So Steve Sessler, exceeding any reasonable expectation, battled Tom Moran’s heir apparent, Eric Schiener, to a draw. A literal draw at 1881 votes apiece.
I don’t live in Livingston County, but I did at one time. My family roots there run very deep. My mother is buried at St. Rose cemetery in Lima. Her maiden name was Hogan. Her father was a lawyer in Livingston County for many years.
So, you know, I’m not indifferent to the outcome here, even aside from the grotesque misconduct of the largely interloping public officials there that I unfortunately experienced first hand in the first decade of the 21st century.
Livingston County in the 21st century, it turns out, is a political cesspool. The administration of criminal justice there has been an especially despicable area of governmental endeavor, and not just on my watch. Of course, the primary responsibility for that resides with the long time District Attorney of the County – Tom Moran.
At least since 2004 Eric Schiener had been aware of widespread and serious – and indeed criminal – problems in the District Attorney’s office where he worked. He told me so himself. His response, unfortunately, was to do….nothing, other than look the other way or worse – to go along.
It should go without saying that this disqualifies him from becoming the elected District Attorney of Livingston County, but among the Livingston County Committee Republicans it apparently doesn’t. They backed Schiener reflexively and in lockstep in endorsing him over Sessler to begin with; and in all likelihood they will back him again tonight, breaking the tie in his favor.
There are times, though, that party fealty becomes slavish devotion to political power and muscle at the expense of the public good. This is one of those times. If the political leaders of Livingston County – and that’s what party committee members are – prefer police who are cynical, rapacious (literally) and self serving armed thugs on the prowl for the largest piece of the pie their superior influence and firepower can bring them; along with opportunistic and authority abusing lawyer-prosecutors whose only real purpose is to feather their own nest at the expense of everyone else, then Schiener’s their man.
It’s a sad fact that in Livingston County this represents continuity of political leadership, calamitous though that might be. If you doubt this take a drive around the County anytime. All the signs are there. Other than the County seat of Geneseo which is perennially flush with government money the area is a hollowed out backwater. The charm and former prosperity have been sucked out of every other village. Young people with any character or prospects flee at their earliest opportunity and never return.
But if, on the other hand, the committee members have the slightest inclination to put their less politically aware neighbors’ welfare, and that of their disintegrating community – not to mention such considerations as rewarding virtue and not vice – ahed for a change, then they will make a break with recent history and go with Sessler.
One problem with the obscene corruption of the Livingston County law enforcement establishment the committee members might ponder as they weigh their options is this: you never know if or when a spotlight will hit. And if it does it’s a terribly shameful event, the culprits scattering like roaches in a filthy, darkened kitchen when the lights are suddenly turned on.
Don’t cast your lot with the roaches.
Update: What a remarkable job the Sessler campaign is doing. They might even get Justice Ark to do the right thing. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it seems the Livingston County political establishment might have pissed him off.