When trying to make informed election decisions, I look for factual perspectives about candidates and expected such in recent columns by Ray Holbrook (“Don’t vote for Cox in the county judge election,” The Daily News, Jan. 31) and Shawn Phillips (“Told you Lonnie Cox is a bad judge,” The Daily News, Feb. 1). Unfortunately, there were mainly angry opinions and no facts given about the current county judge — except for tax decreases and staff pay increases.

1. Raising compensation within eight years is expectable and not a noteworthy achievement.

2. The tax decreases were merely the elimination of the temporary increase by the previous county administration. It was to cover the then unknown potential increase of cost for raising the earnings levels for county health care eligibility. This measure was taken in response to demands by the state legislature to increase the University of Texas Medical Branch’s revenue, defraying its Ike recovery cost. It was hoped that the increase in health care costs would not rise as much as feared and the tax rate could later be lowered again. It was a good alternative to the more permanent cost of a health district tax entity, as advocated by Commissioner Ken Clark. It would have been in bad faith had Mark Henry not followed through when the reserve proved no longer necessary.

So, what are we left with as accomplishments by Judge Henry? I would like to know! Holbrook and Philips did not recount any — and my attempts to have him tell me himself — went unanswered.

What I “do” know is that under his guidance, the commissioners court agendas are published late and the meetings, dominated by Mark Henry’s overbearing style, have sunk to a dismal unproductive politicized level, as noted also by out-of-county attendees who are used to Judge Ed Emmett’s Harris County leadership.

Maybe Emmett is able to take good care of 14 times more citizens because he gives his executive position a full-time effort. With Henry earning 95 percent of what Emmett makes, for just 7 percent of the population, should we not expect that he, too, gives us full-time service, as did his predecessor and also Holbrook when he was county judge?

Instead, he obligated himself to spend 40 percent of his time as court room judge, having to justify getting a sizable state supplement, without reducing his $167,400 salary accordingly. Did that limitation of effort keep him from doing his job as county emergency manager not nearly as well as Judge Emmett did for his county’s victims of Harvey flooding? We were lucky the state jumped in to cover for Henry, evacuating people and sheltering them.

That pressing county issue: Flooding due to inadequate drainage, mostly due to lack of needed dredging, is sadly not receiving any visible active attention by Henry, leaving it to Commissioner Joe Giusti’s initiative.

Again, if there are real accomplishments by Mark Henry, other than returning the tax rate to the pre-Ike level and giving normal raises, we would like to know.

We need someone who listens and gives his “all” to what we really need, all of us paying county taxes.

Gerhard Meinecke lives in Dickinson.

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(17) comments

Doyle Beard

I would put a lot more faith in what Judge Holbrook says than something form Gerhard

Gerhard Meinecke

What did he say, other than opinion? But I do believe Judge Holbrook was wiser than Mark Henry. He did not shorten his time available to govern the County down to a 60% effort.

Carol Dean

Very Concise!

Pete Nanos

Small minds have diminished capacity, I understand. You left out the fact that he also eliminated several J Ps and related positions that proved to be unnecessary. This guy is the only politician I've run across in years who actually did what he said he was going to do. He did fall short in one respect, he should have eliminated Jim Schwitzer's position as he not only keeps his law office open, he holds down a District Judges position along with the JP's position. Time to do a little more fixing and a little less politicking. Galveston is a part of the swamp that could use some draining. PS I'm a Lonnie Cox fan and see him as a positive force in our region. Just can't bring myself to abandon someone who had the brass to do the right thing at the right time.

Gerhard Meinecke

Agree! But that was an accomplishment in his 1st term. Can't think of any in his second term.

Gerhard Meinecke

Thank you for quantifying my mind, Sir!

Pete Nanos

I was just pointing out the obvious. Those who set out to take someone down for the lack of their accomplishments leave themselves open for criticism when they deliberately set out to exclude those that are relative to the conversation. It doesn't really matter when he accomplished them. They go down as part of his record. What he did was bold by any standard....and it needed to be done. Too bad more politicians don't have that type of courage.

Gerhard Meinecke

One of the differences between Lonnie and Henry, Lonnie does not engage mud-slingers like Philips. Before you call me that, disprove what I stated. facts speak for themselves without innuendos or lies.

Pete Nanos

Just a note to those running. I will be more likely to vote for someone willing to shrink government. Too many 10 to 2 or 9 to 4 jobs out there. Get rid of some and those that stay should work full days just like the rest of us. Judges included...........

Gerhard Meinecke

Including Mark Henry, having to take care of his brewery and food truck

Carol Dean

Not sure how much longer Mark is going to claim ownership of his brewery!

Gerhard Meinecke

The eliminated JP positions were not much savings as the JP office mostly pay for themselves thru the fees, some of them making money. As to working full time, when I asked Mark Henry in his campaign for his first term whether the entire Commissioners Court should not be expected to give us full time he wholeheartedly agreed with me. Then he ended up giving up 40% of his County Government effort for a bonus from the state that is given without having to account for it. Then he voted with the rest of the part-time County Judges to give himself a raise of that bonus up to $ 25. Then he starts a brewery and then a food truck business. So much for cost versus service achievement. If he would have set an example for the Commissioners Court the rest may not be spending most of their time in other activities. Now they all follow Henry's example of treating governing our County as a part-time job. I am told by Cox that he, like Holbrook and Yarbrough and currently Emmett, will not shorten us 40% and will set an example of full-time effort and expect the other commissioners to follow suit. At least worth a try, or not? Lonnie may even be in the middle of things in emergencies like the flooding, rather than, like Henry did, arrive a day late in the Emergency center for fear of snakes and not be heard of by the cities during the Harvey Flood. Lonnie may also not avoid working to find a way to avoid such flooding by calling hysteric those people that are worried it may repeat itself and are trying to find ways to minimize the threat. Plus,(smile), if Cox gets sued by someone he would likely, as he has shown, find a cheaper way to defend himself, saving us 1 million dollars or more.

Doyle Beard

Did Emmett a fulltime Judge stop flooding in Harris County, What a poor example, get a life man.

Carol Dean

DB, where was Henry? At least Emmett was out in front from the very beginning. Seems like Henry "hunkered down" a day or so at home because he was "concerned" about snakes? The County Judge is supposed to be the promoter of the County's safety for all of the citizens. Where was Mark? He loves to promote his leadership with the Emergency Management Team. Leaders don't accomplish anything when they stay home. He should have been in the "safe place" before the storm hit it's worst point. Every good military person knows that. Most of Mark's limited active duty time was spent behind a desk.

Gerhard Meinecke

Well, Emmitt is out there about the Flooding, Mitigation Bonds campaign etc. POOR EXAMPLE?

Ray Taft

Harvey is Judge Henry’s defining event. Henry did little to help the good people of Galveston County before, during and after Harvey. The devastating flooding we endured is a result of Henry not taking care of flood control. The suffering endured by so many is a result of Henry doing little to nothing to alleviate the misery. Henry is not part of any solution; he is part of the problem. If Henry remains in office, nothing will change, and we will flood and be suffering again.

Galveston County has suffered enough. Time for Henry to go.

George Croix

Not taking up for anyone, I don't think anybody...anybody....could have prepared this area for a 50' rain all falling in a short period of time. It's like blaming FDR for WWII because he had the Presidency then.
If we got another harvey tomorrow, the same results would occur.
Not because of who is in political power, but because the area is overbuilt for the structure and layout of the land and never acted in a big enough way on the lessons learned from Claudette back in '79.
You could dredge the bayou to 10000 feet deep and the land would still drain the same way to it, and unless and until you can figure how to lower the tides at will the main drainages have the same place to dump into they've had.
Need a humongously expensive, read higher taxes, and long time project, read waiting forever for permits and enviro activists to both get out of the way, to raise elevations and clear all existing ditches then maintenenace to keep the ditches clear of debris, and some levees and huge pump systems to dump over the top of them, and thus increase potential to flood somebody else's area.
Blaming one person for that is 'nothing of consequence'...imo....

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