This is hilarious—she reported on folks in Fort Bend County fighting for property tax relief however it was her own Facebook comments presuming HER story prompted BJP to look into the Fort Bend County Mayor and Council Member Association that had me in stitches! On the other hand, this post is a metaphor for advocating the right to & necessity of a functioning free press in a healthy representative republic.
In a story titled “Fort Bend Mayors tell Lawmakers: No “Tax Relief” posted July 21st on her Facebook page, Andrea Watkins of Fox 26 reported on a strong lobby in Fort Bend County resisting efforts to reform the property tax code for homeowners. She then asked readers if they ever heard of the Fort Bend County Mayors and Council Members Association.
Why YESSSS, loyal BJP readers DO know the Association!
Their membership including the Fort Bend County Commissioners, the public issues they discuss and their policy of keeping notice of the meetings hidden from the taxpaying public were covered by BJP here on May 29th and here on June 25th. Through a series of open records requests the 2015 meeting dates of this Association saw daylight earlier this year. It wasn’t until the City of Sugar Land reversed course and posted public notice of the June 23rd meeting of the Fort Bend County Mayors and Council Members Association that more sunshine could be thrust upon the Associations meeting dates and times so the public could attend.
I couldn’t resist commenting though on the absence of the Fort Bend County Commissioners from her story.
Yvonne: “Of course the TV media ignored the fact that all of Fort Bend County Commissioners sit on this secret organization.”
Andrea: “It was not ignored. There’s only so much time in a story. I’m glad my report prompted you to look into it. The ISD’s are on the list too…I read these comments. One of yours on another page has given me the idea to look into whether the public can attend these Mayor’s council meetings.”
Yvonne: “I’m glad my reporting on Big Jolly Politics prompted you to look into this. I’m glad the reporting gave you the idea to look into whether the public can attend these FBCMCA meetings. Here’s a screen shot of an official response to my proper open record request to be added to the distribution of these secret meetings.”
“…you must be a Mayor, City Councilmember or City Secretary in Fort Bend County. Therefore, the FBCMCA will be unable to fulfill your request”
Make no mistake about this—I would LOVE to see Fox 26 run more Fort Bend stories, because the Fort Bend County Mayors and Council Members Association letterhead that both Andrea and I published in our respective stories do not identify the ISD’s as members of the Association. Here’s the letterhead I obtained through my PIR. FBCMCA RES No. 15-01 re SB 182
Perhaps there’s another Fort Bend group partially comprised of governmental entities (including school districts) whose records are shielded from sunlight and is opposed to increases in the homestead exemption?