Thursday, November 09, 2006
Cooper City: Mayor's Letter Fails to Persuade Governor Not To Order Investigation
Imagine, if you will, you are the mayor of a city. Local media have recently reported that you and the entire city commission, as well as the city manager and staff, have engaged in conduct that, at the very least, appears to be improper.
In the wake of the media reports and resulting pubic outcry, the governor of your state sends you a letter expressing concern about serious allegations of misconduct and asking you to respond with detailed information that he will consider in deciding whether to request a formal law enforcement investigation into the matter.
As the mayor, your mission is now to try to persuade the governor that there is no need for him to request a formal law enforcement investigation. How do you respond? Do you:
A. take responsibility for what happened, express your sincere regret over the situation, apologize for engaging in conduct that even appeared to be improper, and demonstrate that you are taking action to correct and make amends for past mistakes; or,
B. sanctimoniously and viciously attack the news organizations, reporters, and citizens who were involved in bringing the conduct to the public's attention, unconvincingly deny you engaged in the alleged conduct, and arrogantly and self-righteously boast of your public service and excellent personal reputation.
If you are Mayor Debby Eisinger of Cooper City, you chose B.
The Mayor's November 8, 2006 letter to Governor Bush was ill-conceived and completely ineffective. The tone of Mayor Eisinger's letter is combative and is suffused with a sense of the Mayor's overbearing self-importance.
She attempts to portray herself as the victim of "cunning videography" wherein she is repeatedly shown holding a full glass of wine in her hand, but "Nowhere within the extensive secret filming over this extensive period of time is there portrayal of me even drinking a sip of wine or any alcoholic beverage."
This, to me, is reminiscent of when Bill Clinton was asked if he ever tried marijuana and he said he tried it, "but I didn't inhale." Are we supposed to believe the Mayor orders a full glass of wine to carry around with her in bars as a prop? If the Mayor is charging the glass of wine to the taxpayers, the least she could do is drink it and not waste it. Perhaps the Mayor just brought the same full glass of wine to each of these events so she could look like she was fitting in with her fellow commissioners who were actually drinking their drinks? Who does Mayor Eisinger think she is kidding?
One would think that Mayor Eisinger, who earned a Master's Degree in Physical Education from the University of Florida with a 3.91 GPA, and who spent eight years working as a word processor for WC Publishing Company, would have been able to do a better job of persuading the Governor that there was no wrongdoing.
Having received this ridiculous letter from Mayor Eisinger, it is no wonder Governor Bush ordered a formal law enforcement investigation into the matter.
It should also be noted that Judicial Watch, a national, conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promoting transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law, has a blog entitled Corruption Chronicles, which did a post on November 9, 2006 about the Cooper City situation that concludes as follows:
Residents of Cooper City should be outraged that their public officials are
dining and drinking on their dime.
I am a resident of Cooper City, and I am outraged that my public officials are dining and drinking on my dime.
I agree with Miami Herald columnist Wingate Payne, who, in a November 7, 2006 op-ed piece made the following comments:
Seems that the City Commission was taking itself out to dine on the
taxpayers' tab before commission meetings, with some commissioners liking a lot
Why on Earth would anyone think that this is an appropriate use of public
money? A clear case of feeling entitled to just desserts for their work.
It's one thing to expect the public to pay for some entertainment required as
part of the job, such as dinners at conventions, but regular feedings at the
public trough just go too far.
If they're talking public business at these dinners, they're violating the
open-meetings law. If they aren't, then these are social occasions and don't
qualify for public dollars. Building fellow feeling over meatballs and red wine
isn't a public purpose, either.