LONSBERRY: They Ought to Use La'Ron's Cuffs


 At this point, Lovely Warren is fighting for her law license.

               If she ever wants to practice, if she ever wants to run for judge, if she ever wants to re-approach her current income level, she’s got to avoid a felony conviction and the automatic disbarment that comes with it.

               As it stands, she faces two felony charges in two proceedings – one involving campaign finance, and one involving an illegal handgun in her bedroom. Standing alone, for a person with no record, either one of those might be pled down to a misdemeanor.

               But they are not standing alone, and she is not a person without a record.

               And though her record is not criminal, it is not noble. She has herself, when in a position to condemn, been predictably vindictive, wrecking the careers and lives of people in and out of government. And Friday’s new indictment against her may have been simple karma, an illustration of the belief that what goes around comes around.

               Put another way, if there’s a perp walk, they ought to use La’Ron’s cuffs.

               And drive her away in Jeremy’s car.

               And parade her past every streetside memorial and empty business.

               Because Lovely Warren has not been good for Rochester. She has plundered the city and its non-profits for the benefit of her family and friends, all while it has fallen to the saddest depths in its 200-year history, disappointing the hopes of its residents and businesses and shattering the hopes and lives of countless people.

               She frequently falls back on religion when criticized, claiming that God speaks to her and justifies her and that those who assail her are part of a sinister horde doing the devil’s work. But the scripture that may best capture her tenure in office is “When the wicked rule, the people mourn.”

               And for another five months, they will mourn, as hurricane Lovely takes a slow stroll toward the exit.

               She will not resign, though that would be the decent thing to do. She needs the paycheck, and she needs to maintain the pretense of innocence and victimhood. She needs to walk out the door a martyr, a victim of racism and sexism, in order to leave open the possibility that one day she can walk back into public office, the only real employment she has ever known.

               From a personal standpoint, these must be horrifying times.

               She has just been repudiated 2-to-1 by the voters, her inherited political machine has turned to ash in her hands, her husband could be looking at a long prison term, her daughter has been put uncomfortably in the public eye, a criminal defense can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in the new year she will begin a life without the structure of government employment she has known since she was an undergraduate.

               It’s no wonder she got salmonella.

               And it would not be wrong to have sympathy for her.

               It wouldn’t be easy, and it might not come natural, but it wouldn’t be wrong. At this point in her life and career, Lovely Warren has become the protagonist in a lesser Greek tragedy, one more demigod drowned in wasted and unfulfilled potential. She rose powerfully, under the wing of a patron, a potential role model for little Rochester girls struggling against the odds. But like the dog to its vomit and the hog to its mire, she returned to the baser themes of her upbringing.

               And here she is now, facing an arraignment and dodging TV cameras.

               Her last five months could be a crusade, a last effort do serve and build, unfettered by political repercussions or obligations. But most in City Hall fear it will be a time of vendetta, and the ensconcing of cronies in permanent jobs. At best it will likely be distracted neglect, a city in crisis running on autopilot while its chief executive juggles court dates and job interviews.

               The murder rate is higher in Rochester than it is in Chicago. And the mayor has been indicted. Twice.

               That’s pretty much all you need to know.

               “I walk by faith,” she posted on Facebook, a photograph showing her feet and legs swathed in suffragette white.

               “I walk on you,” is what it should have said, as her self-serving tenure comes to an ignoble end.


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