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Category Archives: Endorsements
Click here for a PDF listing of early voting locations.
And here’s your DosCentavos Dream Team to help you navigate the contested races while ensuring Democrats end up with a diverse ballot that looks like Harris County. (Click on image to enlarge)
What do we expect from a Civil District Court Judge?
Well, we can go through all of the cliches: Justice, Fairness, Equality Under the Law. We also expect a level of judicial temperament–a term that gets thrown around a lot. The American Bar Association defines it as “compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, sensitivity, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias and commitment to equal justice.” It also helps to have a great legal mind with a talent for reading both sides of the bar effectively in order to ensure that justice is indeed served.
Taking all of these qualities into consideration, I have just described Juliet Kathy Stipeche, candidate for the 281st Civil District Court. It is without reservation that Juliet Kathy Stipeche earns the endorsement of DosCentavos.net.
A product of the East End, Stipeche was born to immigrant parents who stressed education as a means of improving the next generation. Juliet not only took that to heart, she was one of the top graduates from HISD’s High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, a Magna Cum Laude graduate from Rice University, and she earned a law degree from the University of Texas.
A litigator for over a decade, Stipeche worked at several law firms before founding her own firm, Nagorny & Stipeche, PC. A tireless litigator, she is effective whether inside or outside of the courtroom. And it is the same tireless effort with which she serves her clients that she will bring to the bench. I have no doubt that she will be the first to arrive to the court building and the last to leave.
Along with the necessary legal savvy, Stipeche is also tech-savvy and attune to the need to bring our courtrooms into this next generation. Whether one is a plaintiff or a defendant, ensuring that workable technologies are available expands access–and it would also be the great equalizer within the courtroom.
We also need judges who are active in the community, and Stipeche offers an impressive resume that includes providing her expertise to student groups, burgeoning community leaders, and legal professionals. She recently joined the Human Rights Campaign’s effort to assist the “Ya Es Hora” promotion of the Census, ensuring that the Latino community is effectively and fully counted. She has served her civic association, as well as nonprofits, such as the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association.
There is no doubt that Stipeche has wasted no time on building a successful legal career, while continuing her love of serving the community. And this is what has impressed me the most about Stipeche.
Now, having proved her experience and talent, we can now speak to the need for diversity in the courts. While Latinos make up upwards of 40% of the population of Harris County, we are hardly represented on the local benches. When we have the opportunity as a community to send real talent that adds to the diversity of our courts, then we should do it.
There is no room in this election for courtroom politics when we need effective judges in our courts. The 281st provides us with an opportunity to place a life-long Democrat on the ballot with the experience, the talent, and the service record that will ensure us a victory in November.
I urge you to support, contribute to, and vote for Juliet Kathy Stipeche.
248th Criminal District Court: Jim Sullivan. Throughout this last year, I have come to know Jim Sullivan. As someone who advocates for criminal justice reform and the rights of the accused, I find Jim Sullivan to be a tireless legal advocate for defendants who is mindful that a criminal court indeed does have two sides. Harris County’s criminal courts have been a part of Houston’s school-to-prison pipeline, and we need a judge like Jim Sullivan who can add a dose of objectivity to the courts.
113th Civil District Court: Jerome Fjeld. Jerome is one of those attorneys who thrives on fighting for the little guy, in and out of the courtroom. He not only advocates for fairness, but he also strives to be part of the solution.
190th Civil District Court: Olan Boudreaux. An advocate for changing the way our courts run, Boudreaux offers 25 years of experience as a successful attorney. Citing the high cost of the courts, Boudreaux feels that even when a defendant wins, at times they do not even know if it was worth the effort. A judge who recognizes these kinds of nuances is definitely needed in our courts.
234th Civil District Court: Nile Copeland. I first met Nile at a meeting of ROADWomen when he was in the middle of representing ’08 candidate Goodwill Pierre in his voter rights lawsuit against Bettencourt-Vasquez. It was pretty obvious that he knew his stuff, and after finding out that he was fighting for “us” free of charge, it didn’t take long for me to know that he’d be a great candidate. It didn’t take him long to begin treking all over the County, including to my Kingwood Area Dems meetings. Nile is one of those candidates who will represent us well on the November ballot–as a campaigner and and as candidate.
247th Family District Court: Mary Kay Green. Mary Kay has been with us for a long time–a great Democrat and someone who has carried our flag in previous challenges to Republican judges. A well-respected and decorated lawyer, she is a tireless advocate for her clients. She’s got what it takes to serve on this family bench: Experience, Patience, and Compassion.
308th Family District Court: Julia Maldonado. More than a good advocate for her clients, Julia is as real as they come. A product of our local schools, she worked her way through college and law school, so, she knows how to stay focused as she moves toward a goal. A focused, hard-working judge is what we need in the 308th, and Julia exemplies those qualities. She is another one of those candidates who will provide some excitement and energy to the November ballot–there’s no doubt in my mind that she will help the entire ballot.
More on Monday!
We continue with another batch of comments on the DosCentavos.net Dream Team.
313th Juvenile District Court: Marc Isenberg. I first met Marc back in 2008 during his first run for Judge. Back then, he showed us he was ready to serve; unfortunately, he was running against a candidate who had earned some name recognition and political cred during a 2006 run, now-Judge Larry Weiman. This time around, Marc is running for a Juvenile bench, something with which he is very familiar. He has represented juveniles in these courts effectively, and as a judge, he wants to ensure that education remains key to placing a juvenile on the right road. A well-run court means juveniles can go back to school and parents can go back to work in a timely manner, and with Isenberg on the bench, this will be a reality.
Civil County Court at Law #1: Steve Reilley. Beyond the credentials and legal experience, Steve would be the type of Judge that has a human touch. Able to communicate bilingually (English/Spanish), he has an impressive track-record of giving of himself to local organizations that provide legal assistance to the poor, to our soldiers preparing to get in harm’s way, and to victims of Hurricane Ike. As an activist, he has helped get out the vote in various areas of Houston and beyond, but he has also made himself available to provide legal advice to protect and defend the rights of voters during the most contentious elections. Steve Reilley is ready for the job and I have no doubt that he will keep the wheels of justice moving when he is elected.
311th Family District Court: Damiane Curvey Banieh. I met Damiane at a meeting of the Kingwood Area Democrats. While her spiel to the group was impressive, reading about her experiences proved to be the deciding factor in my support for her. Her experience as an adoption recruiter and as a public school teacher seemed to have provided her with a strong foundation for a legal career in which she has worked to protect children and families. Damiane deserves your vote on March 2.
County Criminal Court-at-Law #12: Robert “Bob” Cardenas. I first met Bob at an HCDP Coffee meeting. Let me tell you, Bob is ready to serve on this court. An experienced attorney with experience on both sides of criminal cases, Bob believes that justice must be ensured for both sides. A misdemeanor court, Bob also wants to ensure that victims are brought into the process, while ensuring that those convicted are provided every opportunity to improve their lives before they “graduate to felony court.”
At the beginning of 2009, I met this new face to electoral politics by the name of Javier Valenzuela. Residing in North Harris County, one of Javier’s first visits was to the Kingwood Area Democrats meeting. The first thing Javier told me was that he was contemplating a run for a judicial position. Obviously, my first comment to him was…DO IT!
Javier is a product of the South Texas Valley and he made his way to Houston, much like many of us who sought out Houston as our own land of opportunity. With his wife Annette, they have two gorgeous kids. A former juvenile probation officer addressing the needs of the emotionally disabled, Javier completed his legal studies at South Texas College of Law. His roots in public service and with over a decade of experience as an attorney, Javier sought out friendships and relationships with folks in the legal, union, and Democratic community as a means of making a well-thought-out decision to take on the Republicans in November, rather than simply running on coattails or connections.
The DosCentavos theme for 2010 has been who can best represent the Democratic Party, work beyond the Democratic base, and seal a victory in November? Javier Valenzuela is one of those candidates. Valenzuela is running for Harris County Civil Court-at-Law #3 and has been working hard to first overcome the first hurdle of the Democratic Primary.
A lifelong Democrat, Javier has not been your rank-and-file “party” activist, but he is one voter that the Party has counted on to vote a straight ticket in November. During the recent screenings at various organizations, Valenzuela has come under attack from his opponent for not being a consistent Democratic Primary voter; however, his opponent, Damon Crenshaw, has actually voted in Republican Primaries. So, let’s get beyond the annoying aspects of the campaign and get to why Valenzuela is best candidate:
- Experienced Attorney
- Fully Bilingual (English/Spanish)–more bilingual judges are needed who can ensure intact lines of communications in the courts.
- Thoughtful and Fair– Both sides of the argument must enter a courtroom with the knowledge that the judge is not sold out to special interests, or worse, has already made a decision prior to the case. Valenzuela is the type of candidate who listens and makes a decision based on facts, and not ideology. In other words, he is the type of Democrat who offers fairness and justice, without any political baggage.
In this political world, one can make friends or enemies with all sorts of folks. It is those special ones that one ends up considering practically a family member. Javier Valenzuela can win in November, and DosCentavos.net endorses Javier Valenzuela without any reservation.
In Hall’s 13-year career, Harris County district clerk and federal Southern District records show Hall as attorney or mediator in 38 civil and family, criminal and federal cases, an average of three per year. By comparison, one of her opponents, Larry Hinojosa, has more than 1,000 civil cases as attorney or mediator in Harris County district courts over nearly 30 years.
DC isn’t a believer in the more years = better judging formula that some candidates are using in the Primary, but in the case of Larry, he exhibits a lot of heart, determination, and knowledge and love of the law which highly qualifies him to serve as a judge.
For others loudly touting experience without showing other qualities, not so much.
Shami Loses The Pros
My condolences to my buddy, my pal, my bloggin’ cuate Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex on making an exit from the Farouk campaign. This blogger was one of the recipients of the errant campaign e-mail, as well as the e-mail from that David Diaz character who Shami seems to have secretly hired. One local consultant-blogger posted a response from one of his colleagues that I just did not agree with. It’s not that the Pros were leaving a sinking ship, it’s just that the boss made it clear that he preferred a hair-care PR person and a guy with an aol account to deliver the campaign message, instead of some political pros. One of my favorite movies has a line about candidates who push aside political operatives, “That’s what these guys do. They love you and then stop lovin’ you.” My other favorite line is, “A pro knows when to say good-bye.”
Funny thing though. True, DosCentavos is rooting for Bill White, but I was secretly rooting for Vince, too (not Shami). What can I say? Vince is family!
Recommending the Recommender
Thanks to Muse for sending some readers/voters my way who are asking that question: Who do I vote for? And yes, buddy Kuff also has some interviews of most, if not all, the judicials. But let’s face it, you really do need to take the word of a voter who struggled, sweated and really put some deep thought into his endorsements–ME! So here’s a cheat sheet you may print (click to enlarge):
Well, I’m hoping that this doesn’t become the norm at most Texas colleges and universities. The bottom line is that more students are being forced to work more hours to not only pay rent and bills, but to pay for tuition. The value of student aid keeps shrinking, and students must turn to full-time jobs while attending school part-to-full time. UT is one of those schools which probably doesn’t get all that many financially challenged students (only 21% of students were on Federal aid and 41% on State aid). One always hears the “I worked my way through college” line from politicians, but back in the stone-age, tuition was much lower. Now, even the middle class is getting pushed away from college opportunities.
Linda Chavez-Thompson Hits the Airwaves!
Here’s the ad from the DC endorsed candidate for Lt. Governor.
If you vote in the Democratic Primary, we urge you to vote for these Local 341 endorsed candidates:
Dora Olivo – State Rep. 27
Borris Miles – State Rep. 146
Nile Copeland – 234th District Court Harris County
Robert Hinojosa – 312th District Court Harris County (Family)
Wow–and DosCentavos.net agrees with every single one of those endorsements!
As I had specified previously, I had decided to delay my endorsement in the race for the 189th Civil District Court. With a late entry, as well as a late withdrawal, I decided to give this race some much deserved thought. Ultimately, I had to decide on electability. Needless to say, the DosCentavos.net Judicial Endorsements are now complete.
For some of the local clubs and entrenched electeds, electability is all about money. 2008 proved that it takes a lot more than money to win as a judicial candidate; just ask Judge Larry Weiman. It takes some money, sure, but it also takes heart, a loyal base of supporters who look beyond party “shot-callers,” and it takes someone who can roll with the punches. Let me tell you, Larry Hinojosa has been able to take a punch, while keeping a great attitude and staying committed to his cause. Ladies and Gentleman, this is the type of candidate that can win in November.
Although his South Texas roots helped his cause, sometimes one has to work on going beyond what’s “on paper” to find the true measure of a person. Even after he received some criticism from this blogger, he still sought me out to discuss some realities. Spending a little time with a candidate can sometimes prove to be a game-changer for a voter, and the fact that he didn’t expect support, but was willing to work for it spoke volumes to me.
And then there’s his experience of working in the Harris County Courts–vast experiences that would serve him well on the bench. His appointment by Mayor Bill White to the Houston Police Officers Civil Service Commission is equally impressive, as is his commitment to public and community service.
The 2010 Primary Season has been one filled with surprises, with annoyances, and with realities that many do not like. The voters are still responsible for going through all the muck and mud in their quest to determine who best will serve on a particular bench or seat. I hope these endorsements and statements on endorsed candidates will help you make an informed decision.