"Are you pleading to these charges because the Commonwealth's evidence, if believed, would be sufficient to convict you?" the judge asked.
Ms. Carlisle paused.
Her lawyer Patrick Thomassey leaned in and mumbled, "Yes, sir."
"Yes, sir," she said.
|I heard about former Pittsburgh City Councilwomen Twanda Carlisle's plea and resignation yesterday but didn't have a chance to blog on it until now.|
While I may have been snarky in past posts on the subject, I can't help but feel some sadness for Carlisle, but much more for our City.
We can at least be thankful that Carlisle did not receive an endorsement in the primary vote in May and that there will be a new Councilor (Rev. Ricky Burgess) in District 9 in January (no need for a special election).
The Post-Gazette has an interesting retrospective on Carlisle's career here which speaks to her seemingly ever growing love of the perks of office, but this paragraph stands out for me:
In January 2002, Democratic Committee members from the city's northeastern corner met to pick their nominee to replace Ms. McDonald Roberts. They deadlocked between Ms. Carlisle and Louis "Hop" Kendrick. A coin flip ensued, Ms. Carlisle called heads, and she became the prohibitive favorite to win the seat, which she did.Says a lot about what's wrong with City Government, no?
Also, I find this passage disturbing:
In a way, she adopted the Robin Hood ethos of Mr. Darkins. From 2002 through 2006, she distributed some $177,892 in city discretionary funds to interests ranging from churches and youth groups to "consultants," including some with criminal histories.
And, that brings us back round to then Council President, now Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl's "Reform Lite" (as called by the P-G).
Pittsburgh City Council had the opportunity to pass real reform on Council spending and end the walking around money (WAMs), but chose not to -- with the exception of Bill Peduto and Doug Shields. They had tried to amend Ravenstahl's bill and provide more accountably and transparency in council spending but were soundly (and at times loudly) defeated.
While Twanda Carlisle surely stole large from taxpayers, with WAMs, we have enshrined petty theft.