One of the things that bother me about politics is how things stop being a scandal after the election. The terrible accusations, true or otherwise, suddenly stop on election day. Sadly, what was criminal on the first Tuesday of November should be equally criminal on the first Wednesday, and we should not declare such matters irrelevant just because we've pried the suspect's fingers off the levers of power.
To that point, I have been following the matter of Kent's briefly-tenured City Councilman Ken Sharp. During the election, he was accused of stealing large sums of money from his own mother. Mr. Sharp protested his innocence, won the seat, but then resigned after two weeks because the impending court case from his arrest would be too much of a distraction. Now he is pleading guilty to the charges against him. The Kent Reporter provides a very dry, factual and troubling summary of the entire issue here.
Now the maximum punishment sought by the state (which includes prison time) can be mitigated by Mr. Sharp paying back some of the funds to his mom. That would be a good thing. And it may well be that he serves no time at all, within the judgement of the court (no minimum sentence requirements that I see in the article). But the entire proceedings is a blemish against the community, the council, and the local Chamber of Commerce, which was his last big organizational position before running. It is a distraction, indeed, and one that begs closer examination of candidates in the future.
Which of course makes things tougher for me, since I'll have to do that examination, and won't be able to sail through approvals of local candidates on the mere assumption of innocence. And that, ultimately, is what bothers me most of all. Honest people make my job both easier and more boring, and I like it that way. No, really. :)
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