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By CHARLES RICHARDS
Three candidates for Lamar County sheriff — Scott Cass, Johnny Williams and Robert Hughes – took turns last week making their pitch to a political forum sponsored by the Association of Lamar County Republicans.
More than 200 people filled the second-floor courtroom of the Lamar County Courthouse for the event on April 26.
Cass, 49, is the longtime chief deputy for Sheriff B.J. McCoy, who chose not to seek reelection. Cass lives at 3236 Highway 24, about six miles south of Paris.
Williams, 63, is a former Department of Public Safety trooper. Williams, who lost a hotly contested race to McCoy in 2008, lives at 2300 County Road 12600, also about six miles south of Paris.
Hughes, 59, a former Lamar County sheriff’s deputy, lives at 2151 Bonham St. in Paris.
The election is on Tuesday, May 29, but early voting begins Monday at the Lamar County Courthouse Annex (old post office) in the 200 block of Lamar Avenue. Early voting will continue weekdays for two weeks, through Friday, May 25.
Cass,Williams and Hughes were given three minutes each to introduce themselves in an opening statement, then had two minutes each to respond to three follow-up questions. Their comments follow:
Scott Cass: I’m the chief deputy for the Lamar County sheriff’s office and have been for the last 14 years. This has been a long campaign, and it’s something new to me, as this is my first time to run, and I can see the finish line. I would like to take a minute to tell you the duties of the sheriff. He’s the chief law enforcement officer in the county. He’s over criminal investigations, traffic enforcement, operation of the jail, the jail commissary, security for the courthouse, security for the county and district courts, for subpoena and other processes, and he sets bail for prisoners, and he conducts sales of forfeited property and much more. I have worked at the Lamar County sheriff’s office for nearly 20 years preparing myself for this opportunity. I’m a master peace officer, I’m a mental health officer, I’m a TCLEOSE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education) instructor, and I have over 5,900 hours of TCLEOSE training and education. I am qualified to be your sheriff. We have a good department of employees, most of whom are long tenured. I supervise 78 of them. I have a good working relationship with the law enforcement agencies in the community and around Lamar County. I am a graduate of the FBI national academy. I am fiscally responsible; I have a good relationship with the Lamar County Commissioners Court and numerous elected officials. I am married with three children. My family came into this part of the country back in the 1800s. I am a fifth-generation rancher in Lamar County out here on this black land. We have a secure and efficient jail; it has passed jail inspections for the last 19 years. And most of all, I have a good relationship with citizens in the community and the volunteer fire departments. I’m hard working, I’m dedicated, I’m qualified, and I have good common sense. Most of all, I’m approachable, and I want to be your next sheriff. I want to say that I appreciate everyone coming out tonight. I think it’s important that you get to know your candidates. I want you to check me out. My personnel file is open at the sheriff’s office, and I intend to exit this race just like I entered it, with my character, my integrity, and my honest intact. In my opinion, one of the most important things you can do is to go and vote, by coloring that box beside that candidate’s name, you’re giving your power and your credibility to say this is the person that I have confidence in to do this job. I don’t take that lightly. I will with all responsibility and stewardness soundly to serve you the citizens of Lamar County. Please go to my website – scottcassforsheriff.com. I have a lot of good information there. I appreciate you and I ask you for your vote.
Johnny Williams: It’s been a long race. Like Mr. Cass said, we can see the end zone now; we know that it’s almost over. A little background on myself, I’m a sixth-generation Lamar Countian. And I’m the only Lamar County native in this race. My family came to Lamar County from Dallas County, Ala., back in 1846. I graduated from Paris High School, class of 1966, and attended Paris Junior College before I joined the U.S. Navy in the fall of 1966. I served in the U.S. Navy in the Vietnam theater of operations and am a Vietnam veteran in 1968 and 1969. I finished my service for my country in 1972. Went to work for the Lamar County sheriff’s office back in 1977 and worked there until 1983, when I went to the DPS. While I was with the Lamar County sheriff’s office, I started out as a patrol deputy, I worked my way up to patrol sergeant, and I then transferred into the criminal investigation division, where I was a sergeant, and I worked all kinds of cases. I worked everything from burglaries to forgeries to homicides. One of the most satisfying days of my life was back in 2008, and I preface that by saying on June 20, 1981, a horrible, horrible murder took place out at Sun Valley, Texas. And it was obvious from the very start that it was a murder for hire. And it was obvious from the very start who some of the players were that were involved in that. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the technology in 1981 that’s available today, but a little bitty rock – just one little bitty pebble with a drop of blood on it, that I found outside the back door of the house and preserved, was sent off for DNA analysis in 2007, and a match was made. And as a result of that match, in 2008 three people stood before this bench and pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. One of the proudest days of my life. So I can investigate any kind of case. I have the experience. That is not the problem. In 1982, I applied for the Department of Public Safety. I was one of only 56 applicants out of over 2,000 accepted. And I spent 24 years serving the people of the State of Texas – 20 of them right here in Lamar County. I appreciate every one coming out tonight. I appreciate the Association of Lamar County Republicans, which I’m vice president of, by the way, for having this, and I’d ask for your vote on May 29. Thank you.
Robert Hughes: I am 59 years old, I’ve been in Paris 24 years, I’m retired from Campbell Soup, and I’m a former deputy with the Lamar County sheriff’s office. I spent time in the United States Air Force back in the early ‘70s. I have 1,580 police training hours. I was a security police officer also in the United States Air Force. I have 60 hours of college, no degree. It’s in criminal justice. It would be an honor to be the next sheriff of Lamar County. The greatest job in the world is being a police officer. There’s no other job like it. I’m an honest person. I’ll tell you the truth about anything you want to know. It’s an honor to stand up here and talk to you tonight. I would appreciate your vote. I need your vote. Thank you for coming out.
QUESTION 1: If you are elected sheriff, do you plan to make any major changes in policy? If so, what would they be?
Johnny Williams: Absolutely! The very first change we’ll make is training. Training, training, training, and more training. I’ve been an instructor in classrooms and firearms for more than 20 years. I’ve taught in classes all over the state of Texas. I’ve taught at the DPS training academy in Austin. We started out teaching them what a gun is. We taught them that if you pull this, the bullet comes out here, and we made highway patrolmen out of them. And I’m very, very proud of that. I’ve also taught new legislation and laws that affect law enforcement. I’ve taught traffic law. I’ve taught drug interdiction. I’ve been in three sergeant areas in my career, and all three of those sergeant areas, I’ve led in drug arrests, drug interdiction, property and money seizures, and DWI arrests. I’m very, very proud of those facts. We’re going to review and update the current policy manuals so that it reflects a modern law enforcement agency of the 20th century, and so that each deputy and each civilian employee, and each correctional officer knows exactly where they stand every day. We’re going to institute a system of checks and balances so we can closely monitor your money, so that we don’t have questionable purchases being made. A while ago, one of my opponents said that the sheriff was responsible for traffic enforcement. Well, one of the things that we’re going to do at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2013, is turn the radars off. Because there are only two deputies at the Lamar County sheriff’s office – two – that are currently certified to operate a radar. One of them is the criminal investigator. The other one is a transport officer. Now, I’m not saying radar is not a good tool. I believe in radar. But we’re going to get them certified, so the cases will stand up in court, before we let them use it. Thank you.
Robert Hughes: First thing we’re going to do is have what they call an SOP, Standard Operating Procedures, so all deputies will be on the same page and they’ll know what they’re doing. Lamar County does not have that at this time. Things are done different by each deputy, but that’s going to stop. Also, the trusties in the jail are not going to run the jail. The jailers are going to run the jail. When they get through with their job, they’re going right back to their cell where they belong. We’re also going to stop smoking inside the sheriff’s office. You can smoke outside. This county is setting itself up for a lawsuit, smoking around people who do not smoke. It makes people sick that do not smoke. That’s going to be eliminated. Thank you.
Scott Cass: Policies, procedures and practices – especially in law enforcement – need to be reviewed on a continuous basis. I’ll review all policies of my staff and my employees to hear their concerns or suggestions, because policies not only affect the department, but they affect the employees as well. Employees need to be able to tell you what’s going on with your policies, and that’s what we want to look at. We want to look and make sure that our policies, if they need to be revamped, if they need to be revised, if they need to be updated, those are important issues. And not only will I and my staff, but the employees as well, will look at that. And I will hear from them, because it is important, because not only do policies affect the department, they affect the employees as well. So policy changes happen from many different things – legislative changes, court rulings, and incidents that occur at the department. So, some of the policies I want to change, or add to, are neighborhood crime watches. I think that’s very important, and I’d like to take a look at that and continually add on to them and build on to them with what we’re doing. Crime prevention officers, that’s a very important thing, and that’s something that can build that liaison from the residents, from the citizens, from businesses, back to the sheriff’s office and help us blend into the community. Grants for manpower and equipment, that’s also something I will continue. That’s something that is very important for being able to have the equipment you need, and the manpower as well. I want to put a web site at the S.O. I think that’s very important that we have a web site at the sheriff’s department, where we’re able to put information out to the public, so that they can go to that web site and see what we’re doing at the sheriff’s office and maybe see what’s happening in their community. I think that’s important as well. Supervision and training – continue trusty work programs and also a jail staff with liaison at the sheriff’s office. Thank you very much.
QUESTION 2: What do you see as the most prevalent type of crime in Lamar County. If you are elected, what new law enforcement approaches are needed to combat this?
Scott Cass: No question – burglary, theft, drugs. This problem is not only in Lamar County, it’s all across this country as well. Again, expand these neighborhood crime watches. We’ve started one in Roxton, got folks from Lamar Point ready, we’ve got folks from Blossom. The citizens are our eyes and our ears out there, and it’s very important. Implement these crime prevention officers I’m wanting to do. May have to add duties to someone until we can see to the budget. Maybe he’ll stand alone as a whole, but definitely the liaison part between businesses, between residents back to our patrol, back to our CID, is very important. I want to increase manpower to our narcotics program, also after looking at the budget and looking at grants. I have a grant right now that we’re waiting on that hopefully will supply that person. We have one narcotics officer at the sheriff’s office, doing a great job. Works hand in hand with the Paris Police Department. They are doing a great job for this county and this city. Last week, we went to the commissioners’ court and I asked for an auto theft position for the county. That is going to put an extra man in CID, it’s going to coincide and collaborate with Paris Police Department. They’re not just going to investigate vehicles, but tractors, ATV’s, equipment – all types of burglaries. So that’s very important. Shoe leather and good, hard work – that’s the way you get it done. As for additional approaches, new approaches to what we’re doing now, a national pharmaceutical database is a great, great tool for narcotics officers, leads on line, a very good tool for our burglary and theft officers, and then local business involvement as well. That’s very important. Our narcotics officers are going into our businesses, they’re educating them on what’s going on. Businesses are seeing who’s coming in, what they’re buying, and it’s just great collaboration between citizen involvement and police. Thank you very much.
Robert Hughes: I’ll keep this short and sweet. We all know it’s drugs. Lot of drugs in Lamar County. And we have a plan in place, and we have new ideas on how to combat these drugs. But there’s one thing: I’m not going to divulge that tonight because by the time I get home, it’ll be all over Facebook and Paris Topix, so I’m going to keep that to myself for right now. Thank you.
Johnny Williams: Well, I’m going to make it universal. The root of it all is the drug problem, and it’s not getting any better. One person – one person – at the sheriff’s office working narcotics. That’s not acceptable. Now, one of the things we’re going to do, if I’m elected, we’re going to train our field deputies – our uniform deputies – to go beyond the initial traffic stop. Learn to interview people. That goes back to what I said a while ago – training, training, and more training. We’re going to train. We’re going to send them to school. They’re going to learn how to interview people, how to develop probable cause. Might not result in a drug arrest on every traffic stop, obviously, but it might be something that they can fill out an intelligence card on, turn it in to the narcotics people, and they can build on that from then. We’ve got to get some more people working narcotics full time, but we’ve got to train the uniform people to go beyond the initial traffic stop when they stop these people out here, develop probable cause or gain information through intelligence that we wouldn’t otherwise get. Thank you.
Question 3: If you’re elected to this position, who would you appoint as your chief deputy, the No. 2 person in charge. Also, some people think animal abuse is placed on a back burner in Lamar County. What are your thoughts about handling animal abuse?
Johnny Williams: First question, I think the people have a right to know who you’re going to have on your administrative staff. I think you need to know who’s going to be helping me run the Lamar County sheriff’s department. My chief deputy has been the chief of police at The Colony, he’s been the chief of police in Mount Pleasant, he’s been the chief of police in Nacogdoches, and he’s a former chief deputy at the Lamar County sheriff’s department. He lives out in Chicota with his wife, Sharon. His name is Ted Gibson. Ted and I have discussed this fully. He’s on board 100 percent. We want to bring the Lamar County sheriff’s department into the 21st century. We also worked together on the Wagnon case back then. We worked on it again in 2007 and 2008. So, Ted and I will make a great team, and I’m telling you up front Ted Gibson is my man. Animal abuse: there’s absolutely no excuse for it. If you can’t afford to feed your horse and if you can’t afford to feed your cows, then find somebody that can. If you own a piece of property that has a common border fence with somebody that has abused animals, and you want to let the humane society go in there and take pictures of those abused animals so we can make a case on them, you can do that. It’s called “open view” or the “plain view” doctrine. And anything that I can stand on my side of the fence and see is fair game. And we will actively enforce abused animal cases. We’re not going to put up with it. I’m not going to put up with it. I’ve been in the cattle business – I’m not anymore. We’re going to aggressively prosecute abused animal cases to the hilt. That again goes back to training. If you can’t write a case report that’ll stand up in the prosecutor’s office and stand up in court, your case is no good. The county attorney’s office has asked the Lamar County sheriff’s office time and time and time again, let us come down there and give your people a class on report writing. It’s never been done. Not yet. So, we’re gonna teach ‘em. We’re gonna teach ‘em how to write a report. We’re gonna teach ‘em how to do their job and get convictions in all kinds of cases, not just abused animals. Thank you.
Robert Hughes: The chief deputy needs to be a man who has spent years and years out on the streets. He knows law, he knows what’s going on, he’s educated about the streets, he knows everybody in the county. And that would be only one person – Steve Hill. Steve was my training officer when I first started with Lamar County. He knows his business, and it would be an honor for him to serve as chief deputy. On animal abuse, I got a call from a lady two years ago who lived in Lamar County. Her dog was shot by a neighbor with a bow and arrow. The arrow went through the dog but did not kill the dog. Lamar County deputies were called out to the scene and told that lady there was nothing they could do about that. That’s a crying shame. It clearly states in the Criminal Code that animal abuse is against the law. It took a month to get anything done from Lamar County sheriff’s office. Steve Hill saw it and finally arrested the gentleman, and that’s why Steve Hill will be chief deputy. Thank you.
Scott Cass: Folks, listen, I have not chosen a chief deputy. I have many of them in mind, but right now I’m in the middle of a campaign, and I’m working fulltime at the sheriff’s office. When I’m elected sheriff, I’ll have seven months to put my staff together. I can assure you of this: having been your chief deputy for 14 years, having been the sheriff when the sheriff has not been there, I know exactly what’s going on, and I know what the work and what the workload consists of. I assure you that the person that I pick will be someone that has good work ethic, somebody that has experience, someone that is trained, someone that has the hard working and the passion to serve Lamar County just as I have, so I assure you of that. The second question, about animals, I might as well tell you about how I am doing it. I do the livestock, I do the stray animals. I pick them up. Go to our web site. It’s a shame. Folks turn horses out, donkeys out – all the time. So we are constantly in the middle of the stray processes, and I know the laws on them. I go to these ranchers and farmers, I talk to them about them when their cattle get stolen. The dogs, we work with the humane association. I believe I keep Judge (Cindy) Ruthart pretty busy over there, taking care of dog cases. And we do know what we’re doing, and we do work hard. Let me tell y’all, the Lamar County sheriff’s department is a very good department. Those guys – the men and women of that department, the men and women of the detention facility – they work hard. They work hard. They’re in this audience. Talk to them. I’m proud of them, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to each and every one of you. Thank you.
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2012 RIDE OF SILENCE
The 3rd Annual Paris Area Ride of Silence will be held
May 16 ~ 7 p.m. ~ Love Civic Center ~ Paris, Texas
In May 2003, Chris Phelan organized the first Ride Of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. The ride was a solemn event, to remember Larry and all cyclists killed while riding their bikes. It was supposed to be a one-time event only, but as word got out about the ride, many cyclists contacted Chris with the desire to participate.
Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn’t aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves. The ride has several goals:
~To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
~To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
~To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD
Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride
in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling.
Our Local Ride of Silence will be held on
WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, at 7 p.m.
to coincide with other Ride Of Silence events nationwide
More than 700 cyclists are killed each year while riding. Most of them occur in our cities, and suburbs. With this ride, we hope to educate motorists that cyclists have the legal right to the road and to watch out for us.
The Ride of Silence is similar to a funeral procession. Therefore, the ride will be:
SLOW (maximum 12 miles per hour).
SHORT (approximately eight miles)
SILENT There will be no talking, only silence, to remember and honor those fallen.
Also, please…..no cell phones or I-Pods.
We will assemble near the flag pole at the front of the Civic Center beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the ride will leave from the Civic Center at 7 p.m., travel west on Jefferson Road, make a lap around the downtown Plaza, and return to the Civic Center.
*NO REGISTRATION FEE *HELMETS REQUIRED.
For more information please contact:
Brad Aldridge ~ 903 491-4702 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Paris City Council candidates John Wright filed his campaign finance report on Thursday for his Paris City Council race. He reported no contributions and $1,448.01 in expenses.
Wright, who is completing his first 2-year term on the council, is opposed by Marvin Wroten in District 3.
Wright reported spending $729.23 for advertisements with The Paris News, $389.70 for magnetic signs, and $329.08 for yard signs.
Candidates who spend more than $500 on their campaigns are required to file the report.
Earlier, Wroten and District 6 candidate Cleonne Holmes Drake filed the required reports documenting their campaign expenses and contributions to date.
Wroten reported contributions of $350 and expenditures of $283 — including $264 for 50 24-inch by 18-inch yard signs and $19 for printing.
Wroten received $250 from Dr. Gordon B. Strom, his campaign treasurer, and $100 from Elaine Ballard.
Drake is challenging Edwin Pickle, who is seeking his third 2-year term on the council from District 6. She reported no contributions and expenses of $936 — including $388 for 50 12-inch by 24-inch yard signs, $116 for t-shirts, $217 for 1,000 five-inch by seven-inch door-hangers, $84 for advertising, $90 in postage for letters to potential constituents, $18 for laminated posters, and $23 for printing expense.
No campaign reports are on file from the six other 2012 city council candidates – Aaron Jenkins and Don Shelton in District 1; incumbent Robert Avila and Sue Lancaster in District 2; and Pickle.
All of them have run low-profile races. Pickle is using campaign material from past campaigns, including yard signs he used in his successful races in 2008 and/or 2010.
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By CHARLES RICHARDS
Paris attorney Will Biard and State Rep. Erwin Cain last week squared off before more than 200 people who attended the Association of Lamar County Republicans candidate forum in the second floor courtroom of the Lamar County Courthouse.
Biard, 35, is a Paris attorney who completed four years on the Paris City Council in 2011, the last three years as mayor. He and Ann Harper Biard have been married for seven years and have two daughters. They live at 436 Church St. in Paris.
Cain, 52, defeated Biard’s brother-in-law, Holland Harper, two years ago for the GOP nomination for the State House of Representatives, then knocked off incumbent Rep. Mark Homer in the General Election. Because of redistricting that merged his district with parts of two others, Cain chose to run for state district judge rather than for the legislature against another incumbent.
Cain lives at 2677 County Road 2324 in the Como community, 12 miles southeast of Sulphur Springs. He and Hope Hunter Cain, his wife of 23 years, have three daughters.
The retirement of current 62nd State District Judge Scott McDowell lured Biard and Cain into the race.
At the May 3 forum, Cain and Biard were given three minutes for an opening statement. They followed with two-minute responses to each of two questions.
Will Biard: I was born and raised here in Lamar County. My family actually moved here in 1846. I’m a former mayor and councilman for the city of Paris. I’m a former vice president and precinct chair for the Lamar County Republican Party. I’ve owned my own law practice and practiced in this district for over a decade. The 62nd judicial court is a court of what’s called general judicial, which means that we hear all types of cases – civil, family law, criminal, business matters. I have extensive experience in all these areas. I’ve practiced extensively in probate law, criminal law, commercial and real estate law. I’ve handled hundreds of civil and criminal cases throughout my career. We need judges with experience practicing in this district that understand legal issues facing our residents. We need judges to be fair, impartial, and reasonable. The courtroom is no place for favoritism. I’ve been the subject of favoritism too many times, and I’ve seen it go against me. And that disgusts me, because it’s unethical and it casts a shadow on the courtroom. There will be no tolerance for favoritism or good ol’ boy antics in my courtroom. A judge must be conservative. He must apply the law as it is written. He must strictly follow the Constitution. And the courtroom is no place for activist judges, or judges that want to advance their own political or personal agenda. I want y’all to know I’m not running because I need a job. I’m running because I care about this judicial system. I’ve practiced here for the last 10 years. I’ve tried my best to uphold the integrity of it, and I care about the people in this district. That’s why I’m asking for your support and your vote in the upcoming Republican primary.
Erwin Cain: District court races don’t get a lot of attention. They tend to fly under the radar. But it can be a real concern for you when you’re suddenly in a lawsuit or domestic matter and charges are pending, and the person sitting in the black robe is about to make a decision that’s going to affect your family, your calendar, your business, your wallet, and maybe even your very life. And you begin to ask yourself the question, what kind of morals, what kind of principles, what kind of aptitude do you have to have in the person that has that kind of power. Your judges have to be fair, they have to be impartial, they have to be competent. When I say fair, I mean they have to do this: they have to first and foremost protect the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They need to expedite the cases so we can have due process. I’ll be that kind of a judge. I’ll be an impartial judge. An impartial judge is blind to creed, race, color, association. It makes no difference. If you’re a vagabond on the street or the most influential person in town, you’ll get the same equal treatment in my court. And I’ll call balls and strikes, I won’t move the strike zone. I will not be a judicial activist. Folks, that’s the reason we’re having a primary on May 29 instead of March 6. It doesn’t matter what kind of good laws that we make if the judge is not willing to apply them and enforce them. In the Legislature, I used restraint to keep the government from intruding into our lives and our freedoms. I’ll use that same constitutional conservative attitude to use constraint on the court. The other issue is competency. I’ve been trying cases all over Texas courts for 24 years, mostly civil, which is what this court is. I’ve been fighting lawsuit abuse for that long. I’ve been in my own business now for over 20 years. I have the life experience, folks, and I understand something. I understand that there is a balance between justice and mercy. I understand that difference. If that’s the kind of judge you want, that’s the kind of judge I’ll be, and I ask for your vote.
Question 1: What legal experiences do you bring to the bench that will help the voters make a choice? and what have you already done that will demonstrate to the Republican primary voters you will be a conservative, constructionist judge?
Irwin Cain: First and foremost, I love the law. For 24 years, I’ve argued cases all over courtrooms in Texas. As your state representative, I made the law. As your judge, I will apply the law. One does not prevent you from doing the other. Because of this experience, I understand the difference between applying the law, arguing the law and making the law. That’s the reason that I am endorsed by Attorney General Greg Abbott, Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, Texas Civil Justice League PAC, Texas Conservative Digest, and others. I’ve owned my own firm for 18 years, but I generally represent people who are being sued and fighting against lawsuit abuse. My concentration is complex litigation, contract indemnity, malpractice, government immunity, products – those kind of cases. Successfully navigating through these complex cases has given me the ability to understand the issues that are in those kind of cases, and they’re the kind of cases that will come up before the court – criminal matters, domestic matters, child support, child custody, issues like that. Now some want to argue that you have to handle every kind of case that comes before the court in order to be a good judge. Folks, that’s impossible, because this is the highest trial court in the state; almost any matter can come before this court. And even if someone conceivably could handle every case that could come before this court, that doesn’t mean they understood or advocated well. The issue is whether there is the aptitude and the experience to analyze the facts and apply the law correctly. I’m board-certified in my specialty; only about 10 percent of the attorneys are. I have the aptitude and experience. A good judge has the life and courtroom experience to have seen and understood fair and impartial application of the law. I have that experience.
Will Biard: My broad base of legal experience and my services to this community separate me from Mr. Cain. While Mr. Cain is an attorney who specializes in a very narrow area of the law in the Dallas area, I have over a decade of experience in dealing with the various criminal, civil, family and business matters that come before this district court. In addition, what you may not know, this district court has what’s called exclusive jurisdiction over matters involving titles to real estate. So this court is the only court that hears boundary disputes between you and your neighbor. I’ve been a real estate title examiner with Stone Title Company here in Paris for my entire career. In addition, I’ve successfully litigated numerous real property title lawsuits. I’ve handled both hundreds of civil and criminal cases. I’ve tried and litigated both misdemeanor and felony cases, everything from speeding tickets to attempted murder. I’ve worked with CASA and CPS as an attorney for abused children. I routinely provide free and reduced-rate legal services to those who cannot afford an attorney. I am the only candidate in this race with the necessary legal training, knowledge and experience to be an effective judge. While on the city council, I reduced the city tax rate from 59 cents a hundred to 52 cents a hundred. I was a past vice president and local precinct chair of the local Republican Party. I am pro-life, I support the Second Amendment. I’m a member of the NRA and I have my concealed hand gun license. Mr. Cain talked a little bit about his conservative voting record while he was in Austin as a legislator. That’s great if you’re running for the Legislature, it’s not good if you’re running for judge, because if any matter he voted on while he was in Austin comes up before his court, the attorneys for those parties can have him recused. And at that point you’re going to have a liberal judge from Dallas come into Lamar to decide your case, and none of us want a liberal judge hearing our cases. I pledge to you that I will always follow the law and I will strictly follow the Constitution.
Question 2: If you are elected, will this be a fulltime judgeship, or will you have other obligations requiring your time; for instance, teaching, mediation, or other professional responsibilities?
Erwin Cain: Well, being a judge is a serious undertaking. Since the district judge is the highest trial court in the state, almost any matter can come before a district court. And given the serious nature of most of those matters that come before the court, as a good judge I must and will give it my full attention and full priority. Now, in Texas, judges can’t practice law, so when I’m elected I will leave my law firm. My focus will be on the administration of justice. But I think judges have an additional responsibility. Judges are in a unique position to educate the public on our form of government and our legal system, and I think we would all agree that the community needs more education on these things. So I think it’s incumbent on a judge to do what he can to train our citizens, especially our children, on the judicial process. I would expect to speak at civic events. I would expect to speak occasionally at the high school or even the college. But being a judge, being the district judge of the 62nd District Court, will be my fulltime job. Thank you.
Will Biard: The short answer is absolutely yes, this will be a fulltime job. It would be disingenuous for me to get up here, run for this office, ask for your vote, and for you not to expect me to consider this a fulltime job. And it is a fulltime job. It’s got a heavy workload. Now, on the other hand, I do want to continue some of my volunteer boards. I’m on a couple of cemetery associations. I’m trying to get on one of my daughter’s school boards. One of the reasons that I’m running to begin with, one of the reasons I moved back to Paris was because I wanted to get involved. And in Paris you can get involved and make a difference. And after I’d been here about four years, I decided I was not going to stand on the sidelines any more and so I ran for city council. And it’s one of the reasons I’m running for judge. A lot of people my age, my generation, are apathetic. They don’t vote, they don’t get involved. And I’m trying to be a leader for those people. And I need your help to do that. So thank you for your support.
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By CHARLES RICHARDS
The City of Paris is beginning its annual search for volunteers to serve on its various boards and commissions. Board members serve three-year terms, so each year approximately one-third of the terms expire and new people come on board.
There are 13 standing boards and commissions. Following is a brief description of responsibilities and the number of vacancies:
Airport Advisory Board – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the third Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m.
PURPOSE: Acts in an advisory capacity to the City Council in relation to the Municipal Airport, its operation and facilities; makes recommendations on changes and additions to the facilities at Cox Field, changes to lease terms for hangar rental, and use of the land at Cox Field.
Board of Adjustment – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the first Tuesday of each month or as needed at noon.
PURPOSE: Hears zoning-related appeals by any person aggrieved or by an officer, department, or board of the municipality affected by the decision of the administrative officer (Zoning Ordinance 1710).
Building and Standards Commission – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the third Monday of each month at 4 p.m.
PURPOSE: Hears and determines cases concerning alleged violations of ordinances concerning damaged or deteriorated structures or procedures; and enforces Ordinance No. 2002-032.
Civil Service Commission – NO MEMBERS NEEDED
Meets as needed, meeting time to be determined.
PURPOSE: Adopt rules and investigate matters related to enforcement of Civil Service regulations for firefighters and police officers, and hears appeals from disciplinary actions. Members must have good moral character, resident of the city for more than three years, be over 25 years of age, and not have held any public office within the preceding three years.
Historic Preservation Commission – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the second Wednesday at 12 p.m.; and the fourth Monday at 4 p.m.
PURPOSE: Adopt rules and procedures; adopt identification criteria and rules for delineation of historic district boundaries; conduct and administer historic resource survey; recommend designation of districts and landmarks; establish committees as needed; produce and distribute minutes of meeting; develop public outreach; education; awareness programs; approve/disapprove certificates of appropriateness; provide design and other reasonable forms of advice to owners and tenants of historic properties in the certificate of appropriateness review process; recommend acquisition of endangered historic resources to the city council; submit an annual report to city council; prepare and promote design guidelines for landmarks/districts.
Housing Authority Board of Commissioners – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the third Monday of every month at 4 pm.
PURPOSE: Oversees the budget, maintenance, and policy of the Housing Authority which consists of several apartment communities as well as duplexes and houses in the city limits of Paris.
Main Street Advisory Board – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the third Tuesday of every month at 4 p.m.
PURPOSE: Responsible for establishing program policy, determining the goals and objectives of the program, and providing guidance and advice to the City Council; recommends guidelines for the refurbishing of buildings in the downtown area; and, recommends programs to bring patrons into the downtown area and sponsors advertising for these events.
Municipal Band Commission – 1 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets as needed.
The Band Commission shall have full power and control over the organization, discipline, membership, and duties of the members of the Municipal Band and the Leaders or Instructors thereof, and may regulate same by such rules or bylaws as they may deem it necessary to pass; provided, that no rule or bylaw or amendment of same shall be in force or effect until the same has been submitted to and approved by the City Council.
Paris Economic Development Corporation – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the second Tuesday each month at 3 p.m.
PURPOSE: Promote, assist, and enhance the economic development activities of the City of Paris and issue bonds to carry out these activities.
Paris/Lamar County Board of Health – 6 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets quarterly on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
PURPOSE: To advise the Director on health matters.
Planning and Zoning Commission – 2 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the first Monday of every month at 5:30 p.m.
PURPOSE: Reviews the requests by citizens and corporations for changes in zoning inside the city limits of Paris and makes recommendations to City Council for the approval or disapproval of those requests.
Public Library Advisory Board – 1 MEMBER NEEDED:
Meets the third Wednesday of each month.
PURPOSE: Acts in an advisory capacity to the City of Paris to study and make recommendations concerning library services, maintenance and improvement of facilities, and capital improvement projects.
Traffic Commission – 3 MEMBERS NEEDED:
Meets the first Tuesday of each month at 5:15 p.m.
PURPOSE: The Commission considers and proposes measures designed to minimize technical and difficult traffic problems resulting from increased vehicular traffic in Paris. Traffic Safety Coordinator provides staff support and coordination for the Commission.
Each appointment is for three years; appointees are limited to a maximum of two consecutive full terms on the same committee.
Applications are available at the City Hall Annex located at 150 1st Street S.E., or online at www.paristexas.gov. Questions should be directed to 903-784-9202 or 903-784-9231.
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