Lack of Leadership in Dan Damon’s Arrest

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I am very surprised at some of Plainfield’s leaders, elected officials and residents who should be more outspoken on the real issue regarding Dan Damon’s arrest for soliciting oral sex from a young man in a car recently. What ever happened to fighting for what is right! To date, Mayor Mapp’s response has not expressed any concern for any laws that Mr. Damon may have broken during his “tryst” with the victim/participant / 23 year old young man. Is this the kind of representation that we feel the citizens of Plainfield deserve? The fact that he is accused of a sexual act on the streets of Plainfield in a residential neighborhood in eyesight of other people is appalling to say the least and worth honorable mention at best. It is also (allegedly) the second time that such an allegation has been made against him in the last decade. Since he seems to be habitual at this kind of behavior it would appear that he is suffering from some type of social sickness at the very least or to some degree putting the public at risk by performing sexual acts in public.

Furthermore, since Mr. Damon was appointed to the Library Board, served as the chair for Mayor Adrian O. Mapp’s Transition team and writes a blog that is less journalistic and investigative and more opinion based, full of conjecture and made up fluff- it is safe to say that he should be held to the same legal standard as well as a higher moral coding.

An official statement which appeared in MyCentral Jersey.com, was an opportunity for Mayor Mapp to demonstrate true leadership, however Mayor Mapp chose to remind us in his statement that, “I appoint lots of people to boards and commissions but have nothing to do with their personal life”. Is this the type of lackluster leadership that Plainfield deserves from its chief executive officer? The Mayor’s statement is a shallow attempt at trying to create some distance between himself and Mr. Damon who is also a self-proclaimed cofounder of the New Democratic Party of Plainfield. Should we really believe that Mr. Damon’s personal life and decisions have no impact or bearing on his ability to accurately represent the best interest of the people while serving in these official roles and duties? …. If yes, well then I have a bridge to sell you pretty cheap (see ex- Rep. Anthony Weiner, NFL running back Ray Rice, Elliot Spitzer, etc.)

What is more disturbing about the lack of action taken by the administration and the “shrug the shoulders” approach from The Mayor, the “live and let live” theory from on-lookers or even the fail safe, “Jerry set him up” excuse – is that none of these holds Dan Damon’s feet to the fire or makes him socially responsible to answer to the citizens of Plainfield NJ.

I am aware that many are not fond of Jerry Green, which mandates the opposition to turn every discussion into a blame game involving Assemblyman Green, who also serves as the first African American Chairman of the Union County Democratic Party (like him or not). Would Former Mayor, New Democrat stalwart and father of young 20 something young men Al McWilliams, have displayed stronger leadership regarding Damon’s arrest? I’m pretty sure he would not have blamed it on Jerry Green.

I also realize that by condemning Dan Damon for his abhorrent behavior and bad decision-making will ultimately cause damage to Mayor Adrian O. Mapp. Since the Mayor thought enough of Mr. Damon and his ability to make good decisions by appointing him to the Library Board and the Mayoral Transition Team -this incident reminds us that these appointed positions are not frivolous and require a certain level of responsibility to the general public. Particularly where sensitive matters like youth and young people issues (Library Board) and personnel issues (Transition Team) are paramount and depend on good, clear decision-making.

It is disappointing and embarrassing to see how so many are quick to try to politicize this matter in an effort to save current administration face, do damage control or simply deny the severity of the implications of Mr. Damon’s actions not only for his family, friends, followers and business associates but for all Plainfield citizens as well. Shameful!

The truth of the matter is that Dan Damon has been accused and arrested for an act that could have easily been done in private, however, because of his general disrespect for the community and his disregard for the law, he conducted his transgression on a public street in a residential area in front of other consenting adults. Were children and elders exposed to this exchange as Damon allegedly performed oral sex in a parked car? Because it happened in Plainfield are we to ignore the illegal nature of the accused act and its impact on the public?

The real question is why aren’t more people outraged and disgusted by Dan Damon’s behavior? Why hasn’t the Mayor or others not called for his immediate removal for something that could have easily been avoided and kept private? Finally this is not about Damon’s sexual preferences. Many articles have been written in an attempt at diverting the attention of the good citizens of Plainfield while placing the blame on others who were not present in the car when Mr. Damon decided to solicit a 23-year-old man for oral sex. So the question remains, should we overlook a publicly appointed official’s behavior while his supporters attempt to divert public attention by talking about things that have no bearing on the situation?

Regards,

Lamar David Mackson

Comment/Comentar

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9 Comments on Lack of Leadership in Dan Damon’s Arrest

  1. Richard Lear // April 9, 2015 at 3:57 pm //

    Lamar,

    I have to respond to this. Let me start by saying I am not a personal friend of Dan Damon. I’m not even sure if I have ever met him. I do not condone his actions in any way.

    My response is to the contradictions made in your post and every other post I have read.

    If this was a straight man no one would be yelling and screaming. This is all about the fact that he is a gay man. AND, everyone is trying to make the “23” year old participant out to be an innocent, as if he were a minor, or a victim. Even you use both those words to describe this man. He was a consenting adult, not a victim, and is to be held to the same level of prosecution as Dan Damon. The Hispanic community is screaming that Dan Damon was taking advantage of this poor boy. He’s not a boy! He’s 23 years old. If he was engaged in oral sex he knew exactly what he was doing.

    You go on to say, “Would Former Mayor, New Democrat stalwart and father of young 20 something young men Al McWilliams, have displayed stronger leadership regarding Damon’s arrest? I’m pretty sure he would not have blamed it on Jerry Green.”

    There are three problems with this statement. One, you are speculating at what someone would do. Two, anyone in there 20’s is an adult. If they are not gay they are not going to be in a car having sex with a man. If their parents taught them right they would not be in a car having sex with anyone, period. This comment is pointing at the belief/prejudice that homosexuality is wrong/bad/shameful/sinful/not acceptable/whatever you want to call it. This is blatant homophobia. These are your words, “abhorrent behavior.” Like it or not, homophobia is what it is.

    Three, by calling in Jerry Green you are making it political. The new democratic party is trying to get rid of Jerry Green and everyone knows it. Pointing out that Jerry was the first African American chairman of Union county is saying, “Look, he is our leader and representative of the African American community.” You are bolstering him to the community and bringing in all the politics along with it. Something tells me this story being exposed was not an accident.

    You also state that Dan “allegedly” has done this twice in 10 years, and you say it is habitual. That is like saying someone who didn’t go to church twice in 10 years is a sinner, or someone who went to the gym twice in 10 years is physically fit. That is quite a leap, isn’t it? Really? Twice in 10 years is habitual in your book? That makes for a lot habits. You were not in the car with Dan. You are not Dan. You do not know what was going on with Dan at the time it happened. Did he make a bad choice? Yes, he did. Is it worthy of public persecution? I go back to my statement, “if this were a straight man no one would be yelling and screaming.”

    The bigger picture here is the smokescreen that is being put up. Now, you are either part of that smokescreen, or you are falling prey to politics. I am hoping it is the latter.

    By connecting any political party to this incident you are villainizing them. This is no different that Bill Clinton having oral sex in the Oval Office.

    It is no one’s business, but the perpetrators and their respective families. Who Bill Clinton had sex with did not hinder his ability to govern. I do not think Dan Damon having sex concerns you or anyone in Plainfield. Can you really tell me this town is that Puritanical? Or, is it just an opportunity to tear someone they don’t like to pieces? If he was arrested he will have to deal with it. People in this town have sex in their cars all the time. Why? I don’t know. But, they do! They throw their dirty condoms on the ground and drive away. That is a fact. I see the evidence every day as I walk my dog. This is not a “live and let live” attitude. I do not want to see the trash on the streets. I also do not want someone having sex in their car outside my house. However, if someone is arrested for it I am not going to pretend I am this pure vessel that has never had sex and it appalls me so. I’m going to hope that the fine they have to pay will deter them from doing it again and it will curb the behavior.

    If we are going to crack down on Dan Damon then we need to crack down on everyone. And when we do, I want to see these blogs yelling and screaming about the “appalling” behavior of all of these individuals. I want to read how they are habitually destroying the fabric of Plainfield. How their actions were in plain site and someone might have seen them.

    You also mention that Dan Damon’s blog is “less journalistic and investigative and more opinion based, full of conjecture and made up fluff.”
    That is what all blogs are. If it was real reporting, or close to actual reporting, they would work for a news organization. That is what you wrote. An opinion! Your opinion is not news. It is not reporting. It is an opinion. An opinion that “in my opinion” is trying to shame homosexuals. You state, “he should be held to the same legal standard as well as a higher moral coding.” You also say, “suffering from some type of social sickness at the very least.”

    What is that if it is not homophobia? Why should it be a higher moral code? Because he is gay? Is that the social sickness? Or, because he wants Jerry Green out of Plainfield? I do not understand why all of these blogs are not a bias crime against Dan. If I were him I would get an attorney and see what could be done.

    I wish that instead of broadcasting to the entire world that Plainfield is a circus, full of Puritans, we would focus on the real issues. Let’s start by cleaning up the procedures in which we hold our city council meetings. I have never seen anything more embarrassing. To see a council member throw a tantrum that would rival any 2 year old is abhorrent. To allow commentary from the audience while someone is speaking is plain disrespectful. Everyone can speak, at the microphone, and should be allowed to do so without interruption or conjecture.

    Let’s force the board of education to do something to get our schools out of the bottom 5% in the state. Let’s investigate why the board of education pays almost double the state average for attorney fees. Let’s look at the people that are holding two jobs and receiving two salaries, and were granted those jobs from the board of education. Let’s look to see what employees are related to the members of the board of education and when they were hired. Let’s get rid of the corruption.

    Let’s find out why a company that is connected to PMUA and Public Works got a contract and no advertisement was run per normal procedure through Public Works. Let’s investigate the right people and stop the political game.

    Let’s remove the criminals so this town can prosper.

  2. Good Morning Richard;

    I feel this paragraph needs response from me and every other blogger out there including Dan:

    “I do not understand why all of these blogs are not a bias crime against Dan. If I were him I would get an attorney and see what could be done.”

    These blogs are not bias crimes against Dan because; like you said, what was posted was an “opinion”. If we were to consider opinions reasons for litigation, Dan would be one of the first persecuted. And I used the word persecuted because litigation against opinions would be an effort against our most basic right, freedom of expression, whether we like that expression or not.

    Norman

  3. Anonymous // April 9, 2015 at 4:43 pm //

    Since when do we hold a library board trustee and a member of mapp’s team to the same standard as a private citizen? Mapp should say sorry for completely taking Green’s words out of context, as the sickness is that damon constantly drives to the corner streets where latino and african american workers are present and abusing of them because of their status in this country. That is the real sickness.

    and if you don’t believe me go the corner with dans car color and a picture of him and I promise you he will be recognized. Also, it is not the first but second time this happens. That means he has a problem.

    if there is anyone who should leave council it should be rebecca williams

  4. Richard Lear // April 9, 2015 at 5:20 pm //

    Norman,

    I agree that opinion is freedom of speech. However, defamation of character is punishable. These blogs are not just opinion. They are defaming. Saying, in my opinion Dan has a sickness it’s completely different than saying. Dan has a sickness. Calling homosexuality a sickness is bias.

    I don’t even know this man. However, everyone is attacking him on the internet and they aren’t saying, in my opinion. This will hinder him in the future.

  5. Richard,

    I understand your concerns and I have them as well. But suggesting that those who opine on a public matter should be sued is troubling.

    I looked up the definition, “Defamation of character is the legal term for harming someone’s reputation by making false statements. To prove defamation, a plaintiff must show: The statement reflected negatively on the plaintiff’s reputation.”

    In this case, the individual was arrested for a crime damaging his own reputation. Opining on this matter and the circumstances surrounding it does not “reflect negatively on the plaintiff’s reputation” especially when the alleged defamed is the defendant.

    By those standards, the alleged defamed could sue the police for writing the report and making it public, newspapers and bloggers for reporting on it, commentators and everyone who said something unfavorably.

    There is factor of personal responsibility here. All of our actions have consequences. That is the true nature of the matter.

  6. Richard Lear // April 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm //

    Norman,

    Your comment made me giggle just a little bit. Newspapers are sued all the time for printing incorrect information or for giving opinions that harm someone’s reputation. Freedom of speech means you have the right to say anything you like without going to jail. It does not mean there will not be consequences for what you say.

    Saying someone has a sickness is defamation of character. Saying they are habitual at something that is viewed socially unacceptable is defamation of character. If you are a research scientist/psychologist/doctor and you were to make that statement you would start the statement by saying, “in my professional opinion.” That would still make it an opinion and would back it up with the background of the profession. If you are an individual making that statement you need to be prepared for the ramifications. However, no one is even bothering to say “in my opinion.” They call themselves reporters. They interchange blogger, reporter and opinion whenever it is convenient for them to push their point forward or to fane innocence.

    I’m not even going to address suing the police department because that is just a ridiculous statement. However, you talk about Dan’s arrest damaging his own reputation. That does not give anyone else the right to damage it further. If you put something in print about the arrest you can talk until you are blue about the public documents of the arrest. You can print all the facts you want to. However, if you use conjecture to make a point or express an opinion, and you have no facts to back it up, you are setting yourself up for liability. And, having Helen down the street say it’s true is not a fact. That is gossip.

    I tried to get a story in print for several years about what I believed was a murder. The newspapers told me they would not print it without more facts because they were afraid they would be sued. I had enough facts for them to be interested, but not enough to foolproof them not getting sued. That’s how real reporting works.

    As I have said, I do not even know this man. If I have ever met him I do not remember it, and it would have just been an introduction.

    This is my point.

    Let’s say that someone was arrested for an “alleged” domestic violence charge here in Plainfield. And everyone in town started to write about how “X” has been beating “Y” for years. It was a regular occurrence, common knowledge, habitual they said. Then people start to embellish the situation with conjecture. Everything you put in writing with someone’s name in it is searchable by potential employers. If that person stands a chance to lose a job because of what you have written, and what you have written is not fact, you have set yourself up for a law suit.

    Gossip is one thing when people talk. It is another thing when they write it down. You can print what they have written, take it to your attorney and sue for damages.

    And as for the anonymous person who is afraid to use their name that thinks there should be different standards for different classes of people needs to look at history. As far as that goes just take a look at a local prison and see how many wealthy people are there. There are people in prison for having a joint, and people like senators and representatives get caught with cocaine and never even go to court. Still want a different standard?

    What actually started my contribution to this was the homophobic statements and shaming of the fact that it was two men, and trying to make the 23 year old out to be a poor, put upon innocent. I’ll say it again, if this was a man and a woman people would not be so up in arms.

  7. Norman E. Ortega // April 10, 2015 at 4:33 pm //

    Richard,

    Lets look at the bright side, my comment made you giggle. 🙂

  8. really touches one’s soul.

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