Talkin' Trash and Filchin' Good Names
Dateline: 2/16/10--Boynton Beach Florida (and yes, I will be visiting Maurice Gumbs)
Life is too short, and those unfortunate enough to be living in communities like East New York cannot be blamed if they decide to derive their entertainment through their elected officials, whether it be Councilman Chuckles Barron or their former Assemblywoman, Diane "House of the Rising Sum" Gordon.
When City Council Speaker Christine Quinn forced the firing of Councilman Barron’s Chief of Staff, Viola Plummer, for advocating an attempt on the life of another Council Member, I was shocked and bothered.
Voters who chose Barron as their Councilman knew what they were getting; and they had a right to a Councilman with a staff dedicated to implementing his agenda, whether it be telling tall-tales about Mr. Charlie or assassinating Leroy Comrie.
Luckily, with the judicially ordained replacement of Ms. Gordon by Mrs. Barron, democracy has been allowed to prevail, and Ms. Plummer has once again been restored to her rightful place as a parasite at the public teat, this time through Assemblywoman Inez Barron’s not-so-good offices.
Christine Quinn should have minded her business. While she has legal control over the entire payroll for members of the New York City Council, and therefore an obligation to monitor that a Council employee is not a no show and that other legal requirements are complied with, that technical reality should not cloud the fact that employees of the individual Council Members work for those members and not for Quinn.The implication that Speaker Quinn might still maintain a contrary point of view in implicit in an article posted yesterday on Room 8 by Rock Hackshaw:
Speaking of “Chucky Bee” himself, it appears that my article (“Don Quixote”) on him may just cost me my part time job with council member Darlene Mealy (Communications Director). I have been handed a letter outlining the council’s guidelines on “blogging”, from the Office of the General Counsel. I am studying the document and may have to get legal advice in order to continue blogging. The letter specifically cited the “Don Quixote” column. If you haven’t read that column, then go up to my archives here and do so. You can click on my name under “Bloggers” to get there. Tell me what you think about it. All I know is this: I do have first amendment rights via the US constitution. ‘Nuff said.
In fairness to Ms. Mealy, let me state unequivocally, that she and her two advisors who hired me, have never attempted to place restrictions on my writings, at any point over the last 3 months. If it is true that Barron protested my column -which is what has caused this letter to be issued- then he is nothing but a wimp. For years I have challenged him to publicly debate me whenever issues were hot (like “Ebonics”), but he always refused. In the past -whenever I openly critiqued him- I have challenged him to refute my truths, by writing columns on Room Eight New York Politics and other blogs; again, he has always refused. I was told by a highly reputable source that he is mad at me: so what. I write nothing but the truth from where I see it. His wife has been mad at me for years. Both Inez and Charles don’t get it, and that’s a shame. They may be well-meant, but they have one-tracked minds; close-minded in areas where they should be objective.
If this letter becomes a big issue and I have to give the council-woman notice, then c’est la vie. I am going to stand up for my first amendments rights to write my political columns as I see fit; to hell with “DON QUIXOTE” CHARLES BARRON (if he is the cause of all this). I have always survived the hits. This too shall pass. If I am fired over my writings then ditto."
Now, let me be clear. I am not questioning Ms. Quinn’s authority to fire Rock. She may or may not have such power, but it is Rock’s job to find that out, and I hope he forces the issue instead of quitting.
Further, I would have no problem if Darlene Mealy fired Rock Hackshaw for his blogging, or any other reason or no reason at all. The Federal Courts (ironically enough, in a case involving the firing of Diane Gordon as a legislative aide by the Assemblyman she would later beat) have made clear the right of a legislator to fire a staff member if he or she disapproves of their political speech.An employee of a legislator serves at the pleasure of. his or her principle; for the same reasons Charles Barron’s constituents have the right to a Councilmanic staffer calling for the murder of other legislators, Darlene Mealy’s constituents have a right to a Councilmanic staffer who once said of his boss::
“From the first candidate’s forum you could tell that Ms. Mealy-Mouse was just a “cute lil thing” and that was all; but cute lil things are for the beauty parlors not City Hall. What we need in the corridors of power are competent people who are brave, intelligent, dedicated, hard-working and honest in tackling the big issues of the day. Darlene Mealy is one small pin-prick away from being an airhead. They all know this; black electeds, white electeds, Hispanic electeds and Asian electeds. Labor knows this; county leaders know this; and so too most newspapers and media outlets. Trust me: they all know this…
…Political junkies like me, see her all the time displaying her incompetence, ineptitude and non-savvy. She can hardly punctuate a verb, far less string together two coherent sentences in a row. She is definitely on David Letterman’s top ten list of worst electeds in the country…Darlene Mealy’s ineptitude was glaringly on display. She was an embarrassment. I will say no more….
… Politically speaking, if you compare Tish James to Darlene Mealy, then Tish is Albert Einstein and Darlene is failing the first grade block-building class. It’s that bad…
…But Darlene Mealy: OMG.
Someone near to me said: WTF (truly). People were asking what she was talking about. Some folks even laughed while she spoke. Sharpton had to even admonish her a few times to be specific and answer the questions (directly).
She needs to go home. Truly. Last night, one of Mealy’s opponents (Tulani Kinard) exposed the council woman for exactly what she is: an empty hairdo. Any of Mealy’s present opponents can do better than she in the council…
…The point of all this is simple: many influential people in this naked city know that Darlene Mealy is a travesty. Behind her back they joke about her; they need to stop doing that. Tell her to her face: go home lady. She might get the message. The idea of letting her publicly embarrass herself…”
If in Ms. Mealy’s judgment, having such a harsh in-house critic on the payroll is useful, perhaps her shrink has a right to question her, but Christine Quinn, whatever her legal rights, surely does not.
But at least Chris Quinn is being consistent. She will not countenance a mere staffer on a payroll she controls attacking any member, even one she despises. Sadly, this will probably stand her in good stead with most every one of her colleagues.
I had once thought that Charles Barron was a man of principle. I believe I once said that the problem with most politicians is that you had to worry whether they might betray their principles, while with Barron the problem was that he would probably adhere to them.
I am no longer so sure.
Chuck Barron was so deluded that he thought he could challenge a sitting Speaker’s re-election (attracting the support of only one colleague--and that one’s term expired before the vote took place) and somehow escape punishment. And Chuck Barron is so deluded that he thought the subsequent loss of his Committee Chairmanship had some racial basis.
Does anyone believe that Speaker Quinn would not have set up a similar public castration or infibulation of a white colleague who had dared to do the same? First of all, she’s Irish; second of all, to not do so would surely be taken by those she desires to control as a sign of weakness, diminishing her ability to persuade. [Given some of the other choices for chairmanships, it is clear that the fact that Barron's demotion was also justified on the merits was clearly irrelevant--in fact, the strongest basis for criticism of Quinn on this matter is the fact that Barron had a chairmanship in the first place].Chuck Barron wanted everyone to know he was not afraid to stand up to THE MAN, even if the man was a lady (though given the Barron family’s possible homophobia, maybe they would not concede even that point).
But, as it turns out, Chuck Barron is apparently such a hypocrite that he has now come to THE LADY, keffiyeh in hand, and asked her to do to Rock Hackshaw what she did to Viola Plummer.
Christine Quinn is merely abusing her power. Charles barron is abusing something one would think would be far more precious to him.
As Iago once said:
“Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
When Christine Quinn demoted Barron, and when she fired Viola Plummer, she merely stole Chuck Barron’s purse (in Plummer's case, the "trash" metaphor seems especially apt). But it is Charles Barron who has filched his own good name (such that it was).
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