death penalty news—–TEXAS

Oct. 12


Cook's tour: Stick to being El Paso mayor

Mayor John Cook says he's not a phony, so that's a reason he was recently
singing on his guitar in several Texas big cities promoting abolition of
the death penalty.

He admits political advisors warned him not to do it.

We side with the advisors. Cook is mayor of El Paso, which needs a lot of
tending to as one of the nation's largest cities. As the mayor of El Paso,
he should carry the insignia pins of El Paso issues on his lapel, not
those of his own personal missions in life.

Cook strummed and sang with the Music For Life Tour, which is affiliated
with the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Cook appeared in
Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth, Waco and Austin.

Among the entertainers was noted singer, songwriter and speaker Sara
Hickman. Kinky Friedman sang along in Austin.

Hickman said Cook was the only one of several mayors she contacted who
agreed to get involved. She said only one other mayor even responded.

Cook has long been a guitar-playing folk singer, way back to growing up in
Brooklyn. He carries the instrument to local radio talk shows and to
luncheons. He's cut a CD or two for charity causes.

Is Cook's stance on the death penalty right or wrong?

That's why he shouldn't have done the tour. The death penalty, like
abortion, is a no-no on the political stump. It's such a no-no — with
such strong opinions on both sides — that many national TV and radio
talk-show hosts won't even allow on-air debate.

Cook chose to go there, saying, "For me, it's a moral and religious

On one side, give the mayor credit for brevity. In Texas, the death
penalty has strong support, and he's officially come out against it. He
said he's lost friends over it.

We know where he stands. And he's always been a good man, feeding hundreds
of needy persons every year at Thanksgiving, singing for victims of
hurricanes … and now he's toured with an advocacy group.

For John Cook, the man, that's his personal right. His convictions are his
convictions, and this is free America.

As mayor, no. He represents all the people of El Paso as mayor, and he
should stick to El Paso issues.

(source: Editorial, El Paso Times, Oct. 10)