Dallas Morning News: We recommend Clay Jenkins for Dallas County judge

In four years as Dallas County judge, Democrat Clay Jenkins has led with his chin — even at the risk of being tagged with political uppercuts.
 
He aggressively sought a new CEO for Parkland when the county’s only public hospital was on the verge of collapse, and proposed county purchasing and ethics reforms in the wake of federal charges that fellow Commissioners Court member John Wiley Price exploited weak internal controls for his own benefit.
 
When the West Nile outbreak occurred in 2012, Jenkins issued the politically controversial order to spray mosquito breeding grounds from the air. His response to the county’s Ebola crisis has been impressively compassionate and collaborative. He has worked seamlessly with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to coordinate city and county responses.
 
Jenkins, 50, has stepped up to a multitude of difficult challenges and outperformed expectations. A lawyer from Highland Park, he has emerged from Price’s lengthy shadow — no easy task — and is now considered a calming, independent force on the Commissioners Court, putting to rest accusations early in his term that he played lap dog to Price in forcing out Dallas County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet.
 
Jenkins deserves another term over former Dallas City Council member and GOP challenger Ron Natinsky and Libertarian Party candidate Preston Poulter.
 
Natinsky, 68, accuses Jenkins of a rash of inefficiencies and ineptitude, faulting the county board for being a poor steward of taxpayer money. Yet asked for examples of what he’d do differently or how he — as a Republican on a  Democratic county board — would be more effective, Natinsky was hard-pressed to offer specifics. His criticisms of county government seemed to be more generic gripes than strategies for governing.
 
For example, Natinsky said the county could have done more to encourage development at the International Inland Port of Dallas. That’s true. But the port’s challenges have more to do with Price’s manipulation of the project and a weak economy than with Jenkins, who wasn’t in office at the time. Natinsky claimed that while chairman of the city’s economic development committee, he recruited over 50 businesses and created more than 6,000 jobs during the last recession, then backed off that claim when asked which businesses and what sorts of jobs.
 
A three-term City Council member, Natinsky finished third out of four mayoral candidates in 2011. He had a difficult time making the case why he’d fare better among voters countywide.
 
Perhaps most disturbing were Natinsky’s comments regarding our community’s Ebola crisis. He questioned established science about transmission of the disease and seemed to suggest a course of action that could lead to community panic.
 
All things considered, Jenkins is the superior choice.