One thing is certain, Leonard Redon does not take a very good mug shot.
Something about the camera makes him look like a drunk.
Or, that could be the alcohol.
Leonard Redon – deputy mayor of the city of Rochester – was tagged by the troopers night before last for drunk driving.
Fortunately, there wasn’t a tuba in the back seat.
But there was a lead foot on the pedal.
At about midnight, on 490 near the Clinton Avenue exit, the deputy mayor was clocked going 70 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone.
Anybody familiar with that stretch of road knows that it’s within spitting distance of an annoying 40-mile-an-hour zone.
But while 70 in a 55 is not exactly Uncle Reggie caliber, at midnight when things are slow it will get you pulled over.
Where they’re going to notice you’re three sheets to the wind.
And so it was that an hour later the deputy mayor was on the phone to the mayor.
Honestly, that could not have been fun. The last thing Lovely Warren needs is a new embarrassment. She has just caught her stride and gotten past earlier difficulties and now her deputy mayor pulls this.
Which is a pretty poor reflection on him.
If he wants to throw his own life and reputation away, that’s on him. But given the rocky start of this new mayor’s administration, you’d think the people around her would want to mind their Ps and Qs, so as not to cause her any trouble.
But this guy’s getting liquored up.
Or having a diabetes fit.
Because less than 12 hours after the troopers handed him a ticket, City Hall’s defense of Leonard Redon had already come up with an excuse. In the initial press release it was a mysterious “newly diagnosed medical condition.”
Some thought it was a dire diagnosis that had him despondent and hitting the bottle.
But not so, the mayor’s spokesperson later announced.
His new medical condition, the one which “may have affected his decision making,” is diabetes.
A disease which afflicts some 8 percent of the American population and which is twice as likely to strike a black person as a white person.
Asked if the disease impaired the decision making necessary to be deputy mayor, the City Hall spokeswoman answered in the negative. Apparently, all his diabetes does is make him speed, drive drunk and forget to get his car inspected.
Other than that, he’s fine.
At least enough to satisfy the mayor.
Within nine hours of her late-night phone call, she had declined to accept Leonard Redon’s resignation and had seemingly absolved him from responsibility. The press release was sent out, she had disappeared for the day, I’m surprised somebody didn’t start handing out diabetes awareness ribbons.
No doubt the paper's editorial page will soon announce that discussion of the DWI is a racist attack on the mayor.
And though the City Hall press release said the deputy mayor was going to take some personal days to work with his doctor, he seemed yesterday more intent on meeting with his lawyer.
While the TV cameras went around town asking people what they thought about a deputy mayor with a DWI.
Not to give anything away, but they didn’t like it. They thought it reeked of a double standard. They thought that it seemed to take away from the fact that drunk driving is an unacceptable danger to motorists and pedestrians.
It does seem odd that the deputy mayor gets a DWI and he’ll be back at work next week. If a cop working for the same city got a DWI, he’d more often than not be fired before he knew what hit him.
Ditto for a firefighter.
If there’s any good news in all this, it is that this city official snagged for DWI blew lower -- .13 – than the last city official snagged for DWI -- .14.
Of course, this is all preliminary. After the district attorney’s office works its magic on this charge, in the interest of justice, the deputy mayor could be looking at a littering charge.
Or maybe failure to use a seatbelt.
The bottom line on this is that it’s a mixed bag. There is smart and dumb all through this.
First, it is inconceivable that a man this age with this much responsibility would even think about drinking and driving. It is just such a stupid, stupid thing done by a man who knew better.
Must be diabetes makes you forget how to call a cab.
Second, it is good that the mayor learned and acted quickly, and notified the public in a timely fashion.
It is unfortunate that she skipped the press conference and avoided the media the rest of the day. It is also unfortunate that a bogus excuse – diabetes – was offered up. And it was unfortunate that the mayor offered absolution to Leonard Redon so soon. There should have been some sort of review or probation or fact finding. Instead, the three-paragraph news release announcing the charge ended with the mayor largely declaring the matter over.
It is also deeply disappointing that one of the supposed grownups in the administration should so embarrass the mayor he is supposed to be serving.
It’s also interesting that somehow the state police believed that the deputy mayor lived in Pittsford. He has an address in the city, at a very small place for a very wealthy man, and he is registered to vote from that address. But unless the troopers made a pretty big typo, a follow up question in this matter is: Where exactly does the deputy mayor really live?
Leonard Redon has had a long and seemingly impressive career, serving almost 30 years with Kodak, another 10 in the classy Paychex operation, and now three years as the city’s No. 2. He probably is what everyone says – good at his job.
But this is a big deal.
And in that picture he does look very drunk.