Buster Brown, Mayor
Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


Biography Index || Corsicana Mayors




5/19/2004 Mayor sworn in: City Council prepares for busy agenda

Recently elected city council members Chuck McClanahan, far right, and Rusty Hitt, next right, as well as incumbent council members Emmaline Gonzalez and George Walker are sworn in at the Corsicana Government Center Tuesday. Daily Sun photo/SCOTT HONEA

By LOYD COOK/Daily Sun Staff

The first steps are underway.

In the wake of Saturday's voter approval of the sale of beer and wine for off-premises consumption, members of the Corsicana City Council rolled up their sleeves and began the process covering how to best regulate where and when those sales could be made.

Chief among the talks: The distance businesses selling beer and wine will be required away from churches and schools.

Local attorney Terry Jacobsen -- who is representing the City in civil matters following the resignation of former city attorney Paige Glicksman -- said the distance is set, at its most restrictive, at 300 feet in the case of churches.

In the case of schools, conflicting legislation may be in play, he said.

Jacobsen said that a 300-feet distance is set for public school districts except when they are located in cities with 990,000 population or more. In that case, cities can be more restrictive and set the distance at 1,000 feet, he said.
On the surface, the 1,000-feet restriction wouldn't seem to apply to Corsicana's public schools, he said, until examination of state legislation covering private schools. Those regulations allow the 1,000-feet restriction without setting any population figures.

And the conflict there, treating the two kinds of schools differently, could give the City grounds to adopt the more restrictive distance "if the City is willing to be aggressive" with its regulation, Jacobsen said, if anyone challenged the larger distance.

"It makes no sense to me that (legislators) would make that difference between public and private schools ... but the legislature doesn't always think things all the way through," he said. "And from a political standpoint, I don't think many people will criticize you ... for attempting to protect kids."

Interim City Manager Connie Standridge also suggested establishing two different zoning classifications of "General Retail" in place of the one that exists today -- one allowing beer and wine sales, and another that allows retail sales minus beer and wine.

"Right now, there's not a (general retail) designation prohibiting alcohol sales," Standridge said, noting a business selling rugs today, for example, could in six months change hands and be converted to beer and wine sales under new ownership as long as it complied with regulations.

By adding the second General Retail zoning classification, the City could in effect control which area of the city where alcohol sales would exist.

Standridge also said the alcohol ordinance under consideration will address issues such as licensing, permit, and permit renewal fees, as well as setting hours of operation that Council would wish to allow.

She said further consideration of the alcohol ordinance will be placed on a special meeting of the Council set for Monday.


Loyd Cook may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected]

11/20/2004 FIRST JOB: Flowers, oil wells base for this man

Mayor C. L. 'Buster' Brown, said the foundation for his success in business was laid while he was still in high school. He spent two summers working in the south-Texas oilfields where he learned the value of hard work, and developed an abiding respect for the people who do it. Daily Sun photo/JOAN SHERROUSE


By age 14, this Corsicana resident had a driver's license and gainful employment -- he delivered flowers for Cason's.

By the time he graduated from high school, however, he had traded the scent of roses for the stench of a drilling operation.

An only child, he was expected to carry on the family business, but letting him spend two summers working 250 miles from home was hardly a unanimous decision.

"My mother damn sure wasn't happy about it, but when I was 16, my father sent me to Orange, Texas, to work in the oilfields," he said. "He wanted me to learn the business, and I did, but I was like the rest of them pretty soon -- I was waiting for quittin' time and payday."

Yet, rubbing elbows with roughnecks made an indelible impression that left a residue of contempt for "systems that denigrate" the working class.

"I saw the things they had to deal with," he said. "They lived from paycheck to paycheck, having to work in a job that really had no future other than where they were, and I developed a real empathy for working people."
In the fall of 1961, he had every intention of spending the next four years at Texas A&M University studying petroleum engineering,

"But, I found out that my mapping skills were a little short, so I changed my major to geology," said C.L. "Buster" Brown, oil-production business owner and Mayor of Corsicana.

Despite the glitch in his plans, however, he said the thought of changing course never entered his mind.

And it turned out to be the right course for this man who has managed a successful business for nearly 30 years, as much by instinct as design.

Other than a single economics class and two semesters of accounting, Brown admits he has had no formal training in management or leadership strategy.

"I have always had the thought, and still do, that leadership in business is being able to do it yourself first of all," he said. "There are very few things in my business operation I can't do -- my employees won't let me get up and run the rigs anymore, but by golly I could if I wanted to."

It could be the military aspect at Texas A&M as well, he admitted, a mandatory activity at the time he was in school.

"The military teaches that, before you can lead, you must learn to follow," he said. "Even if you're going to be an officer, you start off getting treated like dirt and you have to blindly do what you're told to do."

Although he claims he has never learned to motivate people who don't want to be motivated, he advises youngsters ready to embark on a career path to choose carefully.

"The ideal is to find something that you're excited about getting out of bed every morning to go do," he said, adding that serving as mayor has added an entirely different aspect to an already satisfying life.


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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox