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2012-05-17

'Outbursts, rudeness & attacks' marked candidates' forums

Contributed

Undeniably, this political primary season has been "hotter than a two-dollar pistol." In fact, exchanges at several political forums prompted Ed Hodges, chairman of the Republican Party of Bandera County to email candidates requesting civility.

In the Monday, April 2, email, Hodges advised office seekers to "quit whining," noting that outbursts, rudeness, attacks aimed at other candidates or attendees would no longer be tolerated. However, during a Monday, April 30, meet and greet - the last one attended by this wrier - things became a little tense between a questioner and candidate. In fact, the exchange drove home County Judge Richard Evan's observation, "In Bandera County, politics is a contact sport."

Cold cases, PIs at BCSO

During the meet and greet at American Legion Post 157, a question to sheriff's candidates involved possible re-investigations of cold cases, particularly those involving suspected child abusers. Inquiries also referenced the continued incarceration of Jesse Ray Moore from when he was 12 in 2002 until the present.

Candidate Frances Kaiser said, "Those cases are not cold to the families involved. We're here to serve and if I'm elected, we'll be looking at those old cases."

Sheriff candidate David McGilvray, an investigator with the Bandera County Sheriff's Office, concurred with Kaiser's assessment - especially with regard to a child molestation case dismissed by 216th District Attorney Bruce Curry. All charges were dropped after a grand jury had indicted a man for a 10-year-old cold case.

McGilvray said, "That case is not over and that's all I'm allowed to say."

An audience member expressed concern that clearly inebriated visitors would be arrested even as they waited for designated drivers to arrive at watering holes across the county.

Sheriff candidate James Newton said, "The statute says they must not be a danger to themselves or others.

There should be no problem if they've called someone."

Although agreeing with her opponent, Kaiser cautioned, "If they get rowdy while waiting for their ride, someone might call the cops and then they could be arrested for disorderly conduct."

"If they've got someone coming, that's great," McGilvray added.

Who's got ethics?

Things got very tense very quickly when county resident Gary Trichter confronted Janna Lindig, challenger for the position of county attorney, about her constant theme of "bringing ethics back to the county attorney's office."

"You've danced around calling John Payne unethical. If you think he is, why don't you just come out and say it and let everyone know?" Trichter said.

"Four rules were violated by acts made known to me," Lindig replied.

She added that, as an attorney, she was required to act once she realized there had been what she considered ethics violations.

Reiterating, "It's a simple question, a yes or no will suffice," Trichter said after Lindig noted, "Everyone here knows what I mean."

Eventually, she admitted publically, "Yes, (John Payne) was unethical."

Trichter's seeming cross-examination of Lindig brought a pointed query from a member of the audience.

When asked about his relationship with Trichter, Payne replied, "Gary Trichter is one of the most renowned DWI defense attorneys in the United States. He's a valuable resource to this county. His expertise makes us all better."

Payne continued, "When he cross examines officers, he makes them better. When I have to go up against him in court, he makes me a better prosecutor. Gary Trichter gives his all to his clients and he is a man of integrity. Thank you for that question."

The meet and greet concluded without further excitement. Since early voting has commenced, no further forums have been scheduled.