MARK KIESLING: Save the shovels for snow, not political mud

2012-11-09T00:00:00Z 2012-12-20T21:25:33Z MARK KIESLING: Save the shovels for snow, not political mud nwitimes.com
November 09, 2012 12:00 am

Look at some of the dirt these politicians have dragged into your house. You'd think they were born in a barn.

It's like throwing sand back into Lake Michigan to clean up this mess, but you've got to start somewhere.

I want to start by clearing up a few items of mud thrown during the last election, one of the dirtiest I've seen, and that's saying a lot after 34 years' worth of flying mud.

Attacking Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub on his unwavering support for a controversial trash-to-ethanol contract that shows little if any hope of getting off the ground, is fair political game.

But who cares if he has property in Marshall County? He's retired, and a lot of folks have property in the woods or lake areas as a getaway.

His address shows as a condo he picked up last year in Crown Point.

And to broadly hint there is a sealed federal indictment in his future is at best careless innuendo. Reporters at The Times hear these rumors all the time about myriad politicians.

One thing I do know is that U.S. Attorney Dave Capp plays no favorites. He will unseal indictments, if any, when all the T's are crossed and the I's are all dotted, and not before.

Reporters here have been accused of covering up these "facts," but I guarantee you, if I opened a sealed federal indictment, mine would be the next name on Capp's list.

Or look at Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr.'s choice (he is also Dem county chairman) to replace outgoing Lake County Councilman Mike Repay, who will go to the Board of Commissioners.

He wants former Hammond Fire Chief and political ally Dave Hamm. I've always been opposed to Hamm or anyone else serving in elective office while holding a public position.

There's too much danger of conflict of interest, I say.

If you want to flog Hamm for being a McDermott ally, or for holding the two positions simultaneously, you're talking legit politics.

But: "Wasn't Hamm the person who took a Fire Dept. vehicle to South Bend to attend a football game and was defended by the mayor for doing it?" writes a mudslinger.

No, that was Pat Moore Jr., who in 2006 took a city vehicle to watch a ballgame in South Bend and got a reluctant slap on the wrist for it by McDermott, a fellow Golden Domer.

Lake County Surveyor George Van Til took the brunt of the action, though, given the tough, take-no-prisoners nature of opponent Eric Krieg.

"I was astounded there was a column in this morning's paper," Van Til said Thursday. "(Krieg) gets quotes if he farts."

Quotes, maybe, but not votes. Van Til turned him aside handily.

And I don't say that because I am "GVT's drinking buddy," as one mud-tosser repeatedly asserts.  For one thing, I no longer drink alcohol, and for the second, even when I did, Van Til and I never saw each other socially.

"He who throws dirt loses ground," was a favorite pithy saying of the late Calumet City Alderman Al Wisowaty.

Let's clean off the shovels and use them for snow, not dirt.

The opinions are those of the writer. He can be reached at mark.kiesling@nwi.com or (219) 933-4170.

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