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Houston Breakthrough, November 1980
Page 18
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Houston Breakthrough, November 1980 - Page 18. November 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 25, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3680/show/3669.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 1980). Houston Breakthrough, November 1980 - Page 18. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3680/show/3669

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, November 1980 - Page 18, November 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 25, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3680/show/3669.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, November 1980
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Texas
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 28 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 18
File name femin_201109_565p.jpg
Transcript • • CAMPAIGN '8011 COUNTY URBAN COUNTY What the county does the city is going to have to live with. Most people in the city of Houston think only idly and with come derision about the state government, of Texas. Yes, everyone likes the smug little Shangri-la called Austin, where the leggies meet. Everyone, nearly, has strolled through that gangster's wedding-cake Capitol and tried to decipher some of those blackened old canvases hanging on the walls. We know where the laws get passed, and if we think about it a little, who passes them, and who is behind most of them. But after our governor signs legislative emissions into law, a vast host of state officials, connected to Austin by WATS, the U.S. Mail, Federal Express, and big ole cars doing 80 on Highway 290, puts them into action. From day to day, most taxpayers forget about this army of enforcement and administration. Locally, the state mandates are entrusted to the County Commissioner's Court—three men and a judge, advised and served legally by a county attorney. They administer prisons, roads, land use, mosquito and flood control, county hospitals and county police. The state's other representative, the district attorney, represents Texas whenever Texas wants to put some citizen into the standing-room- only jailhouse. Even though nearly everyone has had some dealing with the court house, if not the district attorney, we tend to overlook the DA and the CA in their humdrum daily activities, and the Commissioner's Court we notice not at all. The shadows created by the flickering light of public regard are kind to old bureaucracies. If we don't have the ole boys sitting on benches outside the courthouse, whittling in the sun and spitting, it's because the benches are inside, in the offices. No one should be surprised, thus, when a man charged with murder is running for county ■ commissioner against Tom Bass; no one should exclaim over the election victory of a county commissioner continuously touched by scandal; -BY MORRIS EDELSON- no one should raise an eyebrow about 40- year tenures of public office and inheritance of positions supposedly won by balloting procedures. Minimum John and Can-do Dailey John Holmes is angry. He is the first person in more than 20 years to have to face an opponent, Fred Dailey, in a general election for District Attorney. Of course, even Jack Heard has to go through the procedure before resuming his career as sherriff—times are tough all over. Holmes is tough on criminals, he says, and plans to be tough with his opponent. Holmes, appointed to his office by the governor in July, is reported to have spent $200,000 on the billboards and television ads which show his crimi- nophobia, his broad-legged stance protecting personally the well-manicured lawns of Southwest Houston from a gibbering swarm of red-eyed addicts with a taste for tots. In the District Attorney's race, to be sure, crime is the issue, the only issue. How to define a criminal, how to prosecute, how and how long to punish. "The position," Holmes explains, "calls for cooperation with the city police, who take in many of the suspects to trial. The district attorney's office has to know and be cooperative with police, and it has to be efficient in handling these suspects. We have been cooperative and efficient." Other issues are not nearly as important as helping the police keep the majority of citizens safe, Holmes believes. Asked about affirmative action, for example, by a Houston Post reporter, he reportedly replied "I am not going to get off on some minority kick. I am sticking to the issues, the function of this office." Holmes' cooperativeness with the police and his single-mindedness are seen as strengths by some, weaknesses by others. His opponent Fred Dailey says that the present office-holder, whose only job has been with county prosecution, has become arrogant, hardened, and blind to the real duties of the district attorney. "People are disturbed in Houston," says Dailey, "about whether the system of justice works or not. There is division in the community, mainly because of police shootings of suspects. People are alienated from the police." Holmes identifies so strongly with the police that he is in effect part of the police department, claims Dailey. Many of his staff carry guns. He adds that the general citizen who sees the police as being arrogant and reckless, certainly isn't going to cooperate with them in any way. Fear cannot make citizens obey the law as well as their voluntary cooperation. "Police abuse is on the rise," says Dailey. "The police are given cover and allowed to do things that people know are illegal. "The communities' opinions have changed," adds Dailey. "In the better-off communities, support for police is diminishing because they have seen the television videotapes of people being beaten by police. They still want law and order but don't trust police to give it to them. The poor communities suffer more directly from people getting hassled, from police violating civil rights or the law, interfering with daily life and not really catching important criminals loose in the community." The overall attitude of the DA's office now, its critics charge, is "move the docket." "The judges and the district attorney," says Dailey, a judge himself, have come up with a system that works the way they want it to. It moves cases rapidly through the courts, no matter what the public thinks or wants to know. In 1979, for example, there were 51,000 serious criminal charges brought by the DA. Only 1400 of these ever went to trial." Seventy percent of felony charges against suspected rapists, murderers, or arsonists were dropped, carried over on the docket, or plea bargained away, Holmes says, "simply because we couldn't handle any more cases." Dailey disagrees: "He has 18 district courts, nine criminal courts, 145 assistants and can only try 1400 cases. That means each lawyer in the District Attorney's office had less than one case a month to try!" Holmes says that is the fault of the federal court orders governing the county jail, designed to prevent its overcrowding. Dailey admits that the federal government intervention makes the problem complex, but not impossible. "Justice doesn't always demand a full jailhouse. Other penalties can be assessed, too. Holmes' contention that he is just trying to help the judges, by keeping their backlog low backfires, just like unleashing the police. The judges are now being thought of as too lenient, since the public sees people getting off without even a trial, or with a bargained sentence." Dailey explains that the bargains are devised by the district attorney. "Any defense lawyer is going to try to make a deal for his client. It is up to the DA to set up the deal, and present it to the judge. The DA assesses the penalties in 90 percent of the cases that come up. The judge will nearly always let the DA devise what is fair and proper for the aggrieved party." Dailey promises less plea bargaining, and with plea bargaining that goes on, he promises community input, not just deals between the district attorney and the judge for their convenience. Dailey says that if elected he will make immediate concrete changes, designed to allow more public input into the trials and the office itself. "If I am elected," he says, "I would call a meeting with the staff and point out to them that we are not law enforcement officers and that they should start behaving like lawyers. People in that room with guns are going to stop carrying them. "We are going to make it easier to make complaints about treatment—complaints will no longer be entered at the police station, often in front of the very officers accused or others who might intimidate the complainant. "I personally will go out and recruit more women and minority people to work with the district attorney, qualified people. I personnally will go to court and try cases, as will the rest of the staff, if I am elected." The district attorney will no longer play master of ceremonies in the justice circus, Dailey promised: "Grand juries should be changed, their membership picked at random, when the DA thinks a topic or illegal activity merits investigating. Right now the DA runs the show, picks a jury, has the jury members indoctrinated by his staff, tells them where to eat, supplies them with a secretary, in other words manipulates them toward a result he has decided upon far in advance of their choosing." Holmes thinks the system is working and has worked for the last 11 years he has influenced it. Dailey says, "You have to ask yourself, is this the only way we attempt to protect ourselves from criminal activity? There has to be a better way, and community input is it." Dailey sports most of the endorsements usually sought by candidates— AFL-CIO, Harris County Democrats, PASO, GPC, Harris County Women's Political Caucus—and Holmes has the endorsement of the Houston Police Officers' Association. The first race for the office in a couple of decades, it has been a lively one. "People aren't apathetic," says Dailey, "they are plain disgusted. I think that will make them get out and help us change things." Who Speaks for Harris? The County Attorney Even in the dull offices, given enough time, something wild will happen. Who would have thought that Joe Resweber would have stepped down from being the county attorney in his sixth and not seventh decade? That is the most excitement since they removed the spittoons from his rooms. Then surprises started coming in battalions. The incumbent's aide, Anthony Sheppard, started a Carrie Nation on the county's porn shops. Federal Judge Carl O. Bue said the county jail wasn't fit for a pigsty and put its operation under federal orders to raise daniel boone cycle 5318 CRAWFORD HOUSTON, TEXAS 77004 (713) 526-7011 18 HOUSTON B ITS A KT+4 ROUGH