LA MARQUE — The candidates in a runoff election for La Marque City Council District B seat said they are hoping to keep their campaigns focused on the city’s needs and to steer away from recent allegations of racism in city government.

District B incumbent James Osteen is facing Chris Lane in the runoff on June 21.

In May, Osteen took 42 percent of the vote to Lane’s 38 percent. Deannea Bethea, also running for the seat, took 20 percent.

Osteen said he hopes voters will look at his record on the council and his work on the city budget.

Lane said he is focusing on issues such as public safety and city infrastructure. He said he hopes to bring different organizations together to make the city better.

Both said they are attempting to steer clear of allegations of racist remarks brought against Councilwoman Connie Trube and Chris Colombo, who resigned as chairman of the Planning and Zoning Board.

The allegations surfaced when the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas turned over sworn affidavits and audio recordings from Deanna Bethea and her husband, James Bethea, to the U.S. attorney.

The recordings include people making a joke about the Ku Klux Klan and Trube talking about La Marque school board member Annie Burton.

Trube was censured for her comments about African-American members of the school board.

The council hired a law firm to investigate accusations that Trube said she wanted to close the public library because only African-Americans use it.

Trube has said she is not a racist and denied making comments about the library.

She said she does not plan to step down.

Osteen, who voted to censure Trube, said he would wait until the Olson & Olson investigation was complete before commenting on whether Trube should resign.

“I always like to let an investigation be completed before you make any decisions,” he said.

Lane said he had an opinion on whether Trube should step down but declined to give it when asked.

“I know Ms. Trube personally and I hope she’d do what is best for the city,” he said.

Another of the allegations claimed that Colombo used a racial slur and predicted that Lane would not win the election because his picture is on his campaign flier, allowing voters to see that he is African-American.

Lane said he could not control the comments made by others and would focus on his campaign.

“The comment that was made isn’t going to make La Marque a better city,” he said.

Instead, Lane said he was focusing on finding solutions to problems with the city’s aging infrastructure and vacant home problems. He said he wants to find ways to work with the school district, nonprofits, the faith-based community, residents and businesses to face the city’s problems.

“We’re focusing (on) issues that are not black and white,” Lane said. “Pot holes aren’t black and white. Our infrastructure isn’t black and white. Our crime rate in the city isn’t black and white.”

Osteen said he was staying out of the controversy over the alleged racist remarks and was focusing on his record.

The alleged statements and recordings were made in the City Hall parking lot during the early voting period and on election day in May by supporters of Osteen, according to the Betheas’ affidavits.

Osteen said he never heard any racist comments while he was campaigning in the parking lot. Osteen said he would have walked away from any conversations involving racial remarks.

Osteen served on the council from 1995 to 2006 and was again elected to the council in 2011.

“I keep up with the budget, try to keep up with the ordinances and take care of people’s problems whenever they call me,” Osteen said.


At a glance

WHAT: La Marque City Council District B runoff election

WHEN: Early voting hours, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Tuesday; election day is Saturday

WHERE: La Marque City Hall, Community Room, 1109-B Bayou Road, in La Marque

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

Locations

(16) comments

Jackson Hancock

Allegations of cronyism aren't too far fetched. Someone should ask Osteen if his buddy, Mac has a key to all the City offices. While they are getting that answer, maybe someone should look at some of the contracts signed with this Mac guy who is over charging the City?
How about the Fire, EMT and Police who are underpaid to the point that they are leaving for other jobs?
The issues are big in La Marque.

Chris Gimenez

If Mac is overcharging the city you should complete an open records request and provide the documents to the GCDN. Otherwise you're just running your mouth.

JackieM

Oh you mean the same Mac that interferes with official Police business and apparently tells folks at the city how to conduct business when it comes to reprimands? City officials of LM please take your city back and stop all of this cronyism in regards to letting these so called "LM political shot callers" like Mac tell you what to do. Its funny how people like him always like to play puppet master with city officials and city politics but don't have the intestinal fortitude to run for office themselves. Perhaps someone should file an open records request to review the contracts with said individuals I would venture to say they are fat.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Good grief, some people are obviously so concerned about getting 3 bids for someone to come to the police department and unstop toilets that they know nothing about business 101 nor city policy.

JackieM, go ahead and tell everyone your real beef with Mac and it doesn't have to do with city contracts, but rather the disciplining of city employees that isn't too far off from what council woman Trube is being accussed of. I'm sure since it hits so close to home with you, you won't feel compelled to share that little bit of information will you?

Not to change the subject, but I will....

"He said he wants to find ways to work with the school district, nonprofits, the faith-based community, residents and businesses to face the city’s problems".

Chris Lane obviously doesn't mind using the Eagle's Nest or anyone else affiliated with the school district to garner his votes, however everyone already sees how incompetence runs rampant and has destroyed our school district and now he wants to bring that style to city hall???

Chris also wants everyone to believe that he's totally innocent of all of this racial fiasco, however he's right in the middle of all of it and using it to his advantage to play to the voters.

This election is about James Osteen, NOT council woman Trube and that's how Chris Lane should have responded when asked about the racial allegations like Mr. Osteen suggested. This obviously shows Chris' lack of political and government experience and separates the goats from the sheep!

We need to keep James Osteen's watchful eye and experience on city council and OUR budget seeing how others in city hall are wanting less eyes watching over what they are doing.

I'll be so glad when this election is over and the city can finally start to pick up the pieces once again if that's at all possible.....

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

Danggit! That should read, "We need to keep James Osteen's watchful eye and experience on city council and "over" OUR budget seeing how others in city hall are wanting less eyes watching over what they are doing.

Jake Feigle

I have been attending the La Marque City council meetings for over six years, and I have not seen either Mrs. Bethea or Mr. Lane at the Council meetings until early voting began. And if you read what they planned if they were elected to the council, you would see that they have no clue as to what business the Councilmen conduct. Both would better serve the LMISD . What they do not know is that the City Council cannot have any control over the LMISD, nor can the LMISD have any control over the City Council. Both would be better advised to stick to what they know. Drafting a balanced budget and over looking how that budget is followed is probably the most important job the City Council has. Neither candidate running against Mr. Osteen offered any clue as to their qualifications to show the voters of La Marque they have the skills to fill this position. If either candidate had attended the Council Meetings they would have seen how Mr. Osteen has saved the City thousands of dollars, by finding mistake made by the City Manager. Race was not an issue in this election until after the primary votes were in, and Mr. Osteen was the top vote getter, and Mrs. Bethea was a very low third place. I can understand CLEAT being unhappy with the results, because they spent a lot of money on her run for the office. Also many hours of off duty Police officers was spent with her at the polls. It appears that Mrs Bethea is a sore loser, and wants revenge for her poor showing.. If people read the handout that Mrs. Bethea was handing out, the voters would see she offered no evidence of here ability to fill that office. Mr. Osteen has not been accused of any racial activity. And yet, racism is being used against Mr. Osteen. If Mr. Osteen loses this election, I believe it will be because of the race issue that he has no part of. Mr. Osteen will not be the only loser. The Citizens of La Marque will be the big losers. The only way to prevent is to gest out and vote for Mr. Osteen..

JackieM

I will respond later Missionary Man

JackieM

Walter this isn't Jackie it's her son posting using her username, which she has allowed me to use. Might I also add her opinions may not align with mine.

If what I'm saying is not true about LM's small town politics and cronyism how is it you know so much about my families personal business in regards to city employees being disciplined or lack of discipline, according to some? This isn't a direct attack on you just a way to prove my point that folks within the community such as Mac have way too much influence over what goes on in city business which validates my claims that city officials decisions are being influenced by these wanna be " LM shot callers".

I've got nothing bad to say about Mr. Osteen and I wish him luck I'm just tired of seeing my family members who have given a lot of time to the city be crapped on because some cowards who work behind the scenes feel like they can do whatever they want. I'm tired of LM leadership not standing up to these people and telling them to butt out of city business or gather the testicular fortitude to run for themselves so they can legally decide which direction the city takes. But hey why would they do that when they can do it now and not have to worry about being embarrassed by these types of accusations? Shame on you City of La Marque.

Jackson Hancock

Now that all this has come to light, maybe a FOIA request should be done. If folks start digging, then they will come to the same conclusion as many of us have. LM is in need of vision and growth, not the good ole boy system. Isn't it time for LM to enter the 21st Century?

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

When someone works for the city of LM or any other governmental entity they also work for EVERY taxpayer who helps pay their salaries and should expect to have to be accountable to their constituents.

A taxpayer has every right to question anything that they don't think is in the best interest of the city or their tax dollars.

A taxpayer also has a right to speak up for wanting to see fair and equal treatment of ALL of the city employees not just certain departments.

That's why I said it would have been better for the FBI or Attorney General's office to do their own investigation instead of the city hiring their own law firm to do the investigation that way there is nothing to hide and people will finally have the HONEST answers that they are wanting.

It's just like when the city or the school district hires someone to perform a financial audit, it depends on just how much money they are willing to spend as to how deep they really want someone to dig?

LM city hall is already starting to look as bad as LMISD and that ain't a good thing...[sad]

Leonard T. Payne

Jackie son, post #8.
I personally challenge you to check all City of La Marque passed and present records on plumbing bills for sewer work done by Mac's Plumbing, from today back to the City's incorporation.

If you find one discrepancy, I will buy you the biggest steak dinner your little fat mouth can eat.

You will find, that he has done more free-bee work for LMPD, unstopping sewer drains that the cry babies have stopped up.

When you stated that you are tired of the seeing your family members who have given a lot of time to the city being crapped on by these cowards, are you referring to the family member that posted on Face Book December 8, 2013 that he an LMPD officer while on duty working his third job at Sam's Club post the comment.

That he eats lunch on his time. and he sh-ts on tax payers time.

All he got from the police chief was a mere slap on the wrist.

He may have removed that post from Face Book, but I have a copy of it. I can forward it to you if you like.

I have been a tax payer for over 55 yrs. in LM. and for him to make that comment, I for one don't appreciate it one bit.

JackieM

I'm not even talking about the racial allegations they will work themselves out and I agree they should of hired a third party firm to conduct the investigation.

I too believe that as taxpayers people have the right to question anything they want in regards to decisions made. However, when those same taxpayers have such great influence on city officials that would force them to make decisions that may not be theirs, that's when there is a problem.

Recently and in the past these same people "taxpayers" have had first hand knowledge, direct involvement and access to city business that they shouldn't because some city officials don't want to ruffle their feathers for fear of being run off as they were in other places in the country, wink, wink!

All I'm saying is because you are a taxpayer or think you've got some clout in little ole La Marque doesn't mean you have a right to employees personal reprimands or access to their business.

In my opinion it appears that some employees have had their rights infringed upon due to small town politics and frankly I don't think LM needs or even can afford another federal law suit regarding harassment, racial discrimination and official oppression. Please don't act like these things don't happen because they do and everyone here knows it.

JackieM

Yeah you are exactly one of the guys I'm talking about Leonard Payne. If you think for one second I'm intimidated by you or Mac or any of your other friends there in LM you are sorely mistaken sir.

You bring up a good point in stating that your buddy does things for the city pro bono. Do you ever stop and think the reason those things are done pro bono is so he can hold something over the cities head when it comes to things guys like you may not agree with, essentially buying a voice. It's called black mail friend and you and your friends there have been influencing people there for too long. It's time someone with some back bone outed you guys.

Yes I am referring to my family member who was reprimanded a few months back and yes he got a slap on the wrist. However, apparently that wasn't enough for you and your friends because since then his records have been reviewed by people of your liking, since then harassment has ensued. Who do you think you are? Why would you be keeping records of peoples FB posts if it weren't to cause harm?

I think it's awful that a man can give 21 years of service and feels like he needs to retire to stop the constant harassment regarding simple policy violations that other officers do on a daily basis.

Is it because he's Hispanic, the fact he doesn't like confrontation and won't fight back? So you're into bullying people? You tell me! Maybe you should ask Councilwoman Trube, her and Mac seem to be on a witch hunt. Anyhow it won't matter any more since he will be retiring Thursday and then y'all can move onto another person who doesn't meet your needs as a "taxpayer".

If you know anything about me (which you don't) you'll know I know how to collect evidence I encourage you to ask around people will tell you. So keep talking about things you've kept for safe keeping when it comes to city employees and their personal business.

Citizens of La Marque rise up and start taking your city back from these puppet masters.

Leonard T. Payne

Just let me know when your ready for that steak dinner.

JackieM

So you can stab me in the back with the steak knife? You guys are comical and I'm not intimidated one bit. You're right my mouth is fat when it comes to injustice, racism, harassment and corruption! Chew on that a bit!

I would encourage the GDN to launch an inquiry into the influence these folks have on city business.

MissionaryMan
Walter Manuel

All I can say is what a sad day it is in LM....[sad]

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