Monday, September 13, 2010

A Message from Bea (Manno) Scheinbaum, Roger's Mother

Roger Manno's campaign has sent out this email from his mother, Bea Scheinbaum, addressing the material on Senator Mike Lenett's nuke website.

A message from Bea (Manno) Scheinbaum, Roger's Mother

Over the last few weeks, I've followed with profound disbelief the desperate and ruthless lies and innuendos Mike Lenett has made about my son and daughter-in-law, Roger and Marjorie Manno. I can only assume this is what the Washington Post and Gazette were referring to when they both endorsed Roger over Mike Lenett and described Lenett as a divisive man who alienates and antagonizes his colleagues. In addition, yesterday former 3-term County Executive Doug Duncan endorsed Roger, calling Mike Lenett’s attacks ”attempted character assassination” and stating that “Mike Lenett's recent personal attacks on Roger Manno, his wife and family are never called for in an election.”

Mike Lenett and his campaign have designed a website and mailed campaign literature with fake newspaper articles to trick the public into believing that they had uncovered real and scandalous information about Roger. The truth is that Mike Lenett wrote these articles. The endorsements for Roger by the Washington Post and the Gazette are the real newspaper articles.

First of all, Mike Lenett falsely attacks my son and his wife for supposedly hiding their wealth, their luxury Manhattan apartment and ties to Wall Street. How absurd - none of this is true. My daughter-in-law is a bright and successful woman and shame on Mike Lenett for trying to tear her down. Neither she nor my son own or rent any such apartment, and this is a complete fabrication. Additionally, Lenett has falsely asserted that Roger is using hidden wealth to finance his State Senate campaign. I only wish they had the wealth of Mike Lenett so they could respond to these lies with the stunning force they deserve. What Lenett doesn't publicize is that he has used in excess of two hundred thousand dollars of his own personal wealth in an attempt to buy this election.

Secondly, as the woman who gave Roger his name, I need to respond to what is clearly Lenett's racism and fear mongering. Roger's birth and first six years of life in California were idyllic. I was a student and my husband a sculptor. It was the 60’s. We were poor but filled with ideals and hope. We marched and protested the war but kept our focus on building a loving and moral life. Our only concession to the 60’s was the name we chose for our son. I thought of naming him David but "Rajah" (also "king") seemed more exotic. Of course Roger would have preferred a more common name such as Eric, Sam or Jon. He grew comfortable with people calling him "Roger" and planned ultimately to change it legally. In 2002, after my brother Morty changed his name to "Joel," Roger finally made the change as well. I am disgusted that Lenett uses his birth name to play on racial fears and stereotypes.

Thirdly, I must address the ugly attempt by Lenett to misrepresent and malign Roger's education and his time spent writing poetry, music, short stories and screenplays. In childhood, Roger struggled academically because of the traumas he experienced, the death of his father when Roger was not yet seven, Roger’s own cardiac illness, my cancer, the physical and psychological abuse he suffered at the hands of a man who entered our lives when I was vulnerable and still reeling from my husband's death. Later, Roger attempted college several times unsuccessfully. Instead, he wrote about pain, about struggle… and I praised his attempts to turn his pain into something productive. In fact, Roger's art reflected that of a great many of his relatives, including my father and mother, Samuel and Etta Scheinbaum, who were both poets, and Roger's father, John Manno, who was a sculptor and played Jazz slide trombone. During this period, Roger supported his efforts bartending and waiting tables as many young artists do, always hoping to one day return to college. Finally, after some years, he reapplied to Hunter College and, contrary to his early attempts, this time he soared, graduated magna cum laude, received a White House internship, went on to graduate law school with a joint degree, and ultimately, was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.

When Lenett refers to this difficult early period in Roger’s development as some hidden detour into a scandalous and wayward life, it is an affront to every young person trying desperately to make sense of grief, disabilities and hardship. Contrary to what Lenett would like you to believe, this period, during which Roger was able to confront, resolve and move past trauma is a tribute to his character and perseverance. Roger was anything but in hiding. He was out front and center. His pain and ultimate triumph were visible for anyone to see who had the wisdom to understand what they were seeing.

Anyone who knows Roger knows that he is a relentless advocate who works 24-7 for the things in which he believes. This is particularly so for health care. He is not driven by money but by concern and empathy. Roger Manno genuinely cares about the world in which he lives and the people who inhabit it.

Thank you for your time.


Bea (Manno) Scheinbaum