May 18, 2010

Kahn claims only half of assault story was correct

State Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, is giving his side of the story where he, again, lost his temper in the early morning hours last Friday in Lansing following the vote on the teacher retirement bill, and he was seen angrily shouting at an aide, shaking him and then destroying a cell phone.

He told both subscription only Gongwer that covers the Capitol and his hometown newspaper the Saginaw News that he did yell at his staffer, but the destruction of the phone was accidental. Kahn told Gongwer "I took the cell phone out of his hand and I dropped it - accidentally dropped it - and leaning over I stepped on it with my shoe.”

Republicans have tried, somehow, to blame Democrats for the incident. First, saying it was their fault for the session going so long on May 13-14, and then making the false claim that because Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, was the main witness, he was just politicizing Kahn’s latest temper tantrum because Anderson is the campaign chair for the Senate Democrats.

It also came out that Kahn had been drinking, and their was ample time for that to occur. The push in the Legislature for the last couple of weeks was Senate Bill 1227, that addresses early retirement for public school teachers. Most of the day was waiting for a compromise from the conference committee.

The Senate normally convenes at 10 a.m., but because of that and a funeral for a former Senator, the Senate did not meet until 2 p.m. It went into recess until 3:18 p.m., but the session only lasted for about 30 minutes before it went into recess. It remained in recess until the conference committee reached an agreement and went back into session 10 minutes after midnight on May 14, and the session lasted until 2 a.m.

Gongwer reported that some Democrats have said that when Kahn addressed the Senate after midnight, he didn't seem coherent. Kahn used the usual argument of “he only had a few.”

"I had dinner with a couple of the other senators," Kahn told Gongwer when asked about the subject of alcohol. "There was a bottle of wine, maybe two, for four people.”

The first victim of the Wrath of Kahn, Sen. Irma Clark-Coleman, D-Detroit, who was verbally assaulted and charged by Kahn in a Capitol elevator last June, said she felt vindicated when she said it would happen again, even though the incident was whitewashed, saying “my spirit told me that if you give a person enough rope, they will eventually hang themselves. And I was absolutely correct."

Clark-Coleman said perhaps because the incident was not against a Democrat this time and it happened to a Republican staffer, perhaps Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop might sanction Kahn this time.

It’s time for a more level-headed person in the 32nd Senate District, such as neurologist Debasish Mridha.

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