Making nice…..A sense of détente has settled over Fort Bend Commissioners Court as commissioners get their first look at the 2010 census and redistricting data. Fort Bend County has grown by about 65% which means some major lines as far as political subdivisions will have to be redrawn.
This also means that commissioners are going to need each other’s vote in order to carve up their precinct like they want. From now until Sept. 1, when Fort Bend’s final plan will be presented to the Department of Justice, commissioners will have to go along to get along.
Here’s the way it works: the county has hired an Austin company, Allison Bass, that specializes in redistricting models for political subdivisions. The company is given all the census data, the addresses of all the officers, and the community outlines. Allison Bass comes up with several options that make sense, given that information, and presents those options to the county. The commissioners and county judge meanwhile has appointed a redistricting committee composed of 15 members, 3 from each commissioner in their precinct, and 3 more at large members appointed by the county judge.
That 15-member committee studies the options and holds public hearing about them in their precincts.
Commissioners Court has the final say which they then must present to the justice department which has 60 days to either approve the redistricting or come back to commissioners with suggestions where they may have strayed from justice department guidelines.
According to County Judge Bob Hebert, the court will try to finish in August if possible because all but one county officer must live in the precinct he/she represents by the next March primary with filing beginning at the end of December. The precincts will have the new boundaries and the election will be held with those boundaries.
The one type of county officers who have a grace period are the constables who can run in their old precinct even if he/she has been gerrymandered out of it. He/she has a certain amount of time to move into the new precinct.
Also, the office holder or candidate must really live within the new boundaries of the precinct. No renting an apartment is allowed. The homestead determines eligibility.
So there you have it. Six months of peace and lovey-dovey. The commissioners usually act as checks and balances on each other so I am concerned about the next six months, but they usually pay footsie to get their pet projects passed anyway, so I guess it’s no big deal for the taxpayers.
However, it is going to be interesting to see what happens to the sheriff’s take home cars that he buys every year to reward some of his pet employees. The budget is tight and this year may be a fight, particularly since the sheriff’s most ardent supporter, Pct. 3 Andy Meyers, may lose his home precinct boundaries also. He lives in Sugar Creek which was carved out for him last census. That may not happen again. He may have to move to Cinco Ranch. Good riddance I say. What we couldn’t do at the ballot box, maybe can be accomplished with the county’s growth.
I wasn’t going to tell you about this, but……..I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and am going to have to have a mastectomy. Although I usually tell, or write, everything I know, I had vacillated between writing about this and not. But last week I got an open letter to the members from Gale Parker, head of the Central Fort Bend Chamber Alliance, who spelled out her upcoming medical trials. I admired Gale for being so forthcoming and decided I was brave enough to do the same.
Now don’t be asking me about it all the time and don’t be feeling sorry for me. The type I have is easily excised and I “probably” won’t have to have radiation or chemo, “probably” being the operative word as I think doctors tell you things like that to keep you from throwing a fit in their offices.
I have excellent doctors at Methodist, particularly Dr. Kelly Dempsey, who should be commended for putting up with me.
I hadn’t had a mammogram in 3 years. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
So rather than feeling sorry for me and calling me to express you concern, go have a mammogram.
And even if you are a man, do a self-check. One of my uncles had breast cancer at 84. He’s now over 90, so it is curable. I discovered that your father’s side of the family is important and I also discovered that most of my father’s side died of cancer….in their 80s!
So I’m going to be around for a long time and this is probably just going to make me meaner. If you want to help me out, buy an ad!