No votes for a thief

The Brooklyn Paper
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Roger Green must be stopped.

Sliding down today’s ever-slippery slope of cynicism, the disgraced Brooklyn Assemblyman now has the temerity to suggest that his guilty plea last year for stealing thousands of dollars from the state’s coffers will not be a big deal as he campaigns to defeat Rep. Ed Towns in Brooklyn’s 10th congressional district.

“People do not feel it’s a major issue,” Green told the New York Times last week.

We beg to differ. No, we don’t beg. We scream.

As our own Ariella Cohen discovered during a fact-finding mission within the 10th congressional district, Brooklyn voters actually do think it is a “major issue” when a politician is caught with his hand in the till, pleads guilty to robbing his own constituents and is forced to resign in disgrace.

That Green was eventually re-elected to the very same office speaks more to the power of incumbency and the lack of talent on the scandal-tarred Democratic bench, than forgiveness.

Green’s crime — he took free rides from a private company and then billed the state for travel expenses — was hardly a hanging offense. But the fact that he thought he could get away with it — that he felt above the law that we send him to Albany to make — is what makes the transgressions unforgivable.

In the same Times interview, Green trash-talked Towns in the language of the reformer he will never be. “There is a question of his legislative leadership,” Green said. “You have someone in office for more than 20 years and has only one bill to his credit that has been voted into law.”

But for our money, we’d rather have a back-bencher than a convicted — and unrepentant — thief.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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