First a caveat--Ward 11 Alderman (and former School Board member) Russ Ouellette has never been one of my favorite elected officials. I don't live in that ward, but I would most likely never vote for him if I did.
Having said all that, let me assert his right to serve. He has been elected many, many times, usually by margins of landslide proportions. It would be a slap in the face of the voters who elected Alderman Ouellette for him to resign as he faces charges which may or may not have any validity to them.
Thus I totally disagree with a man I greatly respect, Mayor Ted Gatsas, and with a newspaper for which I have virtually no respect, the Union Leader.
They have both called for Alderman Ouellette to resign. Of course, the decision is his, but I don't believe he should be pressured to resign at all. In fact, I found it most distasteful that both the Union Leader (in a story that ran across the entire front page a week ago Saturday) and Channel 9 (in numerous reports) decided to run with this story big time prior to charges even being filed.
Now that charges have been brought, Alderman Ouellette should be afforded the same rights as any other American, the presumption of innocence.
Why should anyone presumed innocent be forced to resign just because a mayor and a newspaper think he should?
The Union Leader managed to virtually cover up a report of former Attorney General and powerful lawyerTom Rath's DWI offense a few years back (I'll never forget; I kept the bold all caps headline from the Portsmouth Herald, but couldn't find even a story in the Union Leader; someone told me the paper had buried the story, obviously because of its FOT--friend of Tom--status).
The Union Leader never called on Representative Steve Stepanek to resign when his DWI surfaced just after the 2010 election, not even when Bill O'Brien picked him to chair the Ways and Means Committee.
For weeks, the Union Leader attempted to cover up the story of former State Rep Mike Brunelle's DWI arrest (in fact, he was not only drunk, he attempted to flee from police).
It's queer how some people are exonerated by this newspaper which chooses to virtually ignore stories, at least in positions of prominence, while other people (presumably those the paper dislikes) are singled out for special approbation.
Of course, it could be that it was simply a busy news day when Rath was caught and it was a slow news day when the report on Ouellette came in, but if you believe that, there's this tract of swamp land in Florida with your name on it.
More likely, it depends which side of the bed Joe W. McQuaid or Drew Cline get up on in the morning. The paper suggests that if he's not guilty, Ouellette can always run again in the future. What kind of perversion is that of the innocent until proven guilty American precept?
That's a hell of a way to run a newspaper.
It's a hell of a way to run a city too, Mayor Gatsas.
There'll be time enough to call for Alderman Ouellette’s resignation WHEN and IF he is found guilty of these charges. Until then, he should continue to serve the voters of Ward 11 who apparently like the job he's been doing for all these many years.
One would expect a little more caution, especially in the wake of calls for the ouster of the Frenchman--what was his name?--the head of the International Monetary Fund--who was charged with rape in the New York Hotel room. Anybody can be charged with anything, but that doesn't make that "anybody" guilty, at least not in this country.
The Union Leader and others would do the public a much greater service if they focused on those who run for office and then decline to show up to do the work once elected. There's a new attendance report on House members just out, and wouldn't it be refreshing if the Union Leader (and other papers) called for the defeat of all incumbents with less than a 50 percent attendance on roll call votes. Yes, that would include both Katsiatoni, Tom from Ward 8 and George from Ward 10, who have a history of missing 70 or 80 percent of the votes and then sign up again.
Shame on the Union Leader and shame on Ted Gatsas for this headlong rush to judgment regarding Alderman Ouellette.