Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bad week for the local Democrats *updates

First, the city controller stepped in it big time. Then his wife, the justice of the peace, showed up in some of the questionable dealings with the same swindler. Then the former head of the HCDP -- who seems to be having a little trouble transitioning into retirement -- filed a complaint against the voters' pick for District Attorney, trying to get him off the November slate. (The fact is that Lloyd Oliver is a jackass... and not just the four-legged variety.) Today my own first-term city councilman seems to be in hot water over a missing million bucks from the non-profit he ran before being elected a year ago.

But the biggest loss is the retirement of Judge Kevin Fine.

State District Judge Kevin Fine, who triggered controversy in 2010 when he said the death penalty was unconstitutional, announced Tuesday he is resigning from the bench effective immediately.

The Democrat elected in 2008 made headlines and earned the scorn of Republicans, including Gov. Rick Perry, when he declared the death penalty unconstitutional during a routine hearing. That ruling was later reversed, and Fine's continued efforts to see the issue re-litigated in his Houston courtroom came to naught.

The judge, a recovering cocaine addict who ran his first campaign touting his experience with addiction, did not seek re-election this year.

Republicans won't ever understand why it was of a great value to have Judge Fine on the bench. They will just look at two things: "anti-death penalty" and "recovering cocaine addict" and close their minds.

Fine represented people who have been rejected by the system having a voice on the bench. The poor, the disadvantaged, the people most of the rest of us don't want to look at or think about. Not the lazy, not the born-into-privilege, not the "boot-strappers", as conservatives like to say. But the unlucky.

That was very much a minority caucus on the Harris County bench. I for one will miss him a great deal. There are some excellent judges and judicial candidates on the Harris County ticket, but none with Fine's life experience.

As for Controller Green and Judge Green, they are heavily damaged by their own hand. I suspect, as with Marc Campos, that they will draw challengers from among the Blue gang the next time they face the voters (for the controller, that's coming up next year).

Not as fast as Lloyd Oliver's, however.

With only a Republican -- former city councilman Mike Anderson, no stranger to scandal himself -- and a James-Cargas-ish Democrat to choose from, my recommendation in this race is likely to be 'neither'. Further, I believe that Murray assigns Oliver too much weight here...

Any candidate who proudly boasts of his three indictments and then advocates for boxing lessons for domestic violence victims adds an anchor to what many political analysts believe is a sinking ship when it comes to the local Dems' chances in Harris County this year.

I doubt it. Harris County voters simply aren't that well-informed. The judicials can disavow Oliver with confidence.

It will be amusing to see if Lloyd finds himself in the position of having to run against both Anderson and the Democrats. The ultimate outsider. Might be a barrel of laughs.

Update: But it ain't gonna happen. For now, anyway.

The Harris County Democratic Party Wednesday took district attorney candidate Lloyd Oliver's name off the ballot, deciding to go forward without a candidate in November's general election.

Chad Dunn, the attorney for the party confirmed the decision by Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Lane Lewis to sustain a complaint filed by Gerry Birnberg, the former party chair, that Oliver endorsed the sitting district attorney, Republican Pat Lykos.

Birnberg said in his complaint that Oliver told the Houston Chronicle in May that Lykos was such a good candidate that she "would have gotten my vote."

Oliver, a perennial candidate in both Republican and Democratic primaries, said he will fight to stay on the ballot, including appealing to state party officials and, if he loses there, suing in federal court to stay on the ballot.

"I can't believe the state party chairman would be in the same boat as those two goobers," Oliver said. "And I guarantee that I'll do what I have to do to get a federal injunction."

My opinion? This is going to turn out badly, and not necessarily for Lloyd Oliver.

Update: And it gets worse for Ronald and Hilary Green.

Houston contractor Dwayne Jordon, a five-time felon, has remained free on bond since 2009 though he's admitted his role in a major Houston real estate scam and appears to have used his court-granted freedom to continue to cheat consumers, businesses and banks in Harris, Montgomery and San Jacinto counties, according to civil suits, criminal records and officials and victims interviewed by the Chronicle.

1 comment:

Dr. J said...

How can you go wrong with a judge named Fine???

Yikes! It's scary living in Texas!

You're really confusing us when you write about local elections, P'diddy.

I can barely wrap my head around the Mormon vs the Muslim.