Endorsement watch: Constables

The Chron runs its endorsements in the Democratic primaries for Constable, in what I believe is now the last of their recommendations. They didn’t get off to a good start, however:

Harris County Commissioners Court draws the constable precinct lines with each decade’s U.S. Census, often to achieve political aims. The process has produced wide disparities in precincts’ geographical areas and budgets — the latter also in the hands of commissioners. Precinct 5 in west Harris County, for example, encompasses 370 square miles with 1 million-plus residents. Precinct 6, in Houston’s East End, covers 32 square miles and serves about 170,000 residents.

Uh, yeah, no. Not unless you consider “every fifty years and counting” to be “with each decade”. Totally unforced error here, y’all.

With that said, here’s who they endorsed. Note that the only contested primaries for Constable were on the Dem side, so all of the endorsements are in those races.

Alan Rosen for Precinct 1, Dem

Since becoming constable of Precinct 1 since 2012, Alan Rosen has tried to help the young, the old, the mentally ill, the homeless, the drug-addicted. He also serves those everyday folks just trying to live their lives in safe neighborhoods. We think Rosen, 55, should continue that work.

Nevertheless, this endorsement is giving us heartburn.

Jerry Garcia for Precinct 2, Dem

Precinct 2 Constable Jerry Garcia needs few words to explain why he deserves a second term: “Proven results. I did what I said I would do.”

His record supports that.

Constable Sherman Eagleton for Precinct 3, Democrat

Eagleton is eloquent about fighting crime, getting drugs off the street and stopping illegal dumping. He embraces body cameras and citizen videos. And he is adamant that statistics are part of modern policing.

But there’s something old-fashioned, in a good way, about Eagleton, 58. He brags about wellness checks for senior citizens, and he loves a program called “Coffee with a cop.”

The controversies on Eagleton’s watch don’t faze us.

Chronicle stories from 2021 show that he hired Chris Diaz, a former Precinct 2 constable who was voted out of office after egregious errors in his campaign finance reports surfaced.

“I gave him a second chance, and he’s doing a great job,” Eagleton says. “He told me he had baggage, and I told him, if you don’t do what’s right, I’ll send you down the road.”

In 2017, Eagleton took a different approach with Milton Rivera, a Precinct 3 chief deputy accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior. After a Harris County Attorney’s Office investigation, Eagleton fired him.

Jerome Moore for Precinct 5, Dem

Two Democratic primary candidates for Precinct 5 constable, both experienced law enforcement officers, know how it feels to be mistreated by police.

Gerardo “Jerry” Rodriguez, 41,says he was 19 and leaving a hot dog restaurant when he and his friends were wrongly arrested and hauled off to jail.

Jerome Moore, now 50, says he was 24 and in a car with three other young Black men when police ordered them to halt. “We’re gonna teach you guys to stop,” he remembers one officer shouting. “Shut up!”

Moore and Rodriguez say those run-ins inspired them to become law enforcement officers.


It’s a close call, but we give the nod to Moore.

Currently a lieutenant, he spent two years working as chief deputy to the constable in Precinct 2. He has more administrative experience than Rodriguez, a sergeant. Moore can manage the precinct’s complicated budget.

“I can do the job on day one,” he says.

Silvia Treviño for Precinct 6, Dem

Precinct 6 Constable Silvia Treviño is part of a political dynasty in Houston’s East End. She no doubt benefited from name recognition when she won the office — two years after her husband stepped down from it because of a criminal conviction.

Her challenger in the Democratic primary, Art Aguilar, 49, is a former Precinct 6 deputy who has some good ideas and understands the office’s inner workings. But we believe running a multimillion-dollar agency requires more management experience than appears on his résumé.

Treviño, a former Houston police officer, didn’t respond to the editorial board’s invitations to discuss her re-election bid. In the past we’ve criticized her for gaps in her knowledge of the constable’s office and law enforcement issues.

We recommend her this year in hopes that eight years of on-the-job training have alleviated those shortcomings.

James “Smokie” Phillips for Precinct 7, Dem

Three veteran Houston lawmen are running in the Democratic primary to succeed longtime Precinct 7 Constable May Walker. Walker, who’s retiring, has not endorsed a successor.

Precinct 6 is home to half a million people in south Harris County, including Third Ward, South Park, Sunnyside and Reliant Park. No Republican is running in the historically Democratic district, so this primary will decide the election.

Seeking the office are Gary Hicks Sr., Michael Coleman, and James “Smokie” Phillips.

Hicks, 62, a former HPD officer, works now as a warrant officer and mental health specialist in Constable Precinct 1.

His knowledge of community-oriented policing reflects his decades as a street cop. But we believe he comes up short in administrative experience necessary to run an agency like Precinct 7.

That leaves a hard choice.


We believe Phillips’ experience in the Precinct 7 office gives him an edge.

See here for more on the Rosen-induced heartburn. I’ve done Constable interviews in the past, most recently in 2012, but there were just too many candidates and not enough time. Read these endorsements, look at the Erik Manning spreadsheet to see who else has been endorsed by whom, and go from there.

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