Saturday, December 23, 2006

Local Wankery: Do Not Taunt the Happy Fun Thad Viers

Hey, remember Thad Viers? Well, he's back:

COLUMBIA - Members of a special House subcommittee heard plenty of complaints Wednesday about the state of the S.C. Transportation Department, one day after embattled executive director Elizabeth Mabry retired.


At the hearing, several people complained that road construction was based on political favoritism, and no standards existed by which certain projects were chosen over others.

"I'm for a rational process that is transparent to the public," said Jane Lareau, project director of the Coastal Conservation League. "We need a framework, a selection process, that allows the department to analyze objectively which projects should move forward ... without political influence."

As an example, Lareau complained about the priority given to the I-73 project in the PeeDee. She said upgrading I-95, dealing with congestion on I-26, or repairing some of the state's "2,000 below-standard bridges" might come first.

That brought Rep. Thad Viers, who isn't on the panel, to his feet. He told his fellow lawmakers that "DOT has unfairly become the whipping boy." Viers, R-Myrtle Beach, said the I-73 project was needed as a hurricane evacuation route and that "DOT ... is a great organization."

He charged that many of the complaints came from those who had "a hidden agenda to stop growth at all costs."

Actually, Rep. Viers never went away. Not only did the superlative young Republican win re-election to his South Carolina General Assembly seat, he didn't suffer any serious consequences from his cell phone sock puppetry.

While yours truly was, er, on sabbatical, Mr. Viers's cell phone harassment case came up for trial before a Richland County, SC magistrate judge, who on his own decided that Mr. Viers was a good candidate for "pre-trial intervention" ("PTI"), meaning that if Mr. Viers performs a little community service, he won't have a criminal record.

Now I don't have a problem with PTI for non-violent crimes, and if the cell phone message allegations are true, Mr. Viers didn't commit any violence: He only threatened to do so. However, I had previously been under the impression, since SC went to the trouble to enact one of those stupid "victim's rights" amendments to its Constitution, that the victim of an alleged crime had to consent to PTI before a defendant would be eligible to participate in PTI. But apparently I was wrong (and it's a good thing - I don't think crime victims should have veto power over the disposition of a criminal case, but then I am not a Republican). So, Mr. Viers got "PTI", which means, according to the local newspaper stories I read (stories now sadly now available online only for a fee), that what The Sun News described as "hours" of tapes of Mr. Viers' alleged threatening calls will be available only after the PTI community service is completed.

So, readers, another year will pass before we get to listen to Mr. Viers threatening to sodomize his estranged spouse's paramour's mother (at least, that is what the estranged spouse's paramour said Mr. Viers did, as reported by the Sun News - I myself have not heard the tapes).

If my name was "Atrios," I'd put this blog entry under the heading "Bobo's world." But I digress.

Perhaps you have read this far and are thinking, "Even if Mr. Viers DID do all these things, shouldn't we let bygones be bygones? It was a youthful indiscretion; should Mr. Viers have to endure taunting for the rest of his life for this?"

To which I say, yes, eventually, and no. However. I think there should be an informal statute of limitations, so to speak, on the taunting of public officials for their youthful indiscretions. After they've done their penance and enough time has passed, we should all just move on, in your humble correspondent's opinion. However, the length of the taunting period may vary according to the subject's age and position at the time of the infraction, the subject's subsequent's accomplishments, and the amount of time that has passed since the infraction.

My personal calculator of the taunting period is idiosyncratic, subjective, and biased. I would say that the period for taunting Dubya for his "youthful" DUI has expired. Imho. The period for taunting him for his failure to disclose said DUI is still open however. Arguably. Imho, again. Clinton still has a few legitimate taunting years left to endure on Monica. Imho, of course.

With respect to Mr. Viers, he was an elected public official when the [alleged] misconduct occurred, he's a jerk, and the misconduct (threatening to sodomize his estranged wife's paramour's mother, allegedly} is both severe and funny in an extremely sick way. Imho. It's only funny 'cause no one actually got hurt, of course. In a physical way. Also, Mr. Viers takes money from SunCruz Casinos, which runs a casino boat out of Little River, SC, to lobby local officials. This while Mr. Viers is an elected rep. to the state government.

So, all things considered, it is my opinion, Mr. Viers should be prepared to deal with a little taunting for his (alleged) cell phone indiscretions for at least the next five years. At least.


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