City Statement from Venus Velazquez
posted by October 18 at 21:38 PMon
UPDATE! Holy crap! I agree with Joel Connelly! (Except when he says we’ve “written off” Velazquez here at Slog. Commenters and Sloggers are not one and the same, Joel.)
DOUBLE UPDATE! Unrelated note edition! Trying to save an unfinished Morning News, I accidentally posted it. Sorry for the confusion, folks!
City Council candidate Venus Velazquez, arrested last night for alleged drunk driving, just issued a statement about her arrest. It reads in part:
Today I want to apologize to the people of Seattle, my family, my friends and all of my supporters. I am more sorry about this incident than I can express in words. I have devoted much of my life to public service—and most of the year to my campaign for Seattle City Council.
I do not believe I was impaired—I had two drinks with friends over dinner after a long day of campaigning—but I respect the system that will ultimately make that judgment.
I would never intentionally put myself in the situation of putting others at risk or violating the great trust so many supporters have given me.
Last night was a very stressful time for me. I did everything asked of me by the officer who stopped me, including taking a roadside sobriety test. The officer who stopped me treated me fairly and explained everything to me. When I was at the precinct I decided not to take any additional tests. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.
As we move forward with this campaign, I remain hopeful that I will have the opportunity to serve the voters and the city of Seattle.
So, a non-apology apology.
I’ve been out sick all day, which is one reason I haven’t weighed in yet. But a bigger reason is that I don’t really know how to react. From the tone of the comments* on Josh’s initial post, it sounds like many of you think Velazquez should be drawn and quartered. (“Glad we see the real Venus now”; “There is no excuse for this behavior”; “She does not deserve to even be a candidate”; one person even accused her of endangering children and babies). But is driving after a couple of drinks really the sort of offense that makes you unfit for public office?
I doubt any drinker who reads this blog can say categorically that they’ve NEVER gotten behind the wheel after a celebratory night, or two drinks with dinner (the amount Velazquez says she had). It’s a dumb idea, yes (and it can get you in a lot of trouble, as Velazquez discovered last night)—but, as one commenter pointed out, it’s not like she’s out there killing babies. She did a dumb thing, she got caught, and now she’ll pay a political price. Voters who were planning to support Velazquez should weigh this incident against her campaign and the issues she’s running on, and ask whether it eclipses her qualifications. If it’s a bigger deal than all the other issues in the race, they should vote against her. If it doesn’t, they should stick with her. The Stranger, for our part, will not be withdrawing our endorsement.