Gary Polland's Texas Conservative Review
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Volume I Number 7 - August 15, 2002

The Tone of the Governor's Campaign Turns Negative
Is that Good or Bad for the GOP and our Candidate?

Also this Week – GOP Success Story – Juvenile Justice

It is certainly fair to say that Tony Sanchez's glass house is now being hit. He doesn't like it, but what did he expect after pummeling Governor Perry the past few months?

Telling the "whole" story about Sanchez is of course fair game and Sanchez has much to explain.

But the big question is whether this is a good way for Republicans to campaign? The answer is, it depends. Ethics and character are certainly issues in critical races, but only in the context of a bigger picture.

That big picture is a candidate's vision for where they want to lead Texas, their position on the great issues of the day and their record of achievement while serving the public (if any).

What are some of the issues facing Texas: declining relative revenue versus projected expenses, (i.e. the budget and a potential $5 billion shortfall); the never ending school finance problem which is increasingly tied to runaway property taxes in our urban areas; the availability of health care for citizens; a transportation system that is not only not keeping pace with Texas’ growth but also, in many areas, not being properly maintained. This is occurring while Texas is not receiving its “fair share” from the Federal Highway Trust Fund (for example, Montana gets 205%, and Texas --the lowest--gets 72% of taxes paid in) and Texas has the highest (45.95%) diversion rate for motor fuels/motor vehicle taxes! In other words, those taxes pay a lot of non-transportation government expenses.

A common sense conservative plan to address these critical issues along with a campaign that tells the facts about Governor Perry's record of achievement as Ag Commissioner, Lt. Governor and Governor, and that tells how the GOP kept our promises on key issues since the 1994 campaign will go a long way toward motivating the base and swing voters to support the Governor. When you add to that the truth about Sanchez, it spells GOP victory.

An Economic Perfect Storm and Some Republican Solutions to the Problems

It is no secret the last couple of years have shown a deteriorating economy and stock market. The economic problems on the horizon in the last of the Clinton years have now arrived.

Let's quickly review where we are: First, most Americans have lost significant money in the stock market, including a loss of retirement funds. Second, medical, homeowners, liability and auto insurance have risen explosively due to 9/11, losses for insurance companies on the stock market, and due to insurance claims. Third, rising home prices have lead to significant increases in property taxes. Fourth, many companies are cutting payroll and employment. In Houston, Enron, Dynegy and Compaq all come to mind. Fifth, in the typical home, both adults work and have spent their income, tapped out the credit cards and borrowed against equity in their house --guess where that leaves them--out of money or fresh credit sources to shop or pay bills. Sixth, Federal tax revenue is in decline, while spending has increased, the Bush tax cut has barely begun. In fact, if the U.S. government kept its books the way some private businesses were pre-corporate reform, the U.S. budget would have a surplus of $127 billion; not a $515 billion debt for fiscal year 2001.

So what is a Republican to do? Is there anything we can put into place that will help the economy recover on a sound basis? Yes, there is. First, accelerate the historic Bush tax cut and make it all effective 09/11/02 –this will put more money in the hands of all tax payers. Second, to assist the stock market, the economy, and now the majority of Americans, let corporations deduct as expenses dividends. Third, enact a capital gains tax cut which will spur economic growth.

Why Aren't We Showcasing the GOP's Number 1 Success Story in Harris County?

Remember in 1994, President Bush in his first Governor campaign ran on four issues, one of which was juvenile justice reform? Juvenile criminal problems were out of control and he had a plan to deal with it. In Harris County, we swept out failed Democrat judges and elected Republican Juvenile Court Judges: Kent Ellis, Pat Shelton and Mary Craft, and since then juvenile justice is a story of success in Harris County.

Comparing 1994, the year before they took office with 2001, the juvenile crime rate has declined as follows:

  • Homicide Down 82%
  • Auto Theft Down 84%
  • Robbery and Arson Down 70%
  • Felony Theft Down 66%
  • Felony Assault Down 57%
  • Burglary Down 52%
  • Sexual Assault Down 44%
  • Felony Drugs Down 5%
  • All Serious Offenses Down 54%

So next time someone tells you, it doesn't matter who the judge is, tell them the juvenile justice success story. And yes, it is important that we remind all voters of GOP success. You know if we don't tell them they won't know.

Republican Judges Make a Difference

In 1993, there were 75 juvenile homicides in Harris County. A murder occurred every five days. The Democrat judges were not dealing with it effectively. In 2001, seven years after Judges Ellis, Shelton and Craft took office, there were 13 juvenile homicides in the county!

Judges Ellis, Shelton, and Craft had the help of the Texas legislature, Governor Rick Perry, Commissioner's Court, the County Judge, law enforcement officers, the District Attorney and the Juvenile Board, and a new administration at the Juvenile Probation Department. Working together they accomplished this drastic reduction in serious juvenile crime in Harris County.

But none of it matters unless the Judge does it as the last step in the process. The legislature and Governor have provided a wide range of dispositions to be used in juvenile cases. The crucial decision a Judge must make is to distinguish between the juvenile who is a dangerous predator from whom citizens must be protected, and a reasonable candidate for rehabilitation. We need Judges in office who will use the full range of possible dispositions, and make a disposition in each case that fits the offense and the offender.

It does make a difference who we elect as judge. You were five times more likely to be murdered or have your car stolen by a juvenile in Harris County before you elected Republican Judges Ellis and Shelton to office (both running for re-election this year).

We have the lowest recidivism rate of any large county in Texas. This shows that programs to rehabilitate juveniles are working. Our Republican Judges have established new programs to eliminate old problems. Among them:

  • Delta Three Boot Camp: to house 150 juveniles for about six months to be taught discipline, respect for authority and to be given a major attitude adjustment.
  • Burnett-Bayland Reception Center: to house 144 juveniles for assessment and treatment for drug, psychological, sexual offender, and other problems.
  • Sixteen beds at Harris County Psychiatric Hospital for psychological and mental therapy.
  • The Pre-Adjudication Team and Serious Offender Supervision program to give intense supervision to juveniles pending trial and post-trial.
  • HCAP program to aid juveniles’ families in order that juveniles may be able to be rehabilitated at home.

We have also proven educational programs to help at-risk children:

  • Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program: the Alternative School of last resort in Harris County for Juveniles who have been expelled from public schools and are usually on probation;
  • Charter Schools to operate inside the six juvenile facilities in Harris County where juveniles are housed;
  • Youth Build Program at Harris County Youth Village to teach juveniles vocational skills with which they can make an honest living.

Why We Need Cornyn – This Week's Reason

Want higher taxes? Ron Kirk says he's not ready to support the Bush tax cuts and says as a recession nears, we need to cancel some of the future tax reductions already approved. Raise taxes in a recession -- the Democrats’ prescription for you. John Cornyn says no to tax hikes and yes to cutting wasteful federal spending.

About Your Editor

Gary Polland is a long time Republican spokesman, fund raiser, leader who just completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chair. During his time as Chairman, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events. For six years, Gary put out a bi-weekly newsletter which he has continued due to requests from many Republican activists.

The Texas Conservative Review is published as a public service by Gary Polland
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