Could it be that Liberty County voters have benefited by two longtime Democratic elected public officials who might otherwise be steeped in the practice of covering up for anyone in their political party getting too angry at each other to keep their heretofore tight lips?
It is the opinion of at least some, that the initial “gauntlet” that was thrown down was when County Judge Phil Fitzgerald rightfully decided to curtail some of the special privileges District Judge Chap Cain was insisting on charging to the taxpayer. Included in that opinion is the view that Fitzgerald unlike his weak kneed predecessor, Lloyd Kirkham, decided to stand up to Cain’s behind the scenes intimidation and assert his rights and responsibilities as the chief financial officer of the county. Years of watching a spoiled arrogant self indulgent District Judge usurp the duties of county judge probably left Fitzgerald in a pre-meditated state of mind about what he wanted to “fix” in the court house and “the Cain problem” could have been his number one priority. Public officials that have been in office a while are known to throw their weight around and Cain may be in the mind of some, numero uno when cleaning up that kind of mess is mentioned.
Many more examples may be given by people that have appeared before Judge Cain in court but here are two tiny examples of the “Word According to Chapley Bell Cain”. First, for years Judge Cain parked his vehicles in no parking areas around the courthouse until it started to be complained about on the internet. Could you and I do that without being ticketed? Was he late to work all of those times or did he just park where he wanted to and dare anyone to ticket him? Second, in a courthouse that was busting at the seams and needing room , Cain had offices on two floors. Surely this is defensible, but does it show the attitude of a public servant-team player or someone who takes care of what he wants first and then everybody else second?
So County Judge Fitzgerald whacks Judge Cain’s secretary’s salary back to what it is suppose to be and what happens next? Cain threatens Fitzgerald if he doesn’t reinstate the salary at the figures he has set? With what? A “if-you-know-what-is-good-for-you” blanket threat? Did Fitzgerald try to set the salaries like they were suppose to be and the result was Cain spilled the beans on one of the things he regularly stays silent about in order to force Fitzgerald to recognize that Cain would be running the courthouse?
Did Liberty County benefit by two wrongdoers ticking each other off and revealing a little bit of the practices that have been going on in this courthouse for years? And then they separate, with Cain jumping parties and trying to deliver on his threat to Fitzgerald by using the newfound popularity of running Republican in Liberty County to whack his enemies? A political party can not deny anyone that wants to run in their party and this year we have heard from Republicans wondering why the GodFather of the local Democratic party made such a last minute public announcement of his desire to switch parties.
Perhaps we will know soon through the ongoing courthouse investigations. But regardless of what the public is ever told, I will not subject this county to the further embarrassments the two of these men could expose us to. Thank God for people willing to run against such hardball politicians. We have an opportunity to let them have their own soap opera rather than vote for them and make it our soap opera. Yes, I will vote for the republican nominee for County Judge and Michelle Merendino for District Judge – all of their scars and imperfections included.
The opinions and comments posted on Liberty Dispatch do not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of its contributors and writers.