Letter to the Editor
To the editor:
Thanks to The Call for the excellent coverage of the Steve Stenger saga as it unfolds. In the Aug. 15 edition of The Call, not only did you cover the sentencing news but you offered a front page article about former County Executive Gene McNary’s hope for leniency in the sentencing.
Mr. McNary, you make some very good points. You mentioned that Mr. Stenger is a nonviolent offender and has talents of offer the community. Respectfully sir, there are many countless others like that who are incarcerated. However, like Steve Stenger, they chose to use those talents to satisfy their selfish ambitions. Mr. Stenger chronically betrayed the trust of those who elected him.
Mr. McNary, you make the argument that this is “the right case” to implement the federal courts’ probation alternative program. I’m sorry, Mr. McNary, I don’t see anything in your request to make the point that this would be “the right case.” Frankly, your petition has the odor of supporting the “good old boy” network.
Mr. McNary, you state that mass incarceration causes more crime than it prevents and that incarcerating Stenger would be costly to the taxpayer. You are absolutely correct on both of those claims. However, your position on this affair seems to overlook other key points.
Mr. Stenger did not commit these crimes in a vacuum. There were many other public servants involved with this affair. There were many well connected business people involved with this affair. Some of his coconspirators have been uncovered and some remain in the shadows. Mr. Stenger’s corruption spread like a cancer.
What would a light sentence be saying to all of those individuals? What would a light sentence say to the public that he was elected to serve? Today in 2019 we find ourselves in an era of profound distrust of government. Both sides of the aisle share this cynicism, albeit for different reasons.
It seems to me that leniency in this instance would only serve to tell the public that there are indeed two separate systems of justice; one for the little people and one for the elite.
It would be my hope that Steve Stenger would reflect on his behavior, have an awakening and spend the rest of his life in service to his family and to the community. Only time will tell if this will be the case.
Until then, let justice be served.