Saturday, April 07, 2007

Reckless accusations from Galbraith's running mate

We don't tend to pay too much attention to the candidacy of Gatewood Galbraith, perennial office-seeker who's trying again this year to be governor. He's a gifted orator; probably the best that either party has to offer, but he marginalized himself the first time he ever ran for governor with his Peter Tosh-inspired ("Legalize It!") platform. No matter what other ideas he may have to offer, and sometimes he has some good ones, he'll forever be known as the pro-dope candidate. Even though he's backed off that stance and now only openly advocates the medicinal use of marijuana, his main campaign platform of his first-ever statewide race willl forever taint him in the eyes of many voters.

His campaign this time around is noteworthy for a couple of reasons, though. First is that his polling numbers are on the same level as State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, considered a major and legitimate candidate by most. The fact that a fringe candidate with libertarian leanings has the same level of support among the Democrats as the most liberal (or "progressive," if you will) candidate is a curious indicator of the state of the Democratic Party in the Bluegrass.

But the second and more troubling reason that Galbraith's candidacy needs to be examined is because of comments recently made by his running mate, Mark Wireman.

Wireman recently retired from his job as an engineer with the Transportation Cabinet's Department of Highways district office in Jackson in order to run with Galbraith. State law prohibits merit system employees from running for partisan office; they must quit their jobs before they file for office. In campaign appearances, Wireman has been saying that he knows of incidents where highway contractors have intentionally done shoddy work so they could come back later and get another contract to do the work over. He has not mentioned specific projects to our knowlege, but he has talked about paving projects in general, alleging that the pavers spread the asphalt too thin so potholes would develop and the road would have to be resurfaced sooner than normal.

It occurs to us that if Wireman had knowledge of this alleged practice while working for the Transportation Cabinet, he should have reported it to his superiors, the Cabinet's inspector general or law enforcement authorities. If he knew about this and didn't report it, he's just as guilty of waste, fraud and abuse as any contractors who may have done this or any state employees who may have overlooked said alleged poor work when they inspected or supervised these contracted jobs. And if he did report it and those reports went nowhere, he owes it to the taxpayers to go public with his details so they can demand an investigation.

As it stands now, it appears that Wireman is either making unsubstantiated allegations to score political points, or he's complicit in defrauding the state. Someone needs to call the Galbraith-Wireman ticket out on this matter.


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