Thursday, April 07, 2011

AIDING AND ABETTING JUVENILE CRIME

If you haven’t been affected by it or haven’t heard about it, you will soon. Liberty County is part of a juvenile crime wave and it is not going away anytime soon. In fact summertime is coming and it could get worse. Juveniles burglarizing homes, assaulting and raping girls, stealing automobiles, and buying and selling drugs have become a common news story around here. The story we are not hearing from the media is how the greed of one public official and the timidity of another are in effect aiding and abetting this trend.

“It’s like herding cats” one unnamed source said. “The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department and all of the police departments in the county can successfully chase and cage many of these young hoodlums, but what happens next is like ‘aiding and abetting’ the bad guys.”

Statistics indicate the tremendous increase in District Attorney Mike Little’s 2006 budget has not really led to any more success in his prosecution statistics. In fact, one could easily argue the money Little sucked away from County Attorney Wes Hinch’s budget is severely limiting Liberty County’s ability to deal with juvenile crime. Inexplicably, Hinch gave up three assistant county attorneys without a fight. It is as if Hinch were saying Little could spend the money better. But the fact of the matter is Little can’t. The fact of the matter is if Wes Hinch won’t fight for himself, he needs to at least fight for the taxpayer.

The numbers don’t lie. Little’s constant campaign and pressure to get more money has produced little to no results. On the other hand, Hinch would be considered to be under staffed to most. Hinch himself seems to be content with just cutting his services and responsibilities. He has areas of influence he could fight against the juvenile crime wave with additional staff. In 2009 and 2010, former Assistant County Attorney Tommy Chambers teamed with Justices of the Peace like Bobby Rader and made a great difference in making sure juvenile delinquents paid a price for breaking the law. Under Chambers juveniles would appear in court and face the consequences of their actions. The under staffing caused by the hoarding of budget dollars by Little has helped many juveniles to get off scott free and to return to breaking in houses and other crimes.

It is nineteen more months until voters will get a chance to elect a new District Attorney and two new commissioners who vote on the budget. In the meantime, it would be Liberty Dispatch’s pleasure to witness an awakening of County Attorney Wes Hinch. He appears to have reached across the Republican aisle and embraced and acquiesced to Democrat Mike Little. In many cases the cats have been herded by law enforcement, but tickets given to juveniles are going unpaid, community service is unserved, and juvenile crime is going unpunished.

Wes Hinch, if he decides to run for re-election, will appear on a ballot in the 2012 elections. He can try to sell voters on the idea he did not have the money to execute his duty and that he did the next best thing – reduce the expectations he had of his office. Or he can fall out of love with Mike Little and he can stand up for taxpayers and get the money he needs to do his job. Who Wes Hinch is will be decided in the next few months by whether he does his job or makes excuses.

Hinch is more than willing to fight to keep the small, mostly unaccounted slush fund he controls from income based off of hot check collections. But he shrinks back and goes along with anything Mike Little proposes – even if it means he loses the staff he needs to do his job. His office prosecutes several times more cases than Little’s and the budget has never been so lopsided between the two offices.

We have come to know Little is a sycophant. He is also the kind of politician who makes the word “politician” synonymous with self serving liar. Now we have to see if Hinch wants to follow in Little’s footsteps or come out in the light and work with the rest of the justice system Liberty County just elected.

I like Wes Hinch as a person. In the remaining months of 2011 I will find out whether I can like him as an elected official.

Rope -A- Dope

The Rope-a-dope is a boxing style commonly associated with Muhammad Ali from the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman. The rope-a-dope is usually used against an opponent that has superior power; and it is most effectively performed after aggravating and agitating your opponent and then, in Ali's classic pose, lying against the ropes, and allowing the opponent to hit you over and over again. Then late in the fight when the opponent is confident he will win, the boxer has reserved all of his energy to exploit a counter-attack based on all of the flaws he observed while he was being pummeled. Now “the dope” is a sitting duck, his superior power is gone and his opponent knows all of his weaknesses, saving the exploitation of them until the end.
Liberty County has been dominated by Democrats since before our grandparents were children and some have bragged it would always been that way. Some have used and abused their power to line their pockets and to stomp any opposition through the years, but the veterans of this fight for the soul of Liberty County have collected a ring full of knowledge about the weaknesses of these “dopes’. That information and experience may never get the credit for the downfall of what is already a much much weaker local Democrat party, but in the late rounds it leaves the former Donkey party powerbrokers falling hard.

The newest example of some of the pathetic political maneuvering the good ole boys have been doing for years is currently under review by Liberty Dispatch. For years outgoing Democrat officials have taken advantage of the September 30th state mandated budget year. After their defeat or retirement and much to the harm of taxpayers, Democrats have become infamous for spending most of their budget in the interim months – leaving their successor with insufficient funds to do their job.

Liberty Dispatch has already revealed how the District Attorney, Mike Little, has pressured and intimidated commissioners into more than doubling his budget (while successfully indicting and convicting fewer criminals). We have also discovered that Mike Little’s budget is ridiculously higher then the budget of the County Attorney’s office, even though they handle about 80% fewer cases.

Now we are looking into how budgets were blown right after local Democrats were sent home by the voters. We know what we will find because when these arrogant political opportunists were at the pinnacle of their power they felt no need to hide their vulnerabilities. They must have thought “no one will believe you and KSHN and The Vindicator will never allow you to print it anyway.” But they did it,; and they are doing it. Taxpayers deserve better and so do the candidates who win election and begin their time as public servants.

Stay tuned voters for the damage from last election; and be vigilante as we watch what happens when we throw the rest of the bums out next election as we finish “roping the dopes.”

Sunday, April 03, 2011

LIBERTY COUNTY LOOKING FOR REAGAN

Liberty County taxpayers that are thirty five years are older are not likely to have forgotten what I always refer to as “the Carter years”. Until Barack Hussein Obama those four years of James Earl Carter as President were the most dreadful years we had had as a country since Franklin D, Roosevelt’s policies were rescued from the Great Depression by World War II . The last few years of the 1970’s were full of wrong-headed pitiful leadership. Similar to the voters’ response to the bursting of the housing bubble at the end of George W. Bush’s eight years as President, “Jimmy” Carter was elected as a result of a desperate electorate trying to distance itself from Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

Regardless of the fact Liberty County rejected the idea of electing the most inexperienced, most liberal President in American history , we were in the minority in November 2008and we are paying the price for our politicians in Washington exacerbating problems caused by the liberal policies governing the housing market for years. Liberty County refused to vote for someone so liberal despite all of the hype and good feelings some parts of the country got caught up in as they focused on the candidates’ skin color rather than the content of their character, but we still have to deal with the economic fallout.

The answer to the fallout can be discovered in one word, “Reagan”. The no nonsense, common sense approach of Ronald Reagan is what curbed the natural tendency of politicians to spend more and more taxpayer money on “do good” policies and projects. Reagan believed in a robust military in order to fulfill the Constitutional responsibility of government to “provide for a common defense”, but otherwise he minimized Congress’ shopping spree mentality and tried to slow down government growth and spending. (Note: the word “tired” is here in preparation for the liberal argument that tries to blame Democrats’ budgets on a very focused President Reagan).

Just like the entire state of Texas (perhaps the most conservative, anti-Obama state in the Union), Liberty County can’t guarantee we won’t have four more years of Obama. But we cam search and find our own Reagans. In the coming weeks and months we can try to encourage our own politicians to stand tall and be counted on every vote that involves unnecessary spending. We can also let the local politicians know we are looking for Reagan-like leadership that is pro-active in shrinking the size and scope of government spending.

Citizens have already voiced their opinion on this website about their desire to dial taxpayer spending back to the 2006 levels. Going into the fifth month of a new terms for Norman Brown and his first term as a Republican, and going into the first term for Republican County Judge Craig McNair and Republican Commissioner Charlotte Warner, voters have to hope they will act more like Reagan and less like Fitzgerald, Groce, and Democrat Todd Fontenot. Voters have to hope these people are willing to do the best thing for our economy and to get ready for what could be even tougher times if Obama’s billion dollar re-election campaign funds sentence us to another four years.

“Where can we cut?” That seems to be the Democrats effort to set voters desire for government services against Republicans. But it should not be a rhetorical question for real Republicans.

Every Republican in that courthouse should be, not only willing, but excited to cut their budget back to 2006 numbers. It is their duty as a public servant to do what is good for the public. There are places in the 2006 budget Liberty Dispatch would be more reluctant to encourage going back to than others – such as the raises for lower level employees. But there are areas that scream “please cut me”- like positions added since, such as the assistant to help with FEMA/grants added by former County Judge Phil Fitzgerald. Before Phil (or BP) we had a grant writer like many counties that was not paid by the county. Dennis Odell is the first grant/FEMA person we have ever paid. If Odell is better than the previous grant writer, and if he is a true Republican, he would gladly be paid like all previous people with his responsibilities – their fees are written into the grants they write and their success is tied to their ability to successfully obtain grant money.

As our readers have suggested, the largest area of concern in the last few years has been the growing amount of money District Attorney Mike Little has been allotted in the budget. With so much scandalous behavior in the courthouse, it doesn’t look good when the District Attorney has avoided participating in confronting so much of courthouse crime and at the same time received so much more money by what could be people that he should have prosecuted. With Groce and Fitzgerald voted out of the offices that have funded Mike Little’s hefty budget increases, voters can hope a 2012 defeat of liberal Democrat Commissioner Todd Fontenot will help end such practices.

But voters should hope we have Reagan-like people in office now. Waiting for the next election is not necessary. In fact, in this economy it could be dangerous. Real Republicans in office should be willing to turn over their slush funds or at least to have them considered in the budget process. Typical of a Democrat, Mike Little points to Austin and avoids talking about all of the money he gets from confiscating the property of convicted drug dealers. He is on the ballot in 2012 and voters can decide if we can afford the kind of politician that will use any means necessary to bloat their budget and jack taxpayers as much as they can by using local, state, and federal government regulations.

Liberty County is not a rich county. We had plenty of people who wanted to be commissioners and county judge before they raised their salaries on a regular basis. We have things we would like to be better, but at election time we have always been promised better planning and not higher taxes.