Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week then you know this news. Alpharetta councilman Michael Cross was arrested over the weekend for DUI. You can read about it here, here and here. There’s no need to go over the facts of the case. They’ve been more than covered.
This blog has been silent on the issue until now. There are a few facets that are still worth talking about. There are also some interesting comparisons and contrasts to be made.
The Paul Oakes Wacky World Incident - There were allegations that Mr. Oakes received preferential treatment from the police during this incident a year and a half ago. Oakes served on the board of the Alpharetta Public Safety Foundation.
Like Oakes, Michael Cross also serves this charity that supports local police and firefighters. But you would have a tough time arguing that Cross received any preferential treatment Saturday night given the seriousness of the charges brought against him.
I expect Cross, a lawyer by trade, to vigorously defend himself. There’s no breathalyzer evidence against him. Without that physical data, he’s likely going to challenge the report and testimony of the arresting officer. This is awkward considering his years of support of Alpharetta’s Public Safety department.
But kudos are owed to the Alpharetta Police for how they’ve handled the case up to this point. Very professional.
DUI Debbie - Cross isn’t the first member of Alpharetta’s Council to be arrested for DUI. Debbie Gibson faced similar charges. During her re-election campaign in 2007 she was the target of a vicious online campaign. The DUIDebbie.com website was mean spirited and downright cruel.
Will Michael Cross get the “DUI Debbie treatment”? If you had asked me Monday I would have said no. But several comments online this week have suggested that this is coming. It’s disappointing.
Should a Councilman resign after DUI charges like this? We can have that discussion. But there is no reason to drag this process into the gutter. My personal opinion is that he can serve while facing the charges. But my opinion might change depending on how he handles himself during this time. Were he to be convicted he should resign immediately.
One personal note… I’ve met Michael Cross a few times. From this time together I’ve found him to be a personable and likeable fella, not unlike most in Alpharetta. I believe him to be a good family man. Before Saturday’s events I had no reason to ever think he would put his family or the public in danger.
That’s all for now. I welcome your respectful and civil discussion on this topic.