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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bukowski Shocker Still Reverberating

Every Election It's The Same Story:
Chamber, Council Members Back 
Ken Bukowski

Revelations published by The New York Times, exposing the dark side of longtime city councilman Ken Bukowski have generated a heavy wake, amusing and shaming residents while lashing an insular political elite that has stood by Mr. Bukowski through thick and thin.
Mr. Bukowski's admission to using methamphetamine during his tenure as both city councilman and mayor is a shock to many. It's less astonishing to those who have witnessed Mr. Bukowski nodding off during council and committee meetings, or to recipients of one of dozens of rambling typo filled e-mails featuring a predawn time-stamp.

Ken likes to inject his meth rather than smoke it
 according to his niece's public testimony
They Can't Say They Didn't Know
The real surprise is focused on Mr. Bukowski's council colleagues and financial backers at the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce. Both groups have willfully ignored, if not enabled Mr. Bukowski's downward spiral as long as it suits their purposes. After all, there's more comfort in applauding and rewarding a vulnerable man's unyielding political fealty than to help him regain control of his life and integrity. As what seemed to outsiders as an occasional bump escalated to what may have been routine dependence over the years, endorsements from the Chamber of Commerce and councilwomen Nora Davis and Ruth Atkin grew stronger and more effusive. The Chamber has even upped it's commitment to Mr. Bukowski's various re-election campaigns through its political action committee, EMPAC.

The Chamber loves Ken
All this generosity every four years occurred concurrently with Mr. Bukowski's unwavering support for developers whim's---regardless of the sense or value of a project. Second to Ms. Davis, Mr. Bukowski is the most consistently pro-developer voice on the council, a fact not lost on the Chamber.
Which begs the central question here: Are Mr. Bukowski's votes ideologically driven, or have certain powerful forces aware of his personal and financial misfortunes able to influence Mr. Bukowski's votes by threatening to release certain information?
An examination of Mr. Bukowski's lengthy voting record shows that only over the last seven or eight years has he become a reliable Chamber lap dog.

During recent campaigns, the Chamber has spared no adjective praising Mr. Bukowski in mailers and its newsletter---perhaps rewards for being a dependable vote.
So did
Nora Davis

Ruth Atkin
endorsed Ken
While Bukowski's drug use was something of an open secret, Ms. Atkin, Ms. Davis and the Chamber all continued to look the other way. It seems the Chamber of Commerce has made its Faustian bargain. A reliable ally was nurtured who delivered votes, but at the cost of sullying forever the Chamber's white robes. To those paying attention, this has been clear for years.  In the wake of the New York Times article, it's clear now to everyone.

Residents should be forgiven for wondering aloud what other elements of our elected official's private lives aren't exactly secret from powerful forces that could be leveraging that information into favorable public policy.

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