Should a County Legislator have a popular county park facility in his district named after himself? Should the county then go ahead and spend tens of thousands of dollars every year promoting the golf course and the name of this sitting legislator, in his district and around the County?
I call upon the Jackson County legislature to change the name of the Fred Arbanas Golf Course immediately, or to acknowledge that any funding it allocates to the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department is an illegal contribution of public funds to a sitting politician.
It’s never a good idea to name a public facility after a living politician. Too often, today’s golden image winds up tarnished. There are public facilities up in Alaska that now bear the stigma of the corrupt Senator Ted Stevens, including the Anchorage Airport. Too often, living politicians turn out to be deeply flawed human beings.
In the case of Fred Arbanas, he has allowed his name to be sullied by his connection to the Jackson County Ethics Crisis. It’s ironic that he did so, given that he was the most forthright member of the legislature back when it was being investigated for improper handling of attorney’s fees, and he even managed to dodge the voting on the Ethics Ordinance (though he was a sponsor).
Golf is a sport based on ethics. Where football and baseball players are expected to fake catches they missed, golfers are expected to take a higher road. Every season, we hear stories of golfers turning themselves in for playing the wrong ball or other transgressions.
Fred Arbanas does not meet that standard. He allowed a Jackson County golf course to be named after him in his district, by the Parks Department he supervises. He votes to promote his name and his golf course with public funds. Now, he wants to avoid any local supervision of his ethical compliance.
The Fred Arbanas Golf Course should be renamed the Longview Golf Course, and Mr. Arbanas should be directed to pay an amount equal to the fair market value of the taxpayer-funded publicity given to his name into a fund to be used to support his challengers in the 2010 election.
It’s only fair.