Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Defense of the Ficano Administration and Azzam Elder

Wayne county and a number of its officials are the news these days. A few media outlets are fixated on what they see as cozy political arrangements and are intent on bringing down the administration of Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano.

Defamatory and Unfounded Allegations
This is simply the media at its worst. The allegations of the county having improper relationship with political donors are defamatory and unfounded. One media outlet broke the news last year about the linkage between political donors and/or contractors and a fund that pays for overseas trips of county officials designed to bring business to the county. The media outlet brought this issue in an attempt to expose “government corruption.” The allegations are unfounded.
Now the media is following up this unholy crusade with this anti- Ficano campaign by attacking the administration for the severance pay of Turkia Awada, a woman known for competence and integrity. The media has jumped onto this issue as proof of alleged corruption and so-called cronyism.

These allegations and accusations are baseless and ill intentioned and are harmful to the interests of the county and its citizens. Is it possible that a bad decision was made? Yes it is possible. However, the media is creating the impression that there is some criminal behavior somewhere when there is not a shred of evidence of such. The allegations of criminality are outrageous in the very simple fact that they are unfounded and putting the competent administrators in a negative light is a disservice to the county and its citizens and unfair to these public servants.

Local Political Arrangements

The bottom line is that the media is attacking local political arrangements and asking the federal government to engage in a fishing expedition to create crimes out of thin air- to engage in creative prosecution of Wayne County government. We know that the federal government has an arsenal of vague laws that it can creatively use to indict a ham sandwich if it so wants. A call for such an expedition is outrageous and a waste of taxpayer money.

The Rise of Azzam Elder: The Success Story of Competence, Integrity and Hard Work

They are intent on destroying politicians who are known for competence and integrity. What explains the media’s running around following deputy county executive Azzam Elder and filming him talking in his car to a colleague? Or meeting another colleague? Are these crimes? What is the big deal about building a nice house for him and his family? Is it un-American? His wife is a judge and he is a high- ranking official. He spent the majority of his career living in a humble family-owned flat – eventually moving into his own home. He worked as a prosecutor for the county while his wife stayed at home. As an assistant county prosecutor he distinguished himself for his competence and integrity. One attorney who faced him in a criminal trial once told me that Azzam "kicked" his "ass all over the place.” With his competence, abilities and integrity he rose up the ladder to become the highest ranking Arab and/or Muslim American in the State of Michigan government today. To go after him, filming him, trying to make him look guilty is outrageous and disgusting. The man does not deserve that.

For this, these media outlets fixated on Wayne county deserve neither respect nor thanks. They are simply creating diversions for the Ficano administration when they need all the focus in the world on the real problems of Wayne County. We hope that the Arab- American community sees through this and supports the Ficano administration and its number two man, Azzam Elder, whose integrity and competence is beyond doubt.

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