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
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 â and there is no expectation of any act of
clarification â 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 â 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 â 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 â 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