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June 03, 2006

Ugliness In Harris County Treasurer's Contest (Was "Radack Attack!")

Steve Radack, County Commissioner for Harris County Precinct 3, takes exception to a letter sent by Orlando Sanchez seeking support to fill the ballot vacancy caused by the death of County Treasurer Jack Cato. That normally would not trouble me -- individuals of good will can disagree on such matters.

Unfortunately, both Radack's tone and timing are terrible.

Less than two weeks after the death of County Treasurer Jack Cato, the succession process has gotten ugly.

In a letter to Republican precinct chairs, who will select a nominee to replace Cato on the fall ballot, prospect Orlando Sanchez says he developed a warm and respectful relationship with Cato while running unsuccessfully against him in the March GOP primary.

That's a lie, GOP County Commissioner Steve Radack says in a letter to the same group.

"Don't believe for a second that Sanchez respected Jack Cato," writes Radack, who delivered a eulogy at Cato's memorial service. "Further, he certainly did not have a warm relationship with Jack or his family. As a matter of fact, what Sanchez did was conduct a negative campaign against Jack that was outrageously cruel and unnecessary."

I seem to recall that during the campaign, which ended only three months ago, that Sanchez ran on a platform of bringing in new blood and new vision at the County Treasurer's office, and adopting a more activist stance akin to that of County Assessor/Collector Paul Bettencourt. While there was criticism of style, there was no criticism of Cato personally. Yet Radack, for all intents and purposes, blames Sanchez for Cato's death by making insinuations about the way in which "Sanchez's negative attacks physically affected Jack." Such a statement is beneath contempt.

It seems that what really has Radack's frilly lace panties in a wad is the fact that Sanchez was so disrespectful as to have dared to challenge Cato at all, once all the GOP elected officials in the county decided to endorse each other for reelection. You know -- how dare the people be given a choice?

And more sadly, this arrogant attitude of the elected aristocracy seems to have spilled over into the Cato family, at least as exemplified by the comments of Cato's son, John.

John Cato said he was put off by the substance and timing of Sanchez's letter. He said he disagreed with Sanchez's characterization of his relationship with his father as warm and respectful.

"I don't think it's respectful for a fellow Republican to wage a campaign against an incumbent Republican who had the support of every Republican county official," he said.

In other words, once Jack Cato was elected County Treasurer he was entitled to hold that seat unchallenged forever. Sorry, John, that isn't how it works in countries where there are elections. I'm sure your father knew that. Don't disrespect his memory by implying that he might have believed otherwise.

And while it might be true that all the Republican county government officials endorsed Jack Cato for reelection, that was not true of the the GOP grassroots. More than 250 of the precinct chairs in Harris County endorsed Sanchez in the primary. I don't think he has lost any support there, and so Orlando Sanchez should easily become the replacement candidate on the ballot.

But then comes this insidious comment from the Radack letter (which I received in yesterday's mail), insinuating that those of us who support Orlando Sanchez are somehow "sheep" being led by one or two unnamed office holders. I find that strange, since the only office holder I've been contacted by is Radack himself, trying to shepherd me away from a candidate I've been supporting for the last five months.

One or two of our office holders believe that most precinct chairman are like sheep and they are your shepherds.

Too bad that Radack doesn't have the personal integrity to name those office holders. But then again, I'm not surprised -- this is the same Steve Radack who took $900,000 in consulting fees from Sueba USA over a seven year period when the company did business with or had business before the very Harris County Commissioner's Court on which he serves. Integrity is simply not a part of Radack's personal make up.

Angered as I was by Radack's letter, I wrote a quick email to the commissioner -- but decided to hold it pending a cooling-off period. Discovering that the letter is circulating at the state GOP convention in San Antonio, and that Radack has spoken to the press about it, I decided to send it this morning. I'll share it with you here.

Commissioner Radack:

I was most disappointed to receive your letter dated May 31, 2006 regarding Orlando Sanchez. Such a blatant act of character assassination merits nothing other than contempt in my eyes. Given your history of using public office to unethically enrich yourself personally, I view it as the equivalent of the local prostitute complaining about the sexual morality of kids these days.

I liked and respected Jack Cato and honor his many accomplishments as treasurer; however I saw his age and health as making it unlikely that he would complete his term -- a concern which has been sadly confirmed by recent events. I endorsed Orlando Sanchez in the March primary because I thought he was the best candidate to direct the office of treasurer in the future. I continue to believe that Orlando Sanchez is our best candidate for the office of county treasurer, and in light of the vacancy on the ballot have endorsed the former councilman to replace Jack Cato on the general election ballot

My endorsement was not given because I am any politician's "sheep" -- it is because not only have my concerns of this spring have been confirmed, but because I believe the office of County Treasurer can and should be made into a "bully pulpit" of the sort Paul Bettencourt has created in the Assessor/Collector's office. We certainly haven't seen much in the way of leadership out of the Commissioner's Court -- until now, when you appear in a guise that gives new meaning to the term "shepherd's crook". Needless to say, you have in no way changed my mind.

I do hope my meaning is clear to Commissioner Radack.

UPDATE: PinkDome has a different perspective

OPEN TRACKBACKING TO Conservative Cat, Samantha Burns, Stuck on Stupid, Bacon Bits, Adam's Blog, Lil Duck Duck, Third World County, Passionate American, Blue Star Chronicle, 7 Deadly Sins (twice), Uncooperative Blogger, Stop the ACLU, Wizbang!





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Orlando Sanchez? You guys are kidding me right?

Orlando Sanchez has as much experience of being a tax collector as Osama Bin Laden has of being the chief of Homeland Security.

|| Posted by John Cobarruvias, June 5, 2006 08:59 AM ||

1) The position is Harris County Treasurer, John -- get it right. I'd loved to say I am shocked you are so ill-informed, but then again, you are a Democrat.

2) Care to offer the resume of the Democrat challenger for the position of County Treasurer? And since Paul Bettencourt has done such a superb job as Assessor/Collector and has so much experience, presumably you will issue a call here and now for the Democrats to not challenge him.

3) For that matter, Chris bell has exactly as much experience being Governor as Osama has heading up DHS -- will you call for his withdrawal as well?

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 5, 2006 10:02 AM ||

Oops sorry. You are right. I meant to say:

Orlando Sanchez has as much experience of being Harris County Treasurer as Osama Bin Laden has of being the chief of Homeland Security.

Look what I mean:

"Houston mayoral candidate Orlando Sanchez's financial documents portray him as president of or partner in several companies -- an impressive list if the companies existed. Most were just names, though, and never got off the ground." (Houston Chronicle, November 18, 2001)

"On financial disclosure forms, Sanchez calls himself the proprietor of Ban-Tex Investments and a partner in S&L Properties. Both companies are simply names he has reserved the right to use and nothing more." (Houston Chronicle, November 18, 2001)

"He also lists himself as president of Sanchez Consultants, LLC, a company that he said in an interview 'never materialized.'" (Houston Chronicle, November 18, 2001)

"On his campaign Web site, Sanchez says he is managing director of Nexo Latino, a Hispanic marketing firm started by a friend about a year ago. In an interview, Sanchez referred to himself as an investor rather than an active participant in the company." (Houston Chronicle, November 18, 2001)

If that isn't enough see http://www.political.com/analysis-arc/0415.html

Campaigning for Sanchez to be the Harris County Treasurer is like.......well you get the idea......

|| Posted by John Cobarruvias, June 5, 2006 04:07 PM ||

And if one pretends taht is his entire record, ignoring his time on Houston city council and other work, you (including the last five years), you will might have a point. But only if you ignore everything else.

Interestingly enough, you remain silent on the Democrat candidates for treasurer and assessor/collector. Why is that, John, given that I made specific inquiries about them?

And what about my question on Bell?

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 6, 2006 04:56 AM ||

Sorry.

Richard Garcia. He is the ONLY candidate for Harris County Treasurer that will ask Harris County Commissioners to abolish the office. Richard believes the office is no longer relevant and would work to completely close the office and save taxpayers money. Orlando just wants to suckle off the tit of the taxpayer since he can't make it in the "real world".

Hey.....I dont have the time to list why Chris is qualified to be Governor, but then again, if you guys like Rick Perry, nothing will ever change your mind.

At the very least my Republican neighbors are going to vote for Carol Keeton Rylander Strayhorn Cougar Mellencamp.

There is hope for this state.

|| Posted by John Cobarruvias, June 6, 2006 05:10 AM ||

How timely:

With Cato's passing, the time is right to consider whether this appendage of county government is worth the cost. Sanchez has made it clear he would use the office for a political agenda having little or nothing to do with its job description. The Democratic candidate, Richard Garcia, is running on a platform of abolishing it.
QED

Houston Chronicle. "Outdated office.
Harris County commissioners should consider whether the county treasurer post is worth the cost." 6/6/6

|| Posted by John Cobarruvias, June 6, 2006 05:18 AM ||

John, do you always consider the Chronicle to correct in its editorial positions? When they endorse Kay Baily Hutchison over your Demiocrat non-entity, will you go out and vote for the Senator instead of the Democrat?

And thank you for clarifying that your Treasurer Candidat'e ony qualification is the desire to abolish the job he is seeking.

Why didn't you give us any info on Bettencourt's challenger and his/her qualifications? Are you conceding that Bettencourt is the better, more qualified choice?

And as for Bell -- what a cop-out. You effectively concede that Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn [YOUR NAME HERE] is a superior candidate to him.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 6, 2006 03:57 PM ||

I am really sorry that Radack is upset with Sanchez. Everytime I have met Sanchez he has always been a kind and sincere person. This whole situation is sad - the fact that Cato died. Someone died here and people shouldn't just try use that to obtain a position. Still, one thing that I did hear Orlando say was that Cato was getting up in his years, that he had accomplished more than many could dream of, and that it might be time for him to relax and spend some time with his family. I don't know... I think this whole thing is kind of sad.

|| Posted by Eric Dick, June 22, 2006 08:41 PM ||
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