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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company


Court appoints new historical chairman


COLDSPRING – Although she never served on the San Jacinto County Historical Commission Board prior to her appointment, Coldspring business owner Barbara Shelton was named as chairman of the historical commission last week. Receiving three of a total of five possible votes, the Coldspring Area Merchant’s Association member was nominated for the position by Pct. 1 Commissioner Laddie McAnally. Before making his motion for Shelton to serve as chair, McAnally said, “Ms. Billie you said Ms. Shelton -- you said you would like to see her on there?” “I would like to see her on there,” Billie Trapp answered. Prior to the vote Shelton addressed the court during the public comments section of the meeting, asking the court to appoint people to the historical commission that want to and have the time to give manageable skills to help promote local businesses around the courthouse square in Coldspring. She asked that appointees be made based on business credentials and not because of political appointments. During a discussion of members nominated to the board San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner said that in his personal opinion the chair should not be someone that has never been a member of the historical commission. Then the court approved a list of 14 board members, one of which was Shelton. Following that vote, commissioners approved Shelton as the new chair with Betty Magee as vice chair. Magee has served as a member of the commission for over 20 years and most recently as chair. When asked if she would accept her new appointment, Magee said, “No, I do not plan to accept their appointment. I will be finishing my term which ends at the first of the year and at that time will pursue other endeavors to promote the history of our county. Many people will believe that I’m bitter, but while I am hurt that Commissioners McAnally and Moody took this action without any discussion or inquiry into my performance, my decision is based on what I believe the vision of the historical commission should be and it is not to promote the businesses around the courthouse square. “It is the commissioners’ court responsibility to appoint a county historical commission for the purpose of initiating and conducting programs suggested by the commissioners’ court for the preservation of the county’s historic cultural resources. Neither the county judge nor any one of the commissioners could honestly say that I do not live and breathe the historical commission. I have constantly given each of them updates, both in and out of court. Not once have any of them told me that they thought I or my vice chair was leading the commission in the wrong direction. I have been a member of this commission for over 20 years, been involved in preservation activities and know and have promoted the history of the entire county. But based on the apparent reasoning in making this change, Commissioners McAnally and Moody’s vision is for the historical commission to help the Coldspring merchants make money and that is just not my vision nor should it be the county government’s. There is a belief that my not having the old jail open each week has stagnated the economy in Coldspring. Outside of commissioners’ court, not one area merchant has volunteer to come and learn the jail’s history and offer to assist to keep it open; however, visitors to the old jail is not the solution for the Coldspring economy. I truly expect that there will be more events held around the courthouse under the directions of the historical commission that will attempt to bring additional business to Coldspring and for the events to be covered under the county’s insurance.” Following are answers from Magee concerning points that were made in commissioners’ court by Shelton prior to her appointment as chair: QUESTION: In her address to the court, Barbara Shelton said the commission should appoint commission members that want to and have the time to give manageable skills to help our business community and not political appointees, do you agree? ANSWER: Absolutely not. The historical commission is not here to help businesses around the courthouse square to make money. The commission is an arm of the county government. Our primary purpose is preservation of our county’s historical and cultural resources. It is not to help the local businesses make money. As far as political, I do not believe the action of the court could have been more political. QUESTION: What do you mean by that? ANSWER: Barbara Shelton and Ms. Billie Trapp are members of the Coldspring Merchant’s Association. The commission has been clashing with this organization for the limited monetary resources available in the area. For 30 years our only established fundraiser has been holding Trades Day on the courthouse lawn on the 4th Saturdays. In an effort to work with Merchant’s Association, the commission offered them one of our Trades Day for their Christmas in July. Then the Merchants approached the court wanting permission to use the courthouse lawn for 3rd Saturday and the court refused because it would be too much of similar activities and would reduce the fundraising efforts of the commission. My vendors for Trades Day had been telling me that the Merchants were constantly promoting their functions and confusing the vendors as to who was in charge. But this undermining has been going on for years. In 2007, the then Commission Chair Dr. John Roane, wrote a letter to the local chamber relating to the divide and destroy attitude that was prevailing in local service organizations and the perceived background move-


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