Another Sordid Slymington Affair Slips Through The Cracks.
By Jeff Smith
IN ORDER TO maintain the highest levels of intellectual probity and objectivity, and to eschew emotionalism and political partisanship, I believe future discussions of Gov. J. Fife Symington III and the members of his executive team--past, present and future--should be framed within the rigid and infallible structure of formal logical reasoning.
Thus, John Yeoman is to J. Fife Symington III as Vincent Foster is to Bill Clinton.
All righty then, what does this tell us?
It tells us that John Yeoman is dead, but we already knew that: He was killed in a car crash in Phoenix last Friday. It tells us that Yeoman had become something of an embarrassment to Symington, but we already knew that; he was indicted for fraud involving Symington's showpiece Project SLIM last month. It tells us that whatever embarrassing and awkward testimony Yeoman might have given against Symington has gone with the accountant to his final accounting.
For this we may imagine that Symington breathes a little easier today, but we also may anticipate that some of those who suspect the Governor is dirty clear to his invisible eyebrows in this and other fiscal shenanigans will see Yeoman's death as another twist in a slowly unraveling and sordid plot.
As to that, let me make plain that I believe Vince Foster committed suicide, as corroborated by a coroner's jury, and was not murdered by some conspiracy to silence him. You may draw what inferences you will to the Yeoman case. The Phoenix Police say he turned in front of an oncoming vehicle. Yeoman's attorney says there is not evidence of conspiracy nor of suicide, that the death "is a simple, straight-forward tragedy."
Here I must disagree. Tragedy is an overly used and ill-defined word. Textbook tragedy is based on Greek drama in which the protagonist is brought from high to low estate, not by external forces, but by a flaw within his own character. Tragedy is not an accident, nor is it merely sad. Assuming John Yeoman's death was accidental and assuming his friends and family are saddened does not make it a tragedy: It's just another sorry chapter in a long history of low-life political Soap Operas, played on the stage of the Arizona governor's office. The sadness applicable to the broader population of the Arizona public lies in the deeper burial of truth. Will we ever learn what was cooked up between Fife Symington's personal and campaign accountant and his chief of staff/Project SLIM coordinator?
Well the other half of the alleged conspiracy still survives. Let's pray George Leckie doesn't hang a similar left in front of oncoming traffic.
Meanwhile, the man for whom all these Mandarin machinations have taken place--Fife Symington, failed businessman, failed husband, failed governor--continues on course like the Wreck of the Old 97, down-grade at 90 miles an hour and out of control. While the lead hole on Page One of last Sunday's Star told the tale of John Yeoman and his untimely demise, the lead story on page 1-B related the latest in Symington's string of loony attempts to gather all the reins of political power in his own hands.
This time he's trying to wrest from the state judiciary review authority over Child Protective Services and foster care, plus probation for both juveniles and adults. Symington says he wants "a grand debate" over whether these functions should lie with the judiciary, as now provided by the state constitution, or with the executive branch, under his direct control.
It would be laughable, if it weren't so scary.
Seriously, folks, this guy is under investigation by everybody but Sam Spade, who, like Vince Foster and John Yeoman, is defunct. Symington is bankrupt and under court scrutiny for discrepancies in that area; he's under investigation by a federal grand jury; he's implicated in the upcoming fraud trial of Leckie and the late Mr. Yeoman...
...and he's proposing the state and people of Arizona invest ever more and broader and deeper powers of government within his clutches?
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