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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Road Apples, #27

Luzerne County Judges...Is it me, or are there 562 people running for judge in Luzerne County? Precisely how many judge-ships are open "down the line", 80?

Jack Kemp passed away over the weekend. Kemp was one of those rare hard-core social conservatives that I could relate to, if for no other reason than his early embrace of civil rights. The GOP lost a good one. Rest in peace quarterback.

Scranton Mayoral race is heating up. With about two weeks to go, the candidates (incumbent Chris Doherty and challenger Gary DiBileo) are now starting to spend the cash. Conventional wisdom is that Doherty has far more cash than DiBileo. Regardless, this is one election I'd like to see over and done with, sooner rather than later. Unfortunately that will not be the case, as both candidates are likely to launch write-in campaigns for the Fall general election if they fail to win in the primary. As a side note, both candidates are spending all this money for a job that pays $50,000/year. That's not what I would call a lot of money.

Pensions...There is a lot of talk about how various judges and others who have been charged with committing various sundry crimes should be forced to give up pensions. Note to the talking media heads: it doesn't work that way.
  • First, NO ONE...NO MATTER HOW APPARENTLY SLEAZY...should be treated as being guilty until they are convicted. In this country you are innocent until proven guilty, even if you are apparently a scum-bag who throws kids in jail in order to line your own pocket.
  • Second, a law called ERISA sets forth the very specific rules by which a pension can be attached or forfeited. It's not as simple as "you are bad, therefore no pension for you". In many cases, the money being talked about consisted of wages paid but then deferred, not money contributed by the employer, so taking that away is akin to reaching into the bank account of the accused and taking money from their savings account.
I have no sympathy for public officials who abuse their positions, and even less (read: zero) sympathy for individuals trusted with the welfare of children who end up harming those same children. But we are a society governed by laws, and the system works precisely because it apples to everyone. Time for the talking heads to climb off the soapboxes.

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