Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Retired judge Connally smacks George Forbes as "an out-of-touch, salty-mouthed curmudgeon"

George Forbes really went too far this time. The local NAACP president's claim that an elderly Euclid fawn-killer has been railroaded by racism drew angry responses from three black commentators in yesterday's Plain Dealer. Columnist Phillip Morris asks, "Has George Forbes lost his mind?" Radio host Jimmy Malone's letter to the editor says Euclid didn't deserve the cheap shot.

But the best of the three is former Cleveland judge C. Ellen Connally's op-ed piece. The judge proves herself a sharp-witted essayist, tracing Forbes' history of inflammatory one-liners from his city council days to today. Connally calls Forbes "fiery, foul-mouthed," and an "out-of-touch, salty-mouthed curmudgeon." She totally calls him out for overplaying "the race card" and acting as a "self-appointed spokesman for the black community," and says he's done damage to the local NAACP's reputation. She slyly reminds us that the state Supreme Court recently sanctioned Forbes.

As for the animal-cruelty charge against 75-year-old Dorothy Richardson, who beat the fawn to death for eating her flowers, Connally questions how Forbes found any racism in the charge -- unless "the deer had 'KKK' tattooed on its backside and ate flowers belonging only to black people."

In her semi-retirement, the esteemed former judge has become a frequent correspondent with the PD opinion page. Here she is criticizing the black ministers who opposed Cleveland's domestic partnership registry, smacking down Cleveland State Urban Studies prof Tom Bier for his op-ed complaint about a mental health facility moving to Euclid Avenue, asking why the PD considered it news that Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo hired defense lawyers, defending students who need more than four years to graduate, praising the president's international experiences, commenting on Sarah Palin's wardrobe shopping spree, and complaining that Continental Airlines starved her on a flight home from London.

Meanwhile, here's a history of the fawn scandal: the paper's original story about the charge, witness statements from neighbors (pdf), Richardson telling WKYC TV 3 she was defending herself against the fawn and reacting to her hate mail on Fox 8, and Morris' earlier column saying the outrage at Richardson was out of control.

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