During an joint appearance before the Chronicle editorial board during the primary campaign, Sanchez criticized Cato's handling of his office. He said that if he won the $96,000-a-year post he would use it as a platform to express his views on immigration and would travel to Washington if necessary.
The county treasurer supervises 15 employees who process payments authorized by county commissioners; it has nothing to do with immigration policy. During his tenure Cato stuck to its mandated duties and avoided embroiling the office in controversy.
The state of Texas and several other counties have already gone the route of eliminating their treasurer positions. The two Democratic Harris County commissioners, Sylvia Garcia, and El Franco Lee, have indicated they would support such an action.
With Cato's passing, the time is right to consider whether this appendage of county government is worth the cost. Sanchez has made it clear he would use the office for a political agenda having little or nothing to do with its job description. The Democratic candidate, Richard Garcia, is running on a platform of abolishing it.
In a time when public sentiment demands lower taxes and greater economy of public services, why should taxpayers provide $96,000 a year for an extraneous position to be used only to revive flagging political careers? Harris County commissioners and state lawmakers should give voters the opportunity to answer that question in the near future.
In regard to the June 3 Chronicle article "GOP in a squabble over treasurer post": Jack Cato's predecessor, Don Sumners, was anything but obscure.
He called for tax cuts and more fiscal responsibility and was written about in many articles in the Chronicle.
Sumners was at the forefront of efforts to limit government growth, coauthoring the Tax Vote 97 effort to limit property taxes.
A political office is what you make of it; and judging from the wrath Sumners received from other county officials for working to bring reform to government, the office of treasurer amounted to a lot more than just disbursing funds.
Also, the idea of abolishing the treasurer's office was tried before, but obviously unsuccessfully.
Sumners testified in Austin, that with today's complicated financial transactions, a qualified county treasurer is needed more than ever.
And, at that time [in 1997], the Chronicle supported his position in an editorial that said that the county needed a fiscal watchdog.
JERRY C. LARSEN Seabrook