Locke’s crimefighting plan

In the past week or so I’ve had several Mayoral candidate issue papers hit my inbox. As there was one from each campaign, I thought I’d try to do a little analysis of each of them. We’ll start today with Gene Locke‘s Seven Point Plan to Keep Houston Safe, which you can see here. Locke’s issues page is a bit light in comparison to his opponents, and this was the first such release I’ve received from his campaign, so it was with no small amount of interest that I took a look. As with Annise Parker’s plan, I’d say the priorities Locke highlights are good ones, ones for which there’s a fairly broad consensus. Not to put too fine a point on it, but six of the seven items Locke highlights can be found in Parker’s plan as well, and almost as many can be found in Peter Brown’s plan as well. That’s what I call a consensus.

(Interestingly, one thing Brown doesn’t mention that Locke and Parker both do is a promise to put more cops on the street. Of course, neither Parker nor Locke say how they plan to pay for those extra cops, so perhaps it’s just as well. And as noted before, while both Locke and Parker support the idea of closing the city’s jail and folding it into the county’s system, Brown opposes the idea. So it’s not all Consensusville here.)

Locke’s page here has fewer details than those of the other candidates, so there’s only so much for an armchair quarterback such as myself to quibble with. One place I really wish he had gone into greater detail is the matter of the city’s jail, for which Locke claims credit as the originator of the idea to close it. The city’s jail has been in the news quite a bit lately, especially with that story from Monday about a possible TIRZ deal with the county to pay for a replacement facility. What does Gene Locke, or Annise Parker or Peter Brown, think about this? Whoever wins in November will inherit this deal that the city makes, so it would be really nice to know where they stand. I figure I’ll get statements from one or more of their campaigns now that I’ve posted this, but frankly this should have been in the story. At this point, getting comments from the three of them on anything newsworthy that Mayor White and/or City Council is doing ought to be standard operating procedure.

The one point of Locke’s plan that’s unique to him is this:

HOMELAND SECURITY With the growing importance of Houston to the economy of the nation and the world, Gene knows we need to take special care to protect institutions like the Port of Houston. Gene will lead the way in developing a regional plan to prevent, protect, respond to, and recover from an act of terrorism or any other type of catastrophic event. Safeguarding our engines of economic development will make Houstonians safer in their homes and communities.

The City of Houston currently has an Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security, while Harris County has an Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. The former is more focused on crime, while the latter is more about hurricanes, at least going by their web pages. I’d like to know more about what Locke thinks about these current setups, and how his plan enhances or adds to them. I’d also like to know how he sees the role of the federal government in all this, since this clearly falls under the rubric of the DHS. I think this is a good issue to highlight, I just need to hear more.

That’s all I’ve got for this one. I’ve got Parker’s education plan and Brown’s energy plan in the works as well.

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7 Responses to Locke’s crimefighting plan

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    I really wish Barack Obama would take a pen and forever delete the words Homeland Security which for too many of us reminds of the Bushes and what really has been Nazi Germany revisited. It makes you want to click your heels and salute the Fuhrer. Which some of us do. With the “three-finger salute.”

    Years ago I worked briefly with Southwest 2000 which was/is a “consortium” of the various HOAs in the Westbury/Fondren Southwest area and one of the ideas never pursued by any mayor was a program to try to prevent the causes of crime in many areas of our city by offering programs for underprivileged youth in these areas to help them develop not only their minds and but their interests in something other than “gang-banging” but so far it’s an idea that really doesn’t seem to have caught on. HISD for instance responded by installing a “reform school” on Fondren where “potential criminals” were sent for infractions like being late for school twice in a week and branded as “potential criminals” as a result. Not exactly the way to approach a problem but of course it proved lucrative for several people including the head of the teacher’s union.

    The same problem is evident in our overcrowded jails. People who have the money to bond out on a drug charge post bond and get a slap on the wrist. People who don’t have the money sit there and rot and are often sent to prison. Or are released simply because they’ve actually been in jail longer than what a judge just sentenced them to. Not exactly the way to approach that problem either.

    All the candidates are talking about is how to arrest more people and put them all into one big jail and forget them. What it comes down to.

    In America we try to really solve problems. In the Homeland I suppose we just remove those we don’t like and forget them believing that by doing so we are creating the perfect society. Out of sight, out of mind. I am disappointed that all the candidates apparently prefer life in the Homeland instead of life in America.

    We need more cops. We need less jails. In a perfect world.

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