Turner no longer qualified; many others are

January 21, 2011
By

Having read and re-read Marc Pelletier’s letter (JP Gazette, Jan. 7), I remain confused. He accuses me of “blind outrage” for calling out the actions of former City Councilor Chuck Turner and those who would consider that acceptable behavior from a public official, but then says, “I am not defending the action that Turner has been convicted of—accepting money to help a local businessman obtain a liquor license.” He’s not defending the actions, but he is defending the man? He thinks Turner should have continued to serve despite his conviction?

I, too, am concerned about the Boston University Biolab and thank Turner for his work to stop it. But I fail to understand why that should be cause for us to overlook bribery. In one instance, Turner was doing his job to advocate for and protect the interests of his constituents. In the other, he was using his elected office for his own gain. That such gain was so small doesn’t make it less criminal but instead speaks to how little Turner valued his duty. That is, unless we believe this kind of thing always happens and that’s okay. I would also note that, by definition, bribery compromises the very independence Turner is being lauded for and does nothing to enhance his courage.

I believe most of Boston suffers from the belief that there are only so many people who are qualified to serve in public office. This seems to be a particular concern for Turner’s district. Having worked on campaigns in that district, I know this is not the case. I look forward to the Special Preliminary Election on Feb. 15 when District 7 will get the opportunity to choose from half a dozen candidates with a variety of experience in the workplace and in politics. While I prefer some over others, I know that within that group are many who would serve their constituents with dedication and integrity. That, ultimately, is the voice District 7 and the rest of Boston needs.

Deb Nam-Krane
Jamaica Plain

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