”Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
— Dean Wormer, Faber College
Jason Saine is living the American dream. Plucked out of the waiting room at the employment office and dropped into a state House seat. Given a powerful committee assignment so he can shake down special interests for money to buy five figures worth of clothes, to travel the country first-class, and pick up four-figure dinner tabs. (All while many of his constituents and other North Carolinians are struggling to raise their families and pay their bills while working multiple menial jobs.)
Apparently, in Jason’s world, raising questions about shady political deals and possible political corruption is extreme:
[…] In a text message, Lincolnton Republican Rep. Jason Saine also gave McCrory his approval.
“I believe the governor continues to lead in a pragmatic manner and is not distracted by extremists with regard to this issue,” Saine said. “He is rightly instructing our DOT to assess the new information and then make recommendations accordingly.” […]
He’s talking about the folks in Mecklenburg County who have been fighting this shady toll deal on I-77 tooth-and-nail. You know, the folks who have been raising hell for years now about the fact a foreign company with business ties to Susan Tillis’s family got to be the only bidder on a major project that NOBODY local really wanted. You know, the folks who raised concerns about the shaky financial condition of said contractor more than a YEAR before NCDOT signed on the dotted line. The folks who raised a red flag about corruption charges against the same contractor in Europe. We’re talking large and small business people in Mecklenburg County. Yeah, those folks.
According to this stubby, sweaty, portly no-talent shake-down artist from Lincoln County, THEY’RE extreme.
The information is not new. Oh, it’s new that the official bankruptcy filing took place in Texas. But it’s been talked about for over a year. The contractor already filed bankruptcy in Indiana. There is case after case after case where the contractor ended up screwing the locals on projects, and the taxpayers had to fork out more to clean it all up.
People have been hollering about this for three years, at least, now. And Pat McCrory and Jason Saine and all of the others have told them to go pound sand. Now that (1) the facts are coming public, (2) the election is close at hand, and (3) lots of local officials lost their jobs over this issue, McCrory & co. are feigning concern. (At least until the final election returns come in.)
It’s not new for politicians to personally insult private citizens daring to scrutinize their activities. *People should simply shut up, fork over their money, go vote every two years, and then GO AWAY.*
In this day and age, with a declining driveby media and a blossoming grassroots journalism community, that simply ain’t happening. You can’t keep stuff bottled up anymore by simply winking-and-nodding with useful tools like Rob Christensen.
Pat McCrory, Charles Jeter, Thom Tillis, Jeff Tarte and others have tangled their constituents and the rest of North Carolina up into a terrible mess with a potential to become quite expensive and unwieldy. Somewhere, someone got paid or a major favor (or two or three) as a result of making this deal happen.
Instead of blindly defending Pat McCrory & co. on this deal, responsible — ethical — leaders need to be asking tough questions on how we got here, where we’re going, and how we keep shady stuff like this from going down again. We count on these people to do due diligence on our behalf — not contemplate ways to enrich themselves and their buddies.
Iif they’re not going to watch out for us, what good are they?