RICH JAMES: If that's integrity, I want no part of it

2014-05-07T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: If that's integrity, I want no part of itBy Rich James nwitimes.com
May 07, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Let’s step back a day and assume it is Tuesday morning.

Primary voting had just started, and this column was still on the drawing board.

I didn’t then have much of a clue as to who would be celebrating Tuesday night.

But as I gathered my thoughts Tuesday morning, I came across something very disturbing.

It is a prime example of what’s wrong with Lake County politics.

A couple days earlier, I pulled a flier from the mailbox. It was a pitch for Mike Troxell for the Democratic nomination for county assessor.

The flier basically said Troxell was a good guy and his opponent, Jerome Prince, was a bad guy.

The Troxell missive talked about the 1.5 percent County Economic Development Income Tax adopted last year.

The propaganda quoted Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub backing Troxell’s candidacy. Troxell, of course, signed off on everything said on the flier.

Scheub said, “Mike has always done what was right for the taxpayers. He listened to the taxpayers last year and voted against the new 1.5 percent income tax as a Schererville councilman. His opponent, County Councilman Jerome Prince voted for the tax.”

Come on Gerry, that’s not only nonsense, it’s also wrong and misleading.

As a Schererville councilman, Troxell had nothing to do with the approval or defeat of the tax. He didn’t even have a vote. It’s easy, of course, for someone without a vote to come out against a tax.

The County Council had the sole authority for the adoption or rejection of the tax. And, fortunately, Prince voted for the tax.

I suspect Troxell’s flier brought him some votes. Very few ever come out in favor of a tax, even if it is needed for the salvation of local government.

What Scheub had to say — and Troxell endorsed — was wrong. It actually was deceitful. To mislead constituents just to get their votes is fraud.

Because I have always found Troxell to be decent sort, I was insulted to see him turn to deception.

Across the bottom of the flier in bold print were the words “professionalism, leadership, integrity.”

If suggesting Troxell had a vote for or against the income tax is integrity, I don’t want any part of it.

And there was one other thing that I found rather hilarious.

Just below where Scheub lavishes praise on Troxell is the comment, “Let’s put a new face in county government.”

It doesn’t say Scheub said it or that Troxell said it. You just get the feeling it was mutual.

What makes it kind of funny is that Scheub’s AARP card is starting to yellow. He also is in his fifth four-year term as county commissioner.

If Prince won, so did the people. If Troxell won, he’s got some apologizing to do.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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