07/13/07 — New black eye? N.C. legislature just might need another ethics review

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New black eye? N.C. legislature just might need another ethics review

As busy as North Carolina’s legislators have been over the last few days, it seems hard to believe that yet another one has a reason to resign — especially in the wake of the debacle involving former House Speaker Jim Black.

Now, Rep. David Almond, a Republican, has given up his seat, citing undisclosed allegations. He has, also, vowed to fight the unspoken accusations, but has given up his seat anyway.

Hmmm. OK, well, that seems a little odd. If there are allegations to fight, why would you resign?

We probably should stay tuned. We haven’t heard the end of this one — and it might be better than an episode of “Desperate Housewives.”

It should not be much of a surprise that there are still concerns about ethics and other less-than-savory actions in the N.C. General Assembly.

After all that has transpired with Black and his associates — as well as a couple of other questionable calls from other legislators — it seems that perhaps the recently passed ethics legislation might have been more than just a show of support for doing the right thing. Looks like it was absolutely necessary.

Now might be the time for a refresher course for some of the state’s leadership, too. It seems some of them have no clue what is required of them in the ethics department.

The Jim Black affair is another example of why citizens should keep a close eye on how power is allocated in their legislative body. The fact that a man who has just been convicted of taking money inappropriately actually thought he could do a few eye exams to atone for his sins shows that there are some people who do not get the importance of good ethical conduct.

It is a good thing there was a judge there who did.

Jim Black’s actions were a mark on the House and a reminder of how some political business is done. Setting ethics rules and standards and sticking to them is the best way to make sure our elected representatives get that we don’t do business like that in North Carolina.

Now, if we could just get that philosophy across to some of those elected officials in Washington, we might just have a week or two without a scandal, a resignation or more excuses about why no one can get anything done.

Thank goodness that the trials and tribulations of its membership — and the shame of its former leader — has not put too much of a crimp on getting the job done in Raleigh. Hopefully, we haven’t spoken too soon.

Published in Editorials on July 13, 2007 10:56 AM