The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Pork Rinds: A threat to democracy?


In case you somehow haven't heard, a voting scandal is rocking the tiny Appalachain town conveniently named Appalachia (population 1,800). Those who regularly read the Iconoclast know that we know no bounds when it comes to exposing local government corruption, cronyism, and incompetence. Whether it's questioning a shady land deal in the heart of Virginia, a complex money laundering sceme involving Federal contracts and coondogs, or general dysfunction, as in the case in the Town of Elkton (sorry Elkton) - we are here to inform. But quite possibly the voter scandal unfolding at this moment in the Town of Appalachia (which the Virginia State Police are actively investigating) takes the cake - or well, pork rind.

Allegedly, before the May 2004 town council elections in Appalachia, one rogue candidate running for council went a bit too far, and pulled a move that would make Katherine Harris proud. Reportedly this "move" consisted of having a hired goon canvas the small Town and offer pork rinds in exchange for votes. Yes, pork rinds! But it appeared that the allure of pork rinds wasn't the only highly valued commidity that was offered in exchange for votes - cigarettes and beer were thrown in just for good measure.

But some people just can't be bought that easy, as in the case of Christinia McKinney. You see, Christinia reported that she was approached (while sitting on the balcony of her second story apartment) by a goon offering up pork rinds in return for voting for his pal. Also, another resident of the apartment complex reported that this same goon offered to buy a nickel bag of "hippy lettuce" in exchange for her vote. The story gets a little more complex, but still, you get the idea...

If you think about it this story is quite ridiculous (Oh, really?). Unfortunately for the individuals who attempted to use the seductive allure of pork rinds and nickel bags of hippie lettuce in exchange for votes, the local authorities don't find this as funny, and the possibility of prison time is very real. It amazes me that someone would be so silly to try something so stupid, but I guess the thought of power at all cost is too great for some, even in the tiny community of Appalachia.

As I've stated before, I firmly believe that the over whelming majority of local officials (elected or professional) truely want to serve the public good. But as I've documented in the past, power can corrupt, and even well-intentioned folks can do bad things. When you consider that turnout for local elections are usually abysmal, one could see why maybe some of our ethically challenged friends might interpret this apathy as justicification to "run the shop as they see fit" - more or less. Call me crazy but I'd like to think - that even in Appalachia - the public trust is worth more than a bag of pork rinds.

4 Comments:

  • At 2/02/2006 5:39 PM, Anonymous Chubby said…

    Good stuff. You're doing important work. Now if we could just reign in the big-time criminals in D.C...

     
  • At 2/02/2006 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This kind of stuff happens more often than you might think. Normally, it is not so blatant. Deals are made. Wink, wink. Pork rinds? No way! However, a six pack for a vote? Let me think about that...

     
  • At 2/03/2006 3:42 PM, Blogger zen said…

    Indeed, great work here. You have a knack for digging up and presenting these tidbits of corruption. Often the national stories can create a sense of Washington status quo, but when one hears about these local scandals I think it may inspire people to answer the call (be that running for office themselves or simply keeping a close eye on 'authority').
    But of course I could be wrong.

     
  • At 2/03/2006 3:48 PM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    yea, unfortunatly corruption even can find its way into local politics. I guess discussing these issue (local government incompotence and corruption) is the little niche that I've tried to carve out for myself in the blogosphere!

    Have a good weekend zen!

     

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