Thursday, May 4, 2006

To vote or not to vote, that's one of many questions

One of the many strange questions that arise in a disaster the scope of Hurricane Katrina: Must we disqualify all of our officials touched by Katrina? Biloxi Sun-Herald editioral 05/04/06.  The particular topic has to do with a question raised by a Biloxi city councilman about whether another councilman could vote on a hurricane-recovery measure:

Since Biloxi Councilman Ed Gemmill lost his home during Hurricane Katrina, is it a conflict of interest for him to vote on hurricane-related matters that could affect his own recovery?

We certainly hope not.

Because if being harmed by Katrina disqualifies a public official from participating in government efforts to recover from Katrina, then who's going to be left to make those decisions in our city halls and courthouses?

Indeed, there are some election districts on the [Mississippi Gulf] Coast where not a single resident would be able to participate in government under such a strict interpretation of the state's ethics guidelines.

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