Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Public implosion

Duluth, Minnesota mayor Herb Bergson allowed the city's Ten Commandments monument to be removed from the city in early 2004, and things have gone downhill since. To wit:

A high profile DWI arrest isn't great for the political career. And it appears he's ducking his responsibilities in the aftermath:

DULUTH -- Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson, whose reputation and leadership ability were tarnished by a drunken-driving arrest last weekend, is compounding the damage by refusing to explain the incident, cloistering himself at home and missing important city meetings, officials and pundits said Tuesday.

You really hate to see a guy implode in public, but he did take the down the monument after all.

Even Mayor Bergson was inclined to stand up to the MCLU, but chose not to oppose the Council’s vote [to remove the monument].

That really shows some spine.

Mayor Bergson has had quite an interesting history so far. First the Ten Commandments fiasco, then he fires Duluth's chief administrative officer, Mark Winson, by taping a letter to Winson's office door [See a nice roundup by Minnesota Democrats Exposed]. And now the drunk driving episode:

Conversely, Minnesota newspapers Sunday were focused on his arrest in Wisconsin after he totaled a car Friday evening in a single-vehicle accident while traveling to Chicago on city business.

Duluthians are scratching their heads over the amount of alcohol involved -- Bergson's blood-alcohol content was measured at 0.161 percent, or twice Wisconsin's legal driving limit -- as well as the time of the accident, 6:25 p.m., and the fact that Bergson was headed to Chicago three days before a two-hour conference he was to attend.

They're also troubled by police reports that say Bergson -- a former police officer and mayor of Superior, Wis. -- asked others to refrain from calling the police and instead help him push his car free from a guardrail.

In a scathing editorial Tuesday, the Duluth News Tribune said the jail booking photo of Bergson's bleary and battered face was the "worst mug shot since Glenn Campbell['s]."

"If ever there was an illustration," the editorial said, "of just how far, and how quickly, needlessly foolish and irresponsible behavior can sink someone from the heights of achievement to the gutter of embarrassment, this was it."
Embarrassing, ugly, sad.