In a statement to the City Council, Richard Polk apologized for his behavior.
“I have embarrassed myself, my family, my friends, my fellow council members and the community,” Polk said at the beginning of Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “I realize that, as an elected member of the City Council, I have an obligation to act responsibly at all times.”
“I understand that the voters have placed a level of trust in me that has been shaken,” Polk said. “Words cannot say how deeply sorry I am. I intend to regain that trust and confidence. Service to the community has always been valued as one of the most important things in my life.”
I’m going to sound like Mary Katherine Gallagher here, but the way I felt after reading this could be expressed in the lyrics of a song I heard many years ago called, “More Than Words”, by Extreme–sort of: “Hearing ‘I’m sorry’ is not the words I want to hear from you,” and, “What would you say if I took those words away. Then you couldn’t make things new just by saying ‘I’m sorry’.” I know, I know. I butchered the song. Anyway…
I expected this apology, but it doesn’t quite go far enough for me. I was looking for him to say that he will take actions in his own life to make sure this never happens again, namely checking himself into drug rehab. The way I read this is he’s not sorry he smoked pot. He’s sorry he got caught doing it. How can I tell he was smoking it while driving? The officer who arrested him reported the car wreaked of it when Polk rolled down his window. Some people are getting this story wrong, only focusing on the fact that the officer reported that he found a pipe in the car, and that it was warm. There was more than that.
I say this reluctantly, but I think Polk should resign. Drug addiction is a serious thing, and I think his behavior shows that he is addicted. He’s willing to be accountable for this incident, and that’s fine. Even a drug addict realizes sometimes they have no choice but to fess up. It doesn’t mean they’re going to do anything about the addiction, which is the root of the problem. I don’t get a sense from Polk that he’s willing to do what it takes to rectify the situation in his own life. He says he values public service highly. Given this incident, I would’ve liked to have seen him prove how much he values it. He didn’t step up to the plate.
It’s often within the realm of possibility to quit this sort of thing cold turkey, but it’s hard, or so I’ve heard. Unlike a lot of people in this town, the only drug I’ve ever come in contact with is alcohol. I’ve never become addicted (thank goodness), and I haven’t drank since I was in my 20s. Drug rehab. is there to help people out of addiction, because they recognize that it’s hard to do, and many people are not strong enough to do it themselves. There’s no shame in it. Remember, Mr. Polk, admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it.