On Friday, a Facebook friend posted a question on his page, asking if an "honest mistake" is deserving of latitude if an individual's ethics are in question. I wrote back, aiming for a little humor :Sure, unless it's Chris Asselin! Later, I noticed my comment had been removed, and when I checked my friend's friends, sure enough, Chris was among them.
Then, yesterday, I was dress-shopping at the Goodwill on Boston Rd. when I heard a voice saying, "OK, guys, that's enough, time to move on." Something made me look up-- and it was Chris Asselin! Now, I've met Chris exactly once in my life, when I paid him a legislative visit, and I doubt he knew who I was, but he said "Hello." and I said hello back. I don't like to be rude to someone in front of children.
But I feel obliged to say exactly what I think about Chris Asselin's attempt to regain his state representative seat.
He's an idiot! He's crazy! What a jerk! What an asshole! He's learned NOTHING! I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him!
There, now that I have that out of my system, let me explain my thinking.
The Asselin family (those who were charged and convicted) stole from every taxpayer in the city, more than $4 million, if you put it all together, but, in particular, they stole from poor people, from those who suffer the most and have the least to give. They lived high on the hog, with nice houses in Springfield and a vacation home on Cape Cod. If anyone needs a reminder, see this history of corruption in Springfield, which includes the indictment of nine members of the Asselin family.
Now Chris may not be responsible for everything other family members did-- Daddy certainly set a poor example-- but this is what he did admit to:
As part of a plea deal, Christopher Asselin admitted accepting up to $120,000 in bribes from authority contractors funneled through his father – including improvements to his Springfield home and a swimming pool. He also admitted the same contractors made illegal campaign contributions and financed flyers, signs and fund-raisers (Emphasis mine.) Masslive.
Folks who know me are aware that I'm not particularly pro-incarceration, and I wish judges were allowed more creativity in sentencing. I'd have preferred the judge had sentenced Chris to live in a half-way house for 18 months, with his days spent serving the poor (instead of costing the taxpayers even MORE money). Chris could have worked third shift at the Worthington St. Shelter, served meals at Loaves and Fishes, helped prepare the bodies of the indigent for burial, washed floors at Arise or the Open Pantry-- you get the idea.That's not what happened, of course, but at least he served his time.
I also support ex-felons' right to vote-- it's a way to share in the responsibility of being a member of society-- BUT-- anyone who has ever been convicted of election fraud in any form should never be allowed to seek public office again. Is there any one of our current state legislators who'd be willing to introduce such a law?
How pathetic. I don't like criticizing people personally and don't usually feel the need to do so. Chris says he wants a second chance and he deserves one-- but not a second chance at political office, especially when illegal campaign contributions helped him win his first state representative seat. Please, Chris, do yourself, your family and the residents of Springfield a favor and withdraw from the race. I don't know in what direction your redemption lies, but it is not toward Boston. Please.