June 03, 2006
Radack-Sanchez smackdown

I do so love the sound of infighting among Republicans, especially over relatively unimportant matters like the office of Harris County Treasurer, which is currently open due to the untimely death of incumbent Jack Cato.

In a letter to Republican precinct chairs, who will select a nominee to replace Cato on the fall ballot, prospect Orlando Sanchez says he developed a warm and respectful relationship with Cato while running unsuccessfully against him in the March GOP primary.

That's a lie, GOP County Commissioner Steve Radack says in a letter to the same group.

"Don't believe for a second that Sanchez respected Jack Cato," writes Radack, who delivered a eulogy at Cato's memorial service. "Further, he certainly did not have a warm relationship with Jack or his family. As a matter of fact, what Sanchez did was conduct a negative campaign against Jack that was outrageously cruel and unnecessary."

Sanchez began shoring up support shortly after Cato died. His letter is dated May 28, the day after a public service commemorating Cato and two days after his burial.

"I am not going to sit back and allow someone to trample on the memory of Jack Cato," Radack said in an interview. "Orlando Sanchez has stooped to a new low. He is lying. I'm not going to let some multi-time loser try and come in there and belittle a good man."

Sanchez served three terms on the Houston City Council, but has lost three bids for office since then.

In a postscript to his letter, Radack provided a phone number and encouraged recipients to call Cato's son, John, to discuss the family's relationship with Sanchez.

John Cato said he was put off by the substance and timing of Sanchez's letter. He said he disagreed with Sanchez's characterization of his relationship with his father as warm and respectful.

"I don't think it's respectful for a fellow Republican to wage a campaign against an incumbent Republican who had the support of every Republican county official," he said.

Sanchez denied attacking Cato during the primary campaign.

"I ran a positive race," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I never addressed my opponent in any of my mail pieces. I ran on the issues. I believe in the Ronald Reagan 11th Commandment, that you never speak evil of your fellow Republicans."

As for Radack's letter, "The commissioner has a long history of being involved in other offices at the county," Sanchez said. "I am shocked, though, by that tirade. He must have gotten close to one of those rabid bats in north Harris County."

Boys, please. Can't you play nicely? This is all so unseemly. And it's all so ultimately pointless, too.

The GOP nominee will be opposed in November by Democrat Richard Garcia, who advocates abolishing the treasurer's office.

Commissioners Sylvia Garcia and El Franco Lee, both Democrats, have said that with Cato's death, the county should consider abolishing the obscure office, which has no real power. To accomplish that, the county would have to ask the state Legislature to put a constitutional amendment to a statewide vote.

Several other counties, and the state of Texas, have abolished the treasurer's post.

"I think it will be seriously considered by a majority of the members of Commissioners Court," said Radack, who added that he finds it interesting that the Democratic candidate is advocating the position be abolished.

"That sounds like a conservative thing to do."

Actually, it's the common sense thing to do, and common sense is all you need to vote for Richard Garcia. Though it wasn't what he intended, Orlando Sanchez had a point during the primary when he said that there wasn't even a web site for the Treasurer's office until he made an issue of it. Well, here's that website. Take 30 seconds or so and look it over - it won't require more time than that. Then tell me again why we need this elected office.

The choice is clear. It doesn't matter who the Republicans ultimately nominate for this job. The Treasurer's office has fulfilled its purpose. It's time to elect the one candidate who will do the right thing and push for its abolishment.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 03, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

I am really sorry that Radack is upset with Sanchez. Everytime I have met Sanchez he has always been a kind and sincere person. This whole situation is sad - the fact that Cato died. Someone died here and people shouldn't just try use that to obtain a position. Still, one thing that I did hear Orlando say was that Cato was getting up in his years, that he had accomplished more than many could dream of, and that it might be time for him to relax and spend some time with his family. I don't know... I think this whole thing is kind of sad.

Posted by: Eric Dick on June 22, 2006 9:38 PM