standards. Then this fellow Mike Driscoll
decided to contest the time-honored
Hand-down of office from incumbent to
picked successor and knocked off Sheppard in the Democratic primaries.
After all this, the usual round of
floods out in the county, encephalitis,
SLE, freeway plans and problems, and
the population explosion in Harris seem
anticlimatic. The County Attorney's race
is not over, though, not yet. The Republicans are flexing their muscles, a county
judge has thrown his political (and possibly legal) future into the balance, and the
scandal-smeared American Conservative
Union has struck at Driscoll. Driscoll is in
fact catching it high and low. Judge
Lindsay, whose aide, Ron Dear, opposes
Driscoll, has been sending out letters of
recommendation for his largely-unknown
protege; and Dear, for his part, is baiting
his opponent with charges of ultra-liberalism or far-left leanings.
Far-left leanings being difficult for
many voters to discern, Dear, a former
Young Americans for Freedom activist,
allegedly circulated materials accusing
Driscoll of being (1) a hippy from the
Montrose ("a minister in the First Universal Life Church of Houston") and (2) a
gay-hating straight. Whether Dear was
personally responsible for these and a
series of other petty dirty tricks, enough
people were offended to begin a Republicans for Driscoll group, chaired by Wes
Gilbreath and peopled with many former
professional colleagues of the former
justice of the peace, judge and trial
lawyer. Dear has made a point in his campaign of identifying Driscoll with his
famous great-uncle Ralph Yarbrough.
Driscoll thinks that the name-calling
and attempted guilt-inducing innuendos
distract from the real issues of the county
race. On the general points of performance and experience, Driscoll statistically outdistances Dear; having held three
public offices with satisfactory records as
well as gaining varied legal experience in
his law office and simply by being in the
places he was supposed to at any given
time. Dear has an unfortunate average of
.333 for recent work attendance. He
explains one two-months stint off, with
nearly $6,000 in pay, to back problems
which prevented his attention to county
Dear's experience includes aide work
for Republican legislator Ron Paul, for
Lindsay and directing the lobbying for
the American Conservative Union in
Washington. He is not and never has been
a practicing attorney, but he dismisses the
importance of this experience: "Administration, administrative efficiency, is what
the county attorney's office needs," he
says. "I have needed experience in that
area, while my opponent does not."
The Urban County
Driscoll, aside from the questions of qualifications, presents a comprehensive picture of Harris County's government. The
county must deal now with what were
once thought city problems. Four out
of five housing starts are now in the
county," Driscoll points out, "and the
county government is no longer that
agency that the city tells to 'go clean out
the ditches and fix some roads while we
take care of everything else.' " The
county budget is larger than that of several developing nations, its employees
would make a respectable army for Uruguay, for example, or Guatemala. Its influence and power are growing. The city
is now realizing, Driscoll points out, that
"what the county does the city is going
to have to live with."
The county itself is urbanized. It has
29 principalities in it—Pasadena alone is
the sixth largest city in Texas. All these
areas look toward the county for help.
The urbanization of the county puts a lot
of pressure on the county for interpretation and enforcement of laws. The
county attorney issues interpretations
and outlines the legal parameters for
Ron Dear thinks the county's law firm,
consisting of 30 lawyers and administrators, needs overall direction and guidance,
more than any changed work habits or
direction. He would hire two administrators, he says, to guide the office. Driscoll
responds: "Here you have a man, whose
only experience is administrating hiring
two more adminstrators—administrators
DriscoM says the county is going in the
future to need "creative legal advice."
That comes back to his legal experience,
as well as his duties in private practice:
"You have to know what the xeroxing
costs, what the bills are, how to give your
clients prompt service—time the county
wastes is certainly tax money spent.
Being a good advisor is another way of
"I've found," says Driscoll, "that legal
red tape has held up several county projects up to 18 months. This not only denies people in the county some service;
an 18-month delay can double the cost."
Dear and Driscoll differ sharply on the
issue of partisan politics. Dear says that
there are clear, political choices to be
made in the direction that county development will move. Driscoll thinks that a
non-partisan approach is the best: "I am
trying to work for all groups, because the
majority agrees they want efficiency in
in the office. I think I will function in a
way that will please the developers who
have endorsed me as well as the human
rights groups." In the letter that Judge
Lindsay sent out attacking Driscoll, the
judge calls the endorsements of Driscoll
"a veritable list of the radical leftist elements" in Houston. The letter says "Ron
Dear says no the the AFL-CIO endorsement . . . Ron Dear says no to the
Women's Political Caucus ... to the Gay
Driscoll says that he thinks these
groups and certainly developers and Republicans who have endorsed him are not
"radical leftist" but represent major constituencies whom he can help. The judge's
attacks on him he takes philosophically,
as a familiar attempt at empire-building.
"Such attacks merely confuse the public,"
he says. "Ron Dear says, for example,
that he is against busing and I am not—
the County Attorney has as little to do
with busing as he does with a Russian
The dirty tricks, says Driscoll, is the
usual Young Americans for Freedom
canned campaign. "The Dear publicity is
generated by a New Jersey firm and most
of his contributions have come from out-
of-state," he explains. This campaign
method includes smears, which the candidate publicly denies but privately funds,
plus the endorsement of the most respectable right-wingers available. Substituting
for real issues are appeals to emotionally-
charged current events, such as busing.
"Even Dear's fund-solicitation letter
doesn't talk about qualifications," says
Driscoll, "it talks about Driscoll."
"We're the fastest growing political
entity in the nation," concludes Driscoll.
"We need more efficiency, clearly, and I,
sitting with the Commissioners working
closely with them and stressing efficiency
of my staff, can save money and, at the
same time, remain sensitive to the needs
of people in the county."
Dear promises efficiency: "Administration is needed and I'm an administrator.
Dear Texas Voters:
My good friend, Judge Will Garwood,
is seeking his first elective term on the
Texas Supreme Court. He is striving to
run a non-partisan campaign, as he should,
and has attracted a wide range of Democrats, Republicans and independents behind him simply because he is the kind of
person we need on our highest courts.
His 82% victory in the statewide Bar
poll is clear evidence that attorneys respect his ability and deem him to be better
qualified for the Supreme Court. Will
ranked first in his class every year in law
school; he has broad experience as a lawyer
in private practice; he is by nature a compassionate person, always ready to help
others; above all, he is eminently fair and
For these reasons I commend Will
Garwood to you. We are fortunate to
have him serving on the Supreme Court
and should elect him on November 4.
Frances T. Farenthold
Look for the name Garwood on the ballot.
It's worth the effort.
Pol. Adv. paid for by Texans forjudge Will Garwood, a Nonpartisan Committee:
Duncan Osborne. Treasurer; 121 East 8ih, Suite 318, Austin, Texas 78701.
CRIMINAL COURT 10
Judge Pat Lykos of Harris County Criminal Court No. 10 is the only
judge with criminal justice experience as a Houston police officer . . .
a criminal justice planner ... a trial lawyer . . . and a criminal court
judge. She's hardworking, firm and fair.
ENDORSEMENTS FOR JUDGE PAT LYKOS
HE GAY POLTICAL CAUCUS
THE HOUSTON POLICE OFFICER'S ASSOCIATION
THE HARRIS COUNTY WOMEN'S POLITICAL CAUCUS
THE ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN ATTORNEYS