It’s been a tough time in the area lately. First there was the Great Quake of ’11 and the Great Superintendent Scandal of ’11, both of which took place on the same day last week. Then there was Great Irene’s megadose of wind, rain and power failures, complete with powerful but necessary evacuation warnings from Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey but nary a word from The Invisible Man of Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett. Then, just this Tuesday, the Philadelphia Eagles gave their star dog abuser, Michael Vick, a six-year extension on his contract. All in all, a lot of disturbing news for man and beast alike.
The icing on the cake came the same day as the Vick announcement, with word that a household name in Northeast Philly, John Perzel, is about to officially become a crook.
The longtime former state legislator and ex-speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, who was charged nearly two years ago with 82 counts of corruption, is going to plead guilty, letting down not just his family, friends and the 60,000 or so people he once represented, but the entire state.
What really stings in this case is not that Mr. Perzel was brash, abrasive or manipulative, or that he was one of the masterminds of the illegal pay raise state lawmakers gave themselves in the middle of the night back in July 2005. What should hurt Mr. Perzel’s fans the most is that he lied to them, big time.
John Michael Perzel is just the latest in a long line of politicians who give politicians their sleazy reputation. That image will not change until members of the voting public get off their butts and pay attention in numbers too big for crooked politicians to ignore.
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