I’m blogging from Philadelphia today after grabbing a red-eye through DFW last night. I’m exhausted, headachy, a little disoriented… all the symptoms of a hangover… you know, kinda the way Venus Velazquez must feel right now after driving her campaign off a cliff last night.
Seattle City Council candidate Venus Velázquez was arrested Wednesday night on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the Seattle Police Department.
“I take the charge very seriously. I take the process very seriously,” Velázquez said this morning. “I don’t feel good about it.”
No Venus, I bet you don’t. And neither do a lot of people who have invested an awful lot of time and money into helping Velazquez get elected. Time and money, I’m guessing, that will totally go to naught.
Velázquez said, “I was not impaired, I had drinks at dinner, as many of us do. I don’t even have a speeding ticket.”
Reminded that according to court records, she was cited for speeding in Seattle in 1995, she responded, “Well, that was a long time ago.”
Oy. Have our local politicians learned nothing from the whole Jane Hague affair?
The correct response might have been “I’m mortified. It was a terrible, terrible lapse of judgment, that will never, ever happen again. We all make mistakes, and I promise to learn from mine…” or something like that. But to try to make excuses on something as serious as a DUI…? That’s just plain dumb.
Truth is, Velazquez is both petite and buff — not an ounce of excess fat on her — and it is very possible that two drinks with dinner could put her over the legal limit while it might take more than twice that for a seasoned pro like Mike McGavick. But she refused to submit to the breath test, so we’ll never really know, which quite frankly doesn’t work in her favor.
And besides, that’s not really the point. Maybe she was .11. Maybe she was .05. But she never should have been behind the wheel of a car, let alone speeding — not as a candidate in a high profile city council race, not on the day the absentee ballots started arriving in the mail, and certainly not after a couple drinks. There is no excuse, and any attempt to make one just adds one more lapse of judgment to the list.
I like Velazquez, and she may still get my vote. But I think she just cost herself the election.
Velazquez has issued a formal statement. I think it hits most of the right notes. We’ll see if it helps.