Turner's other sins outweigh what he's charge with.
By Kevin Sowyrda
For my money, Chuck Turner being guilty or not of taking a thousand greenbacks for one liquor license is the least of his sins at the concrete bunker, also city hall. In fact, on the accusation of being on the dole I'll give the filibustering municipal hack a pass. In an Al Capone sort of way, Turner may find himself going to jail for a petty crime, and not the more severe escapades with which he’s burdened a district deserving so much better and needing so much more.
I first met Chuck Turner in the aftermath of 9-11, and not so much by choice. Like millions of others who were trying to make sense of the Hate Crime committed against our country, I was still glued to the electronic media coverage which seemed to induce more of a panic attack than understanding of why and who. In any event, there I was tuned to WRKO just a few days after the terrorist hijackings and City Councilor Chuck Turner was being interviewed. He gave such a sadistic twist to the turn of events, that the listening of it made me more ill than watching the still burning debris at Ground Zero.
Speaking to the station’s talk masters, Turner prosthelytized that Americans needed a time of serious introspection concerning the actions we had taken to provoke the attacks. The councilor shamelessly proceeded, to the obvious amazement of the talk show hosts, to give a stupefying lecture that could have been copied from the airwaves of Al Jazeera
The firestorm which ensued was the first time I had reason to consider that Turner was not a Democrat or a progressive or a civil rights activist or even a Socialist. Tuner was and is an Anarchist - by pure definition - holding views that are so divisive and beyond the mainstream that it remains difficult to understand how he'd even pass muster for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
As the pressure mounted on Turner to withdraw his incendiary comments about 9-11, first made on the RKO airwaves, I decided to call him and provide a simple ‘Q and A’ format. We titled the column, ‘Chuck Tuner in his own words,’ and as we sometimes say in the business, Turner simply dug the hole deeper.
As I asked him questions to which he provided simply flabbergasting responses, I kept reminding Tuner that we were on the record. I actually felt bad for someone saying the things he was saying. But sure enough, Turner stuck to his Machiavellian belief that America did indeed bear significant responsibility for the September terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and the crashed airliner in Western Pennsylvania. His philosophy was as draconian as it was overly simplistic; stating that America’s foreign policy had justified the surprise attack on unarmed civilians in the Homeland. It was probably the fist time in his life that Turner was on the same page as Evangelist Jerry Falwell; who echoed a tone similar to Turner's, saying that the sins of America had triggered the attacks, courtesy of God.
One person was recently quoted as calling Turner “a dedicated servant for the voiceless within Boston for over 40 years.” But in the aftermath of 9-11, Turner was hardly an advocate for the thousands of voiceless people who were murdered on that fateful day in September.
Perhaps having acquired a taste for expressing a Lyndon Larouche like view of the world, Turner’s twisted take on foreign policy extended to the Iraq War in the spring of 2004. That's when Turner accused American soldiers of raping Iraqi women. Turner’s and his compatriot, Sadiki Kambon, held a disjointed press conference inside city hall where they presented photos clearly showing men engaging in sex with women. The Boston Globe, over the objections of one of their own reporters, Donovan Slack, gave prominent coverage of Turner’s accusations complete with the photo he supplied. But days later the Globe called the photos falsified. WorldNetDaily reported they were lifted from a pornography web page called "Sex in War". The Globe said it had been duped and condemned Turner, as did six of his council colleagues who signed a formal letter of rebuke.
Turner's bizarre foreign affairs briefings would offend sensible constituents only slightly less than his other disturbing portraits of politics; clearly painted from a chaotic viewpoint of the world. After telling a Boston daily that Secretary of State Condi Rice working for George Bush was "similar in my mind to a Jewish person working for Hitler in the 1930s," Turner's obsession with race would only intensify and become more destructive at the local level.
As reported in an editorial by Sue O'Connell on October 2, Turner referred to State Senator Elect Sonia Chang Diaz as "someone from another community." The painful undertones of that statement should be obvious to anyone and it came at the heels of Turner's comrades actually berating Diaz for not being a person of color. The racial litmus test being put forward by Turner and those he played hard ball politics with was becoming highly volatile.
The legendary Conservative Barry Goldwater once said that, "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." Turner practices the same brash brand of politics, just from a polar opposite end. But he doesn't understand that extremism is indeed a vice; probably the greatest of vices.
It's extremism to compare the city council president to a member of the Ku Kluk Klan, as Turner's surrogate recently did. It's extremism to condemn U.S. support of Israel because the statements border on anti-Semitic. It's extremism to accuse former council president Michael Flaherty of supporting "institutional racism."
And yes, it's at least a little extreme if Chuck Turner took a one thousand dollar bribe.