of restraining strap around their chests to their small beds AND PICKETT SAYS THERE IS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE! Add to that information that one of the older children said they were kept up in the room for up to three days and one day they had no food.

What the heck is going on here. Attached to this story are news links that show this story gets worse and worse the more readers get to find out what Logan Pickett and law enforcement found in the house on Ford Avenue in Dayton Texas. Leaving readers, and probably law enforcement, baffled by Pickett saying he did not intend on pursuing this case.

But those who have followed this District Attorney’s office know that Logan Pickett has a great deal less experience than anyone else in that office and there is a good chance he just passed along the wrong message. Or because Pickett has had a front row seat to witness a troubling pattern of selective prosecution, perhaps he was mimicking what he has seen during his young and brief career. Either way, his boss came in and overruled him.

District Attorney Mike Little has now gone on record saying that his office will present their findings to a grand jury. Now we are all left hoping no one in the D.A.’s office will help present this case to the grand jury that feels there is “insufficient evidence”.