Yesterday the Seattle P-I published a list of nearly 100 reader-nominated candidates for this year’s Jefferson Awards, which supposedly honor service “by ordinary people who do extraordinary things.” It really does warm the heart to read through this list of volunteers and citizen activists, and learn how much some of our neighbors are contributing back to the community. But fortunately, green tea doesn’t permanently stain a computer monitor, because I did an actual spit-take when I stumbled across the following nominee:
As the communications and external relations manager for TransAlta in Centralia and the 20th District Republican representative for Lewis and Thurston counties, DeBolt’s legislative priority is to create an open and honest flow of communication between his constituents and government. He is a devoted champion of safer, more prosperous communities in the South Puget Sound area. His loyalty and caring attitude for his community while working to solve problems on a statewide basis make him the caring man he is today.
Hey, thanks for the nomination, Kevin.
Hmm. Compare that commissioned piece of ass-licking puffery with what The Olympian’s editorial board had to say about DeBolt last year, in the wake of the House Republican Caucus’s bogus sex offender postcard scam:
Rep. Richard DeBolt owes his legislative colleagues and his South Sound constituents an apology. His feeble attempt at rough-and-tumble politics has backfired, making him look foolish and disingenuous.
[…] His actions are bad for public discourse, and his reliance on falsehoods does not speak well of DeBolt’s character.
[…] Yes, the public is now aware how low Rep. Richard DeBolt and his political action committee will stoop to stretch the truth and sling a little mud at the opposing party.
Guess what? DeBolt never apologized. But he did have Kevin or some other unprincipled staffer write in to the P-I and nominate him for working “to create an open and honest flow of communication between his constituents and government.” (Dollars to doughnuts we read that manufactured quote in DeBolt’s campaign literature next year, attributed to the P-I.)
If you want to know what the Jefferson Awards are really all about, just take a look at the nomination of the only other name I immediately recognized on the list:
Boyar created Middle Fork Outdoor Recreation Coalition and began raising awareness about problems in the environment. He also encourages the construction of trails by public landowners while kindly pressuring private landowners to either sell or develop trails on their land. He also writes grants for the private landowners to help them receive a fair monetary trade for the land. He has been a strong and relentless advocate with a gentle touch and successful record.
I know Mark Boyar and how hard he works — and how often he lets others take credit for his remarkable accomplishments because quite frankly, that’s sometimes the most politically expedient way to get things done. So it particularly irks me to see DeBolt so selfishly pollute an awards process that might honor Mark for his quiet and selfless work to clean up our precious wilderness.
But I guess that’s the sort of conniving, amoral, political machination that makes DeBolt “the caring man he is today.”