PONTIAC (CBS Detroit) Democratic opponents sent a press release Wednesday asking, “Where’s Brooks?” and an ailing Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson immediately shot back a response.
“If I were a Democrat and had not seen Patterson for six weeks, I would consider it to be a great summer,” Patterson, 73, said in a typically salty statement. “The Democrats have been so busy climbing all over themselves trying to be the one that measures me for my crypt, that I doubt they really are sincere about my well-being.”
The issue came to light when Frank Houston, chair of the Oakland Democratic Party, questioned earlier Wednesday what was happening to county leadership with Patterson out of the office. The longtime Oakland County executive was badly injured — with broken wrists, a broken hip, leg and ribs — in a car crash in early August caused by a driver who ran a red light. The driver of the other car, Anthony Prainito, 31, of Royal Oak, is considered at fault in the collision in which he and his passenger were also injured.
Houston said, “With Election Day being just 41 short days away, it is time for Oakland County voters to know the actual condition of L. Brooks Patterson and whether or not he will be able to serve another term.”
He went on to say Oakland County residents deserve a full-time county executive, and went even further, writing in a press release, “With all the rumors out there, everyone is left wondering what kind of state L. Brooks Patterson is really in and whether or not he can actually do the job for another term.”
Houston alleged rumors have it that Brooks is even “unable to speak” — though he has spoken briefly on local radio programs since his accident.
“While everyone wishes Brooks a speedy recovery, the reality is that this is likely to be anything but a speedy recovery and Oakland County residents deserve to know who the Republican on the ticket will be. Will it be L. Brooks Patterson or someone else that will be later named by Republicans in a smoke-filled back room?” said Houston.
He added if Patterson resigns from office after the November election the Republican dominated Oakland County Commission will appoint a new County Executive to serve until the November 2014 elections are held.
“It is frustrating that Oakland County is facing serious issues that need to be addressed and we have no idea if Brooks is or will anytime in the near future be able to fully engage,” former Democratic County Commissioner Craig Covey said. “If Brooks is not up to the job, he should be straight with voters and the rest of us who are responsible for moving the County forward.”
Patterson is running for a sixth term for the position he’s held for 20 years.
And he said no one needs to fear for his future.
“But for the benefit of the many hundreds I’ve heard from, I can report to them that I’m fine,” Patterson said. “Most bruises and fractures have healed; and there’s one stubborn nerve that I’m working on and should be back at my desk shortly,” he said.