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Ethics Matter

David Staples, candidate for Public Service Commission District 5, talks about the need for a return to ethics in government and politics.

One of the most frequent topics that comes up in political conversation these days is ethics. On July 31st, Georgians overwhelmingly voted that there needs to be a cap on the amount of gifts our elected officials are allowed to accept.  However, there are many of us who believe that even a $100 per day cap is still too much - that perhaps $0 is a better cap.  After all, looking at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission website, one can see that while the $150 rounds of golf and several hundred dollar dinners for the official and their spouse may be eliminated, there are many more of the smaller lunches, dinners, and various other goodies that would still be allowed.  Would you be surprised to hear that some Public Service Commissioners walk out of their office or a hearing at lunch time and say "I'm hungry, where's a lobbyist"?

However, there is one completely legal process by which we can eliminate all gifts that doesn't require further legislation - the voting booth.  Every Georgia voter has a voice this November 6th to help decide who we are going to put into the various offices around the state.  If we decide that ethics do indeed matter, then we should cast our vote for the candidate that best reflects those values - without regard for the party letter beside that candidate's name.  The choice is yours - do you vote for someone who has received $14,000 in gifts from lobbyists in just their last term and who accepted $10,000 in campaign contributions just two days before voting on the case those very contributors were presenting?  Or is it time to oust some of these 18 year incumbents in favor of a fresh face in their seat?

You be the judge:  http://gareport.com/blog/2012/07/18/its-legal-but-is-it-right/

There is a reason that politicians have gone from what was once a respected position to a position that is now the target of a number of jokes.  People have come to expect that politicians are dirty and are actually surprised when they come across one that is not.  One by one and seat by seat voters have the ability to replace those elected officials that aren't doing what we elected them to do and are taking advantage of the position that we put them in.  I urge everyone to thoroughly research every race you cast a ballot for.  Let our elected officials know that you too believe:  Ethics Matter.

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Erik Fernald October 02, 2012 at 01:10 AM
People as long as we can remember have "railed" against unethical behavior and politics. The fact is in its very nature it attracts a certain type of person who usually has a way with people. You almost have to be part con-man to be a real strong politician to make people believe what you are saying whether you believe it personally or not. I remember reading about good people trying to beat Tammany Hall (sp) in New York city at the turn of the century, and they were killed in the voting. The do-gooders do not usually win for a reason, they try to tell it like it is. Telling people unpopular things does not garner favor or votes. Most people seem to want to live in fantasy land and be told things by people in power to ease their minds. Tackling difficult issues like crime, education, and balancing our budgets takes real earnest decision making capabilities. The problem is that when the results do not work, we have to explain them. Most people do not just go out and say "I failed here". It shows some sign of political "weakness" when in the real world it displays honesty. Very few people who are based in reality want the position. Think about it, who in his or her right mind wants to pay $125,000 or more to get a $17,000 a year job (ie. state senator)....doesn't it seem suspicious on its face? Maybe we need to do it all by lottery like jury duty. You are picked, serve your time and then it is over.
Cris Eaton Welsh October 03, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Fantastic blog.. you couldn't be more right, the problem comes in when it is hard for the honest and ethical ones to stay in place because they get so jaded! the only way to change the system is one position at a time.
Eileen Alberstadt October 05, 2012 at 03:30 PM
This is a great blog! Can you help Kennesaw? It sure is a mess up here and trying to rewrite ethics rules is very difficult. I do not feel that ideas should come from those who have been accused even thought there were no findings, In my personal opinion, that is unethical.
Craig Harfoot October 18, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Good job David. I have been working at this topic for over 10 years. I believe the time is right for it to take hold. Craig Harfoot http://craigharfoot.com/
Craig Harfoot October 18, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Good job David. Self control is the only way to achieve ethics reform. When someone offers you the first little thing with out paying just say no thanks. The hardest part is to not spend more than is reasonable for you to afford for your campaign, because campaign debt will only be retired by those that want something from your office. Craig Harfoot http://craigharfoot.com/
Eileen Alberstadt October 19, 2012 at 02:30 AM
The City of Kennesaw is rewriting their Ethics Rules at this time. Some of the gifts are getting out of hand. When the Mayor and City Council Members are late for a City Council Meeting on the 15th of this month while a room full of citizens sat there waiting for them to appear is wrong. They were caught up in traffic from golfing. Hmm! Come on, we need changes in Kennesaw. Tell me what you think. Making fools out of the citizens who vote them in. Unethical!

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