Endorsements

City Propositions

Propositions 1-5 (G.O. Bonds): YES. To turn them down because you don't like "destination parks" or the Mexican-American Cultural Center serves nobody's interests. Too many of these projects -- from street repairs to the Shoal Creek Trail, from branch libraries to flood control on Williamson Creek -- have been needed, and promised for years. We encourage citizens to ensure that the bigger, murkier projects are done wisely and well, and that this round of promises is kept.

Propositions 6-10 (Utility Bonds): YES. The water/wastewater revenue bonds are generally easier to swallow than Props. 1-5, because they reflect a coordinated plan to both fix our currently decaying systems, and build new ones where we want people to be.

Props. 11-12 (Palmer/Coliseum): YES. We support replacing the outdated city coliseum with an up-to-date public events facility and leasing Palmer, though we expect that down the line, the option of simply demolishing Palmer to build a performing arts center will end up on the table. But even for that to happen we'd have to pass 11 and 12.


Statewide Races

Governor: Garry Mauro (D). Mauro is clearly better than Bush on all the issues, but hasn't been able to turn the debate away from his big deficit in the polls. That's a pity. This state deserves better.

Lieutenant Governor: John Sharp (D). Pragmatic, but visionary in his own temperate way -- after an extraordinary tenure as Comptroller, Sharp is ready for bigger things.

Attorney General: Jim Mattox (D). Mattox was the best attorney general this state has had in the last 20 years; his opponent is a demagogue who would gut the office's important duties.

Comptroller: Paul Hobby (D). Lucky for all of us, Carole Keeton Rylander drew a strong opponent in this race. Hobby has our vote.

General Land Office Commissioner: Richard Raymond (D). His decade of government experience, first as assistant to Land Commissioner Garry Mauro and for the past five years as a state rep, make Raymond the clear choice.

Commissioner of Agriculture: L.P. "Pete" Patterson (D).During 21 years in the lege, Patterson carried the banner for rural Texas. This is no stepping stone to higher office for him. This is where his passion and his expertise lie.

Railroad Commission: No Endorsement. A few years ago, the state got rid of the Treasurer's Office and transferred its duties to other agencies. It's time to make a similar move with the long-since superfluous Railroad Commission.

Supreme Court Justice, Place 1: Mike Westergren (D). A district judge in Corpus Christi since 1984, Westergren won high marks for his professional handling of the high-profile Selena murder trial.

Supreme Court Justice, Place 2: Rose Spector (D).The first woman ever elected to the Texas Supreme Court, Spector brings a much-needed moderate voice to the ultraconservative court.

Supreme Court Justice, Place 3: David Van Os (D).This Austin attorney has spent 22 years working all levels of the legal system. He will bring a long-overlooked populist voice to the bench.

Supreme Court Justice, Place 4: Deborah Hankinson (R). Since joining the court in 1997, Hankinson has proven to be an independent thinker on the court, earning a reputation as a fair and forward-thinking justice.

Criminal Appeals Court, Place 1: Charlie Baird (D).The senior member on the bench, Baird has authored over 750 opinions, and has been the highest-rated statewide judge in judicial bar polls.

Criminal Appeals Court, Place 2: Winston Cochran (D). This Harris County criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor would bring broad-based expertise to the court.

Criminal Appeals Court, Place 3: Lawrence "Larry" Meyers (R). The incumbent has done a good job by most accounts, and is well-liked by attorneys on both sides of the political fence.


Travis County Races

Travis County Judge: Sam Biscoe (D). Biscoe has proven his leadership abilities and consensus-building skills as a Pct. 1 commissioner on the court. As county judge, Biscoe would redefine his leadership role in tackling new issues facing Travis County, the most pressing of which is growth management -- a task traditionally handled by local municipalities.

County Commissioner Pct. 1: Ron Davis (D). Davis has spent nearly 20 years trying to improve the quality of life in the often-neglected Pct. 1. His opponent, Gregory Parker, does not even come close to matching Davis' record of activism and community experience.

County Commissioner, Pct. 2: Karen Sonleitner (D). The incumbent's experience and energy are needed on the commissioners court; she is well-versed on the issues, and has proven herself to be a leader on the court.

County Commissioner Pct. 3: Nan Clayton (D). Clayton has a record, and a serious commitment to creating government that works for everyone. She clearly is the community candidate.

County Commissioner Pct. 4: Margaret Gómez (D). Gómez may be a better doer than talker -- but isn't that what we want in our public officials? We believe she will continue to get things done for the residents of Pct. 4 and all of Travis County.

County Clerk: Dana DeBeauvoir (D). DeBeauvoir, seeking her fourth term, should be given the opportunity to continue as county clerk.

District Clerk: Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza (D). The incumbent has effectively modernized operations and services at this office, which keeps records for all cases heard in district court, and coordinates all jury matters for the county and city of Austin.

County Treasurer: No Endorsement. Over the years, the duties of the county treasurer systematically have been whittled away until the treasurer's office became one whose functions have become largely irrelevant. We believe it's time to do away with the county treasurer's office.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2: Richard Anton (D). Anton has more experience, particularly in handling the sort of misdemeanor criminal and civil cases that come before the J.P. court, than his Republican opponent.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3: Scott Davis (D).Davis, running for his second term, is by most accounts well-liked, and holds a reputation for running an efficient court. He has our vote.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 4: Elena Diaz (D). The incumbent has made a name for herself as an effective, hard-working, and no-nonsense J.P. That's proof in our book she's doing her job. She deserves another term.


Legislative & Judicial

State Rep. Dist. 49: Elliott Naishtat (D). Naishtat is one of a dying breed of politicians who believe that government can still do something for the disenfranchised besides punish them.

State Rep. Dist 51: Glen Maxey (D). Maxey is among the hardest-working reps at the lege, a master at successfully pushing through legislation without making enemies in the process.

147th District Court: Wilford Flowers (D). First elected to this seat in 1990, the incumbent has earned a reputation as a fair, intelligent, and hard-working judge. He deserves another term.

261st District Court: Lora Livingston (D). Here is a candidate who is just as committed to her community as she is to her legal profession. Livingston is by far the best qualified and most well-rounded candidate for the job.

County Court No. 6: Jan Breland (D). Breland is a good public servant who would make an honorable judge. We heartily endorse her.

Chief Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals: Marilyn Aboussie (D). Aboussie is the clear-cut choice here; she has served on the court since 1986. Her GOP opponent has no judicial experience.

Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals: Jan Patterson (D).This former federal prosecutor and adjunct law professor is running on her record as a highly skilled and forward-thinking lawyer. She is clearly the more experienced, enlightened, and evolved candidate for this critical position.

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