August 03, 2005
JoAnne Favors Needs Our Help
First, read Bob Krumm's take on a Chattanoogan.com article that had escaped my attention until now.
[cue music: "Joanne" by Orion the Hunter]
Okay, ya back? Let me reiterate, in case you went surfing for a while:
The former District 5 Hamilton County Commissioner, now a "rising star" in the Democrat-controlled State House of Representatives after she defeated Brenda Turner (whew) in the '04 primary, JoAnne Favors, told reporters -- actually told them, it wasn't just a Helen Thomas Moment™ -- that the legislative ethics commission, of which she is an appointed member, isn't needed. I hope she clarifies this or retracts it or something very soon. I am disappointed, to put it mildly.
Oh, and she's the Vice-Chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. Local Dems, what say you on this? Is this, I'm assuming, an individual's statement and thus thoroughly unrepresentative of the Party's position on ethics in our government?
I went and did some yard work in between starting this post and pushing "Publish," during which time I did some more thinking on these statements. I suppose it's fair to argue that we really shouldn't need to pass new laws to instill ethical values into our legislators. Ethical behavior is, um, a prerequisite of achieving my vote -- and you're darned sure not to get another one if you start slipping once you're in office.
Rep. Favors also makes the point that many lobbyists are intelligent and that they even help teach the General Assembly members things. I can't but agree. I'm sure that the very people who are running things have a lot of teaching to do. They can also supply pre-packaged legislation, and, boy, that's handy. Never mind that the legislation is written to benefit the lobbyists' employers, regardless of the voters' interests. Yes, never mind..
That's the problem in Nashville (and, I'm sure, in state capitals around the country). The unethical behavior (most of which is technically legal), until a big "scandal" hits every decade or so, is blatantly disregarded -- by the press, yes, and by the public.
Wait a minute. By the public? It's true. Oh, crap. WE'RE the ones to blame. Maybe JoAnne Favors is right. Maybe this ethics panel on which she sits isn't what is needed. Maybe even my call for a Public Disclosure Commission like Washington's would not be enough, if we citizens just sit back and let the rottening happen.
But I will take what I can get, and if a legislative ethics commission is a means that can help get us to these other ends, then let us not have its members decrying its very existence.
I look forward to hearing from Representative Favors and/or her colleagues in her party organization.
Additionally, I will continue to earnestly ask all of you, and everyone else really, to wake up, pay attention, learn what's going on, how you're governed, by whom, with money from where. I think it's only just to do that for ourselves.
By the way, did you notice Bob Krumm's new blog look? He's sure representin' in that picture. I wonder if he has plans for a term or two in the gubmint himself?
Government | By joe lance | 07:53 PM
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