Careful when using the hammer
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Not six hours after District Judge Michael Gibbons shared Abraham Lincoln’s words at a swearing-in ceremony on Monday, Douglas County commissioners exercised naked political power in rejecting the reappointment of three planning commissioners.
No one said that Lawrence Howell, Rick Ross and Bob Conner did a bad job as planning commissioners. The four county commissioners who voted to replace them with Don Miner, Jeremy Davidson and Frank Godecke claimed they were looking for fresh faces.
We can at least understand Nancy McDermid’s opposition to the reappointment of Howell, after he ran for her seat and nearly defeated her.
We’ve dealt with Howell over the past eight months and we know he’s capable of doing the political math. If there was no chance of his reappointment, why would he bother? His story is that he was asked by enough sitting county commissioners to make it appear that he stood a chance.
The funny thing about a sucker punch is that while it will knock your opponent down, it also engenders the sympathy of the audience.
Removing Howell from the planning commission this way has put him firmly in the opposition and handed him a support base.
As the appointment of former county commissioner and development consultant Miner to the planning commission on Monday shows, there are second acts in Douglas County politics.
If Howell, Ross and Conner were set up to be made an example of, then county politicians should be looking over their shoulders come next election.