LA MARQUE — The La Marque City Council censured Councilwoman Connie Trube and removed the Planning and Zoning Board chairman on Monday after both were accused of making racist remarks.

At a special meeting of the council Monday, Mayor Bobby Hocking and City Manager Carol Buttler said Trube told them on separate occasions in 2012 that she wanted to close the city library because only African-Americans used it.

The council also voted unanimously to spend up to $10,000 to hire law firm Olson & Olson to investigate the allegations.

Trube denied saying she wanted to close the library because African-Americans used it.

The council also voted to censure Trube for her remarks about African-Americans on the La Marque school board.

Hocking and council members Keith Bell, James Osteen and Clent Brown all voted for the official reprimand. Trube voted against it.

The allegations of racist remarks and possible racist city policies surfaced when the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas turned over sworn affidavits and audio recordings from former council candidate Deanna Bethea and her husband, James Bethea, to the U.S. attorney last week.

The recordings include people making a joke about the Ku Klux Klan and discussing policy on zoning requests.

As The Daily News reported, in one recording, a woman who is clearly Trube, is heard talking about La Marque school board member Annie Burton, saying: “I hate to say this, but she really turned black.” She also says Burton helped “gang up” with others on the school board.

“That is why the school district went to hell,” Trube is recorded as saying.

In an interview with KPRC-TV, Trube did not back away from the comments.

“All you have to do is see the condition that the school district is in right now,” Trube told a reporter from KPRC-TV.

Another of the allegations claimed that Chris Colombo, who was chair of the city’s Planning and Zoning Board, used a racial slur to refer to candidate Chris Lane.

The City Council voted unanimously to remove Colombo from the board.

During the Monday night meeting, Hocking read a letter from Colombo apologizing to those offended by his comments.

State law prohibits the council from removing Trube from her seat, but the council can censure one of its members.

Councilmember Keith Bell made the motion to censure Trube.

“I’m trying to let our public know that this council does not agree with those words,” Bell said.

In a long and at times confrontational meeting, Trube tried to explain her comments and defend her record as a council member.

While admitting to what she said, Trube said she never said anything derogatory.

In one exchange between Bell and Trube on Monday, Trube said she meant new blood was needed on the La Marque school board.

“Do you feel as though what you said, on tape and in an interview, do you feel that that was racist?” Bell asked.

“Not racist, but let me explain,” Trube said.

Trube said she should have said all the school board members, including the white members, were failing.

After the council voted to censure Trube, the council approved hiring a law firm to investigate claims that Trube wanted to withdraw funding from the city library because African-Americans used it.

In her affidavit, Deanna Bethea said she heard Trube say in regard to the library that “no one uses it but the damn (N-word)” and that librarian Telishia Long, who is African-American, was incompetent. According to Bethea’s affidavit, Trube said the city was wasting money by supporting the library.

Trube denied ever saying that. She said she was a supporter of the library and Long.

But at the meeting Monday, Hocking said he heard Trube say in 2012 during a budget discussion that she wanted to “close the library because only blacks use it.”

Hocking said his wife also heard Trube make that remark.

Buttler said Trube came into her office in 2012 and said she wanted to close the library because “black people use it.”

Trube denied ever making those statements.

“Unless you can prove it, it’s just your word against mine,” Trube told the mayor.

Trube said she believed Hocking and Buttler were going along with the police union in an effort to remove her from office and replace her with a councilwoman who would vote for things the union wanted.

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

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(15) comments

Gary Miller

Without proof defending the suits related to "aledged" racial comments are going to cost a lot more than $10,000.

Cynthia Bell-Malveaux

Ihog-they both admitted that they said these things. So what do you mean by "without proof? " Life in the political arena is very challenging. The things people think should remain in their heads and not ever come out of their mouth.

Terri Neely

If Tribe "did"say those things, what the h... its only the truth.

Brian Cann

If Columbo was black, would he still be fired for using the n word?

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Looks like Satan is hard at work doing his best to make sure that LM city hall becomes the next LMISD.

Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.....[whistling]

npappous
Norman Pappous

Here in Galveston you can proclaim yourself a racist in front of City Council ON VIDEO without fear of consequences.

Galveston City Council; August 28th; Item 4; Part 2 of 2; Public comment; time - 15:10

http://galvestontx.swagit.com/play/02212013-771

Galveston NAACP President and Planning Committee member David Miller:

"I quote things but I never say anything racial. You all know that. You all write the blogs and everything about that I'm racist. You damn right I'm racist. If the whites and blacks fighting, I'm pulling for the blacks."

J. Shaffer

I for one am pleased when anyone makes use of the public library and discovers it's joys. Growing up, I spent many hours at libraries and deep in books and probably have a dozen library cards to prove it. I've never noticed the skin color of others there, just that they love books and information like I do.

I stopped by the Lions Club booth at the library fair they had last week and met the new library director and she struck me as outgoing and competent.

I'm also very pleased that the City Council took immediate action against those who would bring racism into the city operations. In removing Colombo and censuring Trube, they send a strong message that outdated ideas will NOT be tolerated today.

Good for you, Mayor Hocking!

Chelsi Crawford-Powell

Self destruction whenever your inherent sense of privilege or power is hidden from view, shared or lost. Yep. Thats it

Paul Steele

Can we just get along , Love U all. 😍😍

JBG JBG

I want to echo what NurseJane said! I am so proud of this City Council. I love the way it stood up to Satan and his BS so much I could climb up on my roof top, and shout! What they decided to do last night was most satisfying in my eyes! They stood together as a modern municipality council should in 2014, as a diversified representation of ALL it's residents and not just some of them.
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By adopting and taking the actions it took last night, this council signaled loud and clear they wanted this community to go forward in unity, order, and progress. They sent a message to those who would represent this city that they should conduct themselves in a proper manner and decorum.
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Last night, I think City Council, did all it could do under the laws of the land governing it, and that should be recognized by all its residents especially those who were appalled at what suddenly sprung up recently attempting to divide this community. As one of those who were offended and appalled, I therefore accept Mr. Columbo's apology and thank him for his services to the City Of LaMarque to this point. The man admitted what he said was wrong, and I applaud him for his honesty, and his apology in the interest of moving on.
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I urge all LM residents on the side of right, and truth, to lets embrace this opportunity to build up, and not teardown, to unify and not divide, to love and not hate! This is our opportunity, this is our hour, to take the negatives and mold them into positives, learn from them, and move forward and not backwards. There are no doubt some who might like nothing better, than to regress backwards after we have progressed so far, but that won't help this community grow. It would be like a dog, going back to the place where he had just vomited, and rolling around in it!
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Going back to a place of strife and division, is the MODUS OPERANDI of Satan himself, it is part of his math which is dividing and subtracting. He is the master at dividing, and taking away! He just finished attacking League City recently, and it did not work, now he is here. Who will be next? So then, let us move forward together. God Bless!
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George Croix

Sounds like the Mayor aand Councel did the right thing at this point. A censure is nothing but a hand slap, but that's better than a head turned away from a problem, and it may well be influential to future voters decision making.
What I do wonder is what is the purpose of hiring a law firm to investigate further? Isn't that just 10 grand down a rat hole? I don't think it's against the law to make such comments, so the legal system can do nothing, and she's already been tried and convicted in the political system.
BUT, unless there is a recall by voters, or some clause in the city government charter that allows her to be summarily dismissed for making such comments, she'll be a Council member until the next election, and depending on the voters, maybe after that.
Is that not correct?

I also think that outdated ideas should include taxpayer funded separate programs targeted for specific demographics. Separate but equal is supposed to be a thing of the past. If we're all in this together and subject to the same standards, as should be the case, then using general revenues for specifically targeted expenditures is wrong, and should be immediately stopped.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Your absolutely right Grecroix, taxpayers will be footing the $10k for the city's own lawyers to investigate this situation, as well, the FBI will come in and do their own investigation for which I'm sure the city does not even want them scouring through all of their records?

Now that this can of worms has been opened up, I'm sure a lot more people will be eating a lot more worms these days then they ever imagined before?

On the outside looking in, having your own lawyers doing the investigation looks as though someone might be trying to hide something? It would be better to have the FBI do the investigation and be the one to determine any criminal wrong doing.

If we're going to be throwing some people under the bus, then everyone who rides that bus should be looked at in my opinion.

Lois J Carelock

I agree with MisionaryMan and gecroix. Right on!!!

Island Bred

This is so pitiful - on all accounts. It is never OK to tell racists jokes in any company - there is no humor in it - only veiled racism. Connie is telling the truth but it has nothing to do with color when it comes to LMISD - they are just pitiful excuses for management of anything and I certainly wouldn't want that clown show as our council. It is sad she feels she much inject color. Truth is they just are a group of folks who are greedy and don't have LMISD's interests at the forefront. The fact that the majority are black is a side observation - they are also mostly female - that has little to do with their ability to govern. Colombo had to go for his obvious lack of judgment. You can feel how you want but being racists isn't free speech - it's offensive. I'm sure he's a nice guy and all but if he thinks these type jokes are funny I can see why people would question his fairness on any board. Pretty sad but also pretty stupid. I'm sure Connie is on her last term after this and she will be lucky if she completes this one. All this has very little to do with the topic and everything to do with the PD union. Who the hell are the Bethea's anyway? How many committees do they serve on, how much time do they devote to the city and not the PD?........... I guess I missed that in the show and tell. Someone ANYONE needs to put LaMarque FIRST - leave your bad judgment and political aspirations at home and come out and do something for the city - ALL of the city. These actions on all sides don't do anything but drag our city thru the mud - Thanks for nuthin!

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Your absolutely right Margurite!

The Bethea's have only lived in LM for 7 years and before running for city council. I'm told she only attended board meetings maybe 2-3 times in preparartion for her run for council.

The police union sought out anyone who could challenge council woman Trube and they stumbled on Deanna Bethea who was gullible enough to fall for the unions selling of snake oil to the public.

The Bethea's claim that they want to help LMISD. How can that be true when they send their son to Santa Fe ISD??? It would seem that they talk out of both sides of their mouth for convenience and if they truly said what they mean't and mean what they say then their son would currently be enrolled in LMISD.

Deanna Bethea's political career is done from what a lot of people around town are saying seeing how her and her husband sold their souls to the devil and now obviously can't be trusted to hold a simple conversation with someone without fear of being secretly recorded.

Deanna Bethea and her husband have now shown the people of LM that they care only about serving their own personal agendas and have no respect to it's consequences.

Isn't it awefully funny how on the tape that James Bethea provided, you are only given what certain people said, but not of what HE said that led to the conversation being initiated in the first place?

We all can lead people into a conversation and set the tone for that conversation by the way in which we start it, example.... Man it's hot outside and I'm sweating like a pig! Someone elses response, "Your right not only is it hot and humid, but it's only June and we still have July and August to go through so it's probably going to be a long and hot Summer".

See, it's just that simple to get out of people exactly what your needing in order to secretly catch them on tape.

This all just wreaks of weak politics and shows exactly those who have NO business being involved in it!

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