Friday, January 18, 2008

Debacle in the County Legislature

Where are the leaders of the Monroe County Republicans? Why is nobody challenging the threats and accusations made by David Gantt and his cronies pertaining to the Public Defender position?

[NOTE: Hitting Read More below automatically starts a video, with sound, embedded in the expanded posting. Scroll down and hit pause until you're ready to view it.]

As we know, when Legislature President Wayne Zyra first announced a screening committee, both Harry Bronson (Democratic Legislative Leader) and Tom Smith (President of the Monroe County Bar Association) were on board with the membership and the process.

Bronson was quoted in the press supporting Zyra’s initiative when it was announced. Tom Smith even thanked Zyra for including the Bar Association in the process participation.

Then in steps David Gantt.

Once Gantt got involved, both Bronson and Smith turned on the Zyra screening committee.

Maybe Gantt threatened a challenge to Bronson’s leadership position, or to run someone in primary against him (Bronson runs for re-election in 2009). Maybe Gantt threatened to get Bronson fired from his job on the State Assembly staff (more likely).

Maybe Gantt brought Smith to heel by threatening to stop funding the Bar’s pet project – the Campaign for Legal Justice. Gantt funneled $150,000 of State Assembly pork to this organization. Tom Smith is a member of its board.

Guaranteed that none of these questions will be asked by Gantt’s enablers at the Democrat and Chronicle. That we expect. But where are the Republican leaders?

The selection process was moving along to the satisfaction of all involved – Democratic, Republican and Bar Association -- until Gantt got involved.

No one is willing to stand up and state the reality that the the so called “community groups” interfering with the County Legislature's right and duty to appoint a public defender are controlled by David Gantt. Ray Scott and Franklin Florence are his pawns.

Why hasn’t anyone called out Gantt for claiming the Zyra selection committee was “political” despite the fact that it gave the Bar Association 2 seats, gave each of the County Legislature’s Democratic and Republican leaders one seat each to appoint, and included a bipartisan collection of judges?

If the public defender selection process has become "politicized," it's because of Gantt’s interference and bullying. If interested candidates have declined to be considered because of politicization, the fault is Gantt's.

Gantt’s performance at last night’s county legislature meeting was a disgrace.

Was that David Gantt we saw attempting to push aside a police officer? Yes.

Was that David Gantt disrupting a meeting by yelling at elected officials? Yes.
But the evening’s biggest disgrace wasn’t Gantt. It was the Republicans, and especially Legislature President Wayne Zyra, who was there at the meeting. Zyra should have been right in Gantt’s face telling him to back off.

We thought it was Zyra on WHAM—TV’s raw video of the event, trying to reason with Gantt, just past the 5:00 minute mark in the video. But it turns out that it was Legislator Jack Driscoll. The video caught Zyra in the background, retreating to the corner of the room, then slipping out, while Driscoll engages Gantt.

Credit to Legislator Driscoll, for standing up to Gantt. But shame on Zyra for losing control of his own chamber and for slinking out of the room when things got tough. What kind of “leader” is this?

1 comment:

scape32 said...

What a great advertising piece for The Community of Monroe.

We shouldn't expect our cherished leaders to show courage in the face of discord.

Rather, what's going through their minds is how much they can get sued if a brawl erupts and white people can be shown to have incited it or quelled it with their secutity forces.

You see, the civil rights bestowed upon minorities has neutered those in the establishment who have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

So, when the going gets tough, the not so tough get going, right out the back door.