Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Annise Parker, Wendy Davis, and Kim Ogg

One week to go before the only televised appearance of all Houston mayor candidates, three weeks before early voting begins, and a month until Election Day in the most boring election season on record.  There's not even a strong majority -- and few strong opinions -- for either keeping or tearing down the Astrodome, also on the ballot.  And what little excitement does exist is about to be eclipsed by the 2014 Texas governor's contest.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Depends on who you are.

Mayor Parker's team is content to hold the ball and run out the clock on the bid for her final re-election.  The polls suggest she'll skate through, but she may have to vanquish the mud-slinging Ben Hall one more time in December.  That's when things will really get ugly.

Hall's campaign has been nothing short of a disaster.  Incoherent one week, overfloweth with vitriol the next.  The other eight candidates have just been studiously ignored by the media and thus the electorate.  Everybody has a last chance to make up for that -- the ones doing the ignoring and the ones being ignored -- in the remaining days.

As for city council races, thank goodness there have been Texpatriate and Texas Leftist with some questionnaires and endorsements.  They have supplemented Off the Kuff's usual comprehensive interview series.  Anybody seeking information on municipal races hasn't had to wait on the corporate legacy media to put something behind their paywall.

I can't say a thing about educational candidates and elections because they have been so far under the radar that they're subterranean.

So while we all wait one more day for the erstwhile Democratic gubernatorial nominee -- the one in the orange tennies -- to kick things off, we can focus for a moment on a recent positive development: the newly-announced challenger to the freshly-appointed Harris County district attorney.  A tip o' the chapeau to Houston's most prominent Republican blogger for the write-up and photos of Kim Ogg's declaration last Monday.

At a well-attended announcement today on the steps of the renovated Harris County Courthouse at 301 Fannin in downtown Houston, Ms. Ogg promised the attendees that the duty of district attorney was not only to convict but to see that justice is done. She also promised to ensure that criminal cases are based on sound evidence so that crime victims and those accused are treated fairly. As a long-time crime victims advocate, she promised to prioritize crimes of violence against individual victims, business crimes against crime victims for businesses, and environmental crimes against all of us. She will do this by putting non-violent misdemeanor offenders to work and by changing the ways forfeiture funds are spent. She will change the focus from low level criminals to the prosecution and dismantling of organized crime and gangs from the top down. She will immediately halt the practice of treating economically disadvantaged criminals differently than others by promising that no one will be above the law in Harris County, regardless of the neighborhood you live in, the size of your bank account, or the uniform you wear. She will use 21st century tactics to combat 21st century crime. 

Ogg made some news by saying she would not prosecute drug crimes on trace evidence.  This is a return to a policy instituted by former Republican DA Pat Lykos.  Here's Ogg on KTRK video talking about the indictments of HPD officers in one of the many teenager beatings they have performed in recent years.  But Imma let Big Jolly finish.

Texas needs a revitalized Democratic Party if Republicans are to eschew complacency. Complacency amongst Texas Republicans will result in Democratic control of the state. We need qualified candidates at all levels of government. Too often Republican primary voters settle for unqualified candidates that are adept at spouting talking points the voters want to hear. Take a look at this year’s primary for Railroad Commissioner if you don’t believe me. Just today, former Rep. Wayne Christian touted his endorsement by “conservatives and religious leaders” and the Texas Right to Life groups. If you can explain to me what those endorsements have to do with oil and gas policy, I’ll buy you some beachfront property in Arizona.

Another interesting aspect of the 2014 DA’s race will be, assuming Ms. Ogg and the current appointed DA make it through their respective primaries, that the issue of abortion will be taken off the table. The race might (hopefully?) be about ideas pertaining to criminal justice.

That's better and so much nicer than I could have said it.

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