Is Port resignation a result of political retribution?

The Chronicle's Bill Murphy reported over the weekend that a Port of Houston commissioner resigned under pressure:

A Port Authority of Houston commissioner resigned late Friday after being accused of uttering a racial slur while on port business in Shanghai last year.

In a letter sent to top county officials, port Commissioner Cheryl Thompson-Draper denied making the remark, but said she was resigning because the accusation would hurt the commission's ability to carry out port business.

"After much reflection I know that I did not make such a statement.

"The words attributed to me are not in my vocabulary and those who know me well, know that I have a strong record of support for all minorities and small businesses," she wrote.

Port Authority Chairman Jim Edmonds, who said he heard Thompson-Draper refer to a band's performance as "jungle bunny music," said he had urged her to resign.

"The attendant publicity and reaction in various communities around town has done her a lot of damage and done the Port Authority a lot of damage," he said.

Port Authority Chairmen who haven't mastered subject-verb agreement in official statements also do some damage (among literate people), but I digress.

KHOU-11's Doug Miller covers an angle that the Chronicle did not:

This incident happened last May. It is noteworthy that all of this is coming to light only now, a month after Draper recommended that Kase Lawal, the only African-American on the Port Commission, step down from the Vice Chairman's post. Only after that did Commissioner Lee write his letter, sending copies to every other port commissioner and every other county commissioner.

Sedosi Alhambra caught that highly significant bit of reporting, and asked:

Is this a case of racial retribution?

And was this complaint raised so far after the fact that a defense is impossible to mount?

Are we, as Americans going to stop requiring proof now when "racism" is the -ism that's being accused?

El Franco Lee is a powerful, experienced political operator. Even assuming that Thompson-Draper made the statement in question, Lee's timing seemed designed for maximum political effect. And it worked.

I have a question to add to Sedosi's: Given the outrage from people quoted in the news (including Lee Brown), shouldn't the "outraged" crowd direct some of their concern to El Franco Lee and others, who only now have brought complaints about this statement that allegedly was made in May?

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 01/29/06 02:07 PM | Print |

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