My buddy Alan Bernstein was back writing on the District Attorney's race this morning with a less-than-complimentary article on former HPD Police Chief Clarence "C.O." Bradford. Now, I personally found the timing of the article a bit odd, since the election is a little less than four months away, but who really knows what goes on in the minds of Chronicle personnel?
The article is certainly not kind to Bradford:
"Bradford is void of experience in criminal court, other than as a crime investigation witness or humiliated defendant."
The article also goes on to say: "The county never has elected an African-American to a law enforcement job." Um, I think Harris County Constable for Precinct Seven May Walker may disagree with him on that point.
But anyway, the article goes on to list his problems with the crime lab and the K-Mart raid and seems pretty much like a slam piece to me.
It does list him as a good administrator, with former Houston Police Officers Union president Hans Marticiuc grading him out as an "A minus/B plus" administrator who did well with managing people.
So the question I guess that I have is what really matters in evaluating Bradford as a potential candidate? With the upcoming Presidential election, most people that I have spoken to seem to think that so many people are going to vote straight-ticket that there isn't even a requirement that a candidate have a pulse.
I've met with Chief Bradford, and personally, I like him.
I think he has some good overall "ideals" about what to do with the Office, but I think he also needs to get some trial experience to know what the people under him will be doing on a day-to-day basis. Having that kind of understanding will help turn his ideals into ideas that may ultimately work out.
One of his most compelling ideals, in my opinion, is the visibility in the community of the elected District Attorney. His ideal is that more trust will be fostered between the community and the Office, which will ultimately lead to more cooperation from witnesses, and more trust from jurors.
It would certainly be nice for the D.A.'s Office to be considered the "good guys" in the eyes of the community.
But the flip side of that is that being the District Attorney isn't always going to be making popular decisions. His idea about explaining himself to the community is a good contrast to the prior arrogance of Chuck Rosenthal, who felt he didn't need to explain himself to anybody.
But he's also got to have the strength to prosecute unpopular causes, if it is the right thing to do. He can still explain it to the community, but he's going to need the knowledge to know how to do so.
What do y'all think?