LONSBERRY: Lovely Skated, Shown Mercy She Denied Others


Nothing has changed.

               It’s just like when Uncle Reggie was flying down the Thruway.

               The rules don’t apply to Lovely.

               She lied her way out of it then, and she has lied her way out of it now. There is no karma, there is no justice, there is no, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

               There’s just Lovely getting away with it.

               She keeps her law license, she retains the ability to run for future office, her pension is secure, she comes out smelling like a rose.

               And the lawyers can lie in the hallway about mistakes and oversights, and how there was no fraud and no scheme and nobody lost any money, how it was all a paperwork snafu by some good-hearted elderly folks.

               Inside the courtroom, where Lovely said exactly the opposite, where she accepted criminal responsibility for her actions, where she articulated her involvement, the judge wouldn’t let the cameras roll, and those words will go unheard, and Lovely will skate.

               Lovely was saved by a mercy which she herself has refused to show.

               Never has her heartless destruction of Jeremy Kappell been more galling than in the light of her own avoidance of responsibility. From the first to the last of her years in office, she had destroyed careers and disrupted livelihoods. From Sam Mitrano to Mark Vaughn she has thrown people away, wrecking reputations and family finances just because she could, because in some moment of spite or self-interest, or in order to open a job for a crony or relative, she has had the power to crush.

               And she has exercised that power with a vindictiveness that borders on the sadistic.

               When La’Ron Singletary wouldn’t lie for her, and stepped away rather than oppose her or disrespect his oath, she maliciously fired him, denying him the retirement health benefits his service otherwise would have earned. She, who has now worked a deal to preserve her own far-larger retirement payout, made sure to destroy his. And she, whose future livelihood is preserved by her avoidance of two felony convictions, scuttled his ability to earn a living by painting him with her disgrace.

               That’s Lovely Warren.

               A prophetess of her own declaration, who routinely posts about what God has told her to do, she wore celestial, suffragette white to plead guilty, and positioned her move as a sacrifice for her daughter, a selfless act of parental love, instead of as the cheap, selfish ass covering which it truly was. She will be applauded and cheered on Facebook, and this will all be remembered as a racist attack on a strong black woman, one more proof of institutional racism.

               And she will be back.

               She will soon land in some big-money job, probably one that will let her add more years to her pension fund. She has alienated the Joe Morelle world, which controls local non-profit jobs, so she won’t end up there. And City Council or County Legislure don’t pay enough. My bet would be City Court, where the pay is high, the term is long, and the work is, well, you only have to work if you want to.

               But she will be back.

               In part because few really grasp – or care – what she did.

               She cheated in an election. She sought to deny the people of Rochester a fair voice and choice by breaking the rules of our electoral democracy. She broke the finance laws in order to wring extra money from businesses who thought they had to grease her palm every time it was extended. Drunk with the unquestioned power of her first term, flush with the confidence that she was untouchable, she put together a financing scheme that everybody knew was illegal.

               And she did it in an election against a police chief and an investigative reporter – two people who were certain to see through her plot and call her on it. That is an arrogance only possible in a person who thinks she is completely above the law.

               Which, yesterday, she showed she is.

               But the law isn’t the only arbiter of right and wrong in our system.

               So is the ballot box.

               And though the law whimpered yesterday, the ballot box spoke loud in the spring. The court might have cut her a deal, but the voters did not. The district attorney took away a month of her mayoralty; the people brought it to an end.

                And that’s the only verdict that matters. That’s the jury that Lovely should fear.


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