COMBAT, Crime and Ethics – Day 61 of the Jackson County Ethics Blackout

In 1989, the COMmunity Backed Anti-Drug Tax (COMBAT) was approved by Jackson County voters with a mission of “Making substance abuse history…“. 2 decades have passed, and literally hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been “made history”, but substance abuse appears undiminished as a problem in our community.

Who is in charge of this humongous pot of money that has failed utterly to accomplish its mission for two decades, and supports such lofty goals as paying a favored citizen a thousand dollar to put a sticker on his car (yes, I’m serious)? The Jackson County legislature, the same group of arrogant politicians who have passed an ethics code that can be enforced against everyone but themselves.

Does anyone else here think the spending of twenty million tax dollars without an ethics code is a good idea?

Oh, it gets worse. Much worse.

The COMBAT slush fund gets handled by a three person committee on the legislature. Guess who’s on it? Hint: the majority has a rap sheet.

Here is the composition of sterling characters spending twenty million of your tax dollars in 2009 while insisting they should not be held to the Jackson County Ethics Code. The Chair is Dan Tarwater. As far as I know, Dan Tarwater does not have a criminal record, unlike his two friends on the committee. But, as if to assure that he has “street cred” with his two criminal friends, Dan did manage to get into a fistfight with a fellow legislator over money. Unsavory, but unconvicted.

The other two people that the Jackson County legislature has put in charge of spending twenty million tax dollars are actually, literally criminals. James Tindall was convicted of income tax evasion, though he managed to get off on the bribery charges. Henry Rizzo had to go to the Supreme Court to even get on the ballot, because he had “pled guilty to a charge of providing a false statement to a financial institution in 1991″.

I think it’s great that Rizzo and Tindall have returned to public life and won the voters’ trust after breaking the law in matters involving the handling of money.

But does it make any sense at all to trust them to be the majority in a committee that controls twenty million tax dollars? Does it raise some concern in anyone’s mind that all three members of this committee voted in favor of exempting themselves from enforcement of the Jackson County Ethics Code?

Please take a moment today and drop an email to members of the Jackson County legislators and tell them that you think that anyone in charge of spending twenty million of your dollars ought to be subject to enforcement of an ethics code, especially if they have a rap sheet. Here are their email addresses:

Scott Burnett –
Theresa Garza Ruiz –
Henry Rizzo –
Fred Arbanas –
James Tindall –
Dennis Waits –
Dan Tarwater –
Greg Grounds –
Bob Spence –

Remember to be polite, but firm. All we want is for them to reverse their exemption from the Jackson County Ethics Commission.

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