Thursday, March 4, 2010




  Gooden wins District 4 state race
Rep. Betty Brown still looking over the numbers
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE–In a very tough campaign, Republican State Rep. Betty Brown lost her seventh bid to represent Kaufman and Henderson counties in the state legislature to her former aide, Lance Gooden.
The race was very close, according to numbers posted early Wednesday morning.
In early voting, the two Republicans garnered 48 percent (for Brown) and 52 percent (for Gooden) in Kaufman County, but the percentages of votes were the same, but reversed, in Henderson County, with Brown slightly ahead.
Brown managed to stay ahead, finishing with 14 votes more than Gooden received when the final tally was taken in Henderson County, 4,086 to 4,072.
However, Kaufman County was another story. With just two precincts left to be tallied (Combine and Forney), Gooden was ahead by a much larger margin.
When the final tally was registered in Kaufman County, Gooden came out as the leader, pulling ahead of Brown by 108 total combined votes from both counties out of more than 12,000 ballots cast.
In a phone call following the final tallies, Brown told The Monitor she was not giving any interviews, adding she was still “looking over the numbers.”
Gooden didn’t return any calls placed to his cell phone Tuesday night.
A recount is a distinct possibility.
For now, Gooden will face independent candidate Melissa Pehl-Hill in the General Election in November.
No Democratic opponent has filed for the race.
This race was marked with a great deal of “hard truths” from both camps.
Gooden, an insurance and risk management consultant and valedictorian of his Terrell High School class, charged that Brown had lost touch with her constituency, while Brown countered with charges that Gooden wasn’t a property owner in either county, and had voted in Houston in the last election.
Brown has fought for requiring voters to show a photo ID, and was anticipating using her tenure in the redistricting process during the 2011 Regular Session.
Gooden charged Brown with talking about conservative values, but not always voting for them.
“If you spend a little time at the capitol, it becomes abundantly clear that there are two kinds of State Representatives,” Gooden told The Monitor early on in the campaign. “Those who represent the values and beliefs of their districts, and those who have completely lost touch with the people they represent.
“I like Betty a lot as a person, but her record paints a pretty clear picture that she has lost her way,” he added. “We need a representative whose first priority is to represent the conservative interests of their district. I can deliver that to our community.”

Dead body found in parking lot
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–Police located the body of a white adult male Tuesday morning.
It was sitting inside a 2001 Dodge truck parked in the Gibson Shopping Center parking lot.
An employee of Gibson’s Pharmacy alerted police to the situation.
Seven Points Police Chief Brad McConahay estimated the man had been dead for two days.
McConahay is treating the case as a possible suicide, but has not ruled out a homicide while he waits for a report from the medical examiner’s office in Dallas.
McConahay said he expects a preliminary autopsy report by the end of the week.
The identity of the body is being withheld, until autopsy results are known, McConahay added.

Payne Springs city leader J.D. Meredith dies at 80
Monitor Staff Report
PAYNE SPRINGS–Long-time Payne Springs mayor and city leader J.D. Meredith has died. He was 80.
Services were held for Meredith Feb. 28 at the Eubank Memorial Chapel in Mabank (for complete obituary, see page 9B).
Moving to the area in 1975, Meredith served more than 25 years on the Payne Springs city council. As the mayor pro-tem, he served as the de facto mayor for at least four years while the mayor’s post remained vacant.
In February, 2002, the council cancelled the regular May election, but one councilman, Lloyd Durst, died the next day. Having two open seats forced the city to call a special election.
Meredith chose to give up his mayor pro-tem status – and the ability to cast a vote – in July, 2002, to make both open seats council positions.
As it turned out, there were only two men who signed up for the seats, Thomas Hellebrand and Dan Johnston, and the special election was itself cancelled.
In 2003, citizens of the city voted to become a part of the Henderson County Emergency Services District No. 2, and Meredith was instrumental in forming the city’s first police department, which officially opened March 1, 2004.
The costs of operating a police department prompted the city to consider imposing an ad valorem tax for the first time, which was approved by the council in December, 2004.
In February, 2005, Meredith missed his first council meeting in more than 25 years, after undergoing triple bypass surgery following a heart attack.
In April, the city obtained a $100,000 loan from Citizens National Bank of Malakoff to pay for road repairs and a required municipal court computer program.
The council’s actions in imposing a property tax and seeking the loan proved deeply unpopular, and all three incumbents were defeated in the city’s May, 2005, election – which was the first city election since at least 2000.
In June, 2005, citing severe criticism from the three new council members – who ran on a platform of repealing the property tax – Meredith and city secretary Sue Barnett both resigned, followed the next day by Hellebrand.
Two vacancies again forced the city to call a special election that November, resulting in a new mayor (Ethel Hagan) and a new council member (J.T. Noble).
“I’ve spent 28 years serving the people of Payne Springs, and never received a dime for it,” Meredith said afterward, and soon moved out of the city to property he purchased in Van Zandt County.

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