LA MARQUE — La Marque Mayor Bobby Hocking said he did the right thing by waiting until this week to disclose racially charged remarks made by a council member in 2012.

Those remarks surfaced after 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.

In her affidavit, Deanna Bethea said she heard City Councilwoman Connie Trube say in regard to the library that “no one uses it but the damn (N-word)” and that the city was wasting money on the library, among other things.

Trube has denied the accusations.

On Monday Hocking and City Manager Carol Buttler said they heard Trube say, during budget discussions in 2012, that she wanted to cut funding to the library because only African-Americans use it.

Trube, who won’t be up for re-election until May 2015, denies the accusations from the mayor and the city manager. She also denied ever talking to Deanna Bethea about closing the library.

‘I just decided to move forward’

Hocking said he and his wife heard Trube say she wanted to “close the library because only blacks use it.”

Hocking said he went to the city manager and the city attorney to express his concern. The council did fully fund the library within the budget constraints, so in the end Hocking said he decided not take any other action.

The city had just gone through a divisive period with the recall of the city’s first African-American mayor, Geraldine Sam, and a subsequent election, he said.

Hocking said he hoped the city would have time to heal.  

“I made the decision not to rip this city apart as is being done now,” he said.

Buttler said she also knew that Trube had only one vote and that the city would find a way to fund the library.

Looking back, Hocking said he believed he made the right decision.

“I was appalled but I just decided to move forward,” he said.

If the library had not been funded and there had been an effort to close it he would have taken a different action, he said.

But now Hocking and the rest of the council have called for an investigation into the allegations.

The City Council hired a law firm, Olson & Olson, to investigate. The council agreed to pay up to $10,000, although Hocking said he expected to the final cost to be about half that. The investigation should be complete by the end of the month and the findings presented at the June 30 council meeting.

Getting to the bottom

The council censured Trube for comments she can be heard making on audio recordings made by James Bethea. 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.

The recordings were made in the City Hall parking lot during early voting and on election day in May, according to the affidavits.

Trube was campaigning for Councilman James Osteen, who was in a three-way race against Deanna Bethea and Chris Lane. Osteen is now in a runoff with Lane.

On Monday Osteen made a point of asking Burton and Sam, who had also been mentioned in the audio recordings, if he had ever offended them. Both women said he had not. Osteen also said he had offered to help Deanna Bethea if she won the election just as he has offered to support and help Lane if he were to win.

As far as Trube’s comments about the library, Osteen said it was necessary to get an outside group to investigate.

“We have this affidavit, and it’s he said, she said,” Osteen said. “The only way we are going to get to the bottom of it is to let a neutral party look at it.”

An accumulation of allegations

At Monday’s meeting, Councilman Keith Bell told Trube that he loved her but that the accumulation of allegations and recorded comments caused the council to pause and hand the issue over to a neutral party.

Bell also said the recent revelations would cause him to think about how she viewed him.

“I have to work with knowing that in my heart you may not feel as though I am (as) adequate in my position as other persons,” said Bell, who is African-American.

But after the meeting Bell said he believed council members would be able to work together going forward.

He said any discussion of Trube stepping down from her position was one she needed to have with her constituents.

The council cannot force Trube from her seat. She can serve the remainder of her term unless she is recalled by voters.

Orchestrated move

Trube said she has no plans to step down.

Instead, Trube said the allegations were completely false and were being orchestrated by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and the La Marque police association.

“It is the police union that is trying to tear this city apart, and it looks like they are succeeding,” Trube said.

Trube said she believed the mayor and the city manager also wanted her gone because she doesn’t always vote along with the mayor and has had her differences with the city manager.

Hocking said he was not out for a witch-hunt and was not trying to remove Trube. He called her allegations “absolutely preposterous.”

Trube said she knew things about others on the council she would be revealing soon.

“Not everybody on that council is on the up and up,” she said. She would not elaborate.  

Doing what was right

Tom Barbee, the local field representative for the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, said the union and Trube have had their differences over contract negotiations. But the allegations went beyond a police matter and were civil rights issues, he said.

“The problem with it is that whenever that type of speech starts actually influencing city policy,” Barbee said.

The associations are asking for Trube to resign and are calling for a federal investigation.

Deanna Bethea, meanwhile, said she was not trying to influence the runoff election and was not trying to be spiteful. She said she did the right thing by giving the information to the police.  

“I’m not proud of having people represent me that have these thoughts and that blatantly speak the way they speak,” Deanna Bethea said.

She said she did what she what she believed was right.

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

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(22) comments

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

It's a sad day in the city of La Marque.

All of this has nothing but politics written all over it.

I can assure you that there's been other things that have happened in the city between 2011 and 2012 that people in high positions knew about and yet didn't do anything about, but soon they will.

This breaks my heart to see stupid politics destroy an entire town the way this is currently doing LM.

The FBI shoud be doing this investigation not the city's own attorney's seeing how we're talking about wanting to find the truth about the honesty, integrity along with the true character and make up of a lot of people who will have to live with the consequences beyond the final investigation findings.

Nobody seems to remember that it has always been Council woman Trube who has always defended the minorities at city hall when others weren't so supportive of them. If you don't believe me check the board records or even ask some city employees yourself starting with the water department, fire department and eventually ending with Mr. Eric Gage.

What Council woman Trube said about the school district may not have been politically correct, however you have to give her credit for having the fortitude to say what others simply think but won't ever dare say themselves for fear of retaliation from their own community including many African American citizens in LM who call on me regularly asking that I continue my battle with LMISD in order that there's someone watching over what these board members and district officials do to our school district.

I trust in that the truth that we all are seeking shall soon be revealed and it shall set us all free. Let the chips fall as they may.

Soon people will also see that not everybody's hands are as squeaky clean as they want others to believe.

God bless and heal the city of La Marque.....[sad]

Eldridge Simpson

La Marque is broke, there is not an assembly of school board members be it black, white, hispanic or any other combination that can turn this situation around under these poor financial circumstances. one thing that is not being addressed is the separation city and education in the community. you can't blame everything on the parents and the kids. the feeling in the community from the black people that live here is that the city council could care less about the kids because they are predominantly minorities. that's the feeling so no-one need write back prove it. I can't, I am not behind those closed doors. the city of La Marque has whittled it's way into a predicament in which it has no financial resources for it's school system, all the growth is in an area of LM that is not LMISD. People can say what they want and feel how they feel, money talks. LMISD has outdated resources, low income teachers salaries and low moral. we inherit kids from other schools that are disciplinary problems but we have no choice. we need the numbers for funding. that behavioral problem kids disrupt the kids that do care and want to learn. so their parents pull them out. it's messed up man. do I think there is some truth to what Trube said, YES. Could she have said it better, YEAH. Does the city council as a whole care about the kids, from the feed back that I get from some sources behind closed doors, NO. Do I think some parents need to step up and do a better job with their kids, YES.

George Croix

One awsh..ucks beats a thousand attaboys.

JBG JBG

I have much confidence in LM City Council! I have much confidence in the LEADER of LM City Council. I think they have done a great job of getting this city back on track. Some might not understand, but there is a spiritual battle taking place right here in LaMarque.
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In the mist of all the recent challenges, this council stood tall and acted as responsible as laws and bi-laws would permit in addressing those issues, in my opinion! I believe the lid will remain on this city, because they have acted in a responsible and professional way. They therefore deserve all the respect and support that LM citizens can give them. If I did not believe it I would not say it!
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Mr. Lane and Ms. Bethea deserved the opportunity to run for office, that is our way, the American way. If I had a vote, I'll be upfront, I would have voted for Mr. Osteen, because he has done the job. Should that stop others from wanting to remove him? Absolutely not! My mentality is the same as his probably is, "bring it on!" Competition is what keeps us on our toes, especially in public service.
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Having said that, I'm still wondering why, we are not getting more interest from new candidates for LMISD positions, because a little more change and leadership over there would do wonders for this whole county.
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So I understand any frustrations Ms. Trube might have encountered where LMISD is concerned, but she has to remember, she signed up for the position she now has, and she has a responsibility not only to the council she is an important part of, but she must also understand that she has a responsibility to ALL of her constituents, in HER district, Black ones, White ones, Hispanic ones, Poka Dot ones too, if they are there, and not just the ones who looks like she does. She has the same responsibilities on the city level, because they ALL are residents and taxpayers.
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One of the things Caucasians residents had against the last Mayor of LM before Mayor Hocking stepped up, was that she said offensive things, on the steps of city hall back in 2008! It is the same thing in this situation only in reverse. So what happened, there was a recall election and that Mayor had to leave. I don't think the same thing is not going to be considered in this situation. I have discovered in my long time here, that sometimes folks have short memories. Ohh I love everybody, and will do anything for you too, but I'm going to tell it like it is.

JBG JBG

corrections ***** Sorry!!
Last paragraph.....
I don't think the same thing is not going to be considered in this situation. Should be :
"I don't think the same thing is going to be considered in this situation!"

Jake Feigle

Mayor Hocking was wrong to call a special meeting without knowing all the facts. Not one of us were contacted to find out our views as to what took place. This IO can say for sure. Deanna Bethea lied when she said Connie Trube said that The librarian was incompetent , no one uses the library except the damn (n-word), and the city was wasting money by funding the library. After Mrs. Long finished voting, she came and greeted us. After a brief conversation she left, and all of us remarked about what a good job she was doing a great job. And this included Connie Trube. Isn't it strange that Deanna did not have it on tape. When the Mayor Hocking and City Manager both said that in 2012 Mrs. Trube made a racial statement about blacks, Why did they not take appropriate action at that time? How did not taking any action better serve the Citizens of La Marque? That was derelict of their duty.. .

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Mr. JBG, I hear exactly what you are saying, but I'm afraid to say that in the end when this investigation and ALL of the facts come out the VERY people that so many people have trusted won't come out of it without having some of the mud for which they slung at others.

I'll just leave it at that and everyone later can just say that I told you so....[wink]

Eldridge Simpson

I agree with you MissionaryMan, the powers that be will not come out of this unscathed.

JBG JBG

Coo87, I'm going to play nice, so I'm not going to ask you to prove anything about LM City Council being responsible for the foolish, incompetent management of LMISD. However I will ask you this:
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Since LMISD has taxpayers from the City Of Texas City as well as LaMarque, are YOU going to be fair, and amend your post to ENCLUDE TEXAS CITY as also being responsible for the downfall of LMISD, or are you holding firm to just the City of LaMarque being responsible for the derelict, incompetent behavior of those charged with providing a first class education for our kids here?
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I find that very interesting so I really would like somebody to explain the rationality of this line of reasoning! Is that why we have challenges to LM City Council now, and not to the seats of those sitting over at LMISD? The trouble is over at LMISD!!!!!!!!!

Eldridge Simpson

I am not blaming the city council for the downfall of LMISD, I said I don't think they care and that would be tough to argue if you were being honest. I think in most towns if a school district were having the problems that LMISD is having the council and the school board would try to unite. I see no effort of any part happening in La Marque along those lines. You don't have to play nice, speak your mind Jbgood. I agree with you and your statement about Texas City, all I am doing however is stating the facts. La Marque is at a decisive disadvantage from a business perspective when it comes to school funding. Yes our school board did a horrible job and behind those scenes were politics, hiring unqualified people, mismanagement of funds and everything you mentioned. I think what you would be surprised at is this does not just go along the lines of race. there are allot of black people in the community that feel like you do about our school board. I did not mention Texas City because I really did not think about that but you have a valid point. this town is not only split down the middle but our government too, all of these accusations being tossed, someone is lying, somewhere in the middle is the truth. to add to your comment you hit it on the head about Texas City, I do not think they have our best interest at heart.

JBG JBG

"Denial" is not that river over in Egypt !!![smile]

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Earlybird, you bring up some valid points regarding Deanna Beatha's credibility and validity of her allegations against counvil woman. History has already shown us 2 things about you:

1, As long as I can remember you've NEVER been a Connie Trube supporter.

2. You do not tolerate racial or racism towards the African American community without confronting the person that made the comment.

Thank you for your honesty, obviously that's something lacking with others at the moment.

Mr. JBG, your right about people being in denial about LMISD and I intend on proving Nakisha Paul to be the liar that she is when she challenged council womsn Trube in the council meeting the other day. I don't know eho's test scores she was looking at, but I can assure you LMISD hasn't improved that drastically as dhe tried telling yhe lie that it has.

People go to hell for lying just like they do fot stealing!

Nuff' said...

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Sorry for the typo's as I was trying to do 3 things at the same time and didn't proof read my post before hitting the submit button on my phone! LOL

JBG JBG

Well Coog87, I'll give you one thing, you seem like an honest person and trust me I have a niche for picking out those who are sincere. Yes, there were lies told in all this, but the other day when all this came first out and accusations were made, I remember saying, this:
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1) "I am not focused on the City Council member involved in this."
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2) "I am focused on the recordings ( evidence )which were said to include conversations proving some allegations made against a councilwoman and a committee person."
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3) " I prayed that those who were not being honest were publicly exposed!"
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Now, I don't want anyone to ever sell prayer short again, because those recording tells all one needs to know. Again, I must step up for Mr. Colombo, because I have NOT seen any evidence where he said "No I did not say what they are accusing me of!"
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Having said that, and I must admit that I heard what I'm going to tell you next, and it is this:
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A couple of years ago it is said that one or maybe two LM council people attended a meeting with LMISD, and offered their help, and WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY WERE TOLD? I heard and read on this forum that they were told to:
"Go mind their own business and leave LMISD alone!" I was not there, but It is what I heard from someone who claimed to know.
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Another thing I want to ask you respectfully, is why should Texas City care about mismanagement and incompetence in LMISD? This is not only a problem for those who are running LMISD, this problem is also on the CONSTITUENTS WHO KEEP VOTING THESE REPRESENTATIVES BACK IN OFFICE TO TEAR DOWN MORE THAN THEY TORN DOWN THEIR LAST TERM! This is on us! I don't want Texas City in this, and I don't want LM City Council in this either! We alone are to be blamed!
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This community, those responsible, for sending LMISD representatives over there to run LMISD, should stand up like any other constituents in any other district, and DEMAND accountability from those who have these schools in the "CRAPPER!" If the can't or won't do better, "GET THEM OUT OF THERE!!!!" It's call responsibility and accountability plain and simple! We have kids being hurt and hurt badly year by year here, because we want to keep experimenting, ah hoping, and ah praying that somehow things will get better! The truth is things will NEVER get better as long as we keep doing the same things with the same people, and are getting the same results!
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Some call that insanity by the way. Now since the LMISD single member districts are not about to vote out their own, then the only two things left to do are:
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1) The TEA comes in here and take the whole shooting match over. ( That probably won't happen ). So the best alternative is......
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2) Parents of LMISD students should keep leaving this dysfunctional school district in droves, and by the bushel!!!!
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Many of these kids being hurts will never know just how much damage has been done to them until much later when their lives have taken drastic turns because of what's going on over there at LMISD. It is not about JOBS, it is about EDUCATION.
It won't be about JOBS, until those who are being pushed out the doors over there with improper educations, goes and apply for jobs and they are told by employers, they are NOT QUALIFIED or that their test scores are not up to snuff!
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I know what I'm talking about, and I have set across the table form applicants and had to evaluate them for employment! I know what I'm speaking about here.
Last but not least, I too am a alumni from LMISD. from way back. I got some stories, but who cares, my careers were very successful, because of faith, and adjustments I made in my life! My concern is for every child who has to put up with what going on here now.

Eldridge Simpson

well spoken.

J. Shaffer

My two cents?


"The city had just gone through a divisive period with the recall of the city’s first African-American mayor, Geraldine Sam, and a subsequent election, he said.


Hocking said he hoped the city would have time to heal. "

And as I recall Ms. Trube was a problem then, too, as she refused to even show up for city council meetings to represent her constituents.

"On Monday Osteen made a point of asking Burton and Sam, who had also been mentioned in the audio recordings, if he had ever offended them. Both women said he had not. Osteen also said he had offered to help Deanna Bethea if she won the election just as he has offered to support and help Lane if he were to win."

IMHO, Mr. Osteen would do well to not have Trube campaigning for him. She seems to spread more bad attitude than good. Keep her as your voice if you want to, but not if you want to win the run-off election. It's certainly making me reconsider who I will vote for.

"Instead, Trube said the allegations were completely false and were being orchestrated by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and the La Marque police association."

I don't agree with jumping the gun and having CLEAT come in, it's a little hard to completely deny the allegations when they have you on tape, isn't it?


"Trube said she knew things about others on the council she would be revealing soon. “Not everybody on that council is on the up and up,” she said. She would not elaborate. "

Now there's a fine Christian attitude. Instead of turning the other cheek, she promises to keep the gossip and backbiting going.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

NurseJayne, you can't have it both ways, expecting someone to just turn their cheek and then not allow them to tell what they know about others. It would seem you would want to hold the same level of courtesy for that "Christian attitude" for someone else to have the opportunity to speak.

Anyone that would say that they would reconsider who to vote for just because of who is supporting either candidate certainly speaks volumes as to where one's priorities lie for what they are looking for in a candidate.

I would hope that your comment was made in jest since we now see thr run off election will certainly determine where the city of LM is headed from this day forward.

That's just my opium though....

Jake Feigle

If Connie Trube made those statements against black people In 2012, why did they fail to confront her then, instead of waiting until now? Could it be that they are part of the plot to get rid of Mr. Osteen and Mrs. Trube?
If these remarks were made in 2012, they failed to carry out their mission to protect the citizens of La Marque. If they were so negligent on this matter, how can we rely on them on other issues? I have supported the Police all my life. My uncle was Constable in Galveston, and died while still in office. My brother, Walter Feigle was Police Chief here in La Marque until he died while still in office. Another brother was an auxiliary for the Police force in Hitchcock until he moved to New Baden, .But when they are wrong, I cannot support this action.
By the way. This is Jake and I am back. I still make all of the Council meetings, and I know what goes on .In all of these years, I have never see Mrs. Bethea at any Council meeting until the early voting began.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Dang autocorrect on this stupid iPhone! LOL

That would be just my "opinion" not opium. Where the heck did that come from???

JBG JBG

Earlybird, lthink it was explaned in a satisfactory manner as to why no complaint
was made back in 2012. I'm certainly satisfied with the reason it was not made an
assue back then. All hell was already in play with the recall on the prior Mayor
Going on. We did not need anymore.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Nice to see you back Jake. I'm sure there are many people here in the forums who remember you and I hardly ever agreeing on much, but we managed to work out our differences for the betterment of the city and that's all that we both wanted in the end anyways.

I think this too will happen over time for others, but only after lots of time for healing.

I also think that some people are going to be really disappointed in some people who they thought that they could trust only to later find out otherwise when the investigation is completed.

Jake Feigle

JBG, II they had acted on it back then , I doubt that we would be having the fallout we are having now. Now the issue is a he said she said problem. I doubt if we will ever know now who is telling the truth, and who is not. And why did they compound the current problem by bringing it up now? It smells to me. If you watch or attend the Council Meetings you will understand why I suspect there is an act of revenge. I have enjoyed sitting on the sideline watching, but when I see what is happening, I had to get involved. Cleat invested a lot of times and money in Mrs. .Bethea, and she came in a poor third. I will say this. If James Osteen loses this election, he will not be the loser. The citizens of La Marque will be the losers. All of us. His actions on the Council has saved the city much money, Someone that knows what he is doing is needed to ride heard on the Mayor and the City Manager.

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