On Tuesday, The Miami Herald endorsed Alcee Hastings for U.S. House District 23. The endorsement was interesting to me for what it did not state.
No mention–as in zero–of any of the following facts about Mr Hastings:
- 1979 – Appointed federal judge by President Carter – the first African American to be named in Florida.
- 1981 – Charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering
- 1982 – As part of his defense, Hastings argued that a federal judge could not be tried without first having been impeached, but the courts rejected this and he was brought to trial.
- 1982 – Hastings co-conspirator, attorney William Borders, Jr., found guilty and sent to jail.
- 1983 – Hastings acquitted by a jury after Borders refused to testify in court.
- 1988 – Impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3 by a Democratically controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
- 1989 – Convicted in 1989 by the U.S. Senate, becoming the sixth federal judge in the history of the United States to be removed from office.
But let’s be reasonable, perhaps an endorsement is not the place to note problems in the candidate’s past? Unfortunately, the lead editorial the same day was an endorsement of Raul Martinez, which devoted two sentences to his conviction and acquittal.
Clearly, a sense of shame is not one of the qualities the Herald thinks is needed to serve in Congress. Looking around public life, I find little that will not be excused in the name of diversity. Is it any wonder that Rev Wright, Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers are off limits to the MSM?
I think that Alcee Hastings is a corrupt public official, who happens to be an African-American. In organizations like the Miami Herald, the fear of not being clear enough in that type of distinction simply can not be risked.
Too bad, our country deserves better from its Congress and editorial pages.
All articles referenced are copied in full at end of post.
Miami Herald Editorial
Posted on Tue, Oct. 14, 2008
For U.S. House District 23
This inland district meanders through Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Hendry counties. It encompasses some of the poorest communities in South Florida along with diverse, middle-class cities like Lauderhill and the west sides of coastal cities such as Delray Beach. Incumbent Democrat Alcee Hastings, 72, is opposed by Republican Marion Thorpe Jr., 44, a physician.
Mr. Thorpe says a major goal is to develop and implement ”quality healthcare systems that are both affordable and accessible.” He is short on specifics of how to accomplish this other than to expand multiple-payer programs. Mr. Thorpe supports using more alternative energy while stepping up oil and gas drilling in the United States to reduce foreign-oil consumption. According to his website, Mr. Thorpe opposed the $700 billion financial-market bailout.
We recommend that voters return Rep. Hastings to Congress, where he has served ably since 1992. Mr. Hastings thinks and acts both globally and locally. He chairs the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, an offshoot of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — an international security accord. Conversely, Mr. Hastings has long pushed for single-member district city commissions in communities such as Hallandale Beach, where black residents are underrepresented.
Mr. Hastings supported the bailout plan. He opposes expanding drilling off Florida’s coast, calling for more research into alternative fuels. When gas prices soared this summer Mr. Hastings introduced a bill to create a gas-tax credit for working families. Before the Iraq invasion Mr. Hastings sought, without success, to make the administration create a long-term plan for the stabilization of Iraq.
For U.S. House District 23, The Miami Herald recommends ALCEE L. HASTINGS.
Miami Herald editorial
Posted on Tue, Oct. 14, 2008
For U.S. House District 21
The race for Congress in District 21 pits two of the most prominent Cuban-American political figures in South Florida against each other. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, the eight-term Republican incumbent, faces a serious challenge by Democrat Raul Martinez, who served on and off as Hialeah’s mayor for more than 20 years, beginning in 1981.
Both are strong advocates of a free Cuba, but otherwise differ emphatically on major issues. Mr. Martinez believes the occupation of Iraq must be brought to an end ”as soon as possible,” while Rep. Diaz-Balart says premature withdrawal would be ”catastrophic.” The congressman has generally favored the Bush administration tax cuts, while Mr. Martinez would vote to end tax breaks for higher earners.
Mr. Martinez is firmly grounded in reality. He has a broad agenda and a robust, hands-on style of leadership. His penchant for devising practical solutions to political problems would be an asset to the district.
These are some of the reasons that our recommendation is for Mr. Martinez. Under his leadership, Hialeah was transformed into a modern, more-livable community thanks in no small part to his energy and effectiveness. He has a popular touch and a record of delivering services to constituents.
Mr. Martinez won reelection in 1993 even though he was appealing a conviction on charges involving allegations of extorting money from developers in return for zoning favors. The conviction was reversed and two later trials ended in hung juries.
Mr. Martinez’s candidacy represents an opportunity for voters to reflect the changing nature of South Florida, where the Hispanic community no longer is identified as a solid bloc always favoring the same political party.
For U.S. House District 21, The Miami Herald recommends RAUL MARTINEZ.