Monday, July 23, 2007

Bruce Almighty, Part IX

A few odd quotes from Bruce Castor in the past few months. I noted in my post on the May debate between Castor and his fellow Republican candidate for Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Mathews, and Democratic candidates Joe Hoeffel and Ruth Damsker, that in the lightning round there was a question on the possibility of a Republican ending up as minority commissioner. Castor said that if the Democrats won the two majority spots for commissioner he would not want to be the minority commissioner.

Today my fellow bloggers from across the aisle, PA Water Cooler, pointed us to an article by Gary Puleo (“Lights, camera, case…”)in the Times Herald, on a possible tv show focusing on cases that have come before Castor, who has worked in the Montgomery County’s District Attorney’s office for the past 22 years, and is currently the District Attorney. Note this quote from the article:

"I'm hoping that Hollywood will discover me and take me out of politics," Castor joked Thursday evening after a long day of filming the pilot episode of "Probable Cause."

So, does he really want to run for office or not?

I also found this section disturbing:

And if the "props department" - aka the D.A's office - continues to be as cooperative as it has been the last few months, the collaboration will click indefinitely.

"The D.A. says 'get them the murder weapon for this production' and the next day we'll have it," Phucas said. "Without their cooperation we'd have nothing. They've been able to call up a judge and he comes into the courtroom for a scene. They've been terrific throughout the whole project."

My questions here are should the DA’s office be involved so closely in this sort of thing? Surely some sort of general approval can be given and then the film company work with staff on this. Does the DA himself need to be taking the time to make calls about murder weapons for a tv show? Should the DA be calling judges, who rule for or against his cases, and asking them for favors? Aren’t there more pressing matters for him to attend to?

Also, in a region containing Camden and Philadelphia, neither known as crime free zones, do we really want to further advertise the area as a center for murder and mayhem? I like true crime shows as much or more as the next viewer but this would be a bit much.

I also wonder when the show will air. It is my understanding, and it may be wrong, that shows featuring candidates cannot be aired until the race is over. When George Takei ran for city council in San Francisco in 1973 I believe reruns of “Star Trek” (he played Lt. Sulu) were banned until after the election. But, as I say, I may be wrong on this or the laws may have changed. I know it is a matter of current interest in the presidential race with Fred Thompson’s media work. Since he has an exploratory committee and isn’t an officially declared candidate it is merely an academic argument, but Castor is currently involved in a political race that won’t be decided until next November. Perhaps the show will be in post-production until then.

Food for thought, at any rate.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Castor clearly does not want to be minority commissioner and is telling the voters that picking him and not Matthews is doing him no favors.
The quote from the Times Herald that you left out includes the observation by the writer that Castor was joking concerning Hollywood. Further, highlighting the successes of the prosecutor's office in Montgomery County might make criminals think twice before coming to the county to commit crimes thus enhancing the safety of the community. Further criminals may conclude that Montgomery County law enforcement is representative of the quality of law enforcement in general and may therefore refrain from committing crimes out of a general fear of being caught. True crime shows will always require the personal approval of the prosecutor since no police, witnesses, or detectives would even speak to the production company absent specific approval from the DA. In addition, no evidence could be displayed witout that approval. Lastly, do you actually think that the media will stop running Castor's picture or accounts of his cases through the election? Jane, forgive the bluntness, but clearly you are anti-Castor and are trying to put him in a bad light. You may not like where he stands on issues, but it is undeniable that the man has had many, many successes as District Attorney that are of interest to the public. What really upsets you is that Hoeffel, Damsker, and Matthews have not had these high profile successes and that fact gives the candidate you are against a boost. And that makes you angry. Why not build up the credentials of your candidates rather than tear down those of the candidate you are against?

AboveAvgJane said...

Thank you for your comment, and the civil tone in which it is written. I would like to reply in the same vein.

1) The quote I include does say that Castor was joking when he made the remark about Hollywood. Had that been the only time he had made a comment in that vein I would have let it go. However, it isn't. Candidates are asking people to give up their time and money to support them. I would not donate to or volunteer for a candidate who made "ha ha ha, I don't really want to run" jokes. My reply would be "ha ha ha, I'll give my time and money to someone who does."

Your response to my comment on the area not needing any more media attention to crime are well-taken. To be honest, that point was an afterthought. My primary focus was the other two points. However, I don't think potential criminals are going to watch the show and stay away from the area.

My concern was the appearance the article gave of the DA's personal involvement in getting artifacts or guest stars for the show. If it had said "Castor has encouraged the public relations department to cooperate with the show" I wouldn't have included that point in the post but it said that he personally calls the property room to get pieces of evidence for the show or encourages judges, etc. to appear, and there is where I have a problem. He shouldn't be doing that. He can let people in the department know he would like them to cooperate. He can let people he has worked with on cases know that he endorses the project, but while he is the county District Attorney I don't think he should be taking time or using the power of his position to make such calls himself. He should be focused on the business of the county.

While this post could be considered anti-Castor a number of the earlier Bruce Almighty posts were neutral. You are correct that the more I see of and read about Castor the less I like him, but in this post I am quoting from published sources and I do not think my quotes are out of context.

Nor would I describe the post as angry. I was tired when I wrote it but not angry.

Again, I think you for your comment.