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Endorsement watch: The easy calls

The Chron makes an easy call.

One of the clearest choices Harris County voters have in the 2012 election season comes in the race to succeed Pat Lykos as district attorney. Mike Anderson, a 30-year veteran of the DA’s office and a former criminal district court judge, is far and away the better qualified of the two contending candidates.

The Democratic hopeful, Lloyd Wayne Oliver, has admitted that he files for office mostly to get his name before the public in order to drum up law business. That attitude is beyond shameful.

[...]

In the Republican primary race we favored Lykos’ views on the use of the Divert program as a tool for rehabilitating first-time DWI offenders, and her decision to quit going after drug offenders for trace amounts (one-hundredth of a gram or less) of crack cocaine.

Anderson argues that there’s no statutory provision to allow for the Divert program, but he believes the same rehab of first-time drunk drivers could be accomplished if the Legislature would allow pre-trial diversion for DWI cases. We will encourage our new district attorney to push that agenda in Austin next session.

As for minor drug cases, our preference would still be to concentrate on bigger fish. But we would argue strenuously that if prosecutors continue to pursue trace cases, that the amounts for which users are prosecuted be sufficient to allow independent testing by both prosecution and defense lawyers. Additionally, we would encourage Anderson to be certain that those convicted be given treatment for their chemical addiction and not merely warehoused in jail.

That noted, we believe Mike Anderson has the integrity, professional experience and leadership qualities to make a fine district attorney. We encourage Harris County voters to cast their ballots for Mike Anderson.

Hard to argue with the choice. I don’t know that it’s even possible to make a positive case for Lloyd Oliver’s candidacy. Given that this race and the Sheriff’s race were cited by Patti Hart as two reasons to avoid straight ticket voting, I presume the Chron’s endorsement of Sheriff Adrian Garcia will be as easy and clear a decision for them.

On a side note, you can catch a rerun of the “Red, White, and Blue” episode on Houston PBS that featured Anderson and Oliver getting grilled by hosts David Jones and Garry Polland. I’ve embedded the video below, but I want to note that as a member of the show’s newly-formed advisory committee, I was one of a group of people asked to submit questions for the candidates, and they used the questions I provided. Check it out.

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