Delaware for Obama

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Atkins Roundup

My latest guest post for delawareliberal:

If you haven't been following the latest discussion of Rep. John "Booze 'n Bruise" Atkins, here's the trail for you to follow:

Mike Matthews brings new details to light:
After having an enjoyable night out at at a Halloween party (word has it that Rep. Atkins’ wife showed up in a police-officer-porn-star costume!) at that ultimate Ocean City den of debauchery — Seacrets — Atkins and his wife got in their vehicle and headed north to their home in Millsboro. Drunk, of course. Never mind that my sources tell me Atkins and his wife had already been fighting in the parking lot at Seacrets and required some security contact. Now they were pulled out of the parking lot. They were pulled over for speeding by the Ocean City Police Department and the hard copy of that report was made public by yours truly. Of course the story revolving around Atkins’ use of his state representative license plate and ID as a means to diffuse the situation is well documented. As the police report shows, Atkins claimed he would have two friends pick him and his wife up because he both of them were completely fucked up and unable to drive. Atkins blew a .14 and his wife a .16.

The two friends show up, Atkins and his wife get into the friend’s truck and the other friend drives their car. The story gets even better, though, because this lovable foursome then headed to another local bar — this time to the drunk’s paradise Smitty McGee’s.

But wait! There's something missing here, that Mike deleted from the post. Dana Garrett saw it, though:
Later when Ocean City’s finest let the inebriated state representative off Scot free after he flashed his state legislator’s identity card and promised to get a

Delaware state trooper to drive him and Mrs. DV Victim home, it turned out that “home” meant by way of “the drunk’s paradise Smitty McGee’s — where,” according to two of Mike’s sources, “there was allegedly some quid pro quo activity on behalf of Atkins, his wife, and one of the drivers who picked them up as thanks for the kind act.”

We're just talking about salacious rumors, here, but if you're not getting the meaning of "quid pro quo" in this context, Mike gave us another innuendo in the comments section by way of a response to Dan Gaffney:
Dan Gaffney says:

From the police report:

“PFC Smith and I cleared the stop at 0142 hours”

From Smitty McGees:

“Open 364 days a year! 11am to 1am daily”

What’s next? Atkins went there, and it was closed?

Mike Matthews says:

Gaffney,

As a matter of fact I did edit something out. I had it up for about five minutes and decided to delete it. The Smitty McGee’s thing still goes, though. Notice I never said they entered the bar or that they drank. Never said it. Get from it what you want.

If the friends were driving them home anyway, why didn't they wait until... you know what? I don't care. The real story is the DWI, the spousal abuse, the coverup, and the attitude that the law doesn't apply to elected officials. Still, if you do embarassing things in public, people are going to talk about it whether or not it constitutes a serious issue or a personal indiscretion.

FSP responds to an allegation in the comments section of Dana's blog that Atkin's wife got a cushy job through her husband:
However, an elected official proving he is a fallible human does not give a free pass to anonymous jackassery. Take, for instance, this commenter from Dana Garrett’s Delaware Watch, who claims that John Atkins got his wife a cushy job in the prison system, a job she allegedly holds under her maiden name. This is provably false, and this PDF proves it. It is one of Heather Atkins’ most recent pay stubs. It took a lot of convincing for the Atkins’ to give this up, but I got it. It shows the payee as Heather A. Atkins of Millsboro, the pay date of 12/22/06 and it also shows that she is a part-time (53 hours in two weeks) and an hourly employee. Now, if I’m John Atkins, and I want to get my wife a cushy job, I would make sure it was not hourly, and certainly not in the prison system. The more likely story (I don’t know since I didn’t ask) is that Heather Atkins applied for and got the entry-level job on her own merits, and perhaps may have used her maiden name at first so as to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

There is a lot of rumor unloading going on in this situation. This episode should convince you that none of it is true, and most of it is just political enemies sensing an opportunity to gang up on an elected official they’d rather see out of office.

Dana responds:
At one level of understanding, whether Ms. Atkins used her maiden name or not is irrelevant. Anytime a legislator uses his influence to get a family member a job in the state system is bad. It would be particularly egregious in Rep. Atkins’ case since he is the chairperson of the House Committee on Corrections. As the chair, Atkins has considerable power regarding legislation affecting the DDOC. The apparent conflict of interest in his wife working for the DDOC isn’t mitigated in the least by her applying for the position under her married name, maiden name or under, say, the name of a Disney character. Nor is the apparent conflict of interest mitigated by Ms. Atkins procuring the job “on her own merits, which Dave states, without explanation, is the “more likely story.” As long as the DDOC knows she is Rep. Atkins’ wife, they have a huge incentive to treat her differently.

The point of the maiden name “story” is that, if true, by using her maiden name to apply for the job, Rep. Atkins might have tried to conceal that he had procured a job for his wife at the DDOC or that his wife was working for a state agency which caused him to have an apparent conflict of interest. In my view, that is an example of trying to “avoid the appearance of impropriety” but not in the way Dave believes. That is trying to avoid the appearance of impropriety in a way analogous to the measures embezzlers take to conceal their thefts or shoplifters take to conceal stolen merchandise. Nearly every crook strives to avoid the appearance of impropriety. That’s why if Ms. Atkins used her maiden name while applying for the job, no one should feel consoled.

Seriously, Mr. and Mrs. Atkins, this isn't a good time to be involved with Delaware's prison system anyway.

What else is going on? Hube mentions this very blog:
Prediction: Jason at DE Liberal will still host Delaware's version of the Democratic Underground.
Resolution: I resolve to call Jason out on that as much as possible.

OK, whatever. I can't speak for Jason, but I don't read DU - I visit DailyKos, MyDD, and Swing State Project, personally. So I guess Hube's determination to compare delawareliberal to some other blog community doesn't bother me.

In other news, Jack Markell's public swearing-in ceremony was cancelled (and made private) due to Gerald Ford's death.

I agree with Ryan about Saddam: "Why let him become a martyr overnight, when he could of just rotted away in a jail cell for the rest of his life."

Joe M. decides he's going to broaden his focus to include life and not just politics. With that in mind, here's something non-political but fun from one of my favorite bands, OK Go - "Here It Goes Again"

Gerry Fulcher calls Ron Williams a copycat. In other news, Fulcher is still pissed that we didn't elect Ferris Wharton, who is clearly a Very Nice Republican (VNR).

Back to FSP, Jud had a bad year. Jud can be a VNR sometimes: "Nationally, the Republican Congress has been a pathetic embarrassment and the Iraq War has been a bloody, mismanaged disaster." On the other hand, it's hard for me to take his overwhelming fear of immigration seriously. Nativists have never been right, will never be right, and deserve the name of the party they once chose for themselves.

Tom declares 2006 a "good year for blogging in Delaware", and mentions Jason's Channel 12 TV appearance as one of several examples of the growing influence of the DE blogosphere.

Hmmm, what else... oh yeah. Some guy named X Stryker who is in fact me posts at delaware4obama that a new batch of polls from ARG aren't quite as friendly to Obama as the last set from Research 2000. But they aren't too bad, either. Biden gets 1 or 2% from IA, NV, NH, and SC - anyone want to place bets on how long it will be before he drops out? My money's on November 2006.

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