Managed News distorting the
truth -- as usual.
When Danny Chandler and the Dallas County Republican
Party leadership were out to unseat Sheriff Jim Bowles in the Republican
Primary of 2004, I stuck with Sheriff Bowles. I acknowledged he
had been a long time friend of my late father and had really been there
for us during my Dad's final days.
I also thought he was the best man for the job, although Danny Chandler
would have made a good sheriff.
Well, Sheriff Bowles did not
win the primary. He was beaten by another Republican, just like he
defeated Sheriff Don Byrd in the Republican primary almost two decades earlier.
Unlike Sheriff Byrd, Jim Bowles did not go away quietly and let the Republican
candidate have a united party behind him. Although many GOP activists have
said otherwise, Sheriff Bowles denies that he made any donation to the Lupe Valdez campaign,
particularly not the rumored
|I heard that I helped
Lupe Valdez, which I didn't. This
is the first time I have heard I gave her any money, which I didn't.
I will give double to anyone who can show that I gave
her a penny! This is ridiculous! I
didn't HAVE $5000. I had to pay my last
campaign debts out of my own funds. By raising the claim of campaign
funds abuse immediately before the election,
they made it so I couldn't raise any money even for myself. (That was
real clever of them!)
Can you make my denial any more emphatic?
By the way the DMN is blaming Valdez's failures on Jim Bowles, you would think
she defeated him and not Danny Chandler.
It's Time for Results: What does Valdez have to show for 18 months?
Saturday, June 10, 2006; Editorial Page, DallasNews.com
Frankly, sheriff, this isn't what we
We knew when we supported your bid
for Dallas County sheriff in 2004 that you faced a hill steeper than Reunion
Tower. Pick your obstacle ? outsider, Democrat, gay, Hispanic, woman
crashing the good-ol'-boys club.
So we also knew it wouldn't be easy
for Lupe Valdez, and we expected no overnight miracles. In fact, if this
were six months into your term, we wouldn't be writing this editorial.
Jim Bowles left you a mess. Fixing it would
But time is slipping away. The end of
June will mark 18 months in office. What have you accomplished during this
Start with the relentless negative
headlines ? "knuckle-dragger" comments by a commander you hired, continued
health care abuses in the jail, another failing grade on a state jail
inspection, a federal investigation into your jail, detention officer
overtime running out of control or your personal failure to pass the state
Any or all of these things can and do
happen in a department with a $90 million budget, 1,700 employees and
responsibility for 7,000 to 9,000 inmates on an average day.
What troubles us is your public
reaction to these problems and the apparent absence of a plan ? based on
your vision ? to keep them from happening again. From speaking with you this
week, we do not believe you completely recognize the
enormity of the problems or your responsibility for fixing them.
... We wrote last July that the time had come for
you to step up and show the
leadership skills your most ardent supporters say you possess. We
know that the Sheriff's Department is about 80 percent jail management and
20 percent law enforcement.
... We hope it's not too late to turn the ship
around, but it's critical that the public sees waves breaking. Here are a
few suggestions: ...
visible, effective immediately. When big news is breaking ? good, bad
or otherwise ? it's important that the sheriff, not a subordinate, is in
front of the minicams. ...
Focus on vision.
In our conversations, you sound more like someone who works for the sheriff,
executing instead of directing. ...
Commit decisively. Describe a
problem, outline a plan for fixing it ? not a rehash of steps taken to date
? and make it happen. Take a lesson from Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle;
agree with him or not, there's no question who's running that department.
Stop saying, "Things I can't control" and "I'm not a politician."
The first only reminds us of the things you should be able to control. As to
the second, you chose to seek the sheriff's job. It's a political position
in a hardball political county. Politics goes with the job.
Solicit good advice. We hear
conflicting reports ? either you won't reach out or won't accept counsel you
get ? but you can't figure all this out on your own. Your work history as a
jailer and federal agent did not fully prepare you to run a department of
this size and scope. ...
Pass that licensing test.
Don't give your detractors another stick to whack against your head. Make it
a priority to prepare, even if you have to give up a few speaking
Sheriff Bowles responded to the
DMN's editorial, but they refuse to print his Letter to the Editor, although
they have now printed two blaming him and not Lupe Valdez for her failures.
Allen Gwinn posted Sheriff Bowles' response on
Robert Wilonsky (DallasObserver.com's Unfair Park: The Dallas Observer Blog) has
been writing about Sheriff Valdez's failure to pass her licensing test as a law
enforcement officer, and wrote this piece about the DMN blaming Sheriff Bowles
for the deplorable situation the department is in under Valdez:
The Dallas Morning News
ran an editorial
the poor job performance
of Sheriff Lupe
Valdez?or, as the paper
version of Unfair Park
put it in Matt Pulle?s
cover story a few weeks
Who?? The editorial
offered some suggestions
about, among myriad
other things, how Valdez
could do a better job
running a jail that?s
being investigated by
the feds (it?s amazing
there was enough room in
the entire paper, much
less on the editorial
page), but it also gave
her an out: The mess at
the Dallas County
ain?t her fault. No,
really. Said the
braintrust at Dallas?
Only Daily: ?Jim Bowles
left you a mess. Fixing
it would take time.?
Which came as news to
Jim Bowles. So, on
Saturday, he dashed off
a letter to
The News damning
the paper for blaming
him, when the real
fault, he insists, lies
at the feet of the
Commissioners Court that
refused to give him more
money for more jailers
and more room for all
the prisoners the state
stuck him with. Though
the paper?s yet to
publish his missive, you
read a version of it
at Dallas.org; Allen
Gwinn asked the
ex-sheriff to fax him
the letter, which he
posted to the blog two
days ago. In short, it
?When will you get
Nobody can succeed
as Sheriff as long
I called Bowles
yesterday to ask him
precisely why he sent
the letter: to defend
Valdez or to stand up
for himself? He said he
was doing a little bit
?It was more of a
case of, let?s clear the
air,? he said Sunday
News sees fit to
come up with an
editorial that lambasts
the sheriff, and they
couldn?t leave me out of
it. Damn it, leave me
alone. That was the ol?
straw that broke the
camel?s back. I am not
her defender, and I am
not her assailant. God
doesn?t work that way. I
feel compassion for her.
She has to do it on her
own. I am thankful for
the people who helped me
do my job during 19
years in office, and I
feel grief and sorrow
for the people who
sabotaged my department
in the last year and
tried to grease the
wheels to make me lose.
God?ll get them.?
came at the end of a
90-minute phone call,
during which Bowles
quoted Shakespeare (?The
evil that men do lives
after them/The good is
oft interred with their
bones?), damned the
media for failing to
clear his name after
a judge threw out all
the charges the
Dallas and Collin county
lobbed at him regarding
his relationship with
commisary vendor Jack
Madera in 2003 and ?04
and offered his account
of how the Dallas County
refused to provide him
with the funds and folks
necessary to run an
overcrowded jail that,
during his tenure,
passed 18 of 19
inspections with the
Texas Commission on Jail
Standards. While much of
the conversation was off
the record, this much
Damned if Bowles is
going to let the media
or the county
commissioners or anyone
else continue to portray
him as a man who let the
sheriff?s department go
For instance, he
talked at great length
about commissioner Mike
Cantrell?s assertion ?in
September piece about
health conditions in
the jail?that Bowles
refused to let
commissioners even into
the jail. That, Bowles
says with a slight rise
in his voice, ?is a
bald-faced lie. I
begged those people
to come over there. Jim
Jackson, when he was
commissioner, came over
a few times and worked a
shift. Ask Cantrell
how that happened if I
wouldn?t let them into
the jail.? He insisted
refused his pleas for
more staff, for better
medical facilities, for
?more realistic pay.? As
he put it, ?Dallas
County?s at the very
bottom of the scale.
We?re the fifth-largest
jail in the country, and
they?re paid more in
Duncanville to handle
book-ins for overdue
library books than
Dallas is to handle what
we have to, which is
prisoners of all ages,
all sexes, those who are
pre- and post-adjucation
felonies.? And he talked
about his family?s
history in law
grandfather was a deputy
marshall, his father a
officer?and how being a
peace officer ?is what
God created me for.?
Keep in mind,
this was to be a short
chat about a short
letter sent to another
newspaper. But two years
after being hung out to
dry?by, Bowles insists,
the media and people
with whom he worked?the
man wants it known he
will accept no more
blame for having done
what he believed to have
been a good job. ?I will
not knowingly do
anything wrong,? he
insisted. ?But that?s
the way life is, fella.
Doesn?t make a damned
bit of difference how
well you do or for how
long you do it. If
somebody decides to turn
on you, you?d better
watch your back side.?
Spoken like a man who
still runs a county
Again, I have a personal
friendship with Sheriff Bowles, but I've always been friendly when I saw Lupe
Valdez at some political function. If she's not a politician, how come
she's run for two different offices?
Sheriff Bowles called me the weekend the
editorial came out blaming him for Valdez' poor management abilities and lack of
success as Dallas County Sheriff. We agreed to wait a few days to see if
would print his letter.
Allen Gwinn went ahead and posted it, on the reasonable assumption that no one
at the DMN
reading anything not spoon fed to them.
Well, it's been over a week, and the jerks at the
have not posted Sheriff
Bowles' letter, but they did post this piece of garbage from someone who doesn't
even live in Dallas County:
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Sheriff inherited a mess
I did not hear anyone asking "the good ol' boy" who was sheriff
for 19 years why everything was run down and a mess, yet you expect Sheriff
Lupe Valdez to have it all cleaned up in 18 months?
No, she is not one to want to be in the
spotlight. Instead, she is busy doing what she is supposed to do ? working.
Had the prior sheriff been asked that just once during his tenure, Sheriff
Valdez would not have inherited such a mess. Gudrun
They also posted a piece from a
Democrat party activist defending Valdez and blaming her problems on her
predecessor (who donated a bunch of money to help her get elected).
Letters to the Editor
Letters: Sheriff, it's time for results
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
18 months isn't long enough to fix so much
agree with the goals that you suggested for Sheriff Lupe Valdez, I think
you give too much credence to her detractors, some of whom are
responsible for ? and for continuing ? the "perfect storm" of problems
in the past 18 months.
She has worked diligently to fix
the many problems she inherited. Many were not evident when she took
over ? for example, the flawed budget process for her department at the
Eighteen months may seem like a long
time, but it is really a short time to correct all the problems that
accumulated over years of neglect and conscious indifference. I am
confident she will prevail.
Scott Chase, Dallas
Scott Chase is someone else who
I totally admire. I cannot believe that he was defeated in the Democrat
Primary by former councilwoman Rose Renfro. The way she ran her primary
race was the same kind of councilwoman she was for Oak Cliff -- duplicitous and
deceitful. And, that was on a good day!
Still, Scott's assertion that "She
has worked diligently to fix the many problems she inherited."
just does not jive with the reality of the Sheriff Department's problems under
her poor management. If any CEO takes over a troubled company and can't
show improvements in 12 months, they aren't likely to be there in 18 months.
Sheriff Bowles would agree with Scott's statement that "the
flawed budget process for her department at the Commissioners Court"
is the real culprit behind the former and current problems of the Sheriff's
Here is the full text of
Sheriff Bowles e-mail to The Dallas
which they refuse to post:
|Re: Editorial 6-9-06
When will you get it?
Nobody can succeed as Sheriff as long as the Commissioners Court says,
Under the law, the Sheriff is obligated to plead (beg) for the funds
needed to operate. Under the law, the Commissioners Court can say NO!
For 19 of 20 years, I operated a model department. I
didn't suddenly lose it in my 20th year. The
department was sabotaged to run me out of office.
The public doesn't know I was offered a deal to withdraw my
I spoke heresy to the court! I suggested
(begged) the court to raise taxes, and to blame me. I
asked (begged) them to raise taxes the equivalent of 1 cup of coffee per
taxpayer, per month, and they panicked!
The court arbitrarily kept taxes frozen in the 19?
per $100 range while all the other counties including Tarrant, Denton,
Collin, Rockwall, Ellis and Johnson, were collecting 30?+
per $100. And the News refused to support my plea for
I begged for more space, more staff, more supervisors, more training,
better medical service and realistic pay. I
more than paid for these requests with a few hundred-million dollars,
non-tax revenue I raised for Dallas County, including my acquisition of
the Kays Jail property.
Now, look at the current complaints: Shortage of space, shortage
of staff, shortage of supervisors, inadequate training, problems with
medical service and the LOWEST PAY in the region.
As the great Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu all over again."
However, the News joined the Commissioners Court in phony
complaints against me: $75 airplane ticket (permitted by law), $300 in
business lunches (permitted by law), and these were paid for by John
Sammons and Mid-State Corp., NOT by Mr. Jack Madera, as you insisted on
And the News' disingenuous
complaint of my investing campaign funds was the worst example of
misinformation in the entire crusade to discredit my years of honorable
service. At the same time you were slamming me, I furnished your
reporter with a news story of Senator Trent Lott having to borrow
campaign funds from a bank because his funds, invested in stock, had
lost too much for him to cash them in. (Deja vu again!) The News
refused to even acknowledge the Lott story. Again, investing funds was a
legal undertaking, but the News wanted a grand jury
Now, the News could do an honorable thing.
Instead of continuing to take shots at
me, let me be retired in peace - I've earned it.
The News could quit cozying-up with the
Commissioners Court. The News
could put their feet to the fire. Urge...no, require them to do the
fullest extent of their duty...FUND COUNTY OPERATIONS adequately. Don't
let them use artificially derived and inadequate tax rates as Political
Puffery to falsely suggest superior performances.
It is their duty to be honestly efficient; not cheap tightwads. You
certainly weren't reluctant to exercise your journalistic prowess on me.
With qualified candidates avoiding serving for just these reasons, you
chose to exercise journalistic folly in your ploy to destroy my 55-year
public service career.
Is the Court immune to your scrutiny? The
public expects integrity from the News as well.
When will you get it?
Things are never going to be
fair, but Dallas Managed News
long since abandoned its roots, much less fair play. Most of their
columnists, like Macarena Whatever, are not from Dallas and have no ties to our
city or history or needs.
Lupe Valdez has not been honest about her unsuccessful efforts to pass her
licensing exams. She claimed not to have studied for it, but to have
expected her life experiences and "common sense" to get her through it.
The Dallas Observer has reported otherwise, that she did study extensively for
the test prior to taking it, but that in fact she was not eligible to take it in
the first place.
County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has belatedly qualified
to take the mandatory licensing test she flunked in
April. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement
Officer Standards tells us the sheriff has at last
provided the proper documentation she needs to take
the test, corroborating that she was a federal agent
in good standing who had completed a basic peace
officer?s class. The first time Valdez took her
exam, she wasn?t actually eligible to take it?it?s a
long bureaucratic story, but suffice to say it
hints at the sheriff?s office own disorganization.
Valdez spent the better part of three months
studying for the test the first time around and fell
just four points shy of a passing score.
Let's allow Jim Bowles to have
his private retirement. He served Dallas County well.
Let's put the blame where it belongs. Lupe Valdez did not expect to win
the Sheriff's job; she couldn't even get elected to the Dallas County Education
Board (that obscure board where Larry Duncan serves that controls Dallas County
school buses). She's a sweet person, but she is in over her head.
The fact that she is not qualified and could not pass the standard law
enforcement licensing test that over 60% pass the first time is not the fault of
Jim Bowles. She is a politician who ran for a political office for which
she was not and is not qualified. That does not make her a bad person, but
it sure makes her a bad person for the job she holds.
I don't know who will win the Republican Primary, but if that person is someone
with law enforcement experience and management experience, Lupe Valdez will be a
one-term Sheriff. We've had them before.