Press Talk: My buddy Benton is at it again

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Benton must go.

What, you're telling me I said that a couple of months ago in a column, and no one was listening?

What the …

Yes, the Benton I speak of is state Sen. Don Benton and — and — county Environmental Services Director Don Benton.

Truth is, he can't do either job very well. We elected him to one job — our bad — and then the M&M boys sneaked him in through the back door for the $100,000-plus county job. Their bad.

My assumption on the county job? Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke (the M&M boys) have so messed up this county with "Twilight Zone" decisions, hiring Benton to the environmental services director job gives them a platform to run on the next time.

We're consistent!

Yeah, consistently horrible.

The latest gunk

So what have "The 3 Caballeros" been up to recently? Plenty.

The 3 Caballeros

Remember when Benton suddenly got the sweet county job and people were trying to figure out how the heck this guy — who really can't do one job well — was going to be able to do both jobs? And when the Legislature is in session, would this guy be able to double dip? In other words, will he be able to squeeze a salary out of taxpayers for the both jobs … at the same time?

Well, the talk was Benton would simply have to come off the county payroll when he was doing legislative work. Either that or take vacation time.

Guess what? It looks like our boys may have figured out a way around that. How's this for an angle? If Benton turns on his county computer up in Olympia … he's working for the county!

Bingo, presto, abracadabra!

Now, anyone who has ever worked at a computer knows this truth: turning it on does not equate to working. And we've already established even when Benton is in his office at the county building, he really can't be working much. Heck, he doesn't know the difference between acetone and ale. (Hint: Don't drink the acetone.)

So why is he doing this? Well, it keeps the taxpayers' hard-earned money rolling into his pockets, and it keeps his sweet government pension completely intact.

Oh my!

The berating

Well, at least Benton is an extremely nice, likeable guy. So all this other stuff could be overlooked because … Wait, I might have that wrong? Sorry.

Truth is Benton is known for his run-ins with folks who don't agree with him. Often it's women. But the truth is, he's happy to thrust his mug into just about anybody's face.

This just happened again when a vote in Olympia didn't go his way. Of course, everyone else was wrong, and he was right, so he shipped off an email banging away at these other uninformed saps who weren't with him.

And it's come to this: It doesn't even matter if Benton is on the proper side of an issue. He is simply a liability.

After this latest legislative meltdown, the word is two bills that Benton supported were killed, not because they were bad bills, but because politics is politics and Benton is on the wrong side of just about everyone.

So back to the beginning. Benton must go. It's strange to me that other Republicans don't see how damaging Benton is. This guy might just have the ability to drag the entire party into irrelevancy. The M&M boys won't make a move because they're all in with Benton. But Republican state senators need to see the light. This guy is bad news. Cut him loose.