Replacing Blake Farenthold

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial


Photo design by Dan Thornton

     Campaign signs are springing up along the roadways which is a clear indication that an election is coming soon. In fact, the Texas primary election will be held on March 6th. One of the most important local races will be the Republican primary to replace Blake Farenthold. Blake Farenthold is not running for re-election, and I recently suggested to a friend that Blake was not running due to a guilty conscience, but my friend quipped lawyers don’t have a conscience. That is something to think about, but in the meantime, I am thinking about the five candidates in the Republican primary. They are Michael Cloud, Christopher Mapp, Jerry Hall, John Grunwald and Bech Bruun.

     In a report for KRIS TV, The “Out-of Towners Running for Farenthold’s Old  Seat,” it was reported that three of the five candidates do not actually live in the 27th District. Bech Bruun has a vacation home in Rockport, but his permanent residence is in Austin. KRIS TV reported that Bruun has been living in his vacation home since December. John Grunwald did have a trailer in Wharton County which is in the district, but it got destroyed by a hurricane, and currently he is living in Houston. Jerry Hall has property and legal records that tie him to Florida; however, he has rented an apartment in Corpus Christi. Residing in the district is not a constitutional requirement, but it certainly is desirable.  Why else would a candidate rent an apartment or relocate to a vacation home in order to claim residency just prior to an election?

District 27 map

     There are two candidates who have permanent residences in the district. Michael Cloud owns a home and a business in Victoria, and Christopher Mapp owns a home in Port O’Connor. If the election came down to residency, the candidates would be Michael Cloud and Christopher Mapp, but that is not the case. Elections often come down to money, and the attorney Bech Bruun has attracted both money and endorsements. It now appears the election is shaping up to be a contest between Michael Cloud and Bech Bruun even though Bruun’s permanent residence is in Austin. Since the election is not going to be determined based on residency, it is important to know where the candidates stand on the issues.

     I reviewed Bech Bruun’s website looking for issue statements, but I found none. I did find endorsements on two different pages, and I found one page about the candidate. All that I was able to learn from the website was that he claims to be a conservative Republican, he is a lawyer, he has a wife and three beautiful children, and that he has worked for water development and Get-Out-the-Vote at a state level.   However, I could not determine his position on any of the key issues of our time, so I have to wonder whether he is a conservative or not. Honestly, I have to wonder, should we send yet another lawyer to Washington? Is he trying to deceive me by claiming his vacation home is his residence? Do lawyers have a conscience?

     In reviewing Michael Cloud’s website, I found that he too has a wife and three beautiful children. I also found a page of position statements that did cover the major issues of our time. I would encourage you to go to his website and read his position statements for yourself. What follows are some highlights from his website:

  • Commitment to responsible spending cuts
  • Cutting back federal regulations
  • Ensuring the military has the resources necessary to combat terrorism
  • Protecting your right to keep and bear arms
  • Repealing Obamacare
  • Providing parents greater input in educational choices for their children
  • Reforming immigration, beginning with securing the border and upholding the rule of law
  • Ensuring veterans have access to quality health care and education
  • Controlling  the EPA or other government agencies
  • Continuing to pursue energy independence
  • Standing against government attempts to discriminate against people of faith
  • Working to enact policies that recognize parental rights, respect marriage, and protect life

     Based on the information that is readily available, I would suggest that Michael Cloud is a conservative. I would encourage you to research the candidates for yourself.  You can meet Michael Cloud at the Padre Island Candidate Forum to be held at Schlitterbahn February 21st at 6:00 p.m.  Remember the election is being held on March 6th.  If you cannot do as Al Capone encouraged, “Vote early and vote often,” at least vote.

Until next time…

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Farenthold to Hold Town Hall Meetings in August

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics




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Waking the Sleeping Giant: Residents Form Flour Bluff Citizens’ Council

Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics
Citizens in attendance at organizational meeting for FBCC

     A group of over 20 concerned Flour Bluff residents met on Monday, July 25, 2016, at the Janet Harte Library to take the first step to becoming a voice for their community, something all at the meeting agreed has been long in coming.   Shirley Thornton, who led the meeting, likened what the group is doing to Benjamin Franklin’s Junto, a civic-minded group whose discussions fostered the creation of the first volunteer fire department and lending library.  “We want to work with the city, with the county, and with the state to help make Flour Bluff the best it can be.”

Shirley Thornton

     Chad Magill, who is seeking another term as an at-large city councilman and sees Flour Bluff as a “sleeping giant,” congratulated the group on its efforts saying,  “I can’t say enough about how excited I am for you to start this process.  I did work with the ISAC (Island Strategic Action Committee) on the Island initially to get that off the ground and sat in on some of their meetings.  This step forward means a lot to the Bluff and the future of the Bluff.”

At-Large Councilman Chad Magill is running for re-election.

     Greg Smith, a candidate for the District 4 seat of the Corpus Christi City Council and lifetime resident of Flour Bluff, assisted Thornton in arranging the meeting.  He related how he had attended a Padre Island Business Association meeting where four sitting city council members, two county commissioners, the sheriff, the constable, and numerous candidates were present, something that he doesn’t always see at Flour Bluff gatherings.  “One difference,” he said, “the Island has a PAC, and they vote with it.  Now, let’s put it in perspective.  Flour Bluff has 12,000 registered voters; Padre Island has 10,000 registered voters.  In the most recent primary, Flour Bluff turned out 3,000 voters; the Island turned out 2,600.”  Smith went on to say that there is a perception that Flour Bluff doesn’t vote, which the data shows is not the case.   “The Bluff votes, so let’s quit kicking this Flour Bluff can down the road and get something started.”  Smith suggested that a PAC for Flour Bluff be established first.  (Note: The Island United PAC does not contribute funding as a PAC. They simply formalize the endorsement process and spend their funding on organization, communication, sign printing and placement on the endorsements.)

Greg Smith, candidate for Corpus Christi City Council District 4 seat

     The first order of business was to settle upon a name for the group.  After lots of discussion, the group came up with Flour Bluff Citizens’ Council (FBCC).  The group is a grassroots committee representing the Flour Bluff community.  The members determined that they have a vision of being “the voice of Flour Bluff” with a mission of “advocating a unified community interest.”  Magill explained that to have the ear of City staff and seek an official designation through ordinance as an advisory group to the Council on Flour Bluff affairs, just as ISAC is, a separate SAC (Strategic Action Committee) could be one of the FBCC goals.   “That could be the two large goals,” said Magill.  “The duality of the strategic action committee and the PAC make a lot happen; they really do.”

     The group decided to create a steering committee to drive the direction of the PAC.  Everyone agreed that inviting all stakeholders in the community (i.e. residents, faith groups, existing civic clubs and organizations, Flour Bluff ISD, NAS, Flour Bluff Business Association, 4-H) is essential to success.  “We need to get a steering committee and bring more people in,” said Smith.  He suggested that each person present invite an additional 5 people to attend the next meeting.  “The steering committee should make suggestions to the membership, so we need to be as inclusive as possible,” Smith said.  The steering committee will be charged with deciding how to select a governing board, electing officers, writing by laws, and growing the membership.

     The group discussed possible goals.  These included:

  • research propositions and candidates to educate the voters
  • endorse candidates
  • review and revise the 1993 Flour Bluff Area Development Plan
  • weigh-in on City infrastructure projects in Flour Bluff area
  • clean up and enhance Flour Bluff
  • make a great place to live a greater place to live by inviting citizens to get involved in the community

     Thornton suggested that the group try to get as many people on board as possible by August 11, 2016, the date of a Flour Bluff town hall meeting to be at the Ethel Eyerly Community Center where Congressman Blake Farenthold is scheduled to speak.  The group hopes to increase its general membership at that time so that the voice of Flour Bluff is heard by all.

     Thornton closed by thanking all who were in attendance, six of whom are running for office.  In addition to Magill and Smith, four other candidates were present at the organizational meeting, three of whom signed on to play roles in the steering committee that will meet for the first time on Monday, August 1, 2016, at 5:45 p.m. at the Janet Harte Library.

     “We are gaining momentum, and we don’t want to lose that,” said Thornton.  “Look around.  We invited a multi-generational group.  When those of us who are on the short end of the stick fall off, there will be a group to carry on without losing that momentum.  We are doing a good thing, something of which I hope those who came before us and those who come after us will be proud.”

Jeff Rank is running in Place 3 of the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees.


Jennifer Welp is running Place 6 of the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees.
Michael Morgan is running for re-election in Place 7 of the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees.
Inna Klein
Inna Klein is the Republican candidate for the 214th District Court race.

Update:  This story has been amended to reflect a clarification that it was Greg Smith, not Chad Magill, who suggested the PAC be developed first.

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Congressman Farenthold Visits with FBBA at April Meeting

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page


     Michael Morgan, FBBA Events Coordinator, welcomed U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold to the April 6 meeting.  The congressman is serving his third term in Congress representing the 27th District of Texas.  Representative Farenthold is working towards a smaller, more accountable and transparent government through his service as a committee member on the House Oversight Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee. Prior to being elected to Congress, his diverse career included working as a conservative radio commentator, seven years of law practice with the Kleberg Law Firm, and founding Farenthold Consulting LLC, a computer consulting and web design firm. He continues to pursue his passion for broadcasting, appearing frequently on radio and television.

     Farenthold addressed a great many topics with the group.  He talked a little about the primary election and the presidential election, assuring everyone that the Congress still has its work to do no matter what is happening with the elections.  Proud of the work that he has done, he looks forward to the possibility of working with a Republican president.  “We want actual legislative language that will indicate the changes to be made in the tax code.  We have to lay out what we as conservatives want,” said Farenthold.

     The congressman answered questions from the audience on several topics, including:

  • Problems within the Veterans Administration mounting with the increasing numbers of veterans as the U.S. pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan; antiquated computer system used to pay doctors of veterans is still an issue that will hopefully be resolved soon;
  • Update on the widening and deepening of the ship channel, as per the Army Corps of Engineers, in the next budget cycle;
  • Possibility of getting rid of the Department of Education with Trump or Cruz in the White House and a cooperative Congress (Forty percent of all federal education dollars never make it to the schools);
  • FAA Reauthorization Bill;
  • Second Amendment concerns;
  • Non-citizens to be counted for redistricting purposes to maintain status quo;
  • Credit unions versus banking;
  • Section 8 housing projects and the role of the federal government.

Other Business:

       Melanie Hambrick, President of the FBBA, welcomed the many dignitaries who were in attendance and moved on to announcements:

  • April 22, 2016, Beautify the Bluff Community Clean-up
  • Flour Fest:  a first-time event in early stages of planning to include live music and food at the Gateway to Flour Bluff next to Candlewood Suites
  • Ethel Eyerly Senior Citizen clothing drive for needy students
  • FBISD Foundation for Educational Excellence Big Event
  • Children’s Book Festival at the Central Library


Special Recognition:

Larry Teeter was given a certificate of appreciation for the past 16 years he has spent with the Flour Bluff Business Association.



    Spotlight of the Month: NavyArmy Community Credit Union representatives Mary Mata and Dan Tribble accepted the award.


Important Updates:

Meeting dates for the FBBA will be moved to the second Wednesday of the month starting in May to make it easier for more members to attend.  The time and place will remain the same:  Noon at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.

The new website is up and running.  Visit it here.

Board of Directors

Melanie Hambrick, President

Jennifer Welp, VP

Roshan Bhakta, Treasurer

Michael Morgan, Secretary

Mark Thomas, Director

Dr. Tom Hollingsworth, Director

Jonathan Vela, Director

Larry Teeter, Director

Jeff Rank, Ex-Officio

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