When Durham, NC held their last election in 2005, 17 people ran for mayor, 8 of them had criminal records. This news was reported by the Raleigh News & Observer. Why is this important? Well, the criminal candidates in Durham were by and large scam artists, child molesters and one even had a fictitious name. Isn't that important? Shouldn't a candidate's personal history be an important part of their candidacy?
If a candidate is convicted of assault or DWI, shouldn't that be an important factor in determining whether or not you vote for a particular person or not? Candidates criminal history, past, present, or future transgressions of the law tell us exactly who is really running for office. Candidates talk a lot about family values, but suppose your candidate, the great proponent of family values, has had a domestic violence protective order issued against him? Wouldn't that, shouldn't that be at the very least cause for concern?
Suppose Katherine Moore would have blown a .18, twice the legal limit and have been convicted of DWI, wouldn't that have been nails to her coffin? Wasn't that the whole point of arresting her in the first place? But suppose you have a write in candidate who was convicted of DWI?
Now I'm not saying these people are to be shunned or run out of town, I'm saying when you have a choice, wouldn't it be prudent to investigate those with a questionable background? I'm sure all these people who have various "lapses in judgment" with the law are good people ... to someone. I mean isn't it possible that some people, family, Nurse Anesthetists, Satan, think Thomas Wright is a good guy?
Hey, I've made my share of poor judgment calls, none I'm willing to admit, but then I'm not running for office, maybe if I did run for office I'd come right out up front and admit my sins. Then again maybe I'd be foolish enough to think nobody would notice...or care.
There is something to those who admit their sins, Jesus said admit your sins and you are forgiven. So when I watched Marion Jones tearfully admit her sins today I felt so much sorrow for her because I know Marion. I've worked with her several times. I worked with her on a Nike commercial where she played a DJ calling on fellow athletes to stop committing crimes, she said that they OWED their fans that much. Marion knows children, the naive kids who for some reason or another worship these athletes and with all the crimes of assaults, drunk driving, dope.... no wonder high school athletics is no different than the programs in professional sports.
In an effort to discover who had what skeleton in which closet we have found that several candidates in New Hanover County have criminal records, a few of them have committed serious offenses, serious enough to warrant concern. Most however have nothing to be embarrassed about.
Wilmington's Candidates for Mayor
Bill Saffo - traffic offenses
Justin Lanasa - convicted of injury to real property along with a judge's order not to assault the victim. Lanasa made claim he was out of town during the incident and could not have caused the $20 damage to a property line fence.
Harper Peterson - a traffic violation
Wilmington's Candidates for Council
Jeff Kohl- forgot to check on the pressure of his boat's fire extinguisher
Carolina Beach Write-in Candidate for Mayor
Ray Rothrock a quick look his record revealed a conviction of DWI in 2005
Carolina Beach Candidate for Council
Michael Kopitopoulous - sold beer by mistake to someone who was underage and received a prayer for judgement for his mistake
Kure Beach Candidate
Barry Nelder- drunk driving in 1987, Nelder reported that the incident sobered him up and he has not had a drink in nearly 20 years.
Wrightsville Beach Candidates for Town Board of Aldermen
Chandler Madray- arrested in 1998 for urinating in public and drinking in public, among other misdemeanors
Bill Blair- forgot to count his life vests on his boat and was charged accordingly
But there are two candidates whose personal criminal history stand out as being in need of serious explanation.
Wrightsville Beach candidate for Alderman, Brent Futch has a long history of writing bad checks, these aren't life sustaining needs these checks were written for these are checks for thousands of dollars spanning several years. He has even been on probation because of these convictions. Futch also has charges of Hit and Run, No Insurance, Trespassing, DWI and
giving or selling alcohol to an underage person. I was unable to reach Mr. Futch with two separate phone calls to the number listed with the Board of Elections. These calls were made the Friday and Saturday prior to this posting. (UPDATE TO STORY: In an article with the Lumina News Futch denies being convicted of giving or selling alcohol to a minor. My notes show a conviction in 1992. I will recheck my research when I am able to do so.) (UPDATE TO STORY: MORE UPDATES - In an email from Mr. Futch, he claims he has a certified copy of his criminal record showing no convictions for selling or giving alcohol to a minor. )
The prize for the most embarrassing criminal history has to go to Carolina Beach candidate for Mayor, current Mayor Pro-Tem, Alan Gilbert who had been convicted of a 1993 assault on a female but has also been the recipient of a domestic violence restraining order in a dispute that, in the victim's own handwriting, stated that she was prevented from leaving the house and that he ripped the phone off the wall when she attempted to call 911. The 1997 Domestic Violence Civil Order also states that Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Gilbert had committed a similar, previous act of violence against the same woman in an unreported event prior to 1997.
How do you defend against such things in a political climate where previous sins not only come back to haunt you, but are used as weapons against you. So why risk such exposure and potential for embarrassment when you, better than anyone, know what evil lurks behind closed doors? Perhaps it is self righteousness, perhaps the offenders are comfortable knowing that Jesus and all who love them have forgiven them. I mean it's not like they were caught yesterday in a men's bathroom with their pants down around their ankles. But it is on their "permanent record".
I guess let he who is without sin cast the first pitch, batter up!