Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Case of the Two Jake Browns

A District 10 County Commission candidate comes in for some debunking.

Posted By on Sun, Apr 20, 2014 at 8:50 PM

The photo of Brown and Cohen , a Reginald Milton supporter, side by side at the Orange Mound ceremony
  • The photo of Brown and Cohen, a Reginald Milton supporter, side by side at the Orange Mound ceremony

Among the more interesting County Commission contests on the May 6 primary ballot — and currently subject to the ongoing early voting period, begun Wednesday and ending May 1 — is the three-way race for the District 10 seat in the Democratic primary.

The contestants are Reginald Milton, Martavius Jones, and Jake Brown, and, though Milton, a long-established community organizer, would seem to be the favorite, on the volume and quality of his declared endorsements, both the other contenders have their hopes — Jones on the strength of his prior record as an influential School Board member; and sometime consultant Brown as a promising new face.

Brown is a relative newcomer, both to active local politics and to the area represented by District 10, and, while his previous appearances have stamped him as one of the more effective public speakers of the 2014 election, his bona fides has come under consistent challenge — and not just from his opponents.

For some time, questions have been raised about the accuracy of the address claimed by Brown on his filing application with the Election Commission. It was identical to that of Elizabeth Rincon, with whose consulting firm Brown once had a relationship, now formally dissolved. Rincon denies that Brown is a resident of the address.

A new issue arose last weekend when, on the Brown campaign's Facebook site, a photograph was posted of a ceremony celebrating the replacement of a vandalized Orange Mound historical marker, a restoration for which Brown apparently deserves some credit.

So far, so good. The Facebook photograph, however, which showed a beaming Brown standing alongside 9th District congressman Steve Cohen, was adorned with a caption that concluded with a thank-you to the congressman for his “support.”

Inasmuch as Cohen had long ago formally — and publicly — tendered his support in the District 10 race to Milton, the congressman felt compelled to append a comment to Brown’s posting re-asserting that fact and adding that he was “appalled” at what he thought was a misrepresentation.

Asked about the language of the caption, Brown insisted he had only meant to be thanking Cohen for his support of the restoration event. But he subsequently removed the photograph from its prominent place on his Facebook page and deleted both the caption and Rep. Cohen’s correction from the page.

Other doubts have been raised — in fairness, by supporters of other District 10 candidates —about the accuracy of some other public claims made in Brown’s campaign material. And some as yet unidentified wag has invented a Twitter character called “Not Jake Brown,” with entries like this one:

“Could someone out there tell me when my district 10 opponents’ mail pieces arrive since I don’t live there to get them for myself?”

Another post by the fictitious “Brown” played off on a recent Flyer article which had cited the mounting influence in Democratic Party ranks of former Criminal Court Judge and TV personality Judge Joe Brown. The article, said the post, “got the wrong Brown. I’m the new boss of the local Democratic Party.”

Jake Brown has a legitimate comeback to that one. He does in fact have the endorsement of Judge Joe Brown and ample photographs of the two Browns together on the real Jake Brown’s campaign web site are posted to prove it.

Here is one:

Joe Brown and Jake Brown
  • Joe Brown and Jake Brown

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