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Friday, October 19, 2007

"There For the Grace of God Go I"?

This doesn't particularly have anything to do with education but about electing people (and we elect School Board members). So Venus Velasquez was arrested for DUI late Wednesday night driving down Market Street in Ballard after a late dinner with staffers. She passed a police officer in a car (she didn't notice - it's not like Market street is hopping at 11:30 at night on a Wednesday) who noticed her speed (about 50) and that she crossed over the yellow line. So he turned around and arrested her. She was arrested for DUI, no license and parking in a bus zone (dumb charge -when a cop stops you the first thought is get over fast).

She is very remorseful, said she's a small woman who had 2 drinks with dinner and didn't think she was impaired (a staffer she was with was too impaired and that's how she ended up driving). Unfortunately for her, her driving record is not great (a speeding ticket in '95, running stop sign, numerous driving without proof of insurance - many of these got dropped but she admits she's not a great driver).

Joel Connelly was quick out the gate to defend Ms. Velasquez with his column in the PI this morning.

"But our campaigns have become sidetracked into a) what candidates did when they were young, b) business and legal clients, c) the stretching of guilt by association and d) squabbles over contribution reports.

Excesses on the left in Seattle are beginning to track with how the right operates."

Okay but this didn't happen when she was young or with clients or guilt by association or about money. It's about being a person of enough age to know better. She even says she's a small woman. Hey sister, I'M a small woman and I know, that for my size, even with 2 drinks and a meal I shouldn't drive. And I don't. I'm not trying to be holier than thou but trying to be an adult. We don't take drunk driving seriously enough in this country and if you take a "well, it could happen to anybody" attitude, then don't be surprised when drunks kill people.

But does one bad judgment mean she can't serve? Are we holding candidates to standards that are too high? (Joel Connelly does point out that we elected a presidential ticket where both candidates were convicted of DUI. President Bush even had his little sister in the car at the time and his mom let him off the hook for it during his election.)

Then you have the curious case of James Watson, a scientist made famous by his DNA work, who opined recently,

"A profile of Watson in the Sunday Times Magazine of London quoted him as saying that he's "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really."

While he hopes everyone is equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true," Watson is quoted as saying. He also said people should not be discriminated against on the basis of color because "there are many people of color who are very talented."

He's not running for anything but does this tinge hurt his work? His friends say he likes to "provoke" discussion and this is what comes out.

Do people who try to be leaders - whether it's in government or science - get a pass for bad judgment? Does it mean they have bad judgment or made a bad mistake?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ms. Velazquez drove without her driver's license. She ordered liquor without having ID. She has a history of traffic offenses. She didn't have the judgement to request a cab and apparently none of the other people she was with offered to call a cab for her and for her staffer.

If this is typical of how Seattle people show respect for each other, I don't want to live here anymore. I like the use of my spine and legs, and I feel unsafe and uncomfortable knowing how many motorists on drugs, drink and cellphones are eager to rob me of mobility. Because stupid selfishness = freedom or else the terrorists win -- I don't know -- what goes through people's minds when they make choices like this, the wind?

How are we to build community, be green and sustainable when there are selfish gas hogs putting us at risk or making us so paranoid we don't leave our homes at night? Ms. Velazquez, by driving 50 mph on NW Market Street and failing to stay in her lane, failed to demonstrate by example how to make Seattle a better place for us all.

WenG said...

Sounds like the karma police caught up with her.

I don't think elected officials have to achieve perfection to be elected, but I don't vote for candidates who make excuses for themselves.

As you said, Velasquez has a bad driving record and used her size as an excuse for the DUI. She's gone into debt for this race, and maybe out of desperation, has tried to smear Bruce Harrell as a bad dad:

http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/
10/if_at_first_you_dont_succeed

The dinner drinks don't matter to me, but her response to the charges, and her attempt to libel her opponent, matter a lot.

WenG said...

addendum: I also agree with what's wrong with... at 1:47 pm: Why didn't she call a ride?

Jet City mom said...

50 down Market?
geezus- perhaps she is aiming at the wrong career, perhaps she should try drag racing.

I don't know Ms Velaquez's height, but I am 5'3" and I can't finish a glass of wine during dinner and I eat slow. I think if you are able to finish two drinks you are sucking them down and you better be able to act like an adult and make other arrangements- I also have a glass of water every time I have a drink & if I have had alcohol with dinner, I make sure I have coffee and dessert *smile*, after- not so that I will be a wideawake drunk, but so the alcohol will have time to go through my system in case it has affected me more than I realized.

Don't most responsible adults behave responsibly?
One of the things responsible adults also do IMO, is admit when they made a mistake and accept full responsibility.


I still can't believe that she was clocked going 50 down Market-. The whole Fremont/Ballard area is pretty hopping every night- and certainly before midnight there were people around ( although I am trying to think of a restaurant that stays open that late)

I don't even think teenagers trying to find out what is happening at Golden Gardens go that fast.

Anonymous said...

I met Venus when I went to my first (and only) public meeting of the CACIEE. A friend of mine encouraged me to go (he was deeply involved in the movement to save Bagley), and because I am a Seattle parent but also an educator who works outside of Seattle, I was interested in seeing how our school district works and differs from the district where I am employed.

Trish Dziko facilitated the meeting, and members of the committee were asked to facilitate the dialgoue at each of the breakout tables. Venus turned out to be our facilitator.

What a drag! I found Venus to be a poor facilitator, too quick to inject her opinion into a conversation that was supposed to hear the views of people outside of the committee. In addition, much of her commentary focused on what a failed process this work was, and she spent an inordinate amount of time dismissing the leadership of the committee. When I saw that she was running for city council, I voted no. I will do so again in the general election.