THE WATCHTOWER: EXECUTIVE DECISION
BY PETER DANIELS | MAY 13, 2020
In postponing the elections, the Governor's Office is as transparent as usual. Which means not much.
One would think that with such as long list of incidents to learn from in the past, the members of the executive branch have a lot of example of what not to do when in office. One would think that it should be hard, if not impossible, for the Governor to issue an executive order that not only is baseless and does not explain the reason for its issuance, but that also establishes a serious precedent. One would think that given the consistently low popularity rankings that have afflicted multiple Governors in the last few years, someone taking the highest post in the executive branch would realize that communication with the people is important.
Enter Governor Jerry Richardson.
The night after the indictment on charges of corruption of public office against Secretary of State Sugely Cuevas and Senator Frank Underhill was filed by the Los Santos District Attorney's Office, Governor Jerry Richardson issued an executive order stating the upcoming special elections for the position of both Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State would be postponed indefinitely due to "recent ongoing events".
The Governor's Office did not feel the need to issue a statement telling its citizens which "recent ongoing events" Richardson referred to, although it seems fairly obvious the Governor meant the recent arrest of Secretary of State Cuevas and the arraignment of both her and her partner, Senator Underhill, who also stood as the Republican Party candidate for the Lieutenant Governor seat.
But as usual with the events covered by this column, it gets worse. Governor Richardson, in his executive order, postponed the elections until "the State Clerk's Office [could] find a way to proceed". It's not bad enough that it's unclear what sort of "way to proceed" the State Clerk office should find, considering the Governor's order doesn't even state why, exactly, the elections have been suspended for the time being.
It's even worse, because Governor Richardson tasked the Office of the State Clerk, which is headed by Isaac Disraeli, to find a solution, when Disraeli is himself a candidate in the current elections, running as the Democrat Secretary of State hopeful. This puts Disraeli in a pretty major conflict of interests, and it keeps going downhill when considering that Disraeli was appointed to his current position but not confirmed by the Senate and his term has already expired.
All in all, it seems that Richardson's remedy is worse than the disease.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
As if that wasn't enough, the Governor's unprecedented decision to postpone the elections risks to turn into a major blowback for him. There's been plenty of instances in the past in which candidates were under investigation while standing in for election, and yet not one of Richardson's predecessors felt it necessary to suspend the elections. Mayoral candidate Bill Bloomberg ended up in the sight of the LSPD Organized Crime Division after being caught on tape promising unrestricted access to public funds to his alleged mistress, but the elections weren't postponed.
Now to suspend them while a wing of the Republican Party is already calling the investigation on Underhill and Cuevas a conspiracy orchestrated by the Department of Justice, even though both the Attorney General and the Los Santos District Attorney are Republican, is just ingenuous and risks to add fuel to the flame, especially since Richardson is Democrat. It gives the most radical Republicans quite some ammunition to shoot right back at the Governor and to paint the whole case as an attempt to subvert democracy.
All of these accusations are obviously baseless. There's no conspiracy in the works here, not in the Department of Justice nor in the Senate, where Senator Underhill is currently facing impeachment. If the Republican members of the Senate had any respect for the position they occupy, they'd stand on the side of justice and against those who use public office for personal gain instead of giving credibility to a combined Democrats-DOJ machination to take Underhill down.
Even taking that into account, however, Governor Richardson's decisions in the last few days seem extremely unworldly for someone occupying the highest political position in San Andreas, and that appearance is compounded by his lack of communication with the citizens of San Andreas.
Perhaps it may be time for Richardson to consider all that when he takes the next executive decision.
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