Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Down Life's Highway

Thanksgiving in the shadow of a pandemic

I'm optimistic that by next Thanksgiving the times we are living today will seem like a bad nightmare. We will wake from this bad dream, on a bright new day. We will still be struggling to leave this past behind but in time the abscess will subside. Here at home we will still have to take care of our own. Our basic lives must be cared for. We have children to raise and to ensure they get a good, competitive education in our own school yards. This brings me to something I've been interested in and concerned about. I've been under the weather for the past month. Not good but that's a story for another time. Over the weekend, I got to read The Record where I discovered that BCISD Superintendent Todd Lintzen will retire at the end of the school year. I will say Todd was just the right hire at the right time for us, not for him. That poor guy and his bride got here in time to welcome about four storms, one wiping out their home. His wife Tracey suffered open-heart surgery and was unable to work. They are now retiring and will move near family. They earned Louisiana retirement and will now qualify for Texas retirement. They will be fine. Special thanks for the great job, even under the restriction of COVID and what the maneuvering entailed. Now comes the hard and delicate decision of the school board. Let me say up front I have a lot of confidence in this BCISD board. They have a lot of government experience, even with other entities. Some have been around school business for a long time. In fact, I believe Bear's mom, Ann, delivered her at the school. I've known the late George and Rita Anderson and their tribe over 60 years and brother's "Goober," Jeff and school board member Mark since they were in short pants. I could write a book on Jerry McInnis. I've been impressed with Thad Hill since the day I met him many years ago when he made his first run for political office. He asked for my support and I told him I had committed to a friend. I figured the kid, a newcomer, didn't stand a chance. He said something to me that stuck, "Thank you sir, maybe next time I can have your support." I agreed that he would. He beat my guy like a drum. I've never voted against Thad since. I just wrote this so you would know that I know the players. They have a real problem facing them. They must front a bond issue. I know none of us like to hear that. The district continues to grow, probably 3,500 students in the next 18 months or so. There are some real needs. I don't have space to go with them here. Fifty percent of passing a bond issue is timing and this ain't the time and won't be for awhile but I'm optimist the end of 2021 will be different. Everyone knows there is no free ride but no one wants to pay a fare that is not absolutely necessary. Citizens know a school, like a church, must be supported. All of my children and grandchildren were educated here at home. I'm proud of how well they have done and still have the Cardinal Pride. I'm sure the school board will again use a search team in hiring the new superintendent, someone who can blend wit h the community, never mind storms, skeeters, etc. Most importantly is someone who has had experience with bond issues or passed one themselves. A must needed bond issue is first priority. Doctors Harold, Lucia and Jamie all passed bond issues. I was front row to those. There was one special ingredient in all three. I have some positive ideas and some constructive advice if anyone is interested. Timing is everything and must be above board. Transparence to the last, all I's dotted and T's crossed. No jumbo's, just the needs and you can count me in and believe me; I hate to spend worse than anyone. My wife laughs when anyone calls me a liberal. *****There's no place like home. While I'm on the subject of caring for home-folks, I think of our cities that all are on sound footing and well run. Despite all the setbacks and it ain't over, school administrators have had to be very flexible. They, for the most part, are flowing with the tide. I've been really impressed with our county government. Lord knows the last few years have been no easy run. I believe l've known every judge and county commissioner in the last 65 years. I don't ever recall a more balanced group. It's no bull corn to say all are from different vocations. For the most part they are all level headed, smart, centrist. One leans to the right, one to the left but no flame throwers, just a unique group. Judge John Gothia is a doer; he puts things in compartment order. He is sharp on his feet, a good leader. Commissioner Kirk Roccafort has 30 years government experience and a very impressive bio as mayor of Bridge City. He is a successful businessman who aligns with the blue collar worker. Commissioner Johnny Trahan comes from the corporate world where in management he had far reaching supervision. He is most personable. You've got to love Johnny. The lady on the court, Commissioner Theresa Beauchamp, is an educator and most importantly a counselor and former longtime Orange City councilperson. Commissioner Robert Viator is a successful businessman, former Vidor mayor and sharp with details. You couldn't have picked a better county team. They give me confidence that we will survive nature's wrath and illnesses. Now, I probably will get in trouble. What would help everyone, citizens, businesses and entities that need to raise a few coins and will hurt no one. The appraisal district needs to freeze all property taxes for the next three years. The county government may squeal, if so, raise taxes, sharpen the pencils, and deal with the voters. For too many years we have been raising taxes while claiming not to. By coming through the back door, by raising property values, it raises everyone's taxes on all levels. Example: A small lot, 11 years ago, valued at $8,000, today may appraise for $19,768. Come on, it's time for a break. A three year break. Happy Thanksgiving.


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