Some’s Hot, Some’s Not 11/30/11
It had to happen…..Right before press time, we received word that an ethics complaint has been filed against Pct. 4 Constable Troy Nehls, accusing him of announcing his run for sheriff of Fort Bend County before the required time that he must wait to announce in order to avoid having to quit his well-paying constable job.
Although the law was amended this year to allow officials holding office to be able to announce in time to sign up for a different elected position without being considered to have resigned their current job. Nancy Hentschel, a well-known local activist, says she received a text message from a cell phone registered to Nehls’ campaign on Nov. 24. Hentschel said the message read in part: “Breaking news! We don’t have to keep secrets anymore! Sheriff Troy will announce next week.”
According to Hentschel, “That text message is prima facie evidence that Constable Troy Nehls has declared himself to be a candidate for Sheriff in Fort Bend County. Such a message constitutes an announcement and shows a pattern of ongoing deceit by Candidate Nehls in that “…we don’t have to keep secrets anymore.”
Furthermore, such an announcement falls outside the one year and thirty day time frame in which a candidate may announce his or her intention to run for an office other than the office that is currently occupied by that candidate. Having made such an announcement, Constable Nehls has effectively resigned his office of Constable, Precinct 4 so that he may run for sheriff.”
Hentschel said she has filed the complaint with at least six individuals and organizations.
The current sheriff, Milton Wright, practically resigned his office only days after he was re-elected. He did this by announcing that his chief deputy was going to be running. The sheriff then retired to the golf course and hasn’t been seen much since.
Interestingly, it was later the same day that an anonymous donor gave each sheriff deputy a $1,000 gift. Many in the department said they felt they were expected to take the $1,000 and donate it back to the chief deputy’s campaign. At the time, this newspaper questioned the “anonymous” gift as there was a question, in our minds, about who paid the taxes on the “gift,” and whether it was even legal to gift a public official. No officials in Fort Bend County, neither the sheriff, the district attorney, the county attorney, nor the county judge, ever answered the $220,000 question, tax or otherwise.
Long ago and not far away…. A little historical perspective: Many years ago, then Justice of the Peace Jim Scott, made the mistake of announcing that he was running for another office before the required time frame. Back then, the limitation on when an elected official could file was not a well-known law and the county attorney at the time, Larry Waggenbach, immediately filed papers to remove Scott from office forthwith and the next commissioners court meeting, about three days hence, named a new justice of the peace. There was much discussion at the time whether Scott had been set up and tricked into filing a treasurer designation. A local radio reporter taped him saying he was going to run.
Although Scott, a lawyer himself, appealed the dismissal to Austin, he was summarily dismissed and Jim Adolphus, a former Missouri City councilman, was installed as the new J.P. where he served for several years before running and winning an election for county judge. He eventually died in office and the current judge, Bob Hebert, was appointed to take his place. Hebert ran and has been elected twice.
Fort Bend County also removed a District Attorney from office some years ago when it removed Jack Stern for leaking grand jury information about the sheriff and his supposed affair with a stripper who was also an accused arsonist. At that time, assistant district attorney John Healey was appointed and he has been subsequently elected for the DA office twice.
A family matter…..So with its history of removing elected officials from office, it will be interesting to see what happens in this case. Constable Nehls’ twin brother, Trevor, a current Sugar Land policeman, has announced his intention to run for Nehls’ constable job if Nehls runs for sheriff, which everyone knows he is.
In Hentschel’s complaint, she also said: “Further, candidate Nehls refers to himself as “Sheriff Troy” holding himself out to have title to an office to which he has not been elected.
“Please accept this as a complaint against Troy Nehls for violation of campaign law, campaign ethics and the provisions of the Texas Constitution. Constable Nehls must step down from his current office or be removed and required to disgorge any monies paid to him by Fort Bend County, Texas as Constable of Precinct 4 since his announcement of 11-24-11 for the office of Sheriff of Fort Bend County, Texas.”
Meanwhile, keeping his nose clean and obeying all the rules and leading an exemplary personal life, John Minchew is running and actively campaigning for sheriff.
*Editors note: This may not be exactly a true rendition of our family Thanksgiving this year, but there is SOME truth in the telling.
Giving thanks for surviving Thanksgiving……I’m proud to report that I got through another family Thanksgiving without putting a gun in my mouth and pulling the trigger. It was touch and go for awhile when Uncle Earl, who insisted on frying the turkey, started drinking Wild Turkey in honor of the occasion and left the real turkey to sizzle a mite too long. Uncle Bubba brought a smoked turkey and we got it thawed just in time.
Aunt Ida’s jello salad didn’t travel well and we contemplated bing cherry soup until one of the kids “accidentally” knocked it to the floor where one of the hounds, and animal my grandson dubbed a “walking blanket” licked it up until he (the dog) went into sugar shock. That entailed huddling around the sick animal until he recovered enough to lick a little spilled beer off the porch and continue on his merry way.
Aunt Gammy (we subscribe to The Sopranos method of familial names as in Uncle Junior) was there with her sixth husband who she met on the internet and who hasn’t worked for 50 years, unless you count satisfying women as work. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do.
The cousins from next door were in and out, and although we’ve questioned their ability to learn, the admonition to stay away until 9 a.m. proved they know how to tell time as 9:02 and our doorbell was ringing. (We had the foresight to lock the doors the night before.)
Aunt Clarice had too much wassail and threw a fit about drawing names for Christmas, claiming that whoever got her name never got her a nice enough present. Since Aunt Clarice weighs in at about 300 pounds, it’s difficult to buy anything for her except a “one size fits almost all” scarf. She slammed out of the house and stumbled on one of the dogs. The beer drinkers and smokers on the front porch held their collective breath, but she soon righted herself and marched home.
We tried to teach Aunt Baby Doll how to make crescent rolls from a can, but she insisted on pinching off about five big pieces, then shaping them into balls. It wasn’t worth it so we gave up.
We announced dinner at 1 p.m and finally settled down at about 3:30. Aunt Clarice returned, having been to the store to get some Pall Malls and having mellowed about the Christmas presents somewhat. All 20 of us, or at least the adults, gave a rather tipsy thanks to the Lord. This year was better than some years, mainly because Cousin Auntie has quit dipping and the porch was cleaner.
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