Calhoun Port Authority holds special meeting

Calhoun Port Authority Board Chairman Randy Boyd, middle left, speaks with Port Director Charles Hausmann before a special meeting May 24 in Point Comfort. During the meeting, the board voted 3-3 to fire Blake Farenthold. Because the vote ended in a tie, the former congressman remained on the port’s payroll at an annual salary of $160,000.

POINT COMFORT – Residents may cast their votes for the upcoming Calhoun Port Authority election in one of five places.

Where they will cast their vote depends on what is listed on their voter registration card.

The polling locations for District 4 are the Salem Lutheran Church, 2101 N. Virginia St., and Calhoun County Precinct 2 Commissioner Vern Lyssy’s Office, 5812 Farm-to-Market Road 1090.

The polling locations for District 2 are the Rick Brush Building in Point Comfort; the Texas Department of Transportation, 2275 SH 35; and the Olivia-Port Alto Fire Department, 61 County Road 318.

The board agreed to these locations after going over them with attorney David Roberts, who said the polling locations must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“My personal preference would be if the voters have been voting at two locations at District 4 to allow them to keep voting there,” said Randy Boyd, the incumbent representative of District 4. “I think it will stop confusion or any challenges that could go on if the election got contested.”

Boyd, 59, has four opponents in the May 4 election. They are Alvin Bland, 75; Luis De La Garza, 59; Paul Lauterbach, 63; and Roger Hochgraber, 66.

Dell Weathersby, 65, is the incumbent for District 2. He has one opponent, Jasper “Jay” Cuellar, 63.

The board also approved Wednesday cutting a $68,000 check to Cobb & Counsel, an Austin law firm fighting a Texas Open Meetings Act lawsuit. That will bring the total amount the port has spent on the lawsuit to about $428,000.

“I noticed that Mr. Cobb is not present, but I see he got a pretty good bill here. Have y’all gone through that bill and detailed what he charged you for that $68,000?” asked A. Shields “Tony” Holladay Sr., who represents District 1.

“Yes, sir,” Port Deputy Director Forrest Hawes said.

The Victoria Advocate sued the port in May for not notifying the public that it was hiring former U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold as a lobbyist.

Farenthold resigned as a lobbyist for the port in January, and port officials said they have no documentation of any work he performed.

The lawsuit is pending.

Port Director Charles Hausmann said that in March, 105 vessels came to the port. Of those, 25 were deep draft vessels. He said the port is 12 percent ahead of where it was this time last fiscal year in terms of how many tons of commodities have come through the port.

Jessica Priest reports on the environment and Calhoun County for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at jpriest@vicad.com or 361-580-6521.

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Environment/Investigations Reporter

Jessica Priest has done a little bit of everything since moving to Victoria in 2012. She was a regular fixture in the Crossroads’ historic courthouses, but now slathers on the sunscreen to report on the environment.

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