Apr 7, 2007

Hometown newspaper calls for Garfield’s resignation

I was a little surprised to read in the Oakland Press editorial pages that they are calling for the resignation of Rep. John Garfield, R-Rochester Hills, following his arrest late last month for drunken driving, his second such arrest in 18 months.

“For his own good and for the good of those people he represents, we believe he needs to focus on his personal problems and consider resigning from the Legislature.
First, he is a lawmaker and it doesn't set a good example for such an individual, if found guilty, to be breaking the law.
Also, today's state government problems need intense focus from our leaders. They need to be able to concentrate on resolving the budget and other economic concerns.
Whatever the extent of his current drinking problem, the court case and its surrounding publicity are distractions that most likely hamper his ability to fulfill his duties as a legislator.”

The Michigan Democratic Party is simply asking the Republican “leadership” to reprimand Garfield.

"He has violated the public's trust," said Mark Brewer, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party in a press release. "Given the emphasis the Republican caucus has put on personal responsibility and public servants acting as role models to youth, I fully expect GOP leaders will want to reprimand him publicly, at the very least. The people or Michigan deserve nothing less."

I agree with Brewer, and my only reason for even pointing out the Garfield story was to illustrate the hypocrisy of the Republicans crowing about a major story in the Detroit Free Press that Democratic Rep. Bert Johnson, D-Highland Park, was observed by a reporter driving on suspended license in a vehicle with an invalid plate. I still have not seen any press in any newspaper about Garfield’s arrest that comes close to the amount of ink Johnson got. So much for the “liberal media” myth.

At this point I don’t think Garfield should resign or be fired, but he should be reprimanded.

However, it would not be unprecedented if Garfield was asked to resign or even expelled for his actions, and we have the example of former Sen. David Jaye, R-Washington Township, the only Michigan lawmaker ever to be expelled. Jaye was convicted of drunk driving twice and he served stints of 10 and 45 days in jail, and he actually served his constituents from behind bars in jail. However, it was the domestic violence charge that eventually did him in, although he was never convicted of that or even charged.

At this point I don’t think Garfield should be expelled or resign.

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