The city of Lorain has a Law Director, named Mark Provenza, who has repeatedly been charged with DUI’s. In the most recent DUI episode, he demolished a porch of a residential dwelling in Lakewood. I’ve frequently called for Provenza’s resignation. My prior blog entries about Provenza may be found here, here, here, here, and here.
Word of Mouth blog, the Lorain Morning Journal, and the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram each have printed stories about the judge’s ruling in the Provenza case (WoM here, MJ here, C-T here). Provenza is required to surrender his driver’s license, sit in jail for 90 days, pay fines and restitution, be treated for alcohol dependency, and remain on probation for 5 years.
The problem with the sentencing is that it still leaves a law breaker as Lorain’s top cop (see related posting at Muley’s Cafe). Residents of the city lament Lorain’s crime rate, and if they are looking to the city to step up to the plate on reform, pity on them. Lorain can’t even clean up city hall, let alone city streets. It’s been suggested that Lorain needs an employee handbook, an articulation of the dos and don’ts required of all city employees. How is implementation of such possible when the Law Director himself would be a violator? And if the top cop is bending and breaking the laws, you can bet that a few cops out on their city beats are also crossing the line. Is it coincidental that two such stories (C-T here and here, MJ here and here) surface in the papers on the same day as the Provenza ruling? The proper tone is set at the top. Provenza doesn’t set the proper tone. He still has his law license and his job as Law Director, and there’s the rub.
Provenza chooses to remain a public official, though his actions make a mockery of his position. I think a heightened Provenza alert is in order, as Provenza is deserving of increased public scrutiny on two counts: he’s a public official, and he’s a public nuisance. Will your house be the next one demolished by a drunken Provenza? Just as we use neighborhood block watches to keep an eye on crime, we should have a Provenza watch, to make sure we’re safe from the next Provenza drunken driving debacle. As a public figure, Provenza merits his own camera-toting posse of paparazzi, filming him whenever he gets together with friends to drink, filming him whenever he walks into a bar or liquor store, filming him whenever he gets into a motor vehicle (especially if he tries to get in the driver’s seat). We should know who he hangs out with when he’s drinking, and what bars he likes to frequent. We should know the name of the designated driver whenever he’s out partying with friends. It is in the public interest to know such things. The public has a right to know. If any of you readers have info on Provenza’s drinking habits, feel free to let the public know in the comments here at my blog.
If Provenza would rather not have paparazzi trailing him, then he should resign. So far, he’s showing no inclination of doing so.
The person responsible for Provenza being in office is none other than Lorain Dem party boss Anthony Giardini. Giardini got Provenza in, and Giardini can get Provenza out. If Provenza is reluctant to step down, then Giardini should publicly, as well as privately, request that Provenza resign. Continuing to align the party machine behind Provenza as Law Director makes Giardini look more like a mob godfather than head of a political party devoted to democracy (spelled with a little “d”). If Giardini has any concern whatsoever for his public image, he’d best be finding another candidate for his political machine to back for Lorain Law Director, and let it clearly be indicated that Provenza, should he stubbornly refuse to resign, is on his own, without the help of the machine that brought him into power.
If Giardini refuses to call for Provenza’s resignation, and a recall petition campaign succeeds, there will be egg on the face of Giardini, not just Provenza, and it will mark a crumbling of Giardini’s power. Does Giardini choose to take that risk, and stick with Provenza? If so, the time is fast approaching a showdown. The people will have to assert their sovereignty over the government.
Keep the alert high. Drastic measures may be needed.