Harris County Judge forum held without incumbent candidate

Shunned by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the deeply influential Houston Super Neighborhoods Alliance, offered the stage of its candidate forum to the sole participant - Republican challenger Alexandra Mealer.

"What I take away is, this is absolute lawlessness and how do you have that in a county that's roughly 30 percent of the state's GDP?" said Mealer.

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While Mealer hammered Hidalgo on explosive spending and the vast expansion of county government, it was the community-wide erosion of public safety that drew her harshest criticism and pledge of reform. 

"The point is, there is not one aspect of the criminal justice system that has the resources to protect the public," said Mealer, who says she can raise funding for law enforcement without raising taxes.

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On the critical issue of flood protection, Mealer accused Hidalgo and allies of slowing progress to a dangerous crawl with bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary overhead.

"The point is we just need to go faster, because everyone needs to get all those projects built and there hasn't been a focus on moving with the speed with the severity of the issue demands. Because everybody knows we are not ready, we are not properly mitigated for the next flood," said Mealer.

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Meantime, Hidalgo appeared before a meeting of the Houston Black American Democrats.

"It is an absolute fact that there is more money in the police budget this year than last year," said Hidalgo.

Hidalgo also lashed out at Mealer on the issue of fundraising.

"How do you raise $5 million? You sell your soul," accused Hidalgo.