Friday, January 7, 2011

Up in Smoke

I disagree with yesterday's piece by Lucy, who argued that because former Airport Director Damelio's cigars were charged to the airport's operating budget, and because that budget is funded by fees on airlines rather than taxes, we should all view the incident less negatively.

Sorry, Lu, but no reasonable person would accept hair-splitting like that, or should.   It misses the essential point, besides:   however acquired, those funds are the airport's and therefore are public.   And this matter looks like a misuse of public funds.   I can't improve on this comment from a reader:

Regardless of the source of the money, it is public money for public benefit.   No wonder there is no trust in government if the public condones this kind of behavior.
It's fundamentally an ethical issue.   It's also a stupidity issue.

Every Republican elected or appointed official around here should know without being told:   Republicans can't get away with transgressions like this.   Like Caesar's wife, they have to be above reproach.

That's the reality of a media environment with a daily newspaper dedicated to ending Republican control of public offices and institutions.

So when you, Mr. Republican Appointee, pull a stunt like this one, you're not going to get the one-off, one-time article buried inside the paper, like City council expense reports and Susan John's drunk driving arrest.

You're going to become famous.   You're going to get front-page, above-the-fold, lead story treatment.   You're going to get it over and over.   First the initial story.   Then the editorial.   Then the Dems in the County Legislature demand an investigation or a "reform" or some piece of business to attract news coverage.   Then the editorial endorsing the Dems proposal.   Then the follow-up story ...

And so on.   Slam, slam, slam, slam, slam, slam, slam.   Until the target is destroyed.

And you, Mr. or Ms. Misbehaving Office-Holder, aren't the target.   The target is Republican control of public institutions, like County government.   You're just the hammer, the tool picked up and used by a hostile newspaper ever in search of such tools to do the repeated slamming.   If you're used up in the process, you're collateral damage.

You're way outside the Bubble of Media Protection where your Democratic counterparts live.

No whining that this is unfair.   If you want to participate in public life, you take the landscape as you find it.   And this is the landscape.   If you don't like it, then don't run for office or accept appointment to a public position.

It seems inconceivable that there can be any local Republican office holder who doesn't understand this with point-blank realism.   Then along comes a Damelio.

The ethical lapse is inexcusable.   So is the failure to understand the basic rules for Republican officials in this town.

No sympathy here for Mr. Damelio.

What did he expect?


Rottenchester said...

Nice to see this - I really don't care what party is in charge of the Airport, buying cigars on the taxpayer's dime is corrupt, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Philbrick is correct. Conservatives call them like they see them

AllanBlockhead said...

Good posting, Phil. So much for my theory that y

Anonymous said...

Right about the ethcs. But if you agree Damelio did something wrong, don't we know about it only because the D&

Anonymous said...

The airport is audited by Bonadio & Co., which is the Republicans favorite accounting firm. Nothing is ever wrong when Bonadio audits. Maybe someone should take a second, independent look. If Bonadio missed $21g in cigars, what else did they miss (or bury)?

Anonymous said...

Here endeth the lesson.

Howling Mad Murdoch