Mud Flies in West U City Council Election; Incumbent George Boehme Accused of Drunkenness

Jim Shields.jpg
Jim Shields plays in the band, yo.
It's election season in West University Place, and in the race for city council, shit just got real.

In one corner, there's incumbent George Boehme, a sometime restaurateur, amateur Negro Leagues historian and daredevil tree surgeon.

In the other corner, there's challenger Jim Shields, a tuba-playing former Kellogg's executive.

Shields is now in hot water after accusing Boehme of being drunk while trimming a tree limb that had been impinging on a power line on Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman's property. Hoffman wrote up the incident last month, and while he never mentioned Boehme being held fast in the grim clutches of John Barleycorn, you do have to question Boehme's grasp of basic science. Dude hauled a chain saw up a metal ladder and hacked through the tree limb and mistakenly severed Hoffman's power while he was at it.

A Boehme supporter tells Hair Balls that West U mayor Bob Kelly has it in for Boehme and is using Shields to bring about his downfall. "Tuba Guy is just a pawn," our source tells us, and then goes on to lambaste the mayor: "He hightailed it to his place in Wimberley when Ike was coming...great leadership."
That little feat of lumberjack derring-do, coupled with an incident last year in which Boehme sold alcohol to a minor in a TABC sting at Edloe Street Deli and Cafe, spurred Shields to action. He decided to run for city council because, in his view, West University Place was not safe in the hands of people like Boehme, a guy with "a profound lack of common sense."

"We don't need people like that running our city," Shields told InstantNewsWestU. "He's not the guy I want to make decisions." And then he raised the stakes dramatically, saying that Boehme "had to be drunk" when he sliced through Hoffman's power line. (To be fair, Shields did not mention Boehme by name, but come on...)

Gads. You get the drift. Shields seems to be saying that if George Boehme is not stopped soon, placid West University will soon be adrift in Demon Rum and carelessly wielded power tools, transformed into a hellish mélange of Hogarth's Gin Lane and Jackyl's "The Lumberjack" jam.

Boehme is fighting back. "His comment was offensive and untrue," he tells Hair Balls via e-mail. What's more, it's been alleged publicly that Shields might have violated the Code of Fair Campaign Practices when he said that Boehme was bombed.

Kelly has denied that Shields is his puppet elsewhere. "I talked to Jim and I talked to many people about running," Kelly said. "I did not talk to Jim Shields about running against George Boehme." However, the mayor's lack of confidence in Boehme's "judgment" is a matter of public record. What's more, he has also pretty much co-signed all of Shields's most scurrilous remarks, up to and including the allegation of drunkenness.

Kelly and Boehme fired some nasty e-mails back and forth last week that were later leaked to the media. Boehme accused the mayor of fostering negative campaigning and threatened to commence playing hardball.

"My life is an open book," he wrote to Kelly. "If this guy stays in the race, his life will be an open book also."

Kelly denied creating the negative atmosphere and wrote that Boehme had been "very rude" to Shields. "[Y]ou kept saying over and over again that you were very popular, would get the most votes in the council race, and that his running would only knock off some other candidate," Kelly's reply continued. (With Shields's entry into the race, five candidates are competing for four slots.) "I would remind you that if Jim Shields wins a spot on council it will be because our citizens elected him. Your email below is also a very clear attempt to intimidate him from running from office."

Not so, Boehme retorted. While he encouraged all challengers, he wrote that he was concerned that "Mr. Shields is a pawn in your Machiavellian Mutt and Jeff routine."

In his reply, Kelly essentially claimed that Boehme was paranoid, that all of his concerns were "of his own making." He went on to say that Boehme's "open book" phrase was an attempt to scare Shields out of the race.

Eventually this whole mess was forwarded to Shields, who set aside his tuba long enough to compose this crafty response:

"I told George as clearly as I could that his actions involving the chain saw, ladder, and power line, and selling alcohol to minors were part of what inspired me to run. I told George that those actions alone speak for themselves and indicated to me that he has a profound lack of common sense and good judgment. You sensed that he was trying to intimidate me and I must admit that I was waiting for him to threaten me which he never did. He was bellicose but I suspected that he had been drinking and it was the alcohol speaking. I even asked George if he had been drinking and he said that he rarely drinks. Could have fooled me."

(Hair Balls must interject here: If Shields is trying to be the candidate of clear-eyed sobriety, he would do well to change his campaign picture. When we see pictures of pudgy, middle-aged, ruddy-faced guys holding tubas, huge steins of foam-topped bock and pilsner come forth to us unbidden.)

And now, back to the mudslinging: "Jim, your characterization of our conversation would, in my opinion, tend to make me think you are delusional and would not make a good city council member," Boehme replied in his own e-mailed response to Shields.

And there's still two months to go before election day!

Watch this space for further developments.


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14 comments
Morten Lamoey
Morten Lamoey

(Hair Balls must interject here: If Shields is trying to be the candidate of clear-eyed sobriety, he would do well to change his campaign picture. When we see pictures of pudgy, middle-aged, ruddy-faced guys holding tubas, huge steins of foam-topped bock and pilsner come forth to us unbidden.)

I did not know it was a beauty contest Jim was running for. Granted; Jim is no Mr. Universe, but he does come with a whole lot of common sense, compassion, leadership experience (Military and Civilian) and a profound understanding of what matters and what don’t. Having served on a Board of Directors with Jim he always knows to cut through the BS and get down to the facts of the matter while avoiding over-complicating unnecessarily.

EmmettNeighbor
EmmettNeighbor

Mayor Kelly says he "did not leave West U before or during Hurricane Ike." Typical lawyer-speak, He left immediately after the storm passed (that morning) and didn't return for almost a week. I don't remember Mayor White or Judge Emmett (also a West U resident) abandoning the residents who elected them.

HoustonLeghorn
HoustonLeghorn

Bob Kelly is the lush in this story. I didn't know Kelly drank, until one day I saw him sober.

WestUResident
WestUResident

West U residents know Bob Kelly has been on the attack on Boehme for the last two years. This is his new effort to attack Boehme through a straw man candidate. The Three Blind Mice can see that. And Kelly was out of town the whole period during which the town was shut down after Ike. Everyone else was dealing with power being out but Kelly packed up and fled to the Hill Country.

BarNone
BarNone

What silly stuff. I would vote for Tuba Guy because he looks like he could party down at the American Legion Hall.

Mayor Bob Kelly
Mayor Bob Kelly

For the record:

1.) I have not co-signed Jim Shields' allegations of Boehme's drunkenness.2.) I did not leave West U before or during hurricane Ike.

It is interesting that George Boehme had the opportunity to e-mail the Houston Press concerning this article before the article was posted and have his e-mail quoted in the article. The first knowledge that I had of this article was reading it online after it was posted. Had I been contacted by the Houston Press before this article was posted I would have stated the comments set forth in items numbered 1 and 2 above.

It is also interesting that no one has identified themselves as the one who is charging Jim Shields with a possible violation of Code Fair Campaign Practices.

Bob KellyMayor, City of West University Place

Evan
Evan

I'm voting for Kodos!

huh?
huh?

"(Hair Balls must interject here: if Shields is trying to be the candidate of clear-eyed sobriety, he would do well to change his campaign picture. When we see pictures of pudgy, middle-aged, ruddy-faced guys holding tubas, huge steins of foam-topped bock and pilsner come forth to us unbidden.)"

Are they usually wearing suits?

John Lomax
John Lomax

Mayor Kelly: The InstantnewsWestU article has this passage:

“I would not question anyone who runs against George Boehme because he has poor judgment,” said Kelly, adding that he did not have a problem with Shields comments about Boehme."

Since you did not challenge that statement publicly, I assumed you stood by it, just as I stand by my source's statement about Ike.

Mayor Bob Kelly
Mayor Bob Kelly

Well consider both matters challenged.

Mayor Bob Kelly

Typical HP Gullible Reader
Typical HP Gullible Reader

Why didn't you take the time to contact him personally? Are you making excuses?

What is the name of this alleged "source"?

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