February 15, 2014 9:49:25 PM
Adele Elliott - [email protected]
"For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news."
Gloria Borger Chief Political Analyst at CNN
The press must be overwhelmingly happy these days. There is a mountain of bad news.
Ray Nagin, former mayor of New Orleans, was convicted last Wednesday of 20 charges of federal corruption. Nagin, who left office in 2010, has been found guilty of accepting thousands of dollars in bribery money and other gifts from the contractors and vendors that flocked into the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The bribes were paid with the expectation of being granted lucrative contracts. They got what they paid for -- in spades.
Sentencing is set for June 11. At that time, he could be ordered to serve more than 20 years in prison.
This news may not be especially interesting to folks around here. But, to Chris and me it was the sad ending to a personal, catastrophic saga. We had such hopes for this man, touted as a mayor who was not a politician. I voted for him (the first time he ran), so happy that he was going to be different from the previous three mayors. Silly me.
Mark Guarino, writing for The Christian Science Monitor (Feb. 12), put a positive spin on this news. His headline read "Conviction of ex-mayor Ray Nagin: Does it signal a new era for New Orleans?" Yeah right, Mark. Silly you.
Mississippi, or any other state, should not be too quick to malign Louisiana. This month, Rep. Kevin McGee, a Republican legislator from Brandon, was ordered to repay the state $346,554 from public printing contracts that went to his family business and to pay a $50,000 fine for the dealings. Don't make me give you more examples.
But the Olympics, they are only about honest competition and good sportsmanship, right? Not if we are to believe French newspaper L'Equipe.
According to this source, "A Russian coach reported that the U.S. and Russia conspired to fix figure skating competitions at the 2014 Olympics. The U.S./Russia deal would help Russia win gold in the pairs and team competition, in exchange for the Russians helping Charlie White and Meryl Davis win gold in ice dancing." Say it ain't so.
U.S. Figure Skating has termed the report "categorically false." However, L'Equipe published allegations against Lance Armstrong back in 2005 that proved to be correct. We all know how that ended.
Most of us are desperate for some good news about people in power. It seems that we are destined to be forever disappointed.
Even Columbus, with its low crime rate and Bible Belt ethics, is fraught with corruption. "Rules" are broken. Cronyism and nepotism abound. The bylaws of almost every board in the city have been twisted and gerrymandered to suit despots.
People sit on boards when they do not meet the residency requirements. Board members are hand-picked because of questionable loyalties. If someone signs a document vowing not to apply for a directorship, they should be held to that promise.
I guess I sound slightly jaded. I won't be watching the rest of the Sochi Olympics. The scores are apparently as trustworthy as World Wrestling Entertainment -- amusing but scripted.
Hunter S. Thompson said, "Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond." Maybe he should have said "like a gold medal that is only plated."
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.