Herb Seckel’s family did not get 30 days to mourn the loss of their patriarch, before Gerald Ensley, employed by the Tallahassee Democrat, delivered his angry hit job on a man that deserved better.
Mr. Seckel, who died on September 4th, less than a year after he lost his wife, was given the full “Gerald Ensley” treatment in an article published on September 26th.
Ensley opens his article by writing, “Herb Seckel died Sept. 4. It closed the chapter of Tallahassee’s most embarrassing city election.”
Really, “closed the chapter”? “The most embarrassing”?
Herb Seckel was born in 1928. He lived a full life before and after the “controversy” that Ensley found to be an open chapter.
The fact is the “chapter” surrounding the controversial election Ensley alludes to was closed in 1982 when Circuit Judge Donald Hartwell ruled Seckel had not violated any local laws.
But that is irrelevant to Ensley.
You see, Ensley needs a context to promote an agenda, which appears to be based more and more on anger aimed at people and institutions that do not hold his progressive political values.
Ensley wrote that Seckel rigged a local election involving a black man and white man “in favor of the white candidate…”
How does Ensley say this happened? “[A]pparently because white City Treasurer-Clerk, Seckel, unethically solicited enough absentee ballots” to alter the election.
Apparently! What editor allows a writer to launch a racially implied accusation about a man who has just died with the word “apparently.”
What is Ensley’s source for this observation? A court ruling? A grand jury finding? Oh no, no court or jury found any wrong doing.
You will love this.
With no solid evidence or an official finding to support “apparently”, Ensley reaches out to his old buddy, campaign manager extraordinaire, Gary Yordon.
Ensley quotes Yordon in the story: “If something funny happens at the circus, the first person you ought to look at is the clown.”
I surmise when asked, Yordon told Ensley something “funny happened” in that election.
Well, we all know Yordon knows funny, and that was good enough for Ensley.
There you go Seckel family, Mr. Seckel was a racist and a clown!
I forgot to add, Yordon worked for the loser of the election.
Ensley closes his article with one final dart for the Seckel family by saying that the episode changed the local electoral process, “Thanks, sadly, to Herb Seckel.”
Needless to say, the Seckel family is hurt.
His granddaughter responded online to the article this way:
I am disgusted by this article. Herb Seckel was a wonderful, kind, generous man, and it is incredibly distasteful to write an article suggesting that he was a racist monster. And not even a month after his death…
I know firsthand the pain that this article has caused Herb’s family because I am his Granddaughter. We buried him 2 1/2 weeks ago and buried his wife (my grandmother) 9 months ago. To have his name slandered in the local newspaper of the town he loved and called home for so many years is appalling!
Mr. Ensley does not have any evidence to support his claim that Herb Seckel dishonestly swayed the election. All charges against him were dropped. You have to know a man to know his heart. Mr. Ensley says my grandfather “had his prejudices”. Mr. Ensley, to my knowledge, never knew Herbert J. Seckel. If he had known my Grandfather or had done any research on the man at all, he would have known that in 1981 Herb’s son, Jack, married a black woman. He would have known that all 3 of Herb’s grandchildren are biracial. Half black/half white. He loved his grandchildren and his African American daughter in law, and he would have given us the whole world if he could.
This article is careless and ridiculous, and I hate that I have given this much attention to it. It has hurt a family in mourning, and I will not standby and watch my Granddaddy’s reputation and legacy be slandered. Mr. Ensley must really enjoy the ridiculous race war that the mass media so vehemently perpetuates. Leave my family out of it.
Ensley and Yordon have done this before. Last year they teamed up to attack Jan Pietrzyk, an elected official in the early 1980’s, less than a week after he died.
Those in charge at the Tallahassee Democrat should be embarrassed.