Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What shall we do with our dead?

The late Bob Ferraro, 'the man with the van'.

After a recent post mentioning the late Plainfield council member Bob Ferraro (see here), I received a comment taking me to task --
Gee Dan, why'd you want to go bring poor dead Bob Ferraro into this? and saying he was not "deterred by facts" ...?
Chatting with the reader yesterday, we traversed the familiar de mortuis nil nisi bonum argument (the original Greek renders more pungently: 'Don't badmouth the dead').

This got me to wondering about what we 'do' with our dead.

I find the most satisfying funerals and memorial services (and I seem to be going to more and more lately) to be those where the full-bodied, in-the-round memories of the deceased are celebrated by those gathered to honor, recall and, perhaps, draw lessons or inspiration from their late friend.

Such was the case when I penned a remembrance of Bob on his passing last December (see here), and I don't think I was bad-mouthing him in the most recent post since I said practically the same thing at the time of his passing, without having kicked up a fuss.

As for the accuracy of citing salaries of one's adversaries, I was criticizing Burney for making an inaccurate claim; in the back of my mind, I recalled having been on the receiving end of a similarly outrageous claim by Ferraro once.

Bob was first and foremost passionate, and he didn't let the facts stand in the way of a point he wanted to make (for another instance, just check my December post).

He was who he was.

It is what it is.

Seems to me NOT remembering our departed colleagues at all, in this age of Twitter, texting and short attention spans, means we doom them to being nothing more than wisps of smoke, dying away as the candle is snuffed.

Is that better?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Hi Dan,

Please, do talk about the dead! Not doing it is negating their very own existence, and certainly this is worst than even misquoting them now and then!

Anonymous said...

Dan, you have no shame. For your own political purposes, you critize up the dead.

It is a shame.

Anonymous said...

It's not good to misquote anybody, living or dead. At least the dead can't be damaged any more, but it's different for the living.

olddoc said...

Dan, a "class" post. Bob was a one of a kind personality, a character of the type all communities could use.. Ti have opposed the PMUA and then worked for it, to have opposed Jerry Green's machine but to have been selected by JG to be the 2nd ward candidate was remarkable. To be affectionally known as the "Great Noer" for his Council votes emphasized that Bob was his own man.

Dottie Gutenkauf said...

"De mortuis nil nisi bonum" is Latin, not Greek. Oops!

Anonymous said...

I bet he is running for office in heaven. "The man in the Blue Van"

Rob said...

Well... I do speak ill of a few particular members of the "deceased" club with perfect ease. I can still recall the first official "boss" I ever had at 16yrs old. To this day given the opportunity, I would relieve myself on his grave. The man was the essence of cheap, evil, mean and nasty. Per quoting them...I do quote said evil man with one of his most famous quotes..." Hire a lazy man, a lazy man only wants to do the jobs once so he'll do it right the first time!"

Anonymous said...

Rashid did not lie about Rebecca's salary. In a June 3, 2010, email to her supporters Rebecca said "In 2005, I worked part-time for half the year, and full-time for the second half, at the request of the administration. The combined part- and full-time salary must be what Rashid is getting at--combined, it came to about $52,000--maybe that's where he got the $50,000 figure from." Case closed. Book her Danno.

Anonymous said...

'GEE Dan' , while you were talking about the dead I see you took the opportunity to bring up Rashid's claim about Rebecca's salary again.

You failed to mention that it is TRUE.

Rebecca sent an email out this week confirming:

" In 2005, I worked part-time for half the year, and full-time for the second half, at the request of the administration. The combined part- and full-time salary must be what Rashid is getting at--combined, it came to about $52,000--"

She goes on to mention the 64K that she was told to request.

Rashid's claim is true, unlike the HORRIBLE lies and exaggerations that Rebecca and the New Dems have been generating about Rashid via the mail.

You brought it up Dan! Let's move on.

How about you motivate the Candidates to tell us what they have done, and their vision for the future?

This is what folks tell me they want to hear.

jim spear

PS I don't read anonymous comments

Dan said...

Dottie -- I didn't say it was Greek, but I also didn't ID it as Latin. Was I assuming too much of my readers?

Here's the Greek --
τὸν τεθνηκóτα μὴ κακολογεῖν
and it basically means 'don't badmouth the dead' -- kakalogein being exactly translated as 'badmouth' -- like I said....

Rebecca Williams said...


I must answer Jim Spear's selective use of quotes from my blog post clarifying my salary from the years 2004-2006. Rashid said that I was hired part-time for a salary of $50,000. That is not true. In 2004, when I was hired part-time, I earned about $18,000 in that year. As a part-time (21 hrs) Station Director and only employee for all operations (managerial and technical), I was on track to have earned about $34,000 in 2005, except that in the spring of that year, the administration requested that I become full-time (35 hrs).

Given the extremely heavy workload and time needed to get the station up and running in a full-service way (the move from analog to digital, equipment purchasing, upgrading software and hardware, community outreach, investigating an ADA-compliant space, updating contracts and compliance manuals, developing policy, videotaping municipal and community events, dealing with community producers, working on programming, maintaining the community bulletin board, interfacing with various local organizations as well as the school district, and researching the technical aspects of live feeds for council meetings, etc.), City Administrator Norton Bonaparte spoke to Personnel Director Karen Dabney about me coming on full-time. The urgency of getting the station up to par was the crux of the matter. So, in about June of 2005, I went to full-time. The total for that year was, I believe, about $52,000. It is misleading to say that I was "hired" part-time for $50,000, which is the point that I was making about Rashid's inaccurate blog post.

I wondered why he was harping on the salary I earned, so I called the city clerk and found out that he had filed an OPRA request on me. I don't know whether he also hired a private investigator to look into my past, but I wouldn't be surprised. I still don't understand what he has been getting at or why he would go to these lengths for a Palin-like "gotcha!" These McCarthy-like tactics are of great concern to me, as they should be to everyone. His behavior is unseemly and really overstepping what the council, as a legislative body, is empowered to do. How many other city employees has Rashid filed OPRA requests on? I think he should be more concerned with filing OPRA requests on wrong-doing, such as the money stolen from the tax office--never heard a word from Rashid on that. Instead, he has focused on a salary I made several years ago--to what end? What salary does Rashid think I should have deserved for the work I did? I have focused on his legislative record--these distractions are meant to paint me as what...unethical? The current IT Director makes well over $100,000. Will Rashid go after him as well? What is the point? Is this how he wants to serve the people--by selectively filing requests on former employees who have the audacity to want to run against him in an election? In any case, we are in the last few days of this election--I hope to win and serve the people of Plainfield, and I will be working hard to do that.

All best,


Anonymous said...

Boyoboy, Rebecca talks (and writes) a lot, but manages to say so little--just what we need more of on the council, I guess.