The Case Against Mayor Mush Mouth

By Peter Fallow, RCNN Special Contributor

Say what you will about Mayor Newell- that he’s got a gift for finding top notch Finance Directors, that he looks extra fine in tennis shorts, that he has a great complexion, that he’s the most gifted orator since JFK- the guy sure knows how to stick to a game plan. Previously this commentator outlined how Newell long ago decided the best defense is an offensive offense. His tactics and those of the ambulance chasers representing him in the hearing this week have been truly offensive.

Gallons of virtual ink could be spilt chronicling the sleaze ball antics employed by Mayor Newell’s hired flacks: the continual harassment of the mayor’s critics, the continual harassment of council members who prefer to follow state law instead of dictates from the mayor, subpoenaing citizens whose only connection to any of this nonsense was signing petitions criticizing Newell’s regime, subpoenaing more witnesses than can possibly fit into the narrow hearing schedule, then admitting that fact in public. But what would anyone expect from lawyers who feel comfortable suing Mayor Newell by name in countless “personal injury” lawsuits while officially defending his right to mismanage the city at the same time?

Truth is, all that stuff is meant to provide a dookie storm of distraction from what’s really important: why Newell is not fit to remain in office. Thus, as a service to RCNN fans (and all those devoted readers who deny it and hate being called so), herewith is the case against Mayor Mush Mouth and how to best present it. This is not meant to imply any lack of confidence in the person who will actually be presenting the case at the hearing, it just happens to.

Firstly, call the Finance Director (still!) of Parkersburg Ashley Flowers to the stand. Ask about her curriculum vitae, specifically any item in her background that should convince anyone she is qualified to oversee the city’s finances. Ask her how much money was spent to remodel her office and where that money came from. (Spoiler Alert: Over $7,000 from money council had allocated to pay for a new city vehicle.) Then ask her to confirm her public apology for the affair she had with Mayor Newell. It would also be wise to have video of that confession at the ready. Finally ask details about the trip to Indianapolis. Not the gory and quite unseemly Glow Worm details about the rendezvous, but about how it was planned and why.

Then call Dan Nichols, who was fired from his job at the 911 center by Mayor Newell. Ask Nichols to read the letter of dismissal written by Newell himself, focusing on the sections of the letter that outline why Nichols’ workplace affair, behavior and anger management issues made Nichols unfit for city employment in the mayor’s considered opinion.

Next call city council members Coram and Carpenter. They are uniquely qualified to discuss Mayor Newell’s illegal veto, spurious ethics compliant filings, lack of attendance at council meetings (both full sessions and committees), lack of cooperation, and the legally questionable meetings called by the mayor so that interim Finance Director Doug Life could assure council that there was really nothing wrong with any bookkeeping or finances as far as he was concerned. Then ask the council members about recent communications with the State Auditor’s office regarding some the the mayor’s recent actions and claims about city finances.

No more witnesses need be called to show that Mayor Newell uses his office to benefit himself personally, that he has surrendered all pretense at working with council or within state law to manage the city, and that he also uses his office to launch personal attacks against his critics, both public and private. The origin of the thumb drive does not matter. The contents of the drive don’t matter. Thanks to the super genius Flowers and WTAP, the entire valley was treated to a public admission of the affair, so the fact that it happened is indisputable old news.

Lest anyone forget, whatever the outcome of this hearing, Mush Mouth is not done running the gauntlet. There are still the very probable civil suits, state ethics commission and criminal investigations to make his way past. Not to mention city council’s burgeoning examination of the Market Square deal. To save the rest of us from having to endure even more of his swill, Newell should simply resign.

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About Callie Lyons

RCNN Publisher and Editor Callie Lyons is an independent journalist and author living in the Mid Ohio Valley. Her first book, Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8, is available at Amazon.com and in hundreds of libraries all over the world. Known as a "warrior for public health", Lyons' environmental investigations have been featured in documentaries, including Good Neighbors - Bad Blood and Toxic Soup, on Swedish National Television and in numbers of television, radio and print media interviews. Her work has appeared on Nova's Whiz Kids and in Mother Jones magazine. More recently, a national audience has come to know her award-winning investigative work through the Environmental Working Group and interviews with leading publications like the Huffington Post. According to Dr. Arlene Blum of UC Berkeley, Lyons' first book provided the inspiration for the Madrid Statement, which documents the scientific consensus regarding the persistence and potential for harm of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances like PFOA and lays out a roadmap to gather needed information and prevent further harm. In 2006, Lyons received the Associated Press of Ohio Award for Best Business Writer. In 2007, Ohio Citizen Action presented Lyons with the Uncovering the Truth Award for her environmental journalism. In 2015, the Marietta 9-12 Project awarded Lyons the Freedom Pin for her commitment to democracy and free press.
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