In my morning paper today I read quotes from a Hall donor and supporter who described her as a good person, somehow led astray because of her association with high rollers.
Hall, in case you’ve been living in Siberia or under a rock, has entered into a plea agreement with the Feds admitting she misappropriated (stole) around $34,000 from her re-election campaign account in 2010. Her transgression was not only a violation of the trust county voters had placed in her since 2004, when she was first elected a Lee County commissioner, it was a direct slap in the face for every county resident who struggles – honestly – to make ends meet.
You see it seems poor Tammy was only trying to live the lifestyle to which she wished to become accustomed. See she ran in circles with millionaires, and the poor thing could not be expected to make ends meet on the miserly few dollars the taxpayers paid her.
Well folks how about a dose of reality?
In 2010, the year Hall dipped into campaign funds, the average household income in Lee County was $43,936 – just over half the salary those same people paid Hall.
That’s for a household. Including those with moms and dads and kids. Hall is a household of one.
Granted the number is skewed a little by retirees with fixed incomes, but you get the drift. Lee County can be a very hard place.
The per capita income by the way – that average a Lee County individual had coming in in 2010 – was $24,669.
Those numbers come directly from Lee County’s own web site.
That Hall’s millionaire circle of acquaintances has a limited grasp of what living in the ‘real’ Lee County is like, and that Hall decided she wanted to live a Maserati and lobster lifestyle when the Chevy and hamburger taxpayers were paying ‘only’ for a steak and Cadillac existence are not excuses for what she did.
In fact it may say a lot about the disconnect between government and those who pay for it. County commissioners make not quite double what the average county household gets by on. They make well over three times what the average county wage earner gets.
So cancel the pity party.