Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press

The Times Endorses Nicole Silveira For County D.A.

Some say, “Nothing can be done about the crime taking place in our county,” but not all counties in the Central Valley are equal when it comes to repeat offenders who are sent through the revolving door of our justice system.

Yes, our courts are overloaded, and our laws have become more lenient.

It often seems like the criminals are caught, booked and sent back to our neighborhood streets faster than the patrol officers who do the arresting.

There are other issues we are hearing about, and they include heavy case loads, low office morale and turnover at the Merced County District Attorney’s Office.

We have talked to local law enforcement people, and attorneys inside the office, and while they can not be as vocal as they want to be, the word is out: We have problems stemming from the leadership of the DA’s Office.

District Attorney Kimberly Helms-Lewis is completing her first term of office. She was elected in 2018 after a stunning, landslide win over longtime incumbent, Larry Morse.

In that election, Morse struggled with widespread scrutiny after his son, Ethan Morse, was arrested in 2013 in connection with an Atwater shooting, but the charges were later dismissed. His son later sued the county and was awarded a settlement. The elder Morse also faced press reports regarding inappropriate behavior with women in the workplace.

Helms-Lewis was a deputy district attorney in Stanislaus County at the time, but she had worked previously for the Merced DA’s Office and Merced County government. This was her first election to a large department head position. She is also the first woman to hold the title.

While this rise to the top is remarkable, we feel more progress is needed to create a strong, unified DA’s Office that coordinates effectively with other local law enforcement agencies to reduce crime in our region.

We feel it is time to elect a new District Attorney, and one who has shown great promise in her ability to work with law enforcement colleagues, local leaders and community members.

The name of this attorney is Nicole Silveira. Her proactive approach to seek out and target the most violent criminals, and to create deterrence before their crimes ever take place, will serve our county residents well, keep them safe, and protect their property.

Our county needs help. There is too much agricultural crime. Too much gang crime. Vandalism and Homicides are on the upswing. It is as if the gangs are running the county, and the residents be damned.

We feel Nicole Silveira is the answer.

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