The Sad, Surprising Tale of Chuck Turner


By: Jeff Katz – February, 2012

It is a very rare occasion when I am surprised by a politician’s action. At this point in my life, I’d like to think I’ve seen it all. Growing up in Philadelphia, where we routinely had 75% or higher voter turnout from cemeteries, I learned that death did not automatically disqualify you from that warm fuzzy feeling you get upon casting a ballot.

I’ve seen politicians of all stripes caught engaging in shakedowns.

I’ve watched elected officials violate the public’s trust and laugh about it. So called public servants who never met a bag of cash they weren’t willing to snatch, sometimes as part of some nefarious plot and sometimes because they were bored. But I just don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like former Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner.

You surely recall the tale of Mister Turner. Picked up a degree in community temper tantrums from the hallowed halls of Harvard and then went to work, and I am making those annoying air quotes as I type “work”, as a community disturber. His resume consists of various and sundry protests and marches and really not much else. He continually told people in Roxbury that everything ailing them was the result of racism and bigotry. Turner was never interested in helping anyone achieve anything on their own. Instead his stock and trade was pandering to and advocating the worst racial bigotry imaginable.

Turner parlayed his community agitation into a spot as the City Councilor for Boston’s District 7 which included Roxbury, Fenway and South End neighborhoods. He joined the council in 1999 and in his long career feeding at the public trough, the one notable piece of legislation offered by him was a measure dealing with special status for the so-called transgender community.

Most of what Turner accomplished, oh no there are those annoying air quotes again, while he served on the City Council came outside the chambers. Who can forgot when he accused the Council President of “institutional racism” when debate was limited on an issue. How about that proud moment when Turner claimed that Condoleeza Rice serving as the Secretary of State for President George W. Bush was ““similar in my mind to a Jewish person working for Hitler in the 1930s.” And of course, his crowning moment when he pimped fraudulent photos which he claimed showed U. S. military members raping Iraqi women.

Now the eighty grand or so he was pulling down for the greatest no show job in the Commonwealth was not enough. So Turner engaged in what he called a “preacher’s handshake” and of course a miracle happened, because at the end of the grip there was $1,000 in Turner’s previously empty hand. Now if that were the usual occurrence, I’ve got to think that more people would attend church regularly. After his conviction and subsequent ranting and ravings, he was kicked off of the council and eventually wound up as a guest at Club Fed.

Now Turner, a/k/a/ inmate 80641-038 claims that the Boston City Council removed him from office too quickly. Well sure, he acknowledges, he had been convicted, but he had not yet been sentenced when his fellow profiles in courage showed him the door. Because of that, he now claims that he is entitled to $11,000 in back pay. You know the sad thing is that he’ll probably win in court. I assume that the settlement will be provided to him in small unmarked bills…maybe by a preacher.

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