Like our response to the storm projection cones of uncertainty in the Gulf of Mexico relating to preparedness during hurricane season, many areas across the U.S., including ours in Fort Bend County, continue to make cautious and vigilant adjustments for COVID-19, the pandemic of uncertainty.
Here’s what is certain: There will be no Fort Bend County Fair this year, at least not the entire event. Scheduled to kick off next month with the traditional parade that starts in Richmond, organizers cancelled it. It was a first since World War II. But fair officials said some parts of the annual event may still take place, like the livestock show and auctions, albeit with changes. The naming of grand champions, the awarding of scholarships and the crowning of the fair queen will still happen, just as long as the activities are approved by the county’s mitigation plan.
And like beyond the aftermath of a hurricane, when things get better, we, too, expect to be on the other side of the pandemic for next year’s county fair, scheduled for Sept. 24-Oct. 3, 2021. I can already feel the cowboy hat on my head and boots on my feet on the fairgrounds. The outdoorsy smell of hay and livestock, funnel cakes, baked turkey legs and the sounds of excitement of those on the carnival rides does plenty in anticipation of next year’s celebratory tradition.
Today’s pandemic ride, however, did not cancel elections, not the national ones and not even the local ones. In fact, the City of Sugar Land moved its May council officials and charter amendment election to this fall to be held at the time of the general election. So, this Nov. 3 on the ballot in Sugar Land, you can also expect to see Mayor Joe Zimmerman’s name as he is running unopposed for reelection. There will also be two at-large council member positions on the ballot with the incumbent Jennifer Lane running unopposed for At-Large Position 2. Taylor Landin and William Ferguson are both in the race for the At-Large Position 1 being vacated by term-limited council member Himesh Gandhi, who is on his fourth consecutive two-year term. He also is a partner with the Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey law firm about to move its operations out of Town Square after being there for over four years.
On the ballot, one of the nine city charter amendments as propositions will be for voter approval to extend the current two-year terms of office to three years for the six council members and the mayor. Together with that, voters also get to decide on changing term limits from four consecutive two-year terms to three consecutive three-year terms. In other words, the maximum number of consecutive years that a person may serve in office is eight now and, if the measure is approved, it will be nine. You get to decide by voting on this and the other amendments recommended by a charter review commission of residents appointed by city council. There’s more information on the charter amendments on the city’s website, sugarlandtx.gov. It’s well worth the look-see before you vote.
Neighboring Missouri City, too, will have an election on Nov. 3. Actually, it’s both a special and general election that includes a proposition relating to firefighters’ and police officers’ civil service law, and also for the mayoral and two at-large council members’ races. The election itself was not adjusted due to the pandemic since Missouri City, which for many years held them in May, implemented the general elections change time to November after a city resolution was passed in 2016.
Running against the incumbent mayor Yolanda Ford are Fred Taylor and Robin Elackatt, with Reginald Pearson running against incumbent Vashaundra Edwards for her council member at-large seat in Position 1. The incumbent in at-large Position 2, Chris Preston, is being challenged for his office by James Mable and Lynn Clouser. These elected offices are for a two-year term.
Be advised that early voting by personal appearance for the Nov. 3 elections will run from Oct. 13-30. The typical early voting period was extended by six days by Gov. Greg Abbott because of the continuing challenges posed by the pandemic. Now is the time to check out a sample ballot for a list of those running and for understanding the language of the propositions for your “yay” or “nay” vote that will affect you directly or otherwise.