Before word leaked out through the usual channels that councilman Ash Kalra had been arrested and charged with a DUI early Saturday morning, Kalra and his chief of staff, Joseph Okpaku, were already in damage-control mode. They beat the CHiPs to the punch by holding a casual press conference at Kalra’s home.
There in his comfy living room, Kalra told the gathered reporters, some of whom may very well have been nursing hangovers themselves, that he had already apologized to Mayor Chuck Reed and his fellow city councilmembers. Kalra owned up to his “error in judgment,” which likely portends a “no contest” plea.
Surely motivated by expediency as much as by humility, Kalra then vowed to accept the consequences of his actions. As a lawyer who has represented people in the exact same bad situation that he was in, Kalra obviously realized it was best to face the music rather than let the story linger. And sure enough, just two days after the arrest, a Merc editorial praised Kalra for setting “an example for public officials caught in less-than-exemplary behavior.”
The editorial went on to make a less-than-exemplary comparison to former presidential candidate John Edwards, who in 2008 repeatedly denied that he had an estranged love child.
Unmentioned was this piece of irony: Just three days before he was pulled over early Saturday morning for having a brake light out, Kalra had hosted a “Safe Teen Driver” event at Oak Grove High School. Hopefully Kalra warned the kids to check their tail lights before hopping behind the wheel when leaving a party.