February 1, 2005
An early morning fire Jan. 24 destroyed the Bethel Baptist Church at Andrews and Crosby streets, in the Fourth Ward. “The city will give $24,000 toward shoring up a historic black church damaged a week ago by fire so that investigators can safely enter the building.”, according to Salatheia Bryant and Lori Rodriguez, staff writers for the Houston Chronicle.
“Terence Fontaine, the mayor's deputy chief of staff, said Monday the money will go directly to the engineering company selected to do the work at Bethel Baptist, a Fourth Ward church founded by the Rev. Jack Yates in 1896.”, according to an article from the Houston Chronicle.
“U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, announced that the Houston Endowment will give $17,000 toward the effort. Jackson Lee said the Texas Historical Commission also has agreed to offer its technical assistance to any restoration project. She said several bid proposals from engineering firms are being considered.”, also quoting the article.
One curious on looker had been heard to comment, “Why would the City of Houston take it upon themselves; meaning, the tax paying citizens, to burden all taxpayers with an additional $24,000 debt for a church? After all, the building was in such a state of disrepair and had been falling down, basically abandoned for a very long time. Sheila Jackson Lee can’t wait to spend “Other People’s Money”, as she has volunteered to throw an additional $17,000 at the project. If it was so important to save this Texas Landmark, then why wasn’t it done way back before it became a derelict and burned almost to the ground? The mayor’s office appears to be pandering for the Black community vote while literally flushing away tax money that should be used for other legitimate debts.
"Jackson Lee said plans are to restore the building to a multi-use facility similar to Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., where civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once was pastor". Such a statement is nothing more than political grandstanding to the Black community; something that Sheila Jackass Lee excels in. I find it more than curious that the building, which was once called a church is referenced as a multi-use facility; can’t have any reference to it being used as a religious symbol for the community now can we?
"That would make sense. . .”, ATF special agent Franceska Perot said Monday. Well, at least he got that part right, even if I did take the liberty of placing his quote out of context. Its fun to be your own editor; doing things just the way real newspaper editors do, letting the delete key change the quotes to suit your agenda.