OUT IN THE COLD
Recently I attended a Humble City Council meeting. This particular meeting only had one agenda item- to fill the open council seat vacated by Norman Funderburk. There were four candidates the council was considering. Three of the four had previously shown interest in a council position while the fourth was seeking office for the first time. Of the three, two were listed on November 2020 ballot along with Paula Settle, who is currently seated on the council. Let’s take a step back and revisit the November 2020 election. According to the City of Humble website, the candidates listed for the open City Council Place 4 position were Arliss Bentley, Paula Settle and Bruce Davidson. The unofficial results showed Bentley received 42.72% of votes, or 1,701 votes; Settle received 29.83% of votes, or 1,188 votes; and candidate Bruce Davidson received 27.45% of votes, or 1,093 votes. Since none of the candidates received 50.1% of votes, the top two candidates—Bentley and Settle—would be headed for a runoff on December 12. Although Bentley did not achieve the 50.1% needed to win the election, she was clearly the people’s choice. Fast forward to Dec. 12, 2020 runoff. The results could be considered controversial. The City of Humble website reported that Paula Settle received 291 votes and Bentley received 289 votes. Two votes separated the two candidates competing for Place 4 in the Humble City Council election on Dec. 12. Settle won the election by only two votes over challenger Bentley. In the recount requested by Bentley, results showed that Bentley lost by one (1) vote.
On Jan. 15, 2021 Humble City Mayor Merle Aaron announced his retirement and will not seek re-election. Funderburk resigned his seat on the council to run for the mayoral position, thus leaving his council seat, Position 3 open. It is announced, very quietly (and by that, I mean word of mouth) that the council will be voting on whether to appoint someone to the position or hold a special election. Of the four candidates being considered, two were candidates listed on the November 2020 Ballot, Bentley and Davidson. Aaron and new Mayor Pro Tem David Pierce did their due diligence and met with each of the four candidates and on Feb. 26, 2021, they turned it over to the City Council to decide.
Based on the results from the November election, it was clear that the people wanted Bentley to sit on the City Council. But as the council returned from quorum, the motion was made to appoint Davidson to the vacated council seat. To some this was seemingly no surprise as family and friends were readily equipped with iPads to capture his swearing into office. To the rest of us, we were left shaking our heads. How did a candidate who came in third place with just over a thousand votes get appointed to the City Council and the woman who received almost half of the votes get left out in the cold? It seems to be more of a popularity contest and the council voting on who “they” want rather than who the people want.
With so many disappointments with our elected officials lately at the federal level and the state level, I am sorry to say now that disappointment has extended to the city level. Sometimes doing the right thing is not always the popular thing, but as elected officials, they should be acting in the best interest of the people.
At the meeting held yesterday, March 11, 2021 another concerned citizen brought up this concern to the city council but they were quickly told that it would not be discussed publicly but this person would be contacted privately to discuss.
If we don’t speak up, nothing will ever change.
My anti-Trump letters prompted Charlton Robertson (hereafter CR) to ask me to defend socialism. Equating anti-Trumpism with socialism mystifies me. Many Republicans are anti-Trumpers. So I pointed CR to Einstein’s “Why Socialism?” article for a defense of socialism. After all, Einstein was a socialist. My 2-24-2021 letter was crystal clear—but not to CR! Our country has several socialist aspects. Two of them are minimum-wage laws and free public education. Re the latter item, I have no children; yet the government takes my money (property tax) and uses it to educate other folks’ children. My next-door neighbor’ two children attend public school; yet he and I pay the same amount of property tax. He and his wife’s two annual incomes probably exceed my one income. Why then should I have to pay to educate their children? I previously expressed these concerns in this paper and I sketched a more equitable system. Now CR accuses me of being a socialist—merely because I expressed anti-Trump sentiments! A final thought: CR, your time would be better spent attacking extant socialist policies in the U.S. than attacking me.
Bill Bailey - Kingwood
George Floyd’s Death
Now that the Minneapolis City Council has unanimously approved a $27 million settlement for the death of George Floyd, let’s take a moment to remember the circumstances before his death that sparked all the rioting last year. Floyd was attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill in a neighborhood store, so the clerk called the police. This is important to note because the police didn’t randomly accost Floyd; they were called to the scene. Video footage later released showed Floyd resisted arrest. The post-mortem toxicology report showed that he had a lethal level of fentanyl in his system as well as some methamphetamine. The police thought he was under the effects of drugs and they were right. The chief medical examiner wrote that “if Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no contributing factors, he would conclude that it was an overdose death.” A lethal dose of fentanyl won’t necessarily kill any individual with the same dose, but Floyd mostly died from the physical stresses he was putting himself through by resisting arrest while on drugs. Critically, the autopsy report informs that “signs associated with fentanyl toxicity include severe respiratory depression, seizures, hypotension, coma and death.” The now-controversial neck restraint was included in the city’s police training manual. Floyd repeatedly said that he couldn’t breathe while Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck, but he was also saying that he couldn’t breathe even before he was restrained. Did Chauvin commit murder or ever manslaughter? No. The person truly responsible for the death of George Floyd was George Floyd. Do Floyd’s survivors deserve a huge payday? Also, no. It is a shame that the taxpayers of Minneapolis will have to foot the bill for this.