Drew's views: Littlefield's job swap attempts, Cohen Tweets, are week's head-scratchers

Drew's views: Littlefield's job swap attempts, Cohen Tweets, are week's head-scratchers

February 22nd, 2013 in Opinion Free Press

HEADLINE: Councilwoman Deborah Scott critical of new 311 position

THE RECAP: Mayor Ron Littlefield's administration should explain why a new position in the 311 department is necessary and why the mayor's deputy, Anita Ebersole, is pegged for the job, Councilwoman Deborah Scott said Tuesday.

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Littlefield, confirmed Tuesday that Ebersole is being considered for the new position of director of 311. This comes just weeks after Littlefield tried to install her as City Court clerk. Beeland would not respond to questions about favoritism.

DREW'S VIEW: Perhaps Richard Beeland would not respond to questions of favoritism because he benefited from a hefty dose of Littlefield cronyism himself only three weeks ago.

Mayor Littlefield is scrambling in a blatant attempt to give jobs to his top lieutenants and loyal aids before the new mayoral administration takes over.

The new mayor will be able to appoint his own spokesman, deputy and department heads, but is unlikely to the meddle with existing lower-level department officials or directors of sub-agencies like 311.

Littlefield is exploiting that fact by trying to ram through the creation of the 311 job for Anita Ebersole. Inventing jobs for cronies is nothing new for Littlefield who started the Department of Education, Arts & Culture and, in the process, created a six-figure job for Missy Crutchfield, the daughter of political ally Ward Crutchfield.

Late last month, Littlefield put Beeland, his spokesman, into a second role as deputy personnel director providing Beeland with a comfortable, a well-paying job that should withstand the city's impending regime change.

In his first attempt to find a new taxpayer-funded job for Ebersole, Littlefield infuriated city judges by trying to shoehorn her in as City Court clerk. The outcry over Ebersole's potential appointment to the position because she has no experience within the court system led her to withdraw from consideration.

Now, Littlefield has now turned to creating the dubious 311 position for Ebersole.

It's chilling to imagine what more Littlefield will be up to in the final days of his tenure. Whatever he does, it seems clear that his buddies will benefit and taxpayers will be left paying the tab.

HEADLINE: Steve Cohen says Twitter exchange was with daughter

THE RECAP: Sitting a stone's throw away from President Barack Obama during the State of the Union, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., tweeted and quickly deleted messages to a 24-year-old aspiring model named Victoria Brink.

In the tweets, the 63-year-old Congressman with a long-term girlfriend called Brink a "beautiful girl" and said "ilu," meaning "I love you." In a previous interaction, the congressman encouraged Brink to "give me a good time" in an upcoming phone call.

After initially claiming that Brink was the daughter of a longtime friend, Cohen eventually admitted that the young woman is his recently-discovered daughter.

DREW'S VIEW: How was this not the biggest story in America over the last two weeks?

At first it appeared that Cohen, a Democrat who represents Memphis in Congress, was flirting during the State of the Union address with a college-aged blonde bombshell with pictures of herself modeling (very small) bikinis plastered all over the Internet.

The situation was disconcerting on two fronts: First, even though Cohen is unmarried, he has reportedly had the same serious girlfriend for years. Second, Cohen is old enough to be the bikini model's grandfather.

The situation seemed to get ickier from there.

Cohen's press flack made a statement the following day that the young lady, Victoria Brink, is "the daughter of a longtime friend" of Cohen's and that Cohen has "known her pretty much her whole life."

That statement only made Cohen, who sent Brink tweets such as "Happy Valentines beautiful girl. [I love you]," look like a creepy pervert who would prey on a buddy's attractive daughter.

Then the story took a turn right out of a "Maury" episode. In the case of 24-year-old Victoria Brink, Congressman Steve Cohen, you are the father!

The fact that Brink might be Cohen's daughter never crossed anyone's mind. Not only has Cohen never made mention of her existence, but Cohen looks a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge and Brink is, well, a bikini model.

It seems that three years ago, as Cohen was taking a Google-aided stroll down memory lane, he discovered that a former girlfriend had a daughter, "and the math looked pretty accurate," Cohen told NBC News. "The mom told me we had a lot of catching up to do."

Since then, Cohen has built a relationship with Brink and worked to become a part of her life.

And that's the crazy story about how one of Tennessee's Congressmen went from being an apparent Anthony Weiner-type creep to a guy who is working hard to make up for lost time with the daughter he only recently discovered existed.

"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared in the Times Free Press over the past week. Follow Drew on Twitter: @Drews_Views.