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Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 | People wonder how things like the Bob Watkins Travelgate scandal can happen so frequently. Well, there are some important clues in the mealymouthed response from county supervisor Dianne Jacob. Notice she says “the VOSD story raises concerns.” Actually, it is Bob Watkins’ behavior that raises concerns, voiceofsandiego.org is simply shining a light on the cockroach. Jacob is just signaling Watkins that his only mistake was in getting caught. Then she says “rules should be followed to ensure the public’s trust.” Really? That’s the reason for the rules? Why didn’t she say “Mr. Watkins’ failure to follow the rules is a serious breach of ethics?” Jacob obviously thinks that rules only exist for their public relations value. She concludes by saying “excessive and unnecessary spending…puts in question the rules and the public’s trust.” Here again Jacob thinks it is the rules that are in question, and their PR value, not Watkins’ unethical behavior!

Dianne Jacob’s weasel words completely miss the point of this scandal. She is clearly more concerned about not offending Bob Watkins, a wealthy Republican political donor, than she is about demanding integrity from our public officials and protecting our public funds. Did she call for an investigation? Nope. Did she call on him to resign or to refund the money? Nope. Did she even express a hint of outrage at Watkins’ unethical behavior and pathetic explanations? Nope. Who says white collar crime doesn’t pay?

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