God, please don’t let this feud go away.
The Friends of Seth Williams have a little something to say about Lynne Abraham, but they’ll let someone else do the talking—for now. You may have heard about the former DA's firestorm regarding her successor, his marijuana policy and the Inquirer at a recent U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on crime and drugs, called by Sen. Arlen Specter.
At that coming-together, Abraham’s statements included:
“'Welcome to Philadelphia, Light Up a Joint' may just be our new slogan.”
"The marijuana market is into the billions. Now we are going to encourage its growth."
"[Marijuana offenders] are the same criminals who ruin the city's neighborhoods by aggressive, destructive conduct, engage in shoot-outs, commit violent crimes to support their habits, and they intimidate or kill witnesses.”
Well, she’s not making too many friends, anywhere (that was never her strong suit). Williams' aides immediately responded, calling her statement "hyperbole" and saying, "I would see no evidence that the de minimus users of marijuana are significant contributors to this supposed Wild West violence."
But that wasn't it. Yesterday, in an Inky editorial, Deputy Editorial Page Editor Paul Davies turned his ink-swollen missiles on Abraham and set it on rapid-fire. Today, without comment, Friends of Seth Williams sent out an email featuring Davies’ editorial, titled "Abraham lays the blame on everyone but herself." It may help to know that Specter called the meeting after an Inquirer series detailing a federal study about Philadelphia’s conviction rates (of the country’s large urban counties, ours are the lowest) and then the paper’s own study, which found two-thirds of defendants accused of violent crimes in Philly walked free between 2006-2007. Abraham sarcastically asked of the Inky story: "Could this possibly be a vain attempt at trying to capture their former prowess as a news-gathering organization?" And that question was answered.
“Abraham was really nothing more than a bully.”
“Abraham left office in January after 18 long years as Philadelphia's district attorney. After all that time as the city's top prosecutor, it was telling that the best job she could land was at a second-tier law firm based in New Jersey.”
“If Abraham meant that the series was The Inquirer at its best, she was right. It was classic, in-depth enterprise reporting, and a public service.”
“Abraham is now said to be mulling a run for state attorney general. If she's successful, it may take care of any concerns about politics influencing current Attorney General Tom Corbett's "Bonusgate" investigation of the state Legislature. That's because investigating corruption was never a priority with Abraham.”
We love passive aggression amongst politicians. Today’s uncommented email on behalf of Seth Williams was good, but we just know his former teacher has some icicles up her sleeve yet. Your move, Abe.
These are first-time nonviolent offenders, so instead of sending them to state prison, put them into the Back on Track Program, have them do drug and alcohol treatment if that’s what they need, do community service, address their literacy needs.