Norm Roche's letter to the editor

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After arriving at Darren's house Wednesday night, finding a mailbox


full of uncollected mail, getting no response at his front door, I


proceeded around to his garage door to see if it was unlocked.  It was


unlocked, and as I rolled the door up I was hit with the unmistakable


odor that something was terribly wrong inside his house.  You see, it


had been a few days.  My sister spoke with Darren by phone early


Sunday, he missed his appointment with his divorce attorney on Tuesday,


and nobody could reach him by phone.  My other sister contacted me


Wednesday night and asked, on behalf of my mother fearing something was


wrong, if I would go to his house to check on him.



As I stood at the garage door opening amid the distinct foul odor, I


think I knew right then what I was about to find if I continued.  I had


no choice though, and I reluctantly entered his house. I began calling


his name, going from room to room, intentionally avoiding his bedroom


as if somehow I knew that I would find him there.  Again, I had no


choice.  Having checked everywhere else, I made the slow and somewhat


resolved walk to Darren's bedroom.  As the odor became stronger with


every forced step, I continued to call his name.  My legs became weak,


tears began to stream from my eyes, my stomach began to tighten, and


yes, my worst fears came true. I found what I did not want to but knew


I would.



By now you're probably wondering what this has to do with the St. Pete


Times. I guess, not really much. Not much except for the similarities


in scenarios. How a morally bankrupt bureaucracy can allow the vitriol


attack on a given individual. The hurling of lies and slanderous


accusations, without accountability for those who hurl them. Or the


way I feel as I walk down my driveway each day to collect my daily


issue of the Times. The way I feel as I open the paper, knowing that


I'm about to find something terribly wrong.  This past Sunday's issue


was no exception. 



Again, I find a nameless, fact-less, cowardice, and slanderous


editorial attack using my families' name and mine.  But this time


there's a little twist, the ugly little race card folded in to the mix.




For clarification purposes — and there is no expectation of any act of


clarification — for near 20-years I had been preparing for the honor of


presenting myself for consideration by our electorate as a candidate


for a Pinellas County Commission seat. 



In 2004, when it was clear that the Pinellas County DEC had no


intention of fielding a candidate for an open seat on our county


commission, I made a decision to field myself. Although my then-opponent (now, Commissioner Ronnie Duncan) and I engaged in a civil


campaign — it was the St. Pete Times who took it upon themselves to


throw the mud at me throughout the entire campaign. To be clear; Ed


Helm was not the Party Chair at that time.



In 2005, when it was clear that the Pinellas County DEC had no


intention of fielding any candidates for any of the '06 races for seats


on our county commission, I made a decision to try again, and again I


fielded myself.  Again, although my opponent (Commissioner Calvin


Harris) and I engaged in a civil campaign — it was the Times who again


took it upon themselves to throw the mud at me throughout the entire


campaign and continue to do so.  To be clear; Ed Helm was not the Party


Chair at that time either.



Ed Helm did not "recruit" me to run against Ronnie Duncan or Calvin


Harris, and my attempts to seek office in Pinellas County had


absolutely nothing to do with the color of one's skin. Ed helm is not


responsible for the losses we've incurred in this past Primary


Election, and he is not responsible for the losses we will incur in the


upcoming November Election. However, a quick glance in the mirror may


get you started on the correct blame trail.


My attempts to seek office in Pinellas County had everything to do with


being a prepared, qualified, and ethical candidate with integrity — who


was dedicated to doing the people's work and refused to sell out to


special interests for a win. But you know that already, and I suspect


it is exactly why you've engaged in your vitriol-based lies and


slanderous attacks against my family and me. The Times' agenda has


been very transparent for some time now.



My mother's son (me) lost two attempts to help improve this world. My


mother has now lost a son (Darren) to miseries of this world. I again


ask you to stop your lies and attacks. My mother must now move on


following the loss of her son and we must now move on following the


loss of our brother. Perhaps you too should move on. 



PS: (also short for Personal Slight) If you can't find it in you cold,


partisan heart to let it go then might I suggest that you simply do


what most guys with your condition do; buy a sports car, you impotent


coward.



Norm Roche was a unsuccessful candidate for Pinellas County Commission against incumbent Calvin Harris, if you recall, and he's upset with a St. Petersburg Times editorial excoriating Pinellas Democratic Chairman Ed Helm on Sunday. Here is the letter to the editor he has submitted to the Times, in full and, as yet, unpublished:

Allow me to begin by stating that I understand this will not make it to print.  Far be it from the Times (aka: the publishing world's version of the Mallard Group) to present its readers with any semblance of the truth.  I'm not sure why I even bother with writing it; except for the possibility that it may provide an outlet in which to vent my grief. 

Last Wednesday, I was confronted with the horrible experience of

discovering my brother's lifeless body in his home in Largo. Before

you pop your Champaign bottles and hit number three on you speed dial

in hopes of sharing some good news, it was not my older brother, Brian [who remains a write-in candidate against Calvin Harris].

It was my youngest brother, Darren. My brother's premature passing

from this world was due in part to his failing health, which was

intentionally exploited using a morally bankrupt bureaucracy. A

troubled system that allows for the hurling of slanderous lies at a

given individual, without accountability for those who hurl them. 

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