Welcome to Big Time Small-Time Dicks, a regular column on The Slot that explores local politicians, small-town scandals and everything else making life miserable on a local level. This week: The year in dicks, remembered.
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This year of our Lord 2015 introduced us to a number of memorable dicks, whose abhorrent behavior made them stand out from the veritable sea of other dicks that comprises state, local and, national politics. Here are the ten worst of the small-timers, ranked from least to most dickish.
10. South Carolina State Representative Christopher A. Corley, who celebrated the holiday season with a furious Christmas card about the Confederate flag:
He seethed for a good few months, and now he’s back: as Fits News was first to report, Corley went ahead and sent out a Christmas card featuring a photo of said Confederate flag to his fellow Republicans inscribed with a super cheery missive about the reason for the season: feeling bad about taking down that flag. It reads:
“May your Christmas be filled with memories of a happier time, when South Carolina’s leaders possessed morals, convictions, and the principles to stand for what is right.”
9. Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance D. Day, who in an ethics complaint was accused of refusing to marry gay couples, allowing a felon to handle a gun, and hanging a picture of Hitler in the courthouse, for some reason:
Day’s spokesperson told news station KOIN 6 he gave up doing weddings this spring. He’s previously admitted to directing his staff to “screen” the couples applying for marriage licenses with him, so he wouldn’t “embarass” a same-sex couple by turning them away if they appeared before him.
That controversy was followed this week by a press release from the Oregon Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability, which says it’s investigating a broad and bizarre set of additional allegations against Day.
8. Michigan State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, who lost their jobs in the midst of a sex scandal and then both ran in the special elections designed to replace them. Less dickish, more just really sad:
Courser, as is his wont, is campaigning mainly through the use of lengthy, self-pitying Facebook posts. In his latest one, he once again suggested that he was targeted for being just too principled in his stance against the “leftists who now control the Republican party.”
7. Joe Dunne, the Maine landlord who printed up hundreds of signs identifying an Asian-American mayoral candidate as “Ho Chi Chin” because he objected to being identified as a bad landlord:
In the deranged spirit of overreaction beloved by alleged slumlords everywhere, Dunne has admitted he’s the one who put up blaring red signs all over town. The signs feature a bunch of tiny little hammer-and-sickle insignias above a caricature of Ho Chi Minh and the words, “Don’t vote for Ho Chi Chin. Vote for more jobs, not more welfare.”
6. Larry Barton, mayor of Talladega, Alabama, and/or Benny J. Green, the man who allegedly beat Barton with a bat for having sex with his wife. We could have a fun and lively debate about who’s the bigger dick here, or whether men aged 71 and 74 maybe ought to know better about a thing or two:
In a masterful use of understatement, police initially said that the beating was due to “domestic issues.” That was before Green’s former lawyer told AL.com that the whole thing started because Green saw Barton on tape having what he described as “full blown” sex with his wife, Charlotte Green. The Greens are reportedly in the midst of a divorce.
The attorney, Stewart Springer, told the Daily Home the sex tape took place in the back of a liquor store that Charlotte owns.
5. Mark Gremaud, Perry County School Board, Perryville Missouri, for telling a female colleague all about her place:
Mark Gremaud of the Perry County School Board in Missouri is being censured for telling his female colleague Kathy Carron in a closed meeting: “Kathy, you are just a woman. The only thing you know is laying on your back with your legs in the air splayed.”
Not only is that sentence grammatically unwieldy (“splayed in the air” would’ve worked far better), but the board wasn’t discussing sex education, yoga positions, biological determinism, or anything else that might warrant that comment, according to board president Nancy Voelker. In a statement reported by KVFS 12, Voelker called Gremaud’s comments “unprovoked.”
4. Drew Hastings, Mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio, who has bad opinions on Facebook:
On Friday, Hastings added Facebook Pundit to his skill set, offering up his essential thoughts on the Planned Parenthood shooting by comparing it to the race war he sees as imminent:
“When are people going to figure out that we are in a Revolution in this Country. Blacks have all but formally declared war on whites, ideological types are fighting with Planned Parenthood, there’s violence over immigration, Muslim extremism, and our own Government at war with its citizens.”
He added, “This isn’t ‘lone wolf’ stuff. It isn’t a crazy with a gun. It isn’t ‘domestic terrorism,’ these are all skirmishes in a Revolution that’s here. Pick your side and pick your battles, we are about 3 steps away from All bets are off.”
3. City Commissioner Amos Newsome of Dothan, Alabama, who slap-scratched a reporter on camera for asking about voter fraud allegations:
WTVY reporter Ken Curtis approached City Commissioner Amos Newsome of Dothan, Alabama to ask if he was planning to resign. Newsome, a Democrat, has been facing calls from fellow city commissioners to resign after three of his campaign workers were convicted of voter fraud. Newsome, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, has not been charged with fraud himself.
Newsome’s response to Curtis’s questions was, some face-shoving, some yelling, and then, finally, some hitting, hard enough that Curtis staggered backwards.
2. Jim Brownback, brother to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, accused of relentlessly terrorizing his neighbors for years:
A thirdhand conversation relayed to the Topeka Capital-Journal alleges that Brownback behaved himself until his brother won re-election, then took up firing guns outside the Peine’s place immediately afterwards...
Another local farmer says Brownback stole two of his cows in 2012. The farmer, Ben Katzer, claims that Brownback brags openly that he’ll use his brother to get out of any tight legal spots.
1. Finally, perhaps “dick” is insufficient to describe Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris, who an Arkansas Times investigative series revealed in February gave away two of his three adopted children to a sexual abuser.
Harris and his wife reportedly did this in part because he believed the two little girls, aged 4 and 2, were possessed by demons and able to communicate telepathically. They also “re-homed” the girls’ older sibling, 6, and were vocally unhappy about having “had” to adopt her in the first place along with her siblings.
Harris faced no criminal or professional consequences. He continues to both serve in the Arkansas House and operate a state-funded preschool, Growing God’s Kingdom. In September, the state investigated the school after a three-year-old was left in a van for five hours. Mercifully—and certainly no thanks to Harris or anyone connected to him—the little girl survived.
Image via AP, screenshot, AP