Saturday, August 15, 2009

Barkings from the Lykos Lap Dog

There's a cute little letter to the editor from Hannah Chow today, defending the Lykos record on minority hires. It's in response to the Lisa Falkenberg article on Carvana a couple of days.

She is proudly touting the fact that the Office has hired 5 (count 'em, 5) more minorities than there were at the end of last year. This is truly a stunning step forward in race relations. Let's see, they've been in Office for 8 months and hired five, that's like about .75 minorities a month!

What she doesn't address in her article is why it seems that none of these minorities are actually moving forward in the Office in any meaningful type of way. Don't get me wrong, I am not advocating promotion based solely on race, but Lykos and the Davidians are clearly letting it be known that your best chance for promotion within the Office is if you are Caucasian.

I mean, come on, when they are citing that they have two minority Bureau Chiefs and they are talking about someone who is Asian and another who is American-Indian? Give me a break. Where is the representation from the African-American and Hispanic prosecutors? Is Lykos saying that none of them are worthy of promotion?

I can think of several example of minority prosecutors in the Office right now that would be excellent members of the upper echelons.

Not that I can fathom why they would want to entwine themselves with that group.

I'm sure the comments on this post are going to once again say I'm "race baiting" and advocating promotion for the sole sake of diversity. That's not what I'm trying to do. I just think that if Lykos was going to campaign on diversity and Chow is going to write letters to the Chronicle proclaiming her boss to be the greatest thing for race relations since Abraham Lincoln, then they ought to back it up with some meaningful moves.

Not the crap that they seem to be trying to peddle on a daily basis.


Anonymous said...

Her letter was obviously lacking details. What minority and where are they assigned?

Anonymous said...

Didn't they let Joe Omby of Police Integrity and Andrea Yates fame go before even taking office? What a nice way to skew the stats...

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you posted this. The first time I let this issue pass without commenting but I won't this time. Murray is right to raise this issue because Lykos campaigned on this amorphous concept of diversity. Why shouldn't she be held accountable for her campaign "promises?" No one forced her to say anything about diversity. To point out her failure on this issue does not make Murray a fellow traveler of Quanell X.

One thing in Chow's favor is that she didn't stoop to pushing the illogical statewide percentage of African-American lawyers vs the percentage in the HCDAO argument I first saw here. The hole in that argument is that it assumes even distribution of African-American lawyers across the state. Logic dictates that they are concentrated in urban areas like Houston and absent in large swathes of the state like the Valley, West Texas and the Panhandle. So that 6% figure (aka quota) is a canard when undoubtedly the percentage is higher in Houston.

But let's look at why Lykos touted diversity during her campaign. As a good politician she recognized the political climate. She was running against a against an African-American Democrat in a year when the Democratic presidential candidate was also African-American. I am certain she sensed that Obama would do well in Harris County and expected a strong turnout for him.

In that climate, what do you do? You implicitly call the previous administration anti-minority by saying you will promote diversity. After all, you are a woman so why wouldn't you be for diversity? That gave the Obama voters less of a reason to vote against you. But all along she knew that by diversity she did not mean that she would hire or promote more African-Americans. Diversity is in the eye of the beholder. So I am sure they are frantically searching the nation for an Aleut Islander to further bolster their diversity credentials.

In the end, neither Chow nor Lykos can defend the indefensible. Your performance is worse than the previous administration whose lack of diversity so offended you.

Anonymous said...

Playing the race card again?

Anonymous said...

This is such a non-issue. Next post, please.

Rage Judicata said...

If they were just hired, how, exactly, do you think they should be advancing?

How about if they work for at least a year before we start talking about whether or not they're being promoted properly. If she hired anyone and immediately starting promoting them (regardless of race), you'd say she was passing over people for political reasons. If she started promoting them based on race without having proven themselves, you'd all say she was race-pandering. So she's not going to win this issue no matter what she does, even when what she's doing is hiring minority lawyers.

I don't think you're race-baiting, I just think you're still taking cheap shots.

They're probably also counting females as minorities, at least for diversity's sake. Most law firms do.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

I'm not talking about promoting the new hires (although at the rate of turnover these days, they may be felony chiefs by February). I'm talking about good, quality candidates for upper level positions that are being ignored. Lykos recruited all new people for her upper echelons and she couldn't find a single Hispanic or African-American attorney?
I don't think I would be harping on this so much if she hadn't campaigned so much on diversity. Come on, Rage. You know you like calling out hypocrites, too.

Anonymous said...

The other side of this is that Lykos has made it once again clear all she cares about is media. I am sure she had Chow write that letter.

What does that letter say to the "recent" minority hires? How about, WE HIRED YOU BECAUSE you are a MINORITY. The lesson in this exercise is that if you want a job at the HCDAO you need to have one of two qualifications:

1. Lykos crony, i.e., weren't competent in the last job and need somewhere to land..or

2. A Minority.

The hiring process should be color blind and the Lykos should not brag about her numbers. It insults those that were recently hired.

Those that were recently hired should take heed to what happened to Carvana.

If in fact one of the higher ups was claimed as a minority and that person is in fact an american indian from way back, then that is offensive.

Rage Judicata said...

I thought that's what I was doing...

Kidding, to the extent that you were talking about existing folks deserving of promotion. I don't know who's there, so I will defer to specific about which minority prosecutor needs promoting.

I still see Carvana's treatment as political. She went way out on a limb, as did you, but you were fired whereas she was not. So if anything, they went easier on her probably because of her minority status but also because it was not an ongoing deal like the blog.

Anyway, sure I like calling out hypocrites but I do think that minority numbers are up at the office. Are they being properly promoted? No idea.

This is not one of my issues though, I don't think race should be considered at all. And I bet some of the hypocrites decrying the minority issues in the HCDAO are the same ones that bitched and moaned about the "wise Latina" statements made by Sotomayor. They're only complaining here because it's low-hanging fruit to go after Lykos.

Honestly, I'd like to hear more about what's going on in the CJC than just anti-Lykos posts. It's one of the largest groups of prosecutors in the country, there has to be more to talk about.

Anonymous said...

Joe went into private practice and is making big bucks.Like someone said, private practice is where the money is.He is making twice what he was doing as a public servant.STILL HERE BUT LEAVING SOON

Anonymous said...

We have other minorities working here that no one ever mentions.Why is that? After all we are worthy of mention.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that there was only one response to the letter Chow sent in. It was funny, and a bit rough, but accurate.

Anonymous said...

At least the people who say this is a non-issue are being honest. They just don't care. I can respect that even though I think they are wrong. It is an issue because Lykos made it an issue.

What I can't stomach are people like Rage who in most other situations is primed to pounce on alleged hypocrisy yet on this issue is ready to make excuses bordering on the absurd for Lykos. But I am not surprised. Some people believe Elvis is alive, too.

cowboy up said...

Murray, I think Hanna chow is sexey looking what do you think murray

Anonymous said...

I think it is an insult to the "5" new hires. Seems to me they are imoplying they were hired for that sole purpose.

Anonymous said...

Were they not? Dont kid yourself.

Rage Judicata said...

people like Rage who in most other situations is primed to pounce on alleged hypocrisy yet on this issue is ready to make excuses bordering on the absurd for Lykos.

To what length have I gone? All I said is it looks like the numbers for minorities are up as a whole, and they are.

My subsequent post (which either didn't get posted correctly or Murray declined to add) made that even more clear.

You don't have to be an asshole every day of your life.

Anonymous said...

What is the current hiring process? Does anybody know? I don't mean that to be sarcastic.

They can't seem to win a case in misdemeanor. Is that a reflection on the new hires or the leadership. They are even losing breath test cases regularly.

Rage Judicata said...

They are even losing breath test cases regularly.

Are these breath test cases where the machine was actually calibrated as opposed to like the private contractor who faked the records and resulted in the dismissal of about 2,600 cases?

Or where the dirty cop who was busted for perjury and falsifying government documents, resulting in the dismissal of about 60 more?

I know, I know, I love drunk drivers. I'm also soft on crime and terrorism, and never ask myself what Jesus would do.

Anonymous said...

I had a recent discussion with a friend-a good friend- who is an ADA in a nearby county. I explained to her why I did not oppose prosecution of DWI's but I did oppose the way uneducated ADA's sought to prosecute DWI cases. Don't protect me from a threat that wasn't there, protect me from the threat that is real. When he responded that he had seen pictures of DWI fatalities, I replied that I had pronounced them dead. O.8's are not the problem-MADD and the NHSC are. God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Who are the minority prosecutors who should have been promoted to management positions that have not been? Who has been passed up or treated unfairly based on the their experience, evaluations and qualifications?

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:32,

You know that the average breath test is around a .14, right? In my county, almost all of my breath test cases are between .13 to .25. The few that are below .1 are either lightweights that look HORRIBLE on the video or they're cases we either decline to prosecute or plea down to lesser charges.

Anonymous said...

12:30's comments sum up Lykos' self serving hypocrisy nicely.
Pat Lykos could care less about anything but Pat Lykos. Pat Lykos is a politician in over her head and could care less. She has never been a prosecutor, a leader, or concerned with others beyond how they could serve her needs. She is a political hack that indiscriminately eats anything in her path to further her political survival while justice is a meaningless joke to her. Pat Lykos' discussion on diversity was never about promoting qualified minorities but rather a manipulative tool to imply others more qualified than her were racists. It was not even about making the DAs office the best in the country because at the time it used to be. Those were non issues from the start. Pat Lykos is a just a one term liar who said what needed to be said to get Pat Lykos elected.

smell the coffee said...

149 & 239 what am I missing?
Who was it that made race baiting an issue in the campaign?
That would be Pat Lykos.

640, the promotion process of minorities under the prior administration with the same set of facts was heavily condemned by Pat Lykos as being premised on a culture of corruption and racism. So what has really changed in the promotion process under Pat Lykos? The real answer is that now promotions are based on cronyism instead of qualifications, race was never a real issue.

Pat Lykos played the race card for all it was worth when it benefited her and now has simply put the deck up. Murray's point was that she can't have it both ways.

Pat Lykos is nothing more than a fraud.

BLACK INK said...

ANON 10:39:
.....and that's the rest of the story.
Pat Lykos kinda reminds me of Sheila Jackson Lee.

Anonymous said...

There are many minorities here that are not publically mentioned due to the DONT ASK DONT TELL POLICY. Cut Lykos some slack

Anonymous said...

How many minorities have left or have been let go? That might be a more interesting fact.

Anonymous said...

Regarding comments on Aug. 15 about minority attorney percentage in the whole state v. Harris county and females possibly counted as minorities.

Lykos must not be counting females as minorities because at least 50% of lawyers there are female and that percentage has been constant for many years.

Surprisingly, the percentage of minority attorneys in the state and Harris County are close to the same if you compare stats from the State Bar and Houston Bar Assoc. The Harris County D.A. Office under the administrations of Holmes, Rosenthal, and Magidson had always had approximately the same percentage of minority lawyers as the State Bar and HBA. This was not due to any quota but just ended up that way by the Hiring Committees recommending the most qualified candidates and the D.A. usually following the recommendation.

Those administrations did actively recruit minorities, but once they reached the interview process all candidates were on an even playing field, and that continued after hiring with advancement decisions. Quality minorities moved up at a normal rate along with majorities depending on Committee recommendations. Plenty of lawyers both minority and majority types were passed over for promotion at times. Obviously some people didn't agree with all decisions and no system with humans involved is completely impartial as we are all hostage to some degree to conscious or subconscious perceptions, but I never was aware of an adverse decision on someone's advancement or hiring that was based on race.

Under Holmes, Rosenthal, and Magidson it took many years and many good evaluations to move up to be a division chief or bureau chief. Through the years, many qualified prosecutors including minorities were lured away before they would have reached those levels. Fortunately, some stayed.

Anonymous said...

Good try Anon 3:19:

Lykos should hire you. You substitute the word "minority" when the issue is African-Americans because it makes your numbers look better. Ms. Cloud is African-American; Falkenberg's column made it clear the focus was on African-Americans in the DA's office not minorities.

The State Bar says this about the distribution of African-American attorneys:

"Like the overall State bar membership, most racial/ethnic minority attorneys are located in
metropolitan areas. Approximately 72 percent of in-state racial/ethnic minority lawyers
currently reside in the five counties listed above. Though nearly all racial/ethnic minority
attorneys in Texas reside in urban areas, attorneys from the different racial/ethnic groups are
not evenly distributed among the major cities. For instance, while 28 percent of the in-state Bar
membership is located in Harris County, nearly half of both African-American/Black (47
percent) and Asian/Pacific Islander (47 percent) lawyers reside there."

So to use the statewide percentage as some barometer is a specious argument.