Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Westward Ho

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2008 at 10:49 AM

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There are many different ways to describe state Rep. Ben West. He's a hack, a joke, an annoyance, an ill-regarded legislator and a dim-witted good ol' boy who makes Buck Dozier look like a tenured professor at the Harvard Business School. But if the conventions of daily journalism make it difficult to utter such truths in print, a good reporter can get that point across in a simple news story. Today, The Tennessean's Jennifer Brooks wrote that West is pushing legislation that would benefit a single constituent—a friend of the Hermitage lawmaker. West's bill, which the story says could “turn thousands of newly renovated homes into septic time bombs,” would allow homeowners to build and renovate their homes without upgrading their septic systems, a prospect that astounds Metro health officials and seems to fly in the face of common sense. “They're going to be sorry three, four, five years down the road,” Metro's engineering director told The Tennessean. “They're basically sitting on a time bomb.” In addition to illustrating the inanity of West's legislation that he freely admits is intended to help his buddy build his dream home, Brooks goes on to show that this is just business as usual for the oft-ridiculed representative, noting plainly that he “has a reputation for proposing bills tailored to benefit individual constituents.” Then she goes on to list many of them, including a mattress bill that he proposed to benefit another friend, this one nicknamed "Mr. Fluffo."

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