A killer. Not a hunter.

Serene.  Elegant.

The trio moved about the rice fields feeding, always close to each other.

They were not fearful, even of us.  They should have been, maybe they would all still be alive.

Two of the Louisiana Cranes, as they became known around here, met a horrible end.  The details of the deaths are sickening.  One fatally shot with a .17 caliber rifle.  The other mauled to death by a dog, Trey Frederick’s canine companion, when gunshots proved not fatal.  It’s bloodied carcass was found close to the road they where they were shot from his vehicle.

He told other hunters “I’ll shoot them sons of bitches” upon seeing pictures of them on Facebook.  And he did three days later.

Continue reading

Never. Never say never.

Never.  Never say never.

In 1992 I cast a vote for Bill Clinton.  He won.  About a month into his presidency I regretted the vote.

In 1994 I voted Republican for the first time in my life.  I was from a long time blue dog, blue collar, Southeast Texas Catholic family.  You didn’t vote GOP.

In 1996 I enthusiastically supported Bob Dole for president.  He lost.  I drank a 1.5 liter of wine that election night.  I hated Clinton that much.

Never.  I vowed I’d never do that again.  I’d never drink a 1.5 liter bottle of wine and I’d never vote Democrat again.

Never.  Never say never.

Continue reading

Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz: witch hunts and second-guessing



“And I have no desire to participate in a witch hunt and second guess [sic] the city manager.”

Michael D. Getz, Beaumont attorney and city councilman, Mayor pro tem

The quote was from public comment section of the Beaumont Enterprise regarding the demotion and eventual firing of water department director Dr. Hani Tohme by City Manager Kyle Hayes.

But apparently Councilman Getz would do exactly that when it involves the council’s approval of an appointment by City Attorney Tyrone Cooper.  And he didn’t stop with the “second guess” of Cooper’s decision or “participate in a witch hunt”.  He conducted it.

Granted, Cooper initially didn’t provide much information for the consent agenda packet council members get before a meeting.  Not even a name according to Mayor Becky Ames. But he did hand out this just before the meeting commenced.

Under the Charter, the City Attorney may appoint his assistants with the approval of the City Council at such compensation as set by the Council. There has been a vacancy created in the [City Attorney’s] department by the resignation of Grant Boston. Ms. Colbert is very qualified for the position. The City Attorney recommends that the appointment of Kelli Colbert for as an Assistant City Attorney II for the City of Beaumont be approved at a starting salary of $50,000 together with all the benefits of a civilian employee.

And before the vote on the consent agenda Mayor Ames noted City Attorney Cooper was pulling the item for a weeks deferment. That Councilman Getz had requested more information which was being provided by way of the application package of the prospective new employee that included a cover letter, resume and a filled out application.

But before there came a motion, Councilman Audwin Samuel had a question.


Continue reading

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s advisory panels give exclusive access to a handpicked few

Photo credit:

Photo credit: WFAA

I said they were a day late and a dollar short.  But I was too.

Nonetheless, the Beaumont Enterprise editorial mostly reflects my thoughts upon hearing about this back in January of this year.

I didn’t intend for the response to become a blog post but that’s what happened.


It’s a good question. Why not just talk to citizens?

And why the need for a so-called “grassroots panel” when Lt. Governor Dan Patrick had been elected into office a couple of months beforehand? After campaigning for the office as much as a year beforehand, Dan Patrick should have his dainty little index finger poised on the pulse of the GOP and Tea Party voters that put him in office.

State Senator Dan Patrick organized a Tea Party Caucus and advisory committee in 2011 and 2013. Both were composed of fellow legislators.

But this panel was extra-legislative and composed of private citizens representing a single political interest. The Tea Party. And in fact only represented a narrow portion of the state as all of it’s members were from the major metropolitan areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin/San Antonio and Houston and it’s suburbs.

And in fact it was not the only such panel created by the Lt. Governor this legislative session.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Advisory Boards of Private Citizens will have individual committees on water, transportation, tax policy, energy, economic development and economic forecasting. Among its members are energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, San Antonio real estate developer Gene Powell, Midland oilman Tim Dunn and Brint Ryan, the owner of a Dallas-based tax firm.”

The Advisory Board of Private Citizens was composed of six separate boards and made up of fifty-five private Texas businessmen. Thirty-seven of which were donors Dan Patrick’s campaign for Lt. Governor.

“Each one of these committees is going to play a vital role in helping us as we move through the session,” he said, adding that the board’s members would be able to use their experience to educate lawmakers in both chambers about the consequences of proposed legislation. “I’ve always been a person who believed it’s good to surround yourself with people who are more knowledgeable than you are in certain areas.”

As for transparency in state government?

Continue reading

To the City of Beaumont: Where is the video?

It happened this week. It was said that Dr. Hani Tohme, the former city water director, had to fight to make it happen.


Maybe the Beaumont City Council didn’t want to hear it. It’s much easier to sweep unpleasant things under the rug than to have to deal with them. It seems to be the way with this city council.

“It’s another great day in Beaumont!”

The council’s mantra. You’ll hear it at least once during their weekly meeting in council chambers.

Except that it’s not.

A loyal city employee may have been unfairly demoted.


Continue reading

In black and white: Beaumont is racially divided at the polls

Gethrel “Get” Williams-Wright has been on the Beaumont City Council for eight years now.  She was elected to the city council in 2007.

Former council member at-large Becky Ames ran for mayor that year after serving since 1997.  And Andrew Cokinos was finally too sick to fulfill his duties on city council for 21 years.

The race was wide open with 8 candidates vying for the two seats.  Excepting “Bruce” Hendrix, all were new faces to the at-large election.  Charlie Foxworth, “Get” Wright, Allen Lee, Delores Davis, Leroy Lewis III, Dean L. Tucker, and W.L. Pate, Jr..

When it was over citizens of the city of Beaumont had elected a white man and a black woman.

But is was close.  Gethrel Williams-Wright won her seat with 27.72 percent of the vote.  She defeated Charlie Foxworth by only 135 votes.  It was said at the time she won because of the support of the Beaumont Firefighters Union Local 399.  Williams-Wright is a long time union supporter and activist.

W.L. Pate, a local businessman, won with 28.14 percent of the vote.

It was a largely uncontested election in 2013. Excepting the race for Beaumont mayor. As a result, voter turn-out was dismal. 3662 total ballots cast. Under 10 percent of registered voters.

In the race for the two at-large city council seats a total of 3613 votes were cast for the two incumbents. Gethrel “Get” Wright and W.L. Pate, Jr.. One black woman and one white man.

Two votes, two candidates. As the only two choices it would make sense that both got around the same percent of the vote. Maybe a little more or a little less here and there.

But that’s not what happened. Because it was decided largely by race and the refusal of both black and white voters to vote for a candidate of the other color.
Continue reading

The Rick Perry Second Coming


The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

W.B. Yeats


It starts with a cue from the former Texas First Lady Anita Perry.

It’s loud, booming. Obnoxious and puerile.


“Shotgun toter
Republican voter
Rick Perry supporter
Let’s protect our border
To hell with anyone who don’t believe in the U.S.A.
Rick Perry all the way.”

A kind of thing you might hear as the outlaw gunslinger enters town. Or a presidential race in this instance.

And slinging it he was.

Sweat and bullshit staged before a C-130 freshing painted with Perry’s new logo.

Flanked by what seems to be glaring twin security guards who did not know where they were.

The Rick Perry Show is here.

Continue reading

Beaumont City Council election results: Gwen gone and Getz wins twice

wp_20150311_002She ran. And she lost. To two others.

On Saturday Gwendolyn Ambres’ ambition to represent Ward 4 in the Beaumont City Council came to an end. For now anyway.

But she’s not gone. Not yet. Gwen is still president of the defunct BISD Board of Trustees. An actor waiting for the final act.

Melanie Smith, wife of former Ward 4 city councilman and current Jefferson County District Clerk Jamie Smith, will face Robin Donatta Mouton in a June 20th run-off election.

The loser could face Gwen in a later run for the BISD school board. If there’s ever an election.

Mayor Becky Ames will be back to play monitor for the city council playground for another two years. Another major defeat for “Unc” Jones.

In 2013 “Unc” said he was chastised by Beaumont City Councilman Mike Getz for costing the city unnecessary money. Save for his run against Becky it otherwise would have been an uncontested election for all city council incumbents.

Continue reading