Stop The Mudslinging And Let Us Get On With The Business Of Government

As I have said, the chain of events leading to the arrest of the Mayor of Monticello and his girlfriend for multiple felonies and misdemeanors was a sad day for them and for the Village of Monticello. Mayor Jenkins, like anyone with a pending charge, must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, as the Mayor, Mr. Jenkins is the symbolic figurehead who represents the community and is a role-model to the community's youth - our future. This is sad indeed.

The Mayor's accusations that his and Rochelle Massey's arrests were politically motivated on the part of the New York State Police is in itself political spin and require a response.

Claims by Mayor Jenkins and his political advisor, the twice-fired former Village Manager, John Barbarite (who reportedly showed up in court with $10,000 in cash in a brown paper bag to cover the requested bail amount), that three members of the Board of Trustees were overheard "laughing about the matter at village hall" are false and defamatory, and politically motivated.

Regarding the video on YouTube of the Mayor and his girlfriend being led out away in handcuffs, I have no knowledge who recorded or posted it, although I have inquired. I have been told by nearby Broadway business owners that the raid was visible for blocks, with several police vehicles and numerous Troopers moving in and out of the store.

With the advent of modern cell-phones, video cameras are common. Anyone on the scene who saw events unfolding could have recorded this high-profile public spectacle. The law allows recording in public places.

My own feeling is that placing this recording on the Internet, particularly with the "the sound of the unseen cameraman's laughter" is inappropriate, in poor taste, and unnecessarily humiliates the defendants. I respectfully ask that whoever is responsible for uploading it kindly remove it as a matter of human decency.

I am confident the legal proceedings against Mr. Jenkins and Miss Massey will proceed justly and properly, and will most likely take some time. If they committed crimes, they will be held accountable.

Meanwhile, in the interest of fairness, Mr. Jenkins and Miss Massey should be treated with the same dignity that, for example, our former Village Clerk received when she was arrested on several dozen felony charges of grand larceny just four months ago. That case is also still pending, but we have seen no humiliating images like this on on the Internet.

Please, let us all allow the criminal justice system take its course. Mayor Jenkins, his confidant and political advisor, and the candidates these men are supporting for Trustee in the March 16, 2010 village election should stop trying to spin these sad events for political benefit.

Voters will decide which candidates are most likely to end the political bullying and power struggles; to bring down the crime rate in our community; and to work as a team with the rest of the Trustees to improve economic conditions and quality of life in Monticello. Voters are capable of responsible choices.

We can also do without mud-slinging or insults to the professionalism of the New York State Police, while attempting to paint these defendants as victims, as they seek to win sympathy by playing a phony race card yet again.

Recent events are not about race or politics. Using these excuses to justify alleged criminal conduct is neither honest nor likely to work in the long run, especially for someone has used it multiple times, regardless of facts, when events turn against him or people disagree. It is like crying 'wolf'. It is also disrespectful to those who truly have been persecuted or downtrodden to due their race or religion.

These arrests were not politically motivated, nor was the Mayor's unpaid suspension from his New York State job. The raids on his store and home were overseen by the most professional police agency in the State of New York.

Let us move back to the business of Monticello. We have a Village Manager (who, by law, is the chief executive officer of the Village of Monticello). In my opinion, he does an excellent job. There is always room for improvement in anyone and any group. Working as a team, we will continue to make strides to restore Monticello to its rightful place as the Garden of the Catskills.