I had an interesting conversation with a couple of good friends this morning that I found to be rather thought provoking.
We were discussing the irony over Pat Lykos' campaign promises of "transparency" within her District Attorney's Office and the fact that she decided not to renew my contract because of this blog. I guess that "transparency" under the Lykos Standardized Dictionary means only those things that illustrate what a damn fine job she will be doing.
She will fire or demote anyone who dared to even look at another candidate during the D.A.'s race. She proved that over the past few days with her administrative decisions that, amongst other things, had her demoting prosecutors from specialty positions such as White Collar Crime, Appellate, and Consumer Fraud in favor of some of her political cronies.
Yeah, I have a strong feeling that her view of "transparency" will leave some longing for the good old days of the McCarthy era when it comes to being able to speak freely and voice your opinion of the Office policies.
Hell, even today I learned that someone that I considered to be my friend was railing against my "toxic blog" in an e-mail to all the misdemeanor prosecutors. That kind of hurt, but I guess those types of things are going to be expected in the days to come under the Transparent Lykos Administration.
So, I guess for the purposes of this post, you can refer to me as the Toxic Avenger.
Now, at the risk of sounding like I'm whining, I'd like to point out a few things:
#1 - I knew from the second I started this blog that I would be fired if anyone other than Kelly Siegler was elected. I didn't care because I stood up for what I believed in, even though there was professional risk involved. As I've mentioned time and time again, I don't regret that in the slightest. (NOTE: I'm sad to see that the new first assistant isn't quite as willing to stand up for what he believes in, even if it is a professional risk to him.)
#2 - I, ultimately, endorsed Pat Lykos over Clarence Bradford in the general election, and (believe it or not) I don't regret that, either. I liked Chief Bradford on a personal level, but the ultimate direction he wanted to take the Office wasn't a good one, in my opinion. I know it disappointed a lot of my readers, for which I'm sorry. But, as I said back then, what was best for me wasn't what was best for the County. I stand by my endorsement of her over Bradford, regardless of what has happened to me personally.
#3 - I am truly saddened to be leaving the job, although I am optimistic that it may end up being good for me in the long run.
#4 - I am keenly aware of the fact that this Office existed long before I came to it, and it will exist long after I leave. Although several excellent prosecutors got canned, there are still a Legion of excellent prosecutors that remain. Ultimately, the Job will get done, and it will still get done well.
#5 - Items # 1-4 do not in any way, shape, or form change the fact that Pat Lykos is a blowhard politician who is already showing the County that she is firing and demoting people based on her own political vendettas and public perception that is not accurate. In a Nostradamus-like moment back in March, I predicted this type of thing occurring under her Administration.
My friend, Grits for Breakfast, pointed out to me that given what I had written about Lykos that it would be difficult for her to develop any type of trust between the two of us. That's a very valid point, and I don't disagree.
But here's some food for thought:
There are very few things in life that I've been particularly good at, but being a prosecutor is one of them. I don't mean to sound egotistical, but I think I served this County well during my tenure. So did Craig Goodhart. So did Luci Davidson. So did Mike Trent. So did Vic Wisner. So did Bert Graham. So did Joe Owmby. So did all of the prosecutors that got demoted this week.
These were prosecutors who tried Cop Killers, Baby Killers, Rapists, Robbers, and a whole host of other violent offenders.
And we all tried those cases well.
So the irony of the situation is that back in October I endorsed Lykos over Bradford because I thought it was the best thing for the County, even if it wasn't in my own best interest.
Sadly, our newly-elected District Attorney is making her firings and demotions based on what is in her best interest rather than the County's. At least partially because she doesn't take well to being criticized.
The bottom line is that Lykos has already broken her campaign promise of transparency before she has even taken Office. Those of us who got fired weren't fired because of our job performance ratings. We got fired for opposing or criticizing her. In some cases (such as Vic and Joe), the firings were based on a public perception that they somehow did wrong in their jobs (which they didn't).
Yes, Patsy, your administration is clearly going to be very transparent in the days to come.
Just probably not in the way that most people assumed you meant.