Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sad News

If you read the article in the Natchez Democrat today, you will see that Alderman Bubber West has been arrested for writing bad checks. - and that is sad news. Why?

First, it is always sad when an elected official is arrested, because the public trust has been betrayed.

Secondly, it is sad for Alderman West. From my viewpoint, he has been a good Alderman. He was smart, knew the issues, and asked good questions. So why would he risk his career and reputation? We know that he has suffered bad health and financial problems, but that does not account for his behavior.

Maybe we can explain (not excuse) his behavior if we look at some reasons people habitually write bad checks. I'm not talking about people who occasionally bounce a check - but those who do it enough to warrant legal action. (As background, let me tell you that before I moved to Natchez, I was a licensed and practicing psychologist.)

Some people write bad checks because they're psychopaths trying to rip off the system, and these people belong in jail for as long as we can keep them there. There is no hope for them.

Some people are suffering financially and just get desperate. Usually, they will stop after getting caught a few times, especially if there are legal repercussions. Unlike the psychopath, they usually feel guilt, remorse, and shame.

Some people lack the skills of survival in today's world. They don't know how to keep an accurate checkbook, and they write bad checks without really knowing it. These people are usually caught early and learn their lesson. They either stop having bank accounts, or if they're lucky and educable, they learn the necessary skills.

Some suffer from serious mental disorders, and the only hope for them is mental health treatment.

Many addicts write bad checks, because the need to feed the addiction overtakes all rational behavior. Unless and until the addiction is treated, they will keep right on. They don't show guilt or remorse, because addicts can rationalize any behavior, although they may have momentary episodes of guilt.

We usually think of addiction to alcohol or drugs, but there is another addiction - gambling. One symptom of gambling addiction is committing illegal acts (e.g., forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement) in order to finance gambling. Another is jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job, or career because of gambling. Hmmm - makes you wonder.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I, too, am saddened by this news. For those of us who've sat in those council chambers and heard, observed, that group of aldermen, Bubber West was the one most reasonable, kindly in his demeanor and professional conduct. For some time now news of gambling addiction among certain members of the council have permeated this community. And, in the community at large, almost everyone knows families who've sufferred the consequences of a gambling addiction. Now, I hope the Lane Company is paying attention to all of this. They are a reputable company with no previous ties to gambling business. Do they really want to sully their hands and reputation with the business of destrorying the lives of children and families whose loved ones have succumbed to the roll of the dice? Are we going to sit back and close our eyes and mouths while our city leaders give away our public assets to the vultures who circle this town, pouncing on the opportunity to line their own pockets at the expense of our public good and welfare?

Anonymous said...

It is very sad that a person who is charged with making major financial decisions which affect the entire community for many years to come has had difficulties with his own personal finances. Bubber West is a kindly person whom I like, but I am not comfortable with anyone in such a position who has not been able to manage his own business. His home has been listed several times in the paper as being in foreclosure. I am very sorry that he is having these problems.

Gambling has cost Natchez many millions of dollars. When Lady Luck was in the habit of reporting income in the newspaper, I understand that the casino was making $25,000,000 in Natchez and spending $5,000,000 for expenses here. That means that $20,000,000 was being taken out of this community annually. At twenty million dollars a year, that is THREE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS removed from the Natchez area in the past 15 years. With a casino here since the early 1990's, it is no wonder that Natchez is having financial problems. Even if a casino only removes $15,000,000 per year from the local area, that would mean that the casinos (Lady Luck and Isle of Capri) have removed at least $225,000,000 from the Natchez area in the last 15 years. Think what could have been done with that money had it remained in the local economy! Also, gambling studies done by the United States government point out that a city the size of Natchez would be expected to have about 400 problem or addicted gamblers, with an annual loss to the community of between $15,000 and $22,000 each. That means an annual loss to the community of betwen $6,000,000 and $8,000,000, in addition to the money directly taken away by the casino. Please look at the website of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, www.ncalg.org, to learn the shocking facts about legalized gambling. In the January 11-25, 2007 issue of the Bluff City Post, Dr. George F. West, Jr. J.D. wrote that the gambling industries derived more that 3 BILLION dollars in revenue in Mississippi in 2006. And Mississippi remains at the bottom of all states in so many categories. Why are we sending billions of dollars out of this state each year? Why are we allowing gambling to corrupt and destroy our citizens? Mississippi has so many fine citizens and so much to be proud of. Can't we do better than gambling away our state?

Anonymous said...

This week I get to pay my $8,000.00 Real Estate tax bill to our beloved city. Can we have someone who doesn't require their own personal Spendthrift Trust to spend my money?

It is probably not legal to require an I.Q. test for city officials. Maybe College degrees?

Early last year I accused the Mayor and Alderman of being self-serving "crooks."

More than one person said to me "they're not crooked dear, just stupid."

Whether Bubber etal. are uneducated in finance or find it too cumbersome to deal with; all I can say is I find it TAXING too.

Anonymous said...

I am saddened to hear about Bubber
West's arrest over the NSF checks.
As a former Compulsive Gambling Counselor from Baton Rouge I can truly empathize with his problem.
Are we sure he has a gambling problem or is this just "talk"? Lets be sure before we sully a reputation and label him a compulsive gambler.
Compulsive Gambling is a huge problem in Baton Rouge. The average length of time a female gambler will spend on a slot machine is 14 hours. Many play several slots at a time. After many hours of play and thinking that their machine is now "hot" they are reluctant to leave their machines. Going to the bathroom becomes a problem because you have to leave your machine. Those in the grips of addiction wear Depends Undergarments so they can urinate or defecate without having to leave their machines. Is this what we want in Natchez?

Anonymous said...

Alderman West is simply "stewing in his own juice." He has borrowed and failed to pay back, sought money unethically from others, including city employees, and simply been an embarassment for quite some time. A client of his family business just filed a $13,000 lawsuit against him in the Circuit Clerk's office this week because he kept money from an insurance company that was supposed to be given to the family.

This man is a crook and Natchez knows it. Why does this community always want to protect those who blatantly do wrong. The comments so far have been seemingly attempts to pacify a horrible situation. I believe we need to call a spade a spade.

If he is wrong he should resign. I don't see how he could write a bad check to the city cemetary. I am sure that he was contacted about this. There is a process that is established by state law that must be followed before an arrest can be made for a bad check.

This man has been a crook for a long time. If you have read the obituaries lately you can see that the black community knows this. They are no longer using to most prominent funeral home in the black community. Do you have to ask why? People in this community know this man and they know his history.

He needs to go ahead and resign. He knows that he wrote the checks and he knows he did not have any money in the bank.

HELLO NATCHEZ....... this man is simply reaping what he has sowed.

Anonymous said...

I have just found this blog. I have no sympathy for Bubber West or any of his family. They have been cheating the community for a long time, it is time that the truth finally come to the light. I don't understand why they continously get away with all the unlawful things they do. Not only is he a crook but his brother,
George is the biggest crook of them all. Kind they are not, they use and misuse people for their own advantage. Don't let those fake smiles and words fool you. It is time that the people of Natchez really see the Wests for who they are and stop letting them get away with all their wrongdoings. These people believe they are above the law and can do and treat others any way they want to. Bubber West should have been removed from the Board of Aldermen, even if he did make restitution for the bad checks he is still guilty of the crime. Wake up Natchez and stop supporting these people and show them that enough is enough. Bubber West and George West should both be paying for their crimes. At least George West lost his license and therefore could no longer cheat people who came to him for representation and trusted him. Now he calls himself Dr. George West, JD. Why not Attorney George West, Retired? Because that title was stripped from him. It is time these public officials get the same treatment as any other person who commits a crime and stop showing favortism.People of Natchez know the Wests history, why do you continue to support them?

No nickname needed-- Tammie West Jones said...

It is so sad that you feel this way, but the same people that have responded to this blog have withheld ther names. I wonder if they have withheld their names because they too have interacted with members of the West family for years with no problems simply reaping the benefits of being in their presence due to status and how others precieve them. It is sad to see that the only reponse that one can come up with is that Bubber West has a gambling problem -- This man has had the backs of many indivduals and communities in Natchez since I can remember. He has done for others witout seeking a return, not even a thank you, just because this is the type of person he is and now that a situation/event has come up and you don't know the full circumstances surrounding the events that have taken place you try to belittle and discredit all that he has done. All I want to say is this... when people go out of ther way for others regardless of the siutation and the circumstances, you should never talk badly of them for you will never know when you will need them again. There are good people in this world who sometimes fall into bad situations beyond their control, but don't sit on high and try to judge because in the end only God can judge and those of you who sit in judgement of others will one day have to be judged themselves. If you were to make a list of the pros and cons that Bubber West has done, I am sure the pros will outweigh the cons. It is sad that you make comments of how bad health and financial situations have plagued him, but after that, you only touch on the financial.