Orbital Matters

Saturn Smith
Editor’s Pick
MARCH 2, 2010 1:50PM

Paterson Should Resign

Rate: 7 Flag

Last night, The New York Times broke a story saying Gov. David Paterson apparently ordered two aides to call the woman who accused Paterson's aide, David Johnson, of assaulting her. Paterson asked his press secretary to call Johnson's accuser shortly before she was due in court to complete her request for an order of protection against Johnson. The call, they report, was made to encourage the woman to describe the attack as "non-violent," but the press secretary -- who says neither she nor the governor knew the extent of the charges when she made the call -- didn't get through.

Paterson also asked Deneane Brown, who The Times describes as "a friend of the governor and the accuser," to call the woman before her court date. Brown, who works for the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, was the one who eventually arranged the phone call between the governor and Johnson's accuser. The New York Times:

After the calls from Ms. Brown and the conversation with the governor, the woman failed to appear for the court hearing on Feb. 8, and the case was dropped.

These accounts provide the first evidence that Mr. Paterson helped direct an effort to influence the accuser.

Deneane Brown was featured in the original story about Johnson's history of violence. In that piece, which she was contacted for at the urging of the Paterson camp, she says that all she saw was "a lover's spat" between Johnson and another ex-girlfriend, and she denied that any violent contact happened. Another witness said Johnson punched the woman in the face. Brown seemed a more credible witness in that piece, but one must wonder, now, why her name keeps popping up when the governor needs or wants to save face.

Paterson has already said he won't resign, despite growing pleas that he should (as ably documented by Kathy Riordan). He's suspended Johnson, and he's said he never knew the extent of the violence between him and his ex-girlfriend.

Even if he didn't know, the problem isn't that he employed a guy who beats up women (though that is a problem); the problem here is Paterson's misunderstanding of his role. Even if all Paterson thought was going on was a non-violent lovers' spat, using the people who work for you to intervene is bad form. If you are the governor of New York, it's absolutely wrong. You want to get involved? You call on your home phone. You call your non-affiliated-with-government friends and ask for their help and advice. You don't ask people whose income depends on your good favor to do these things for you. Even if you say you're coming to them not as the governor, but as a friend -- you are still the governor.

At least, David Paterson, you are for a bit longer. The calls from NOW today focus on Paterson's role as a possible enabler of or apologist for domestic violence. That, if it's true, is terrible, and it's certainly reason for him to be removed from his office. The bigger, clearer issue right now, though, has nothing to do with what Paterson knew and when he knew it and what he did with that knowledge. It's that he acted at all that's troubling. Paterson seems to have used his office in ways that he clearly never should have. For that alone, he should leave Albany. His actions have tarnished the office, and he will be less effective from here on out because of it.

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Thanks for weighing in on this, Saturn. It will be interesting to see what the Fat Lady actually looks like when she sings--this time. Paterson would have the distinction of flying in, and out, of that office on the wings of scandal.
Is there a Lt. Gov. in place now to take over, or would there be some other succession in NY? (And where is Tamanny Hall when you need them?)
Richard Ravitch was made Lt. Gov. back in June, and then his position was disputed, and then it was concretely backed up by the courts. So -- yeah, he's in. He'd be OK, I guess.
Are there any honorable politicians left out there?
It's a sewer in Albany and has been that way since the 60's.

I still love reading about my home state and Patterson. Can I say something not PC, course I can:

I adored Eliot Spitzer. When he did what he did, which was incredibly idiot, the crossing state lines, etc and we got Patterson it seems like two days later we got more low life stuff about motels and open marriage and his wife there and he and his women here and

I prefer Spitzer by a wide mile. Shame that he will probably never have his 3rd act here in USA. But Patterson seems so slimy cf Eliot. anyone?
it is time for him to go - nytimes says Patterson says he won't resign...i really think he will within the next week or two. but, you know what...who knows.
"Paterson's role as a possible enabler of or apologist for domestic violence" so it's come down to this being a criteria to remove a competent high ranking official. George Washington relished war and kept slaves, Thomas Jefferson enjoyed raping his slaves, Andrew Jackson indulged in genocide and Theodore Roosevelt made a sport out of killing these are 4 of the 5 greatest men in American history the fifth Abraham Lincoln deployed a psychotic killer to burn down the entire state of Georgia. It seems to me you people would like to be saved from the wolves by an axe man who is both cute and cuddly.

No less than Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told you that nobody had any injuries maybe we should just get rid of the police department and the judicial system along with any congressman, senator , governor or president, the corporate owned NY Times wishes to remove.Govenor Paterson crossed shell oil when he refused to let them turn the water off the North Shore of Long Island into their private gas station with Broadwater, he demanded fiscal responsibility from the gangsters in Albany and he had plans to curtail the despoiling of NY's environment by the same multinational corporate profiteers who own the NY Times and all the rest of the media outlets that you would so gladly let herd you into your own oblivion
RATED-because it is unfortnatly , well written
New York politicians have always been one fry short of a happy meal. It's like IL, MA and CA. No real middle ground. Actors, New Agers, DAs, Date rapists, philanderers, embezzlers. They make Joe Biden seem boring.
So this paterson creep uses his "Johnson" in a threatening manner.
What new about these scumbags called politicians.
Great post, SS! Thanks for weighing in on this one.

The last thing we need is anyone elected at a state level interfering in possible abuse or assault cases. What a conflict of interest!