Sunday, October 11, 2009

Corruption Sickens Union, South Carolina

Chicago and Cook County are corrupt as hell, but they ain't got nothin' on parts of South Carolina, particularly Union County and the town of Union. The folks in SC are still dizzy - and probably nauseated - from the recent wave of corruption arrests and convictions in local and county government. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal ( gives us a primer: Earlier this year, the people of this quiet county lost a well-known mayor, Bruce Morgan, and another city official when both men pleaded guilty to public corruption charges and were sentenced to prison. Wow, even Chicago's Mayor Daley hasn't been arrested (yet). Sure, the FBI has some kind of investigation for each of our 50 aldermen, and top city officials and Daley friends have been sent away on corruption charges over the years. But they just can't seem to get Top Dog Daley. Either the local prosecutors are smarter or in South Carolina or the local corruptocrats are not as wiley as their kindred spirits in Chicago. Ditto for Cook ("Crook") County, where Todd Stroger, King of Nepotism and Bad Decisions, along with many of the Board members, are also under investigation. (Stroger might be cuffed next year, if what I'm hearing is correct.) Imagine how happy Chicagoans and fellow Cook County residents would be to wake up to news similar to what the Herald-Journal tells its readers in South Carolina (emphasis added): Last week, they lost the longtime head of county government and former tax assessor — at least temporarily — when a judge unsealed a 40-count indictment against them. They may lose former Sheriff Howard Wells, seen by many as the public face of the investigation that led to the arrest of Susan Smith nearly 15 years ago for killing her two children. Wells also faces charges, and while he’s popular with some, others chose to throw a party when they heard the news. They threw a party? Sure! Why not? I gotta tellya, on the day that the federales slap cuffs on Stroger or Daley, there will be a lot of champagne popping in Chicagoland and I'll be pulling a cork or two myself. Union, SC is going through hard times, harder than for much of the country. According to the Herald-Journal, "more than 1 in 5 members of Union County’s work force don’t have one. And they’ve lost faith in their leaders." Residents of Chicago and Cook County know that our "leaders" are corrupt, but I dare say we haven't "lost faith" in them in the same way the folks in Union have. The folks in Union have lost faith in the ability of their leaders to keep them employed. Keep in mind we are talking about Union County employees, not the average joe. Imagine 1 in 5 (20 percent) of Cook County workers suddenly being unemployed. Disaster. Patronage-powered influence would collapse. A tragically funny quote seems to sum up the sitcheeashun in South Carolina. That quote comes from SC State Rep. Mike Anthony, a Democrat. He is optimistic about Union's city council getting together with a delegation from Union County to figure out how they will get beyond the current double crisis of jobs losses and political implosion. The Herald-Journal quotes Anthony as saying that it's "not unique in small-town South Carolina for corruption and things like this to happen," and “This is potentially a chance for us to cleanse our community with more accountability to the people. We’re in a crisis, and we realize that, and I feel it’s very important to get things right moving forward.” Yuh huh, okay. "Not unique," I like that. It's so - diplomatic. "Cleanse out community with more accountability to the people," I like that, too, but only because it's a stunningly clumsy phrase and because it slyly shifts blame to the community (d'ja notice that?). I mean, did none of the rest of the clowns - the unindicted ones - not notice the shit storm swirling around them before the din of handcuffs clanking shut began to echo from the local halls of guvvamint? "I feel it's very important," said Anthony, "to get things right moving forward." Geez, what a hack this Anthony clown seems to be. If it's so damned important (it is, of course), then why haven't lawmakers like Anthony gotten "things right" up to and including this moment? Is the South Carolina legislature really as incompetent as the one in Illinois? The dark side of this Chicagoan hopes that it is. Misery, especially in the Land of Blagojevich, loves company. The not-so-dark side of me, however, feels for the good people of Union. The three or four of them that seem to be left, that is. RELATED: County Clerk Under Investigation, Resigns - Corruption probe shocks Union; 5 arrested - Spartanburg Herald-Journal SLED Investigating Union County Clerks Office, Clerk Resigns - News Channel 7 SC gov suspends supervisor charged with drug crime - WMBF South Carolina to ask court to protect Catawba water supply - Greenville News Sheriff in Susan Smith case indicted - Greenville News Another Day, Another Scandal - FITSNews Conservative Caps, Shirt and more! Leave a Comment - Chicago News Bench RSS Feed Visit us on Twitter!