Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BRET BURNS IS NOT
A REPUBLICAN
or a CONSERVATIVE
by Steve Fair
Bret Burns and Jason Hicks are running for District Attorney District #6. That includes Stephens, Jefferson, Grady and Caddo counties. Burns was appointed DA in 2006 when Gene Christian resigned. Burns filed unopposed in 2006. He has never worked in the private sector, going to work for his Dad (former DA Tony Burns) right out of law school. This is Burns’ first political race and it shows. Here are some of the rookie mistakes he has made.
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First, Burns seems intent on convincing people , if not deceiving them into thinking he is a Republican and a conservative. He attended the 5th annual Stephens County GOP Fish Fry in May, sitting with some attorneys from the Duncan area, who are Republicans. It takes a lot of ‘Chutzpah’ to show up in a room full of 850 Republicans. Chutzpah is the quality of audacity for good or for bad. The word derives from a Hebrew word, meaning "insolence", "audacity", and "impertinence."
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In an election year, the Democrat Burns showed no class by attending a political fundraiser for the OTHER party. I understand he also ‘planned’ to attend the Grady County GOP Women’s candidate round-up, but was warned he wasn’t welcome to the clearly partisan event. The reason Burns is trying to ‘paint himself red,’ is because Grady County (the largest county in the district) is decidedly Republican. Stephens County (the second largest county in the district) is Hicks’ home and votes Republican. Burns knows he must convince Republicans and conservative Democrats to vote for him in order to win. Rookie politicians fail to recognize they hurt their cause when they attempt to appeal to everyone. Stand on principle and let the chips fall where they may.
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Second, Burns in the past has made overtures that he might be willing to ‘switch parties,’ but failed to do so before the required deadline. Some of his Republican supporters (he has a few) argue the office of District Attorney should be like the Judicial offices- non-partisan. While they can certainly make a case for taking the ‘partisanship’ out of the DA’s race, a person’s first vote is their party affiliation. Burns has chosen to be a Democrat and therefore must either agree with the Democratic platform or is using it only as a mechanism to get him elected.
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Third, Burns has baggage. His busting of the former Grady County Sheriff and several law enforcement types at the Elks Club in Chickasha has resulted in polarizing the very people he has to work with- law enforcement. While most of the officers cannot take a public stand, they are ready for a change.
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Finally, Burns is not accountable. Recently, his photograph was published in the Lawton Constitution donating $1,000 to the Stephens County Crimestoppers. That is a worthy organization, but the money Burns was donating wasn’t his- it was money from his Property Forfeiture fund.
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Most district attorneys in the state have a Property Forfeiture Fund. The fund is not subject to fiscal year limitations and is to be used for enforcement of controlled dangerous substances laws, drug abuse prevention and education, and is maintained by the District Attorney to be used at his or her discretion for those purposes. The revenues for said fund come from the proceeds of forfeited assets. Any cash, vehicles, real property, or other assets used in the commission of or acquired as a result of a crime as described in the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act is presumed to be forfeitable. Asset forfeiture is an effective law enforcement tool used by local district attorneys to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains by seizing the proceeds of criminal activity and property used to facilitate crime.
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In Oklahoma, the arresting agency gets a portion and the District Attorney’s office the rest. Evidently, there are little or few rules on how the money can be used. The DA has sovereign rule over that fund. The State Auditor and Inspector audits the fund about every three years, but in effect thousands of dollars can be in the Seizure fund with little or no accountability. That needs to be fixed legislatively, but in reality the DA shouldn’t have to be compelled to being accountable to the taxpayers.
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Burn’s rookie political mistakes will cost him reelection. He should have changed parties several years ago because in a Republican year and with a strong qualified opponent, Burns is not going to convince enough Rs to spilt their ticket and conservative Democrats will be voting straight R in November.

1 comment:

rodney said...

Why hasn't his affair with a certain TV news personality been talked about? It further speaks to his integrity.