Editorial unfairly criticized Kerry about Taser incident

The Hill’s Sept. 20 editorial “Taser talk” was wildly off the mark. I hope The Hill newspaper does not believe that watching a YouTube video entitles them to pass judgment on an event that could result in serious legal consequences, and I encourage them to leave that judgment up to eyewitnesses or a qualified judge or jury.

It’s irresponsible for anyone to demonize anyone — Andrew Meyer, a United States senator or law enforcement — until they know all the facts from a thorough, balanced investigation. I am disappointed that The Hill would suggest that students, members of the audience or Sen. Kerry should have physically intervened in a melee. Not only would it have been against the law, but it would have been a recipe for innocent people getting hurt — or worse, especially if, as at Virginia Tech, a student was not a protester bent on making an argument but a gunman bent on violence.

Moreover, your editorial board might want to have listened to student after student, eyewitness after eyewitness, who said that Sen. Kerry repeatedly asked the police to allow him to answer Mr. Meyers’s question and was in the process of answering him when things went downhill. Sen. Kerry wasn’t even aware that a Taser was used until after he left the building.

These are the kinds of facts a newspaper should be concerned about.

Washington



Hold on nominee is investigation backlash
From Kenneth D. McClintock, president, Senate of Puerto Rico

Your report on the outrageous anonymous hold a senator has placed on the appointment of the interim U.S. attorney in Puerto Rico was good but warrants some clarification (article, “U.S. attorney imbroglio hits Puerto Rico,” Sept. 20). This case is more the opposite of the eight fired U.S. attorneys issue in the States than analogous to it.

In this case, the appointment of a stellar career prosecutor is being held up by a senator because the nominee’s office is investigating indisputably questionable financial matters. This case does not involve a political appointee possibly investigating or not investigating because of the White House.

This is not a case of Republicans vs. Democrats. I’m Puerto Rico’s Democratic national committeeman and I support the apolitical nomination of the interim U.S. attorney. Lobbyists for Gov. Anibal Acevedo-Vila have gotten Republicans as well as Democrats to place holds — in all but one case until the senator has found out that the reason for Acevedo’s opposition is just that he’s being investigated in matters in which any objective person would agree investigation is required.

The investigation grew out of a separate federal corruption grand jury investigation in Philadelphia that revealed that individuals sought to obtain government contracts by contributing to Acevedo. The investigation has already uncovered wrongdoing, including contract-seekers using unsuspecting individuals to illegally funnel money to Acevedo. The governor has admitted ordering $40,000 in clothing paid for in cash provided by persons unknown. Major donors have been identified by the local press as plea-bargaining for paying campaign costs as business expenses.

The “leaks” have come from witnesses and lawyers for them.

The Puerto Rico Senate is investigating the use of taxpayer dollars by the Acevedo administration to lobby against the appointment, a situation in which public funds are being used to prod misinformed and unsuspecting senators to hinder investigations in relation to a number of dubious activities associated to the governor’s political campaigns. Lobbyists paid huge sums have put unsuspecting senators in embarrassing positions. And one senator who now should know he’s being used to try to squelch a substantial investigation is flaunting the spirit of the law preventing anonymous holds by having placed one just before the tactic was outlawed.

Interim U.S. attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez has an outstanding record as a crime-buster. Her office also has a 100 percent record in convictions following corruption investigations. Her nomination, unanimously approved by the Judiciary Committee, should go to the floor for a vote and she should be confirmed.

San Juan, Puerto Rico


Erroneous and unlikely
From Jorge Franchi

You incorrectly stated that Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo-Vila will be facing Puerto Rico’s non-voting House delegate, Republican Luis Fortuño in the 2008 Puerto Rican gubernatorial elections. For the latter to occur, Fortuño will have to first defeat former two-term governor and current district Sen. Dr. Pedro Rosselló in the pro-statehood party primary in March 2008. Considering that it is evidently clear that Fortuño lacks the support of the pro-statehood party leadership and its electoral base, it is highly unlikely for your erroneous scenario to occur.

Windermere, Fla.