A Lesson To Be Learned From Fox

Larry Price
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Wednesday - November 09, 2005
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It always seemed to me that state Rep. Galen Fox (R) was a little incongruent at the Legislature.

He is a Punahou graduate, received his doctorate from Princeton and seemed very quiet and effective. He represented the Waikiki district, so he didn’t stick out like a sore thumb. He was so clean-cut and quiet, almost shy. He was one of those quiet Republicans with a quick smile. Simply put, everyone who knew him liked him a lot.

It is a scary thought that someone so well-connected, so educated, so erudite could end up committing a crime of sexual misconduct - on an airplane en route to Los Angeles. It all seems a little harsh; after all, his public life to now has been one accomplishment after another. Then this disturbing revelation.

There is no sense in trying to recall how many times this sort of thing has happened to those who choose to live their occupational life in the public eye.

If Fox had been convicted of sexual misconduct in some back alley in Waikiki and under the influence of drugs, it would be easier to understand. Committing sexual misconduct with a woman sleeping in the next seat is almost incomprehensible!

To make matters worse, the victim had taken a sleeping pill and was in the company of her parents. That means he took advantage of a young lady in the presence of her mother and father. He is probably very lucky he didn’t get caught in the act or more than just his reputation could have been hurt.

So are there any lessons to be learned from this conviction of sexual misconduct?

The answer is obviously yes, but what are the lessons?

To begin with, there is something about being an elected official or working in close proximity to elected officials that’s very hazardous to your reputation. You can’t endure any charges of domestic violence. Drinking and driving is definitely something an elected official can never expect to get away with. Taking too many trips to Las Vegas to feed a gambling addiction is bound to catch up with you. Using drugs while you entertain and not paying your income taxes will all end your career more often than not.

No matter how smart you are, trying to beat the campaign spending laws seems to be impossible as successful tax evasion - just ask Dalton Tanonaka, another seemingly good guy whose reputation took a hit last week. With all the warnings, however, some still try to beat the system.

Probably the most devastating consequence is that after years of perfect behavior, after all those years of diligent public service, just one misdemeanor, just one conviction and all the years of hard work will be gone - forever. If you point this out to a politician, they will probably say, “Well, that kind of behavior didn’t hurt Bill Clinton very much.” And while that is true, I don’t have any idea why it is.

I know the Legislature mandated that everyone in elected office had to undergo ethics training after the last legislative session. The thrust of the classes was about not committing any acts that resemble nepotism. It seems the next time they mandate a seminar on ethics they should broaden the curriculum.

Hopefully, Fox and Tanonaka will pay their debt to society and continue their lives of public service.

But the record shows it’s not going to be easy.

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