It seems grandstanding by public officials is catching. As if public officials in the legislature hadn’t done enough to embarrass the citizens of New Hampshire, now the Administrator of the Town of Durham, Todd Selig, has to get into the action. According to his press release (note the misspelling in the subject line):
Subject: EMERGENCY COUNIL MEETING SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, 6/25/12 AT 8:30 AM | PRESS RELEASE: Durham, NH Requests Reimbursement from Obama for America Campaign for Scheduled Campaign Stop Monday
Dear Members of the Council,
A tremendous amount of time has been devoted this evening to addressing the campaign-related costs that are associated with the Obama for America campaign visit of President Obama to Durham on Monday. To this end in conversations with Jay and Jim, we will be posting tomorrow morning for a special emergency Council meeting to be held Monday morning, 6/25, at 8:30 AM to discuss the matter as a Council in public in full and whether the Council desires to take the symbolic action of disinviting the President from visiting Durham. Our sincere hope is that this meeting will not be necessary and that the campaign will agree to reimburse the town’s projected public safety costs associated with the event.
In addition, you will find a press release below outlining the situation for the media who have been calling this evening. The release went out earlier this evening.
I anticipate that Durham may very well become a focus for the media over the next few days and to this end suggest that inquires from the media are sent along to me for a consistent community response.
It is both accurate and noteworthy that the administrator has finnessed the Chairman of the Council, Jay Gooze, into calling this emergency meeting. Todd Selig could not do it on his own hook. That Mr. Gooze, a known Democrat, is going along with this farce is, in my book, yet another example of Republicans coercing Democrats to do their dirty work.
Actually, to call threats to “disinvite” the President of the United States a farce is to be too kind. Todd Selig, on his own hook, has been trying to extort money from the Obama for President campaign to pay for what the Secret Service deems prudent public services for such an event.
While I personally happen to think the Town of Durham could do with about a quarter of the Police Department we now field, not to mention that their “emergency responses” in the past have been embarrassing enough, putting in for over-time because something is actually happening is simply wasteful.
But then, there’s a pattern to follow. After all, when a lone motorcyclist on the highway was reported to be intending to do himself in at the ocean’s edge, the police evacuated an entire neighborhood in the middle of the night, while another report of a potential suicide triggered an eight hour “emergency situation,” complete with “command center” and traffic interdiction until after the shift change.
One wonders if some people even know what “emergency” means. Certainly, the President of the United States making an announced visit is not an occasion for emergency meetings. On the other hand, a minor bureaucrat using publicity to extort money is almost criminal. An embarrassment, for sure.
UPDATE: Council chair, Jay Gooze, held press conference to announce that there would be no emergency meeting and expressed gratitude to an anonymous donor who has pledged to cover expenses up to $20,000.