Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why doesn't anybody want the Harris DA job? *Updated*

Update (1 pm): Surprise, surprise.


That's the real question.

Devon Anderson, the widow of recently deceased Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson, is the local GOP leadership's choice to replace her late husband, the head of party said Monday.

"The person who would be the best to fill Mike's shoes, and they're big shoes to fill, would be his wife," said Jared Woodfill, chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. "I'm hopeful that the governor will appoint her to carry on Mike's legacy. She's very, very qualified for the position."

Woodfill put his sentiments in a letter to Gov. Rick Perry who will appoint someone to fill the unexpired term of Mike Anderson, who lost his battle with cancer Aug. 31.

Woodfill said he is urging Devon Anderson to ask for the appointment, and said she is considering it.

So let's reset: the chair of the county's Republicans has asked the governor to appoint someone to be the district attorney who hasn't said she wants the job yet.

The slot has previously been offered around with no takers.

Rumors have it that Gov. Goodhair has shopped the position to various folks who have been prominent in the Harris County criminal (in)justice system but that no one has expressed any desire in serving as the temp. It looks like Belinda Hill will get the nod by default. But whatever's going to happen needs to happen fast because so long as no one's in charge confusion will continue to reign at 1201 Franklin.

Texpat with some more on that.

Reportedly, (acting DA) Belinda Hill is also interested in maintaining the office permanently. KTRK notes a list of four other candidates being discussed by local Republicans. Given that Perry makes the call, it is a foregone conclusion that a Republican will get the nod. The other names include Marc Carter, the judge of the 228th District Court ...

Jim Leitner, a key Lykos aide, and Rachel Palmer, both prosecutors, were other names mentioned. Palmer has some skeletons in her closet relating to being investigated for criminal wrongdoing and pleading the Fifth. Leitner was also involved in this controversy.

The last name mentioned by the KTRK article is Ted Poe. Being a Congressman with unbelievable job security, and being a mere 65 years of age, I cannot understand why Poe would consider leaving Capitol Hill for this job.

Yeah, Poe already turned it down almost three weeks ago.  Nobody who works this beat regularly -- Grits for Breakfast, Big Jolly -- seems to have anything recent to say about it.  Grits last had Anderson's obit in August, while Jolly's last post, also three weeks ago, puts him on record as opposing Hill.  Not a word from uber-lobbyist (literally, he's Uber's lobbyist) Robert Miller except the usual nothing.  With baseball season nearly over, Marc Campos is now providing movie reviews.  Riveting.

So why isn't anybody talking about why nobody except Belinda Hill wants the job?  Seems to be a lot of insiders on lockdown about whatever is developing down at the county courthouse.

Or maybe they're in the dark, like the rest of us.

Update: Paul Kennedy, this morning.

Why doesn't anyone want the job? It's the highest profile county-wide post in Harris County -- aside from being county judge when a hurricane strikes. It will give whoever accepts it a big leg-up in the special election. You get to be the top law enforcement agent in the largest county in Texas. What could beat that?

Well, I guess there's the issue of managing an office with well over 200 attorneys plus staff. Then there's that whole "tough on crime" thing that doesn't take into account that it costs a bunch of money to lock folks up in jail. And then there's the state of the Harris County Jail -- it's full to the gills with folks who can't make bond.

As we can see by the grease fire that is the DWI pre-trial intervention program, it's not enough to make promises and speak in sound bites on the campaign trail. In order to make things work it takes attention to detail and an office that "buys into" a program. The PTI program was cobbled out of Pat Lykos' illegal DIVERT scheme without much thought as to how it would be implemented.

On second thought, maybe it's no wonder no one wants the job.

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