Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thoughts on Chuck Turner and the meaning of Corruption

As my wife said about the Chuck Turner news yesterday: Sad. Read at:

However, if one takes the time to read the FBI affidavit you can see that Chuck was offered more money by the CW-cooperating witness, who is reported to be Ron Wilburn. The CW offered to have a fundraiser for Chuck, and offered more money if Chuck would meet him later. It appears Chuck lost his phone number, and never followed up on either offer.
If Chuck was really out to shake people down and get money, this would have been too easy. But, he is alleged to have just taken one golden handshake.

This FBI document is no where near as damaging as the Dianne Wilkerson one, which reads like a roadmap of how you get things done in Boston. You get your claws into a lower level politician like Diane, they call up Tom Menino, who if he so deigns gives you the go ahead to talk to Michael Kineavy who is the one that gets things done at City Hall for the Mayor. Then everyone else falls in line, different people get their chits, and legislation gets discussed in closed meetings like the one with Maureen Feeney, Licensing Board member Polaski, Sen. Wilkerson, and Sen. President Murray. Finally, it gets rubber stamped in public meetings (or maybe not even that according to the FBI's report on the Licensing Board) and the public is none the wiser.

I've sent a Public Records Request to see the meeting schedule for that Feeney, Murray meeting, can't wait to see what I get.

Chuck Turner, it appears, may have just been sloppy in the way he took money, and it seems what they will really get him on is denying that it happened. Just like Clinton, it is not the act it is the cover up that gets you in trouble. If he had just taken the $1000 put it down on his taxes as a consulting fee, and told the Feds he had taken the money from Wilburn, he would be pretty clear now.

What is the meaning of Corruption?

What Chuck allegedly did is wrong. But, is it more wrong than Michael Flaherty actively working for a lawfirm that handles zoning matters in the City of Boston while he sits on the Boston City Council? Is it more wrong than Boston Mayor Tom Menino putting a level 4 Biolab in the heart of Boston? Menino has taken thousands of campaign funds over the years from Walsh Construction and their associates and family, and has received much help from the BU people who are going to profit from this. He has surely been able to legally "take his wife to dinner" more than once on those thousands of contributed funds and call it a campaign expense. Was there Quid Pro Quo there, which could put tens of thousands of people at risk for their lives? Did the Citizens of Boston receive fair and honest service from their Mayor on this project, did he properly protect them? It is a grayer area, harder to prove than a case over a thousand bucks with a gray photo, but I would argue much more important in the grand scheme of things. I hope the FBI doesn't just investigate the low hanging rotten fruit, when they should look at the roots of this corrupt tree which produces such flowers.

The saddest thing about this to me is Chuck's statement about 90 percent of the politicians being corrupt. If he sees and knows about corruption he should speak out about it, and should have spoken out about it. To not speak out is to be complicit, which is one of my major complaints about our elected officials.

As the saying goes, all that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. I think Chuck was one of the good people, who cared and worked hard for his constituents, but when he turned a blind eye to what was happening in front of him and refused to speak out about it, it left him vulnerable to these temptations. Dianne Wilkerson on the other hand, is someone that I think Chuck should have been speaking out about.

I wish Chuck the best, and I hope he will do the right thing and speak out about the corruption that he has seen, be honest about what he did, and let the people judge him accordingly.

1 comment:

the zak said...

A hundred or so people everyday are found at our Boston City Council offices overseen by a staff director and the City Messenger. The staff director emotionally extorts "cooperation" from citizens enquiring about public records of Council proceedings and transactions. You have to agree not to make requests for public information to remain on or get on Council mailing lists for public notices of Council public meetings. It's the worst kind of attitude toward the people interested, concerned, affected by the Council's activities.