Good deeds should not cancel effects of bad behavior

December 3, 2010
By

There is something very absurd about advocating that a convicted felon be allowed to represent a constituency that has been plagued by victimization and crime. Virginia Pratt [letter to the editor, JP Gazette, Nov. 19] said she thinks that City Councilor Chuck Turner, recently convicted of attempted extortion and lying under oath, should be allowed to keep his job because of all his past actions and proclamations.

Ms. Pratt cites his past opposition to a biology lab. It was built to do important research, is creating hundreds of needed jobs, and is being run by Boston University, an honored and trusted Boston institution.

She cites his opposition to Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). If military training is a “right” for gays, is it not also a “right” for Boston Public School students, 85 percent of whom are minority?

She calls Turner’s efforts to reform Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) laws “genius.” They have nothing to do with the scope of Boston City Council deliberations and, with all the exceptions the reforms included for violent assaults, domestic attacks and armed crime, they were not quite so brilliant or reforming.

She salutes his proposals to create “green” jobs and foreclosure prevention without acknowledging that the Boston City Council has changed nothing and couldn’t anyway.

Turner should have read his job description, not written press releases.

Ms. Pratt thinks that bribes, $1,000 to Turner, according to a federal jury, or $200 to Turner, according to Turner’s defense lawyer, are not appalling or punishable. She thinks that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has nothing better to do than to randomly pick someone to set up, ruin his reputation and career and send to prison. The FBI would never have paid any attention to Turner unless it received verifiable information and credible evidence as to who was on the take. That’s why it took action.

Just because someone’s behavior is sometimes notable, e.g. the behavior of Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Dianne Wilkerson or Charles Rangel, does not mean that their other dishonorable or unlawful actions are acceptable.

We need more people like Bill Cosby, Bill Russell, Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey and Ed Brooke to salute as role models for the content of their character and accomplishments and not the Chuck Turners of the world for the hypocrisy of their words and self-service of their actions

Let the punishment fit the crime for Chuck Turner. Let our City Councilor Matt O’Malley join the majority of his fellow councilors in voting to remove him from the council and then let federal court Judge Douglas Woodlock impose the appropriate prison sentence. That’s the example that should be set.

Bob McDonnell
Jamaica Plain

Editor’s note: This letter was written before the Boston City Council voted Dec. 1 to oust City Councilor Chuck Turner. [See related article]

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