Four out of Four Candidates Agree: Change is Needed

 Posted on January 17, 2008 in Uncategorized

Per the Chronicle:

In Wednesday's downtown forum [of Republican candidates for Harris County District Attorney], sponsored by the Houston Professional Republican Women, [Kelly] Siegler said she would make the district attorney's office more transparent to defense lawyers and the public."It will not be an office with prosecutors that win at all cost," said the chief of Rosenthal's special crimes bureau.

Kelly recognizes that change is needed, and says she will change things. That's good, right? Well, yeah, but...

Siegler also said she would first solicit reform ideas from fellow prosecutors. "We know what's wrong. We know what's broken.... I am the only one who has worked there the last 21 years. I know how it it operates."

So she'll ask her fellow prosecutors for reform ideas. Great, except that these are the people who made the Office what it is, and who. That's like asking the fox for ideas on improving henhouse security.

If Kelly Siegler doesn't already know what needs to be done to fix the Office, she never will. Kelly has already had 21 years to "solicit reform ideas" from fellow prosecutors (not that she would need to solicit them - those folks talk!) and to try to implement reform.

If Kelly believes that changes need to be made to the office, she will be able to tell the voters now what needs to be changed. She won't need to solicit reform ideas from political advisors or fellow prosecutors.

If Kelly Siegler truly has an interest in reforming the Office, it'll show in her actions before she was a candidate. She'll be able to point to the specific things that she's done over the past 21 years to reform the office. People will remember, and there'll be a paper trail of changes that she suggested that weren't made. Kelly was, for a time, in charge of "Professional Development" at the Office - a perfect position from which to fix what is broken.

If Kelly's just saying what she thinks is expedient to get elected ("screwballs and nuts"), she won't be able to point to things she's already done to reform the office. People won't have any memory of her doing so, and there won't be a paper trail.

The other three candidates might have no idea what needs to be changed, but at least they're not acting under the illusion that they will get good ideas from the very prosecutors whose jobs are at stake. (Remember: the theme of Kelly Siegler's campaign announcement was that talented prosecutors could be swept out if a candidate from outside the DA's office wins.)

(Incidentally, if any of you hear of other events at which the candidates are speaking, please drop me a line. I'd like to hear their ideas straight from the horses' mouths, rather than from the press.)

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