The editorial in this past Monday’s Courier-News (11/29) left me with the feeling that the editor of the paper reached deep down into the cesspool where some newspaper editors find their material. This editorial was nothing more than a journalistic lynching of a private citizen. At best, it was disparaging and, at worst, it was slanderous to the former Corporation Counsel, Jackie Drakeford.
First of all, for the Courier to opine that “The City Council has hired an old ally of the late former mayor, Al McWilliams” and that by choosing her “guarantees that the probe will be tainted, regardless of the outcome” is just plain wrong. It suggests that all appointees of a chief executive are allies of the chief executive and are therefore incapable of being objective and impartial. If one were to swallow such twisted logic, one might arrive at the conclusion that the current Corporation Counsel, Dan Williamson, is an ally of Mayor Briggs, who appointed him, and that, therefore, any opinion he renders to the City Council pertaining to her would be tainted by his allegiance.
Furthermore, for the editor to insinuate that the probe of the $20,000 expenditure is about “New versus Old Democrats” is a conclusion that has been reached through a pair of myopic lenses. The idea for a probe into the expenditure in question came from Councilor Rashid Burney, who has disavowed any and all connections he has had to the New Democrats; he did so way back in 2005 and has been a loyal disciple of Assemblyman Green and the “Old Guard” ever since.
This probe is about actions that are questionable and the council’s desire to get to the facts so that decisions can be made in the best interest of the tax payers of Plainfield.
Finally, the editor’s conclusion that “What Plainfield needs is someone without any agenda” is an unfair presupposition about Mrs. Drakeford and her politics. Here again, the editor besmirches Mrs. Drakeford by insinuating that she has an ax to grind and would therefore use it to pin the Mayor against a wall.
This kind of journalism that attacks the reputation and credibility of a private citizen who has a stellar reputation must be seen for what it is, an "Evil Knievel" leap of monstrous proportions fraught with danger. It’s a leap that sullies the name of a decent private citizen who has stayed clear of politics for as long as I have known her. She does not deserve to be tarred with the brush of political affiliation.
Mrs. Drakeford deserves an apology from the editor of the Courier-News.