Profiles In Courage: Boston City Council
It's always exciting when elected officials act with boldness and conviction when it comes to protecting the public trust, especially since it never seems to happen.
The Boston City Council voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to expel Councilor Chuck Turner from office, ousting a polarizing politician who had tirelessly represented Roxbury for a decade but found himself convicted in a federal bribery case.
The final tally came to 11-1 against Turner, with only Councilor Charles C. Yancey of Mattapan voting against removal. Turner abstained from the vote because he had a financial stake in the outcome and will now lose his biweekly paycheck of $3,365.38.
Generally, the rules of politics make it impossible for pols to say anything bad about another pol no matter what he does - there but for the grace of God is their ruling philosophy.
The expulsion, which is effective Friday, marked the first time in the 100-year history of the City Council that a member has been removed from office. Turner represented the heart of Boston's African-American community and accused the FBI and federal prosecutors of targeting him because he is black.
"The reality is that the conviction that is being used as the reason for my removal ... was a setup," he told fellow councilors before the vote. "That conviction was rotten."
In most every case, like this one, they wait until the decision has been made for them, then they wait around a little more before acting.
After the vote, he called the council's decision "a grievous error."
Turner was convicted of four felonies for taking a $1,000 bribe to help a businessman obtain a liquor license -- and then lying about it later to investigators.
Especially scary when you're dealing with a guy who compares himself to Rosa Parks.