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'F' as in Frank

Madness, bribes and 'law unmakers'

It's been another legislative session without legislation to deal with the influx of gangs around the state, including here in Yakima County.

Despite pleas showing the need for legislation and solid committee backing, all it took was two "law unmakers" from western Washington to kill the bill.

With all this genuflecting to the politically correct left, it's no wonder Olympia is in a special session.

Whether they tax our pop and candy, or just slap a higher sales tax on everything else, the rift between reality and government grows ever wider.

And it's not just an issue with Democrats, though they are the poster child of late in undoing a voter-approved referendum and, in the other Washington, forcing health care down the nation's throat.

Government in general and at all levels is much less about the people and more about the lobbyists.

When I say all levels, I mean at the local one, as well. Just a few weeks ago, an engineering firm apparently tried to peddle some influence - and a contract - by taking a Mabton City Council person out to lunch.

Mabton's city attorney said it was just simply a case of lobbying and that it happens all the time.

I call it an attempt to bribe or unduly persuade the council person, who to her credit acknowledged the meal and voted for a contract with the firm's competitor.

If you don't think it's unethical for a company to try to buy lunch with an elected official when there's a contract on the line just ask state employees.

For example, all employees with the state's Utility and Transportation Commission, whether they're making copies or making policy, are forbidden from accepting even a cup of coffee from utilities.

That's not to say the UTC is all peachy keen all the time, but they at least know the appearance of impropriety when they see it.

And that's what it's really all about.

Whether they're in D.C., Olympia, Sunnyside, Grandview or Mabton, elected officials who allow themselves to be steered into receiving stuff the rest of us don't get are crossing a line.

Even if the meal topic is March Madness, the appearance isn't one of legislative fairness.

All of which brings us back to those two legislators who allowed themselves to be duped into opposing legislation which had wide-ranging support to deal with the plague that is criminal gang activity.

Their unwillingness to listen to views other than crime-friendly liberal lobbyists shows that not all of the March Madness is on the basketball court.

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