An Open Letter to Jim Leitner

Dear Jim,
What do you say to a man that you have all the respect in the world for, without sounding like you are doing blatant pandering?

Long before I ever set foot in Harris County, let alone the District Attorney's Office, you were a name that I knew as the "Gold Standard" for integrity, talent, and work ethic.

In the days when the D.A.'s office was wrapped in the uncertainty and a lack of leadership due to the actions of Chuck Rosenthal, you were the person that numerous ADAs called to ask you if you would help them.

And you answered that call by throwing your name into the race. You had nothing to gain by doing so. You were inviting scrutiny into your life. You invited a political headache. You invited administrative problems that would make your head spin. Not to mention, that you probably invited a salary cut.

You did all of this because you wanted to protect the name and the integrity of everything that makes up the Harris County Criminal Justice System. And for that, you have my eternal gratitude.

My respect? Well, you had that long before the events that followed December 27th, 2007.

You faced an uphill battle from the start, because of name recognition and funding, yet you ran on a principle of integrity. That integrity gave you a sizeable amount of the voting percentage, but in today's day and age, that sadly, just wasn't enough.

Tomorrow is a new day in the political world that is the District Attorney's race. Many people will be looking to you to see what you do.

In 2000, you endorsed Pat Lykos. That made sense. She is someone you've known for a long time. And then, her opponent was Chuck Rosenthal.

But today, I implore you not to do the same thing.

You may have your disagreements with Kelly Siegler, but you know that she isn't Chuck Rosenthal.

You've had your battles, but you know that after all that has happened, that she will change the Office. No candidate after Chuck's fiasco can do anything other than change.

Pat Lykos will be looking for your endorsement tomorrow.

Please don't give it to her.

You know the people that comprise the District Attorney's Office.

You know as a whole that they are good people who do strive to do the right thing.

You know that Pat Lykos will systematically fire the ones who dared to oppose her, regardless of their integrity, work ethic, or devotion to Justice.

And you know that Pat Lykos has no business being in charge of the Office.

The Defense Bar doesn't want her as the District Attorney, any more than the Assistant D.A.'s do. You know that speaks volumes.

I won't be so blatant as to ask you to endorse Kelly.

But if you can't do that, just, please, don't endorse Pat Lykos. Virtually every lawyer who sets foot inside of the CJC would suffer from the ramifications of that.

I say this with all of the respect in the world for you, Jim.

I appreciate your consideration.



Thomas Hobbes said…
I'm sorry, did Leitner actually run for the office? I couldn't tell . . .
Anonymous said…
Don't be a jackass leviathan.
jigmeister said…
That was great work guys. I think the runoff will be easier. It will be tough for Lykos to get her people out being that far behind yesterday.

BTW: I have been keeping track of Mack Arnold's progress. He has a long recovery road ahead and I am sure would love to hear from those that know him: Phone no. 713 253 4876. I don't know his address but Bonds has been over to see him.
Ron in Houston said…
At the risk of appearing highly cynical, it looks like you're sucking up to Leitner to get him to endorse your candidate.

I think Leitner is a political pragmatist, he will endorse whoever is in his political best interests.

If I were Kelly, I'd be wary of the Ed Emmett influence. He pretty handily beat Bacarisse and will want "his people" in the county offices.

I think Kelly will beat Lykos regardless of who Leitner endorses.
"it looks like you're sucking up to Leitner to get him to endorse your candidate"

I agree, and it's not even worth groveling over. Endorsements in runoffs by losing candidates carry notoriously little weight except in the minds of the pols giving and getting them.

Runoffs are weird and unpredictable political animals, and are mostly about name recognition and campaign organization. Lykos probably wins on name recognition, but I don't know whether either candidate has their own legitimate field operation. If you don't, it boils down to money.

As an outsider, I was hoping Leitner would get the nod as a viable alternative to Bradford, but I don't like these two choices any more than I want him. I'm left to conclude that Harris County voters in 2008, must choose an evil from among three lessers.

So much for a campaign season of "Hope," huh? :-(

On the bright side, if Siegler gets it we'll spend the next 7 months reading the media's accounts of her husband and Rosenthal's email exchanges - I'm sure we haven't heard all the juicy parts yet. :)

Just ribbing ya. I knew you'd be verklempt over here when I saw the Siegler-Lykos matchup.
Anonymous said…
Keep up the work in talking about this stuff. I truly believe if more people knew how unqualified Bradford and Lykos were for the job of district attorney, it wouldn't even be a contest.

I know a lot of hard core Dems who are not the happiest about their candidate but just hope that somehow through osmosis Bradford can get rid of all the problems at the office (and not create new ones).

There's a lot of people who would like to contribute money to the DAs race but who are afraid to because they don't want their clients harmed if their candidate loses.

So the only hope is that people like you can get the word out about at least your reality of things.

Should be a fun month at your blog. :)
Murray Newman said…
Thanks for the update on Mack, and thanks for the phone number for him. There are a lot of us who would like to talk to him.

Ron and Grits,
I know how the letter sounded, but I wanted to write it anyway. I know that Jim can't endorse Kelly, and I would never expect him to. Although I had to make fun of Jim's "no peremptory" proposal at the time, I think that the remainder of everything I've written about him has emphasized how highly I thought of him (even though I supported Kelly).
I also wanted to publicly thank him for running and let him know how appreciated it was.
I understand why its being called blatant pandering, but oh well. I wanted to say it, so I said it. I don't take it back.
And yes, Harris County Vote(r),
I think the next month will be every bit as intersting as the past two months.
Anonymous said…
Leitner is a good guy but him being a defense lawyer is what hurt his chances. Sad but true. He crossed over to the dark side. Mwah haha!
anonymous c said…

It’s your blog and you can “pander” if you want to, damnit!

Besides, if you genuinely like and respect the guy (and it sounds like you clearly do), then it’s not pandering at all. It’s an honest letter with a honest request that has real validity.

This isn’t a competition, Mark.
Murray Newman said…
I just heard that Leitner issued the statement that he was voting for Pat Lykos.

I guess he must be one of the very few people in the Courthouse that she didn't alienate during her time on the bench.

And I guess he wasn't so concerned about all of those prosecutors that she's wants to ax because they support Kelly.

I gotta say, I'm pretty disappointed in you, Jim. All I was hoping for was for you to remain neutral.

I guess it was too much to ask of you.
anonymous c said…
Do a little jig, Mark.

Yay, you...
Ron in Houston said…
Well AHCL - it appears that Leitner agrees with you and your buddy AB has the scoop.

Leitner's DA Choice is Lightening Quick
Murray Newman said…
Oh well, I guess by comparison, it makes his decision to "end peremptories" seem a little less stupid.

How shocking that Alan Bernstein would rush to publish it. Fair and neutral journalist that he is.
Murray Newman said…
Oh well, I guess by comparison, it makes his decision to "end peremptories" seem a little less stupid.

How shocking that Alan Bernstein would rush to publish it. Fair and neutral journalist that he is.
Murray Newman said…
And out of curiosity, Ron, will Jim's endorsement of Lykos lead you to vote for her?
Anonymous said…
I don't know Mack Arnold well enough to call him, but please let him know he's got a lot of friends from the Tap and the cigar shop waiting to buy him a round.

On the DA's race, I think Leitner did just enough to promote his law practice. It's now between a proven prosecutor and a professional politician. Wonder what I'll do; hmmm......
Anonymous said…
what's wrong with Mack Arnold? I left Houston years ago but have enjoyed reading about Houston politics of late. Hey, Dallas ADA's thought the sky would fall when Watkins was elected, but they were wrong. The Dallas DA's office has integrity for the first time in years.
jigmeister said…
Mack suffered a stroke. His speech is good, but there is weakness on one side and he has some trouble eating. Hasn't lost any of his sense of humor though. Give him a call.

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