Oct 26 2011

Implied Consent and Curry Todd

Posted by Steve Ross in Shelby County, State Politics

Rep. Curry Todd

I was pretty certain I had written all I needed to write about Curry Todd here and here. Alas, the hits just keep on hitting, so, here goes.

It was just 14 days ago that Rep. Todd found himself on the wrong end of a vehicle, creating a stumbling and staggering display for Officers of the Metro Nashville Police Department. That one traffic stop netted 3 offenses: DUI, Possession of a handgun while under the influence and implied consent. You can see the three affidavits from the arresting officer here.

In the wake of his arrest, Todd resigned his position on a Firearms committee that was, no doubt, in the process of crafting more onerous firearms bills like his signature piece of legislation that was opposed by just about every Sheriff and Police Department in the state, Guns in Bars. It seems now that the former lobbyist is no longer on the payroll of the police association, there’s no need to consider what police officers think.

From there, he temporarily stepped down from his Chairmanship of the State and Local Government Committee, though Speaker of the House Harwell said it was only temporary.

In most cases a person in Todd’s position would try to lie low for a while and hope the media didn’t latch on to the eventual court proceedings that are scheduled for November 1. But of course, that didn’t happen.

Late Monday it was learned that Todd had scheduled a fundraiser for himself, asking the Tennessee Lobbying Association to send a notice out to its members. I guess Todd is getting a little worried, even though he has some $147,000 in his campaign account.

Thankfully, there was either enough outrage at Todd’s brazen disregard for taste, or so few people expressed interest that he decided to postpone his fundraiser until some time well after the court date.

Well, isn’t that special.

No one knows where Todd was traveling on that fateful night, but we do know where the traffic stop occurred. If you’re familiar with Nashville, there’s a convenient map right below.

View Larger Map

As Woods points out there are some other questions about the charges against Todd, and the apparent lack of consideration of those charges by Speaker Harwell.

Implied Consent is simply the refusal to submit to a Blood Alcohol Test. As pointed out in this post the most recent changes to that law were almost unanimously accepted. The statute is too long to copy here, but you can see it at this link.

Based on the penalties listed above it seems that Todd will lose his license for at least a year, which will no doubt put a cramp in his style. But what does it mean when a lawmaker breaks the very laws he votes for? What does that say to the public, or better yet, his constituents.

Its interesting to me that Paul Stanley resigned despite not breaking any law (or at least getting popped for breaking a law), yet Todd, who at least broke one law that he voted for, in the Implied Consent statute, seems to have no intention of resigning or even seeming publicly contrite in any way.

Way to go dude.

What’s more, Harwell’s lack of consideration of the charges against Todd show just how tone deaf she and the Republican Majority in the legislature are to any kind of responsibility to anything but keeping their majority.

Harwell, who has been featured in a PBS produced fluff piece, comes across as a reasonable and likable enough person, until you consider all the onerous bills that she allowed to become law this year, which is probably a better indication of who she really is than who she seems to be.

Ahh, but don’t let facts get in the way of image projection, especially when image is all you’ve got. I mean, heck, since Harwell couldn’t be bothered to consider the implications of the charges against Todd one has to wonder about her commitment to the public good in general.

And Lord knows that holding someone accountable for their actions would be too heavy a lift for any Republican, unless the person being held accountable is a Democrat. Oh no, that’s just too much. So I guess until he gets convicted of something, Todd will just be able to keep on keepin’ on.

Way to go folks. I hope when this fundraiser is rescheduled it brings out about 500 members of MADD to protest the blatant lack of accountability or even common decency exhibited by both Todd, the House GOP Caucus, and the attendees of the event. Anything less is letting him off too easy.

Oct 14 2011

Collateral Damage

Posted by Steve Ross in Puke, State Politics

This car changed my life

Before I go on, I want to say it was wrong of me to lump in both the Senate and House Caucuses in my criticism of House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Turner. Seeing as how he’s chair and all, it might lead one to think that he’s speaking for the caucus. That mistake wouldn’t have been made had it been any other Democratic member of the House Caucus. So, just lump everything that I said here on Mike Turner. The Caucuses were collateral damage.

Now, on another note, I’ve been told by a few that I flew off the handle with that post. Maybe, maybe not. But I’ll tell you something, I don’t have any patience for drunk drivers and I have even less for people that make excuses or minimize the impact of their actions. I know that impact all too well.

It was 1984 and I was 12 years old. My parents, brother and I were up in Northwest Arkansas. It was a vacation of sorts, mixed with a job interview. Closest thing we’d had to a real vacation other than weekend camping trips and a quick trip to the World’s Fair in Knoxville.

We were in this small town of about 2500 people. Not much to do, but we saw a bowling alley on the way in, and decided to go do that (dad was on a league, and I wanted to be on one too).

We got there and it was closed. So we decided to head back and stop by the Wal-Mart on the way to the hotel to get something to keep us occupied. It was about 7pm.

We never made it to Wal-Mart.

About 300 feet shy of the driveway we were hit head on by a drunk driver. We were in a little Datsun 210. He was in a mid 1970’s Pontiac Gran Prix, like the one pictured above. It doesn’t take too much math to figure out who lost that battle.

The highway we were on had a posted speed limit of 40 MPH. A head on collision like that, at that speed very possibly could have killed us. Thankfully it didn’t. It did, however, take more than an hour for the emergency personnel to get my dad out of the car. The impact had crammed the whole front end, engine and everything, on his legs. He was pinned in.

I don’t think they even had “jaws of life” in that little town. If I remember correctly, they had to have them brought in from a town 15 miles away. Dad had all kinds of broken bones. Luckily, neither I, nor my brother was hurt. Adding insult to injury, neither was the driver of the other vehicle.

It took a couple of years of physical therapy for dad to be able to walk right again. He still has a little limp from the broken ankle.

Even though I wasn’t hurt any worse than a few bumps and bruises, and several days of being so sore I couldn’t move, this event changed my life. This wasn’t this guys first DUI. Chances are it wasn’t his last.

The reality is, this probably wasn’t Curry Todd’s first time behind the wheel drunk either. It was the first time he got caught. Studies suggest drunk drivers get behind around 100 times before getting caught. Anything that minimizes this is a disservice to society.

It hurts my soul to say I agree with Ron Ramsey, but I do. Throw the book at him. I don’t have any pity for Curry Todd. He made a choice, a really bad choice, and he’ll have to live with the consequences. But don’t call it a mistake. That sounds way to accidental to me. This was no accident.

I don’t usually do these emotional outbursts. I like to try to be the rational one.

This pissed me off to my core, and my experience with drunk drivers is why.

So there you have it. Make your own assessment. But don’t make excuses or minimize the actions of people who get behind the wheel stumbling drunk. I don’t have time or patience for that, friend or foe. That Curry Todd is one of the guys thats going to redistrict us into the stone age just makes it that much worse all the way around.