While Alvin Greene stands out as a gross failure of Democrats to screen their candidates for the 2010 South Carolina ballot, it seems that Greene is not the only shady character to have crawled out of the Pee Dee swamps to seek office.
Another example is the Benny Webb, who is challenging GOP Rep. Phillip Lowe in District 60 (Florence and Sumter Counties). Among Webb's close associates is indicted former Lee County Sheriff E.J. Melvin, who was joined by Webb at his recent arraignment on drug charges:
Melvin appeared about 10 pounds slimmer than when he was arrested and was joined by Benny Webb, a former SLED agent and current Democratic candidate for the state House District 60 seat, currently held by Rep. Phillip Lowe, R-Florence, who is seeking re-election. Webb sat next to Melvin and chatted with the former sheriff.
"Yes, ma'am," were the only words Melvin uttered in his court appearance, confirming to U.S. Magistrate Judge Paige Jones Gossett that he understood the charges and attendant penalties.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Webb's shady record.
Webb served as interim police chief in Atlantic Beach, where he was also involved in helping defend former Mayor Retha Pierce from DUI charges, which was one of several times Pierce was arrrested in the last two years. He was sent packing from his chief's slot in 2001 after allegations that he assaulted a landowner.
But wait, there's more: Webb was also dismissed after two years as police chief in Lancaster:
According to reports, he was fired by Lancaster City Council following a probationary period that began when the city administrator questioned his hiring practices and management style. Webb said the city administrator wanted to have more control over the police department and fired him because he wouldn't be a figure head.
There's a difference between having a conflict with a municipal administrator, a single individual hired by City Council, and being dismissed by a majority vote of City Council.
There's also a difference between the upstanding individuals who make up a majority of those in the law enforcement profession and those like Webb who can't seem to stay out of trouble or avoid being association with public officials who get locked up.
One can only hope that Webb's background, associations and excuses won't fool House District 60 voters this fall.