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November 23, 2013


I have recently blogged on the problem we have here in Naples, Florida, the new “Toronto South” in the hazy world of the Ford-Radel duet of coke intake but (unbelievably) without resignation response(s). Our congressman here in Toronto South, Trey Radel, who pled guilty a few days ago to cocaine possession in the Federal District where he was apprehended and arrested following a buy, was given probation (no jail time) by the court in D.C., the usual penalty for first offenders. He was not, of course, a first offender. He agreed in writing that he had made numerous other such buys of cocaine. This is therefore not his first offense; it is rather his first detected offense. Thus if you are a bank robber and have robbed ten banks before being finally arrested and convicted  for robbing the eleventh, does that mean that you are a first offender and that somehow the first ten banks were not robbed? Hardly.

I pointed out in my earlier post that he got off easy. He not only escaped a much heavier penalty for multi-violations in the D.C. case, he also avoided the penalty Florida could have assessed upon a guilty plea to coke possession here, namely, 5 years in prison and loss of voting rights. It would have been worse in Iran, I suggested, where he would have been summarily executed.

Radel is now undergoing treatment for his addiction here in Toronto South and is on leave of absence from the House of Representatives. Today’s paper here front pages that his treatment costs $21,000 a month. While I wish him well on a personal level, I must question his prior and sanctimonious votes to defund and repeal Obamacare for ordinary citizens, SNAP and other such tea-bagging legislation in the name of saving money. Since addiction is (properly) defined as a disease, I presume his congressional coverage will pay for the bulk of the costs of treating his addiction. If so, then you and I are paying for his coverage (subject to co-pays and deductibles, if any). If he is paying for it out of his some $200,000 annual salary, then you and I are still paying for it. Addiction may be a disease, but it is self-imposed by people who hold themselves out to be otherwise epitomes of responsibility, and I personally resent having to pay for such treatment as a taxpayer on grounds that if Radel has $350 for a few grams of snow, then he has enough money to treat its after-effects. Radel is living proof (though in a different context) that some of the residents of this congressional district (along with seasonal visitors) can be properly identified as “snowbirds.”

My addicted congressman, who is always (hypocritically) lecturing the rest of us about individual responsibility and community values, has been advised by an editorial in yesterday’s Republican newspaper here to resign. Several others and I have demanded the same in letters to the editor. He has refused to date, thus joining Mayor Ford of Toronto North, who also refuses to resign based upon self-diagnosis and arrogance in a show of unparalleled hubris approaching insolence.

Both the mayor and our congressman have conducted themselves in public office in ways antithetical to the public good, and should be removed one way or another. Republican Speaker Boehner has indicated that he does not expect to do anything about bringing our congressman up before the House Ethics Committee, which is not surprising, since he doesn’t want to arouse the ire of the tea party faction of his party in a continuing celebration of politics over ethics, wrong over right.

I intend to continue agitating for Radel’s resignation or removal and invite you to join me.  GERALD  E


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