10
Sep

The Appearance of Fairness

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller has been appointed to investigate allegations that the Donald Trump for President campaign colluded with a foreign government to get elected based on a report paid for by Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton and the National Democratic Party. That sentence alone should shock the conscience of every American.

An investigation of a sitting President of the United States is a very serious matter. The suggestion that a candidate for President colluded with a foreign government to get elected, unthinkable. While many believe this entire investigation is nothing more than dirty politics that will add to the already toxic atmosphere in our country, we are a nation of laws, not of men, so allegations this serious must be investigated. But, like any other investigation, we need to know that the allegations are legitimate and there is evidence to back up the allegation.

In our system of government an investigation must not only be fair and non-partisan it must appear so. It is, therefore, incumbent on Mr. Mueller to carry out this investigation quickly and with transparency, honesty and fairness. This is like a dark cloud hanging over the political life of this nation and we need resolution and finality based on facts. And we need to know that the investigation was honest and non-partisan. It has gone on too long.

Even worse, the slow drip of information regarding the way the FBI investigation was carried out is troubling at best. High officials at the Department of Justice and the FBI have fought ferociously to keep most of the facts of the investigation secret. They often claim it would harm national security or their methods but when the truth does come out it is usually just embarrassing to the Agency. I refer to the amorous emails between the FBI paramours who worked on both the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal then rushed to the Trump/Russia case after emailing how to stop Trump.

It may have embarrassed the government when it was revealed that Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for the firm that the Hillary Clinton Campaign hired to dig up dirt on Trump. And that Ohr had warned them that Steele was undependable and very anti-Trump. Of course, the FBI would have known that because they had fired Steele because they couldn’t trust him but then asked Orr to get more information from him.

But set aside for a moment the unsavory characters and questionable investigative tactics use by the FBI and Justice. What has Mueller done to assure an honest and fair examination of the facts?

He has hired 17 prosecutors. Of them, according to National Review, 14 are registered Democrats. Nine of them contributed their personal funds to Democrats. Two of them gave the maximum contribution allowed by law to Hillary Clinton.

Let me put that another way. Of these 17 people investigating our President, they gave a total of $80,257 to Federal political campaigns. Of that, $2,750 or 3% went to two Republican candidates but a whopping 97% went to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party or Democratic candidates. That is $77,507. And that is just Federal campaigns. Not one penny went from any of these people to the Donald Trump campaign.

Further, one of them defended one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staffers. More stunning still, one of them not only represented the Clinton Foundation but actually defended Hillary Clinton in litigation seeking her e-mails. The phrase “conflict of interest” comes to mind.

I am not suggesting for a moment that these prosecutors are not dedicated, professional lawyers or that they would allow their personal bias and political beliefs to cloud their judgment or pre-determine the results of their investigation but with an investigation this consequential, couldn’t Robert Mueller have found one Republican lawyer in all of Washington to at least give the appearance of fairness?

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

5
Jun

The Power of an Apology

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

By now many of you have heard about the allegations against and the ultimate resignation of Katy Independent School District Superintendent Lance Hindt. I have met Dr. Hindt on one or two occasions at public events but do not know him personally beyond that. For those who have not read the story, the media reports that Dr. Hindt was accused of having been a bully when he was in high school. He denied the accusation and another person came forward alleging the same thing. An allegation like that is bound to attract attention and this one did.

Dr. Hindt has the right to defend himself including hiring an attorney to sue anyone he felt defamed him. But in this case, the school board was, according to news reports, planning to hire an attorney to sue their own constituents who complained about him, using taxpayer funds to do it. Interesting, but it gets better! Dr. Hindt, believing there was a “relentless smear campaign” against him, shocked the community by resigning. The school Board gave him $750,000-two years of salary- as a parting gift.

I don’t know if Dr. Hindt was ever a bully, only he and his accusers really know what did or did not happen. And your perspective on this story will be determined by your opinion as to whom you believe is the victim. Were Dr. Hindt’s accusers the victims of bullying? Was Dr. Hindt the victim of a “relentless smear campaign?” Or were the ultimate victims the Katy I.S.D. taxpayers? That will be for you to decide.

The reason I write this column today is to make this sad affair a teachable moment. This is a political column so let’s look at this from a purely political viewpoint. When a political person, and a school superintendent qualifies, is accused of malfeasance, if guilty, he or she has three choices and two of them are bad. First, deny. This is what most do. Ultimately the truth will come out and the public official is now, not only guilty of the act, but also a liar. Second, Ignore. The media generally fills every void and speculation may be worse than the truth. Third, admit. Voters can be very forgiving. Admitting the act happened is difficult and uncomfortable but it is always the best route to take. Admit it, ask for forgiveness and become the poster child for stopping the bad behavior.

In this case, if he did what is alleged, I would have recommended that he get out in front of the issue, admit that he did it, ask for forgiveness and become the public face of anti-bullying efforts in the schools. He could go to every campus and talk about how he was a bully but turned his life around. If you believe his accusers are the victims, this will help you reach forgiveness.

If he did not do what is alleged, his resignation is troubling. An accused public official who resigns appears guilty. In politics perception is everything.

Finally, if you believe the taxpayers are the victims, you will have an opportunity to express your opinion at the next school board election. It is only then that we will find out whether the voters in Katy ISD approve of this $750,000 exit package.

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

5
Jun

You should be angry; I am

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

I resent what a few high-level employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice, who believe they know better than the people of this Republic, have done to harm the reputation of their own agencies. To de-legitimize the Trump election James Comey illegally leaked confidential information to orchestrate an Independent Counsel and get his friend appointed to that job. He has suffered no consequence for his action. Why?

I’m angry about what one political party has done to keep the President we elected from doing the job we elected him to do. They are slow walking all of President Trump’s appointments that require Senate Confirmation for no reason other than stopping his administration.

I’m frustrated that the liberal media refuses to report the promises our President has kept since taking office. They won’t even acknowledge his accomplishments.

I feel pity for people who cannot or will not think for themselves. These people watch the breathless anti-Trump reporting of the liberal media or the professional victims to blindly determine what they should be offended by each day.

I’m sad for the high school and college students who have endured the relentless indoctrination of political correctness. I am so glad I had Mr. Smith in high school who taught us about government and more important not what to think but how to think. And I never had a clue to his political beliefs. That is a real teacher!

I’m disappointed in conservatives who think for themselves but do nothing about it. They don’t care enough to vote or get involved in campaigns to reduce the size, cost and footprint of our ever-growing government. This column went to press before the May 22nd Run-Off Election, so I can’t tell you how many people cared enough to vote but if history is any guide the turnout will have been abysmal.

I’m afraid for the young people who are coddled by their parents. We should love our children, but we should make them self-reliant. “My child couldn’t have done that” is a familiar refrain at schools today. Doing the banking for your grown child is doing them no favor. They need to take responsibility for themselves.

There is a war going on in this country. A full-blown frontal assault against family, faith and justice. Call it political correctness, progressivism or any other name. If these people disagree with you they don’t debate you, they try to shut you down. They will deny you the right to be heard.

It is time we all stand up for our rights. We can start by talking to our children. Explain to them why they should consider consequence over convenience. Why they should think long term over impulse.
If you want to leave your children a world of free speech, of rights, we must teach them the value of that free speech. It may seem to them fun or even effective to walk out of or drown out speech they disagree with but what happens when it is their speech that gets drown out? Ask them how they would feel if they lived in a country with no free speech?

There are no “safe spaces” in life. Better they learn that now then when they are on their own.

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

14
Dec

Judge Cannata Appointed by Governor Abbott

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

Judge Cannata Appointed by Governor Abbott

After more than 10 years on the Justice of the Peace bench in Fort Bend County Precinct 3, Judge Ken Cannata was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to be presiding Judge of the newly created 458th Judicial District Court of Fort Bend County.

A graduate of the University of South Florida, Judge Cannata received his Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors from the South Texas College of Law in 1983. During his tenure as Justice of the Peace, the growth of Precinct 3 caused his court to become the busiest in Fort Bend County. The filings in the court tripled yet he was able to operate the court efficiently with virtually the same staff, while maintaining the same high level of service to the public.

Judge Cannata will bring that same common sense administration he perfected at the Justice of the Peace level to the District Court. Taxpayers will see that he is always careful with taxpayer dollars. Further, Cannata is the first Fort Bend County District Court Judge to be Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law.

I have had the opportunity to see Judge Cannata in the courtroom on several occasions. Since juvenile cases, particularly truancy, flow through Justice of the Peace courts, I have watched him talk to these young people. He connects with them in a way that most adults are unable, then converses with attorneys on very complex and complicated cases with the same ease and success.

His court is efficient, moving a high volume of cases quickly but making certain everyone feels they receive time to present their side and they feel they got a fair hearing of the facts. Our courts must be fair and even handed. I believe Judge Cannata sets the standard for fairness.

As taxpayers, seeing an elected official handle a tripling of work without significant increases in staff, while still maintaining a high level of service, is refreshing. Our judges are guardians of justice both to the parties in court and to the taxpayers as well. Judge Cannata proves that every day.

Judge Cannata has been an active member of our community serving as executive director and board member of the Fort Bend Youth Football League for over ten years. He has previously served as a Committeeman with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and is presently a volunteer for the West Fort Bend Women’s Charity. He is a former director and President of the Fort Bend Dispute Resolution Center and is a life member of both the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Fort Bend County Fair Association. He and his wife Susan celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary this past July. They have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Ken and Susan have resided in the Pecan Grove subdivision in Richmond since 1993.

Judge Cannata’s experience and his reputation for fairness have resulted in his appointment being positively received. The Fort Bend legal community and community leaders agree that his appointment by Governor Abbott is well deserved. The people of Fort Bend County are fortunate to have a respected, legal mind on the bench, in the 458th District Court.

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

28
Sep

Neighbor Helping Neighbor

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

Neighbor Helping Neighbor

While it only rained for 5 days, not 40, it was almost biblical in volume. For some lucky folks, it hardly affected their schedules. For others, their lives were altered forever. Some lost everything. Many will spend months, even years, recovering. Some will never really recover. To see the devastation is truly heartbreaking.

As Christians, we are called to help those in need. This week I witnessed that and more. A friend had water in his house so several friends went to work removing carpet, flooring and sheetrock. One might think that service, repeated thousands of times across Texas since Harvey arrived, was the story from a Christian perspective and perhaps it is.

I submit, however, that there is a larger story here. It is the story I witnessed in my friend’s neighborhood.

When I arrived in Riverstone that morning, the streets were already lined with piles of sheetrock, carpet and the soaked pieces of so many interrupted lives. Furniture, children’s toys, cabinets were piled high beside the street awaiting the claw-fitted trucks that would soon arrive to take these mounds of memories to places where mountains of memories are being built.

The streets were also lined with cars and pickup trucks. Homeowners, relatives, friends all arriving to help with the hot, dirty task of “mucking” houses, removing water-soaked carpet, sheetrock, furniture and sand.

Too many cars, too much debris, hot temperatures and challenging work. But no disputes, no arguments. An attitude of hopefulness mixed with exhaustion and appreciation. I saw White, South Asian, Hispanic, and Black. I do not know the religious beliefs of any of them. It didn’t matter today. Mostly, I saw people. People whose homes were unlivable. People who wanted to help friends.

Groups came by to deliver bags with hot dogs, chips and cookies. Others delivered very welcome ice-cold water bottles. No one asked about our political beliefs or our faith. It was just people helping those who needed help. Neighbors loaning tools, wheel barrows and words of encouragement to people who were short of confidence but long on determination.

My experience is just a single story among many thousand across the gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana. As a Texan and an American, I’m proud of the enormous response we’ve seen from across the country and, really, around the world. This disaster has pulled the heart strings of so many people and their generosity is remarkable.

Please remember that another disaster will happen. The attention of the media will move to another story. We will be distracted by politics or sports or celebrity lives. For many people though, their lives have changed. They will never be the same and they will continue to need your help. Please do not forget them. Recovery from a life-altering disaster like Hurricane Harvey and the attendant post-traumatic stress will take months if not years. Your neighbors will continue to need your generosity, your understanding and your support. Don’t forget them.

If you have been part of the response to Harvey, let me say, “thank you.” Your generosity has changed lives. Let’s prove that we are a generous people now and in the future.

After all, wouldn’t you want that for yourself?

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

4
Aug

Politics As It Should Be

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

Politics As It Should Be

Many Americans are frustrated by the slow pace in Washington. We elected Republican majorities in the House and Senate and a Republican President because this nation so desperately needs change. The liberal media has made much of the fact that the current administration, in the first six months of its term has not “repealed and replaced” the job killing Obamacare and rewritten the tax code. Those promises, therefore, were “lies.” They don’t want the Trump administration to succeed so they aren’t telling you that the Democratic Party, in its inexorable move to socialism, class warfare and identity-politics, has ceased to be a “loyal opposition” and has become the party of resistance, even though it hurts the very Americans they claim to want to help.

No one dislikes the staggering premiums or the breathtaking deductibles Obamacare has wrought more than I do. I feel for my employees who have insurance but cannot afford to use it. The Democrats created this monster by forcing it down our throats without discussion, debate or even letting us read it. It is now failing in a most dramatic fashion with one third of all counties in the US having only one health insurance provider. No competition means higher premiums and deductibles.

As of this writing the Senate has approved only 46 of the 178 appointees Trump has submitted to the Senate. By this time in his first term Obama had 183 confirmed. Our government agencies are, by and large, run by Obama appointees and the Senate Democrats are using parliamentary games to stop or slow the appointments process.

The liberal media also won’t tell you about the regulations the Obama administration put in place without Congressional input, without legally required public comment and without concern for the jobs, industries and lives those regulations destroyed.

Our previous President bragged he would rule with “a phone and a pen” while our current President wants to use the Constitution and Congress. The way it was meant to be; messy, slow, open and even painful. Our forefathers envisioned government that guaranteed the right of minorities to be heard but the majority’s right to govern. Sadly, Congress has transferred much of its authority to Federal agencies rather than make tough choices. This enabled President Obama to make sweeping changes by royal fiat. The courts have already begun to turn back some of the most egregious of those rules and the Trump Administration has begun to roll back many as well.

This might be an appropriate time to educate our young and remind ourselves that governing isn’t instant like Amazon or Uber, and it shouldn’t be. Government should be slow and deliberate. Our representatives should consider, think and debate. They should hear the minority viewpoint and consider their concerns but they should not surrender to the popular or trendy. The majority should rule. Our constitution starts simply, “We the People.” The words “elite, East Coast, or Liberal” do not appear yet those of us in “fly-over” country seem to be dismissed and ignored regularly. We should also remind our children that they will not always get what they want. Perhaps they should consider that what they want isn’t always what’s best for them.

Republicans must fix this Democratic mess but let’s do it the right way.

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

13
Apr

The Story You Didn’t Hear

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

The story you didn’t hear

Depending on where you get your news, you might be aware that some immature millennials, some call them snowflakes, are still unable to cope with either the loss by Hillary Clinton or the win of the Presidency by Donald Trump. The courts have, yet again, blocked President Trump’s order to pause immigration from several countries, which, depending on your source of news, is either an effort to protect Americans from terrorism or a blatant anti-Muslim action. According to the liberal news, the Senate Democrats are bravely keeping President Trump’s cabinet nominees from undermining the Obama legacy or if you believe conservative sources, they are endangering Americans by blocking these appointees from assuming office and leaving entire Federal agencies under the control of Obama appointees.

However, there is another story you may not have heard about. It is a story the national media and particularly the liberal media hasn’t reported because it isn’t in New York, Washington,DC or California, not east or west coast. It’s a story about millennials who aren’t snowflakes. Young people who don’t need safe spaces, who don’t feel entitled. It’s about young people who help others without being asked. It’s about Americans in “flyover” country. People who work hard every day, go to church on Sunday, help their neighbors, pay their taxes and ask for nothing from the government. They don’t protest; they work. They don’t feel entitled; they appreciate the opportunities this nation offers them. They don’t demand government handouts; instead they help each other.

Two of them, 20 and 22 years old (millennials) died trying to open gates to allow cattle to escape a fast moving fire driven by 70 mile per hour winds. Any death is tragic, and the deaths of this young couple and others in the fires are no less so. Many have lost their entire herds of cattle, their homes, their barns and every living thing, plant or animal, on their ranches. This fire will end their way of life.

The scale of these fires is staggering and that makes the deafening silence of the media all the more unforgivable. Well over one million acres in the panhandle of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas have been devastated by these fast moving infernos.

Let me put this in perspective. Fort Bend County is comprised of 885 square miles. This fire is twice that size. The fire is larger than Rhode Island, larger than Delaware; it is the size of Connecticut. Lives have been lost as well as tens of thousands of cattle and hundreds of homes. The way of life of so many lost or altered forever, yet the media hasn’t cared enough to even report it.

Farmers and ranchers in flyover country have poured their generosity on this hard hit region. This is another story you aren’t hearing on the liberal airwaves. Ordinary, hard-working people are giving from the heart, sending food and money to the victims of this awful tragedy. GoFundMe accounts have been set up to pay for funerals. Caravans of trucks are transporting thousands of bales of hay to feed the surviving cattle.

The response to this tragedy is what makes America great. We are generous, we are caring and we step up in a time of need. But you wouldn’t know that if you watch the mainstream media.

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

11
Nov

Morning in America Again!

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

 

Morning in America Again!

You can feel it in the air. A new day is dawning and the entire country is optimistic, hopeful and happy. The election of Donald Trump as President has changed the country already. By the time you read this article he will be in the important first 100 days of his administration and its promise to put Americans back to work.

As I write this column in mid-January we have seen the Electoral College cast their ballots and elect Trump. We have also seen the stock market jump “bigly” as Trump himself might say; proof that the markets like his election. And who are “the markets?” People, stockholders, businesses. Investors see a future that reduces taxes, reduces the onerous regulations that the anti-business Obama Administration dumped on us and lets business grow. With that growth will be more jobs, better jobs and higher wages. Our youth can learn the feeling of accomplishment that comes with responsibility.

The December 2016 labor report was pitiful. 156,000 new jobs created BUT 41,000 were part time and 12,000 were government jobs. 23.5 million working-age men were still out of work. Over 5 million people held part time jobs because they couldn’t find full time. The average work week in December was 34.3 hours thanks to the 35 hour work week in Obama care.

Republicans in Congress have a rare opportunity, with control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, to create an environment that rewards work not victims. That takes away disincentives for job creation. That celebrates success instead of demonizing it. That unleashes the pent up energy of our great nation. It is important that they take this opportunity to do what they have promised.

In our last issue I talked about ‘Our “participant ribbon” Nation’ (available at GaryGillen.com) and how our children are reacting to President Trumps’ election. This is a great opportunity for us to remember and them to learn the basics of how the world’s greatest democracy should work. Our system guarantees the rights of the minority to be heard but recognizes that the majority should rule. Republicans from Washington to Austin and Richmond can educate our youth on the importance of majority rule while protecting the minority’s right to be heard and participate in debate.

A wise man once told me that “Government moves slowly.” As I get older I understand the beauty of that phrase. Government should not get ahead of the people’s understanding and acceptance of change. Forcing change down the throat of Americans as President Obama did with his rule by executive order, in the words of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, “…awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

And it is up to us and our children to remember that just because we have the right to do something does not mean it is the right thing to do. Peaceful protest is an American right. The important qualifier is “peaceful.” I hope those who voted against President Trump will give him the chance to show what he can do and his supporters will understand that our government was built on compromise. I did not say capitulation I said compromise. The minority has a right to be heard but not to dictate.

Let’s join President Trump and Make America Great Again!

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control and Gillen Political Strategies in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

11
Nov

Our “participant ribbon” Nation

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen

Our “participant ribbon” Nation

They didn’t like the results. Half of the country didn’t. They hadn’t liked the candidate. They weren’t alone. They were devastated and couldn’t even go to class the next morning. They needed a safe place. Some elite colleges offered counseling. Some professors cancelled tests or forgave absences.

This, I believe, is the fault of my generation. We didn’t want to see our children disappointed. We couldn’t face the hurt in their eyes when they did not get what they wanted. Some of my generation thought spanking cruel; that corporal punishment was degrading.

So it started with tantrums. You’ve seen them, children on the floor screaming…in public. Parents ignoring the screams. Other shoppers trying to block out the noise. Teaching children that it is acceptable behavior to create chaos. Ignoring the right of others to go about their business in peace.

As they grew up these same parents defended their children from authority. “My child could not have done that.” Changing the atmosphere in schools from parents and teachers working together to an adversarial relationship. And the parents tolerated disrespect. Disrespect of institutions, of authority figures even of those parents themselves. Part of growing up they thought.

Then came the assault on success. Honoring one child for succeeding somehow belittled all the others. So they quit keeping score. That way both teams won. The First, second and third place ribbons gave way to the Participant ribbon. Now we are all winners!

Then in high school these same parents looked away as their children questioned authority. And it wasn’t enough to question, they also accused and disrespected their teachers, speakers and the administration. So administrators began to respond to every complaint of these children. I recall that when my daughter asked permission to start the first Republican Club at her high school she was also required to find students to start a Democrat Club. While I had a great teacher in High School social studies who taught us not what to think but how to think, that is often not the case today.

Then some colleges allowed their faculties to become so liberal that students with opposing views weren’t challenged to defend their beliefs but were intimidated to be quiet. And the students have been taught to be victims. Victims of racism, sexism, even –isms we haven’t heard of.

And we come to today. Students need “safe places.” Incivility is common on some campuses. Speakers, almost always conservative, are refused entry or heckled. Many colleges have ceased to be laboratories of thought, places of great debate about important issues. Some have become petty places of censorship. Places where independent thought is discouraged and only groupthink is allowed.

For days after Donald Trump won the election for President of the United States protesters, some young, naïve and coddled others professional anarchists, protested. They blocked roads and highways making life difficult for thousands trying to go about their business. Like the child in the grocery store having a tantrum, they screamed for attention.

It is time for parents to call their children and explain to them that they don’t always get their way; that they will face adversity in life. That in life there are no participant ribbons.

Gary Gillen owns and operates Gillen Pest Control and Gillen Political Strategies in Richmond. He is the only person in history to have served on both the Richmond City Commission and the Rosenberg City Council. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Fort Bend County 2006-2007. He can be reached at Gary@GaryGillen.com

7
Apr

Richmond City Charter Election

 

As I See It…

By Gary Gillen (as seen in the Herald Coaster)

Richmond City Charter Election

Dear Editor:

It is so rare that the City of Richmond asks citizens for guidance that it is critical for us to be informed and vote. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Richmond resident Tres Davis who took the time to study our charter, learn the procedures to bring about change and worked to gather the signatures needed to force the City to hold the Charter Change election we will hold May 7th.

To be clear, the Charter is the rule book the citizens adopt telling our elected officials what we expect of them. We adopted the current Charter in 2013. It is a reminder to our elected officials that they work for us and not the other way around. They MUST follow the rules in the Charter.

For too long far too much power has been vested in too few people in Richmond. With only two Commissioners and a Mayor, not every citizen feels represented. The first issue on the ballot is increasing the number of Commissioners to four. This long needed change will help the Commission serve our citizens, all of them, better by increasing the number of citizens involved in the governance of Richmond. I hope our citizens will adopt this much needed reform and vote “Yes”.

If we are to avoid ever increasing taxes to fund City operations we will need to annex more property. New citizens will have the right to vote for our leaders but under the current system it is conceivable that the new citizens could eventually outnumber the current voter base. To make certain that the current citizens are always well represented it is crucial that we adopt Single Member Districts over the current “At-Large” system we have. The Districts could be drawn to guarantee our current citizens are always well represented. I hope our citizens will vote “Yes”

If you think the City was pleased to hold this election the next two items on the ballot should disabuse you of that thought. I mentioned that Tres Davis used the Charter to affect change. He gathered 150 signatures, as required by the Charter we adopted three years ago, and forced the City to call this election. The Charter committee, appointed by the Mayor and current Commissioners, decided to try to make it harder for our citizens to ever force change again. Items three and four of the ballot would increase the number of signatures required from 150 to 300 for Charter changes and Recall Elections, a huge increase for a city the size of Richmond. It calls to mind the question, “if 150 was good enough in 2013, why does it need to be 300 in 2016?” It is clear that the city leaders are angry that their hand was called so they want to raise the bar so no one else dare question their wisdom. I hope our citizens see through this ploy and vote “No” on item three and “No” on item four.

Finally, our city leaders want to limit the financial information of the City that you see. Currently the annual audit of City finances is required to be published in the newspaper where everyone can see it. Item five of this election, added to the ballot by the Mayor and Commissioner’s hand picked committee, would stop the publishing of the Audit where we can see it and require you to go to City Hall and request to view the audit. While city leaders may claim this is an effort to save money, the minimal cost of providing citizens with access to the financial audit of the city and how our leaders are spending our money is of much greater value. There are many other ways to save money. Why would any elected leader want to make it more inconvenient and difficult for taxpayers to view this audit of City finances?
I hope our citizens will vote “No” to this effort to hide our financial records.

Gary Gillen
Richmond