High times on the courthouse square
by Jeff Latcham
Oct 04, 2013 | 292 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometimes ideas need more time in the oven. Or the oven needs at least to be lit.

We’re not saying the idea of recalling Mayor David Carabajal because he serves on the Beeville Development Authority board is half-baked. No, it’s still unthawed straight from the silly freezer.

If Mike Keeney and the local Tea Party are planning to recall Carabajal as stated at Tuesday night’s meeting on the courthouse grounds, then they should have filed a recall on their guest speaker, former mayor Jimbo Martinez, and former mayor Kenneth Chesshir before him.

They also probably need to recall County Judge David Silva and most of his predecessors, as well as the Beeville Independent School District superintendents and presidents of Coastal Bend College.

The BDA board has always been made up of successful businesspeople and representatives from various governmental bodies across the county. When they have a conflict of interest come up in a related vote before them, they simply abstain. Standard operating procedure.

The BDA board, designed to meet federal guidelines, was always a broad cross-section representing taxing bodies and civic leaders. You need these volunteer movers and shakers to make this work for the good of the community. The same laws that set this structure up also didn’t give the BDA taxing powers, so it has to find development grants from the feds, state, county and city for projects.

It’s easy to criticize the BDA when it has lost Sikorsky as a tenant, but it’s hard to hold onto a global company when the globe is in recession and it’s biggest customer, the U.S. government, goes through this thing called sequestration. These are tough times outside the Eagle Ford region.

Not content with blasting BDA, Keeney launched on the BISD and then on the Chamber of Commerce’s seeking up to $400,000 from the city. The only problem is, the Chamber isn’t asking for anything remotely close to that number, but has always accessed hotel-motel tax funds to promote the community and “put heads in beds.” This is a historically common practice. Those funds can only be spent to draw people to town, so the Chamber is as good a recipient as any.

The Chamber has historically taken lead roles in bringing the Navy base here, the hospital expansion, the bypass, the college and the TDCJ. A strong chamber has been integral in growing this community.

There’s a classic line in the movie, Animal House, when John Belushi challenges his comrades to action, saying, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” When someone starts to question his history, another character intones, “Forget it. He’s rolling.”

Apparently that was Jimbo Martinez’s line of thinking when he didn’t bother to correct Keeney about the mayor serving on BDA and Chamber funding requests. Frankly, we also find it questionable judgment for Martinez to attend a recall rally for one of his fellow councilmen who just happened to replace him as mayor.

There are many worthy points being pushed nationally by the Tea Party, but from its abuse of the facts, Tuesday’s local meeting sounded more like a gathering for Occupy Washington Street.

– Jeff Latcham
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