[Vision2020] scandals, firsthand

lfalen lfalen at turbonet.com
Tue Sep 4 16:10:53 PDT 2007

Thanks Keely for your compassion. Craig may vary well be guilty, but is far from certain. 
-----Original message-----
From: keely emerinemix kjajmix1 at msn.com
Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2007 11:05:53 -0700
To: vision2020 at moscow.com
Subject: [Vision2020] scandals, firsthand

> As I was watching Larry Craig's resignation speech on CNN, I kept thinking about his family and the turmoil they're experiencing.  My thoughts turned to a time 30 years ago, way back in the mid-to-late 70s . . . 
> My father was a popular and activist County Assessor in Pima County (Tucson), where he still lives and where I grew up.  Two or three years into his term, we were getting death threats and my dad was being roundly savaged in the press for his steadfast belief that the mines should be paying a greater share, a fair share, of property taxes.  This doesn't sound at all revolutionary to us, I suppose, but in Southern Arizona, the mining industry is king and a challenge to it was a guarantee of political headaches for anyone who dared.
> Then the property tax rate for certain types of property was adjusted, and hundreds of parcels across Pima County were reassessed at lower values, resulting in tax cuts for their owners.  That was great news for hundreds of property owners -- but it was the beginning of a nightmare for my father when it was discovered that not only had he personally benefited from the adjustment, but that his properties were wrongly included in those that were assigned the lower rate.  We woke up to a huge headline -- "Emerine Benefits >From Tax Decrease Error," with a subhead that hinted that he had manipulated the data to cop a lower tax bill.  The radio was abuzz, the neighbors were suddenly very interested in the intricacies of local taxation, and well-meaning (or not) teachers would whisper in the hallways of my high school.  My mother was a wreck, my grandparents furious, and my brother and I felt sick.  And every day, the media offered the same story in the same way.
> My father immediately initiated an internal investigation and asked the
> State Attorney General to investigate as well.  And, sure enough, it
> was a data entry error on the part of DE personnel in his office.  They
> were reprimanded, my father paid the difference, and he took steps to
> have our family's property independently audited any time there was
> even the remote possibility of an adjustment.  After a couple of weeks,
> he was completely exonerated.  But those headlines weren't as big,
> weren't as inflammatory, as the earlier ones.  It happens that way, and
> you have to just take comfort in the fact that dad knew he was
> innocent, his friends and colleagues knew it, and most of all, God knew
> it (not that my father was in any way a religious man).  But the stain
> doesn't come out, and I remember well the pain we all suffered that
> this decent, honest man was under a cloud of suspicion. 
> There's a belief that most children have that their parents, whatever their other faults, are innocent of big, tangible, "sexy," things they might be accused of.  My father, like most men of his generation, can be stubborn and selfish, and he wasn't always as considerate and nurturing as I'm sure we would have liked.  Then there were the typical parent-teenager issues that he was absolutely guilty of, in my eyes.  And so you bitch with your friends in the lunchroom about unreasonable curfews, stingy allowances, and unending chore lists.  He didn't like my boyfriend, thought I should do better in math, and thought my green eye shadow was tacky -- of those things, he was absolutely guilty, and so was everyone else's dad.  I would have been glad to tell anyone who listened what a grouch dad was, or how he kept me on such a short leash.  The same was true of Mr. Meyer, Mr. Lopez, and Mr. Sereno.  But they weren't publicly accused of criminal dishonesty; they didn't change the !
station when it was newsbreak time.  Parents were guilty of this, perhaps, but not THAT -- and I knew, with all of my heart, that my father was and is an honest man, a public servant of great integrity and courage, and that he was not a cheat or a criminal.  Larry Craig's seemingly evident guilt aside, all children harbor a belief that when it comes to tangible, public charges, their parent is innocent.  Period.  Craig's actual behavior notwithstanding, it is the nature of the parent-child relationship for daughters and sons to refuse to believe the very worst things people say about their fathers, no matter how obvious his guilt.  Experiencing that is hell.  Knowing that my father's character was maligned in public every day for those couple of weeks was hell -- and that was just in Pima County, Arizona, and certainly over an issue far less tawdry then accusations of trolling for a quick, anonymous sex act in a public restroom.  There's no way a 16-year-old girl can go publ!
 ic with
the fact that her dad would drive miles back to a store to return change he realized later he'd been given in error.   There isn't a forum  for a daughter to say that  there wasn't money for a new record player because  he and  my mother had bought Christmas presents for  a poor family in our neighborhood, and  there's no way you can tell people who've  been poring over a newspaper full of innuendo and allegations against a man that just that week, he'd insisted on paying more for a lube/oil change because his "on sale" coupon had expired -- even when the technician said he'd overlook it.  
> And so I guess that's where my compassion for Craig and his family comes from -- even when he's very likely guilty and my father wasn't.  It's got to be unbearably humiliating for all involved, and there is nothing about that truth that denies the equally significant truth that he is a philandering hypocrite who let down his family, his colleagues, and his constituents.  His wife and kids, though, will suffer without having committed the acts that cause it, and my prayers go to them all.
> keely
> "God works patiently and deeply, but often in hidden ways, in the mess of our humanity and history."
> --Eugene Peterson
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