For centuries, Christians and Jews have modeled the Ten Commandments, especially “Thou shall not steal”. Regretfully, we learn that another public official has let down his constituents and pleaded guilty to bribery.
Chris Oliver, Houston Community College (HCC) Trustee District IX, pleaded guilty to accepting cash and Visa gift cards in exchange for his vote, according to local news sources. Oliver follows a long local and state tradition of “Pay to Play”. This culture, “Pay to Play”, is poisoning the integrity and stability of HCC, our community, and the State of Texas.
Washington D.C.’s criminally immortal mayor, Marion Berry, once told his angry voting residents, “get over It”. That simple comment represents the widespread attitude of changing the rules of honesty, tradition, and integrity, as we accept more dishonesty and mock good. These are the new operating rules of the politically secular leaders.
In the movie, “Edge of Darkness”, Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) laments about political corruption, “You had better decide whether you’re hanging on the cross or banging in the nails”.
Mr. Oliver is not an anomaly. There are hundred just like him waiting to replace him.
We will find out in August how much prison time (probation to 10 years) he will receive. The less time, the more he talked. The more time, the less he talked. Is there honor among thieves?
On a wider scale we should look at the HCC Board’s decision to purchase the “Conn’s” property. That vote cost the College $3,000,000.00. $90,000.00 vs $3,000,000.00. Was that criminal?
On an even wider scale we should look at how the HCC Board squandered half the $425M Bond project money. That money was entrusted to us, by the voters, to manage. Ninety thousand dollars seems pale compared to hundreds of millions of dollars. Was the board criminally negligent?
What about the Chancellor and Zeph Capo spending almost $500,000.00 (without Board approval) on a new board room table? Is that criminal?
Our country was founded upon Christian beliefs and values. What can we do about those who we have elected, when they fail the test of character?