However, I have never been more floored by their lack of judgment than I was today in reading the thoughtless, insensitive, and ill-timed editorial regarding the death of Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson. Today, on the day before Mike's funeral, the Chronicle's editorial board saw fit to write such things as:
"With his premature death from cancer at 57 last week, Anderson has been denied the opportunity of carrying out his tough, some would say harsh, prosecutorial agenda as head of the state's largest district attorney's office."I understand if the Chronicle disagreed with some of the policies of the Anderson Administration, but is a critical editorial really appropriate in the same edition as the man's obituary?
To add insult to injury during this sad time, the editors also decided to criticize Mike and his family for not choosing to share every last detail of his illness with them:
"While respecting that he was diagnosed with an illness that turned out to be terminal, we cannot help but question how he reconciled his desire for privacy against the public's right to know about an official they elected . . . Weren't county voters entitled to know a little more about the DA's personal circumstances? We think so."Reading that last paragraph again is infuriating beyond words.
Mike made the announcement that he had cancer many months ago. He continued to work to the best of his ability right up until the time he died. He also had help running the Office in the extremely capable hands of First Assistant Belinda Hill.
What more do the morons at the Chronicle feel entitled to know? Did they want to know how chemotherapy was going? Did they want to know how he was coming to terms with his own mortality? Did they want to know how his family was taking the news?
"We think so."The arrogance of those three words is mind-numbing to me. Regardless of whether or not Mike Anderson was an elected official, some things fall unquestionably under the category of privacy. Terminal illness is probably at the top of that category, and the author's claim that voters were "entitled to know a little more" is just whining that the paper didn't get the intrusive story that it wanted.
The editorial did get one thing correct in encouraging Governor Rick Perry to appoint Belinda Hill as interim District Attorney, but they still managed to cheapen that endorsement by basing it on her race.
"We encourage Gov. Perry to appoint former Judge Hill, an African-American with a strong background in the criminal justice system. Doing so would be a welcome acknowledgment of the need for diversity on the prosecution side in a system where so many defendants are persons of color."So, at this point, this farewell to an elected official and long-time public servant has turned into an appeal for diversity, which manages to insult Belinda Hill in the process.
Belinda Hill should absolutely be appointed the interim District Attorney. She should be appointed because she was a long-time prosecutor before becoming a highly respected judge who served on the 230th District Court for years. She should be appointed because she has helped implement the policies of the Anderson Administration and kept the Office running in its time of crisis. She should be appointed because she has the respect of the prosecutors she supervises and the equal respect of the Harris County Defense Bar.
In his short time in office, Mike Anderson pulled the Harris County District Attorney's Office out of a downward spiral that was destroying morale across the board. He recruited then-Judge Hill to join him as his First Assistant, and I have no doubt that he had faith in her ability to lead the Office in his absence.
These are the things that "county voters are entitled to know" and these are the things that should be remembered as we prepare to say goodbye to Mike Anderson tomorrow.
The Chronicle Editorial Board should be ashamed of what it wrote in today's paper.
It is no wonder why no individual signed his or her name to it.