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Political Entitlement Hurts Public Confidence

Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

For anyone who has ever waited in line for hours to register a car, the news story about Memphis City Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware caused a spike in blood pressure.

The council woman was just indicted by a state grand jury for "obtaining expedited service for car tags, in many cases without going to the trouble of having cars inspected."

The evidence shows Ware was soliciting special treatment long before her indictment, and also accepted free tickets from a developer becase he was a 'nice guy."

Despite the revelations, there are no consequences spelled out in the city's ethics code. The voters will have an opportunity to change that next week, when a charter change is on the ballot that would strengthen the code and call upon public officials to "conduct themselves in a manner that promotes confidence in the metropolitan government."

As a Commercial Appeal editorial points out, the public should not return to office individuals "who don't know it's wrong to misuse the power that comes with public office -- whether it violates the law or not."

Tags: corruption

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