Monday, February 04, 2008

sad history

For those who are shocked over the conviction in the fall and sentencing today of former councilwoman Twanda Carlisle, the sad truth is that it is not the first such conviction of a local politican. It was only in 1989 that Ben woods was convicted and sent to jail for a pattern of behavior just as systematic as Twanda's while serving as city council president no less.

It's hard to figure where most rogue public servants go bad. It's not like they start out with a plan to end up as they do. There is early history of Ben as a Henry Jackson supporter for president in 1976. Jackson would actually have his presidential campaign collapse because of how badly he did in the Pennsylvania primary. (Does that mean the Pennsylvania Primary mattered in 1976?) I'm not sure there was much advantage locally to expending effort for an underdog from a far western state. It just does not add up.

One of the scariest angles to the TC case is that she didn't try too hard to conceal the behaviors that would lead to her downfall. It's as if she didn't even realize such behavior could lead to trouble. In the end the criminal case had nothing to do with the odd para-report that made the news early on, but it was probably the bread crumb which forced the scrutiny that followed. Long ago I mused on how strange that whole initial episode was in: What is there to say?

One last bit of history. Were the Woods and Carlisle cases similar? The US Supreme Court's briefing spells out the details so you can decide that yourself. That brief is actually the solicitor general's brief in the appeal of the case before the supreme court. You should recognize at least two of the names of the US attorneys who signed the brief.

Makes you wonder what happends to politicians after these things are all over with. What is Jeff H. up to these days? or Joe C. for that matter?


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