Before I get to today's endorsements, let's briefly discuss this item from yesterday, in which the Chron gravely intoned of a looming catastrophe.
We would respectfully request those considering a straight ticket vote in either party to reconsider their decision.
Such an approach dismisses worthy candidates in both parties, especially in local races for judicial benches and other such posts. It also increases the likelihood that unqualified candidates will slip into positions of responsibility.
If voters choose to cast ballots for a straight ticket after examination of the ballot on a race-by-race basis, that is their perfect right. But they do themselves, their fellow citizens and the system no favor by opting for the straight-party ticket without careful thought.
Now then. The Chron finally tackles the SD17 special election by giving their endorsement to Chris Bell.
A Dallas native and a University of Texas graduate, Bell brings to the race a solid track record in public office. He served five years on Houston City Council where he chaired the council's ethics committee. It produced recommendations that tightened up the city's campaign finance rules and mandated financial disclosure measures for elected officials.
After unsuccessfully running for mayor, Bell was elected to Congress, where he earned favorable notice as a freshman and founded the Port Security Caucus while serving as a whip for the Democratic leadership. Bell filed ethics complaints against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the first shots in a fight that led to DeLay's resignation.
Bell found himself a target of the 2003 redistricting effort masterminded by DeLay, which sought to defeat some incumbent Anglo Democrats across the state by making their districts majority minority. He was defeated in the Democratic primary by Al Green. Two years ago, he won the Democratic nomination for governor and came in second behind Republican Rick Perry in a four-way race.
A lawyer with the firm Patton Boggs, Bell is registered as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., but dropped that status in Texas before seeking office. He pledges not to lobby in the state if elected.
In the current race, Bell is calling for utility rate reform, tripling the homestead exemption and reversing tuition deregulation at public universities. The candidate has demonstrated in previous elective office that he can be an effective advocate for his constituents.
Meanwhile, it wasn't specifically an endorsement, but Mayor Bill White took the time to defend Adrian Garcia against some attack ads that Sheriff Tommy Thomas had been running.
By the time we got to the weekly Mayor's press conference, White spoke more directly. He was unhappy with the ad by Sheriff Tommy Thomas recently began airing. In the attack ad, Thomas' campaign says that Garcia admitted to using marijuana "more than 100 times". Apparently, the campaign got it from an HPD application form, and whatever Garcia wrote, he was referring to things he did when he was 16-17 years old.
The Mayor was not happy, and took the unusual step of defending Garcia at his weekly news conference. "I'm not doing endorsements I'm just telling people that I know he's a person of outstanding character, he's been hard working and a great public servant," said White.
"I think people need to stand up for people when people attack their character if they know him."
Garcia tried to stay above the fray, saying he only attacks his opponent's record, and not his personal issues. He also said he was simply being honest about his teenage years, but he doesn't know where the "100 times" reference is coming from.
Remember Sally Ride, the first American woman in outer space? She's endorsing Barack Obama. Not that there's anything unusual about that these days, but I thought it was cool.
Finally, I present this without comment, because frankly, what can one add to that? I don't know how I wound up as a recipient on the mailing list that distributed it, but I ain't complaining.Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 30, 2008 to Election 2008