Everyone was in a bad mood. Before the meeting even started, Council Prez Grube accused me of sticking knives in his back. Huh? Then he threatened to let the air out of my tires and slice the rag top on my jeep, although he always does that. Branco looked like a zombie after his perpetual four hour commutes. He needed coffee badly. McClure was harried and unhappy. Angle, who is undergoing daily intravenous injections for his leg, gimped in with steam coming out of his ears. And Ann McHale was decked out in red, a sure sign she was taking no prisoners.
Of all people, Angle delivered the invocation, and oh what an invocation it was. His prayer focused on all the "bad people" out to get us, and called on God to protect Christians. Jews and everyone else can take care of themselves. He was getting ready to sacrifice a goat, but McHale snarled that those animal rights protestors might pop up again.
Last night was not a good night to approach Council with my rants about Wally G, the Elections Commission Chair. Wally sees no conflict with also being area chair for a local political party or in hosting a highly partisan radio show promoted by a local Dem website.
Now if I had any brains, I would have kept my mouth shut. Council was already in foul temper, and four of the five members at last night's meeting just happen to be Dems. But, as you can readily see from my prior posts, I'm an idiot. So I told Council that, regardless of the specifics in the Home Rule Charter, it's a matter of common sense that the elections commission should be above partisan politics and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. I even submitted a resolution that does not demand, but simply requests, Wally G to step down.
After I had finished braying, Lamont McClure decided to forget about common sense and stick with the Charter. The Charter does not define "officer." Ah ha! How do I know a committeeman is an officer? Well, let me see. He runs for the office of committeeman. He does things Dems like me are unable to do. And in Wally G's case, he was elected by other committeemen to be an area chair. Any other conclusion turns logic on its head.
While McClure was demanding specifics on how an elections commissioner could rig an election, Vesuvius was percolating. I can't recall exactly when, but Council blew sometime around 7 PM last night. The cupola landed somewhere in Allentown, and molten lava has now damaged the judges' new marble floors. Angle and Council Prez Grube were screaming at each other about party bashing or something. Dertinger, who wasn't even present last night, was nevertheless accused of grandstanding. Grube's face was so red that all of Easton's johns stopped in, looking for a little action. At this point, Branco made a fatal error, and tattled that someone had called him a "professional prostitute." That was all the johns needed to hear. I think they dragged him down to Easton's circle as he screamed, "I quit the wrong Council." Order was finally restored when Ann McHale, the lady in red, gave everyone a time out.
I had pretty much given up hope on this wild bunch when, at the end of the meeting, Lenny Zito spoke up. He's Council's consigliere. He used to be a judge. He told Council, well, at least the five who showed, that an elections commission is a quasi judicial body. It often makes decisions that are essentially judicial. Members must avoid the appearance of impropriety, and conduct themselves with impartiality.
Holy canoli! Someone in authority actually agrees with me! I better check my research.
Zito also cautioned, however, that no action should be taken without insuring that Wally G's due process rights are protected. County Exec Stoffa, who apparently hasn't had a chance to discuss the situation with Wally G, mentioned doing just that last night. Until he does so, he's not ready to conclude there's an appearance of impropriety.
For Wally G, the writing is on the wall. It's time to step down. Delaying the inevitable will only make his party look bad and hurt the candidates he's trying to promote.
For more objective accounts of what transpired last night, the Express Times and Morning Call have excellent summaries. Their reporters escaped last night's eruption.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to Easton's circle to find Tony Branco.