Dave Wedge, Boston Herald, December 2, 2010
Hub leaders past and present got their Irish up yesterday over Chuck Turner’s rant as he was bounced from the City Council, when he blamed his ouster on “the Irish” and sought to cast himself as a martyr cut from the same cloth as the legendary Mayor James Michael Curley.
In a fiery plea to keep his job, Turner compared himself to Curley, a former congressman and governor who was elected mayor despite a felony conviction. The Roxbury politician said the struggle of blacks is similar to the oppression the Irish endured under Yankee rule.
“The law has been used to persecute the Irish in this very city,” Turner said during a turbulent City Hall hearing that ended his 11-year run on the council. “That’s why they re-elected James Michael Curley when he was in jail. They knew the laws were controlled by the Yankees.”
The ethnically mixed council, which includes five members with Irish surnames, voted 11-to-1 on a motion by President Michael Ross to expel Turner, marking the first time the board has booted a member.
“Those Irish men and women forgot their history,” Turner bellowed outside City Hall last night, referring to the council. “James Michael Curley is ashamed of his descendants.”
Turner’s ouster, which is effective tomorrow, follows his conviction last month on federal corruption charges for taking a $1,000 payoff and lying to federal agents. Turner, 69, used his final speech on the council floor to rail against the media and federal government, claiming he was targeted as part of a ploy to “take down” black elected officials.