“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” – Red Adair
“Oh the exuberance of the amateur! His enthusiasm is to be commended but it often leads to mistakes.” – Anonymous
Our present city officials have created a new mantra in their quest for validation of their positions via an open election. All who oppose them have a “hidden agenda”, they alone possess integrity and professionalism to continue to run the city and that they are above reproach by providing a transparent city government. As the only necessary argument against their claims, I give you City Zoning Commissioner Norman Parker.
One may have heard the term, living contradiction but few have actually met an example. Mr. Parker took it upon himself, after being appointed to the Zoning and Planning Commission of the new City of Diamondhead, to posting anonymously to our open forum. There is a simple point, a fact if you will, that Mr. Parker has ignored or is totally blind. When one declares himself a professional, he forfeits his amateur status. Think of Tiger Woods declaring one day that he wanted to return to the ranks of an amateur, or Michael Jordan. Parker’s naiveté may be charming at first glance but its sinister nature is nothing less than pure hypocrisy. When you enter public office, if you have a private opinion that is where it stays – private, not masked under a pseudonym so you can pummel your politcal adversaries like some comic book character behind a mask. You gave up that right. What you do affects how the government is run, how it is perceived and what it holds as its opinion. In other words, once a public official, always a public official. It’s like losing your virginity; you just can’t get it back. That is the reason they still call W, President Bush.
The entire episode is a definitive display of hypocrisy to the point of lunacy and demonstrates without a doubt that Parker knows nothing of the facts of what is known as ethics. Case in point, the United States Attorney’s office in New Orleans where two prosecutors, former first assistant U.S. attorney Jan Mann and former assistant U.S. attorney Sal Perricone, acknowledged using aliases to post comments on the Web site of the Times-Picayune newspaper. Their actions led directly to the resignation of their boss, long time U S Attorney for New Orleans, Jim Letten. Plain and simple the fact is that having people of power abuse that power by posting what may very well be their private opinions is wrong. The actions of these individuals, attorneys no less, jeopardized convictions in a murder case that rocked the nation and caused great distress to the New Orleans community. See New York Times and The New Yorker Magazine
Obviously Mr. Parker fails to realize the power he possesses as a public figure and childishly asks that he be given a time out when we must ignore that he is a member of the city’s zoning commission so he can post his private opinions which he asserts as “facts” and “truth”. He goes so far as to demand this as some sort of right he possesses.
In free society the press must be separated from the government. No appearance of impropriety should exist. Even on the internet traditional journalist ethics must be maintained by those who wish to carry on the traditions of the American journalist ideal and not just create fires and spew rhetoric. As providers of an open forum we allow anonymous posting to foster discussion and debate. The Bay Jourdan Publishing Company, publishers of the Diamondhead News Online, has an obligation to the public to maintain the integrity of its product. It is our responsibility to expose any public official that poses as anything other than themselves with full disclosure as to their association to government. Doing otherwise would suggest complicity and be a breach of the public trust.
A look at the larger picture is necessary to observe the real problem. Mr. Parker, along with his colleagues in city government fail to grasp the simple concept that what is legal may not be ethical and what is ethical to Mississippi Commission on Ethics has very little in common with simple concepts of right and wrong. Obviously the city officials in Diamondhead themselves have a hidden agenda which is to either suppress information or undermine a free press; which at its essence demonstrates a complete lack of transparency. This is clearly unprofessional and devoid of any shred of integrity. The only experience being accumulated by these officials is deception. The real question is whether the present city officials can be trusted. By the actions of Mr. Parker, the answer is no.