Candidate buy in

In a New Yorker cartoon, a teenage boy is lifting weights in his room. His mother walks in and says, “Here, let me do that for you.”

That cartoon came to mind as I looked over Town Council candidate Lee Storrow’s 35-day finance report that showed his mother making a $381 in-kind contribution (the legal limit is $280) to host a fundraiser in Storrow’s hometown of Asheville. His parents’ friends donated generously, and I’m guessing they are of the ilk who expect more than coffee and cookies if they are to dig deep to help out. But that doesn’t justify ignoring Chapel Hill’s rules.

Storrow seems like an ambitious kid who aims for a career in politics, and as he has no children, Town Council is a more likely first step than the school board to begin his political career. With the help of the Asheville contingent, he has more money in his coffers than candidates who relied on local support.

Still, we would like to see candidates who value ethics and show leadership. While waiting at the traffic light on MLK and Hillsborough, I noticed that all the campaign signs on the west side of the street had disappeared, except for Storrow’s. If he can’t even get his supporters to shape up, how effective will he be on council?

We’re still troubled by Penny Rich pushing through an ordinance change so that she could land a catering gig of thousands dollars, lying to the press by claiming it was a fundraiser, then donating $25 to the Public School Foundation only after Chapel Hill Watch called her out on it. Then Kleinschmidt and Jim Ward emailed us that they didn’t see anything unethical about Rich’s actions. (At a recent council meeting, Rich asked whether the Occupy Chapel Hill contingent would be exempt from town’s Halloween rules. We couldn’t help but wonder whether she had booked a catering gig in front of the courthouse that night.)

Though I often disagreed with the way Sally Greene voted, I never doubted her integrity. I would hate to think she might be replaced by someone whose moral compass is the majority sway of his Twitter followers.

While we approve of Storrow’s mother evidently being honest in what she spent, we wish Storrow had taken the time to read the rules of campaign fundraising and spending and let his mom know what limits she had to operate under. In the meantime, we’re wrestling with our own ethical dilemma – Storrow’s disbursements list the name of a website developer who put up his website for an astonishingly affordable price. Would it be ethical to contact her to see what she would charge to freshen the design of Chapel Hill Watch?
– Nancy Oates

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33 Comments

  1. Our local campaign finance ordinance carries the same exceptions as the state law, which do not limit expenditures from parents, spouses, or siblings. Regardless of whether Lee’s fundraising meets the spirit of the law, it definitely meets the letter.

    See:
    http://chapelhillpublic.novusagenda.com/AttachmentViewer.aspx?AttachmentID=5390&ItemID=975

    “Except as provided by N.C.G.S. 163-278.13(c), no individual or political committee shall contribute to any candidate, or political committee of a candidate, any money or make any other contribution in any town municipal election in excess of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for that election. ”

    (This was updated this year to $280)

    And see: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_163/GS_163-278.13.html

    “§ 163‑278.13(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, it shall be lawful for a candidate or a candidate’s spouse, parents, brothers and sisters to make a contribution to the candidate or to the candidate’s treasurer of any amount of money or to make any other contribution in any election in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for that election.”

  2. Andy

     /  October 24, 2011

    Nancy, content (like the above) not form is what counts. That’s why we keep coming to your site.

  3. Lee Storrow

     /  October 24, 2011

    There is a lot of discussion about how bloggers are the new journalists and I’ve always been proud that in Orange County we have two blogs dedicated to local issues. They fill critical gaps in coverage that cash strapped traditional publications miss. However this post highlights what is dangerous about blogs. This naive and factually inaccurate statement was a reckless thing to post publicly. I want to set the record straight and I encourage you, Nancy, to make the necessary corrections to your post.

    On the issue of Donna Storrow’s in-kind contribution: Yes, my Mother did make an in-kind contribution over $280, however that is COMPLETELY in line with the law. Section 2-72 of CH Ordinance 2010-10-27/0-5 states:

    Except as provided by N.C.G.S. 163-278.13(c), no individual or political committee shall
    contribute to any candidate, or political committee of a candidate, any money or make
    any other contribution in any town municipal election in excess of two hundred fifty
    dollars ($280.00) for that election.

    NCGS 163-278. 13(c) states:
    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section, it shall be lawful for a candidate or a candidate’s spouse, parents, brothers and sisters to make a contribution to the candidate or to the candidate’s treasurer of any amount of money or to make any other contribution in any election in excess of four thousand dollars ($4,000) for that election.

    We need citizens critiquing campaign finance reports but before jumping to conclusions, I urge everyone to be conscious of both State and Local law. I understand that mistakes happen, as these are complex and overlapping ordinances.

    On the issue of yard signs: Our campaign has addressed this issue before. We have not and will not remove any candidate’s signs from any intersection or any street and we hope ALL other candidates will do the same. I’ve been involved in a number of campaigns and there is one ultimate rule of yard signs; they get destroyed. By rain, by wind, by grass cutters, by high school kids. I’ve kept a close watch over our sign locations and not surprisingly many of ours are missing or destroyed as well. To hear tired stereotypes about young people repeated with ABSOLUTELY NO substantiating evidence is discouraging.

    On the last, and most bizarre, accusation: Our web designer was Sarah Riazati, a friend of mine and a fellow UNC graduate where she studied web and graphic design. We approached her about building our site (which we have maintained) and offered her $250 plus expenses bringing the total payment to a little over $300. Nancy, if you are looking for a web designer, I suggest Jon Dehart’s who Jon only paid $180 with another $90 in kind. Surely if $300 is “an astonishingly affordable price”, then $270 must be quite the bargain.

    I will assume the best (something absent from this blog post) and say that the errors, falsehoods and factually inaccurate statements are innocent mistakes and not the work of someone pushing an agenda.

  4. Tim

     /  October 24, 2011

    Nancy you are awesome. Tim

  5. Terri Buckner

     /  October 25, 2011

    “To hear tired stereotypes about young people repeated with ABSOLUTELY NO substantiating evidence is discouraging.”

    Nancy made no accusations against young people, Lee. She noted that it is odd that yours are the only signs standing in some areas of town. That’s an observation only. Hopefully, all your supporters are not just young people.

    How old does someone have to be not to be a “kid” anymore? Where is the dividing line between young people and old people? Nancy has been concerned with council ethics since she and Don started this blog. Sometimes they miss the mark, but other times they are right on target (last elections last minute PAC!). Personally, I think everyone needs to stop accusing everyone else of nefarious purposes. People make mistakes and clearing them up doesn’t need to use such a defensive tone. In the absence of a real media outlet in this town, we depend on bloggers. After reading both of the political blogs since their inceptions, I’ve seen mistakes made on both (think how many previously regular posters stay away from OP these days). In the immortal words of Rodney King, “why can’t we all just get along” and acknowledge that we won’t always agree with each other but for the most part everyone is working toward an open and informed society? My recommendation to the bloggers and the readers is if you see a mistake, offer a correction without the accusations or accusatory tone. It will make for a more open community dialogue.

  6. Jenny

     /  October 25, 2011

    So what exactly is the point? Voter-owned=bad. Good private fundraising that follows the rules=bad. What exactly do you propose candidates do to finance campaigns? Is Lee really the only candidate who got a donation from his mom?

  7. ActLocal

     /  October 25, 2011

    I agree with Terri. Let’s strive to keep the facts accurate and offer nonaccusatory corrections when we feel it is necessary. I count on ChapelHillWatch as a valuable media outlet, even though I do not post comments with great frequency.

  8. Nancy Oates

     /  October 25, 2011

    Lee Storrow called me this morning and apologized for the unduly harsh tone in his comment above. I apologized for getting the rules wrong. So we’re all good now, both of us moving forward, aiming for better behavior. And I appreciate the leadership shown in his call to me. His mother raised him right.

  9. DOM

     /  October 25, 2011

    I understand that Mr. Storrow’s contributions from family may be within the letter of the law, but it seems to me that accepting considerable sums from anyone – even direct family – outside the local area is not in the best interests of local voters. IMHO, any and all contributions for local elections should come from folks familiar with local issues and the candidate’s position on those issues. Sorry, mom.

  10. Terri Buckner

     /  October 25, 2011

    Non-incumbent candidates are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to local elections. As much as I dislike money in politics, they need more of it than do incumbents. For someone who is also new to the community, they have an even greater disadvantage. I have no issue with Lee getting money from his mom. I suspect he wouldn’t do it again, now that he knows it creates concerns from the local community.

    My standard for elected officials and candidates is whether they 1) listen [really listen, not just pretend] to all members of the community and 2) learn from their mistakes. I have faith that Lee is going to make a wonderful council member. I encourage those of you who can vote in Chapel Hill to give him serious consideration.

  11. Mark Marcoplos

     /  October 25, 2011

    If a candidate is wealthy and provides boatloads of his/her own money to their campaign is this acceptable? (Is this better than accepting money from your mother?) Does this mean they really, really want the job – maybe too much? Or does it mean by not taking so much outside money that they are beholden to less people?

  12. I was beginning to think that I might vote for Lee until I heard he had apologized to Nancy.
    Taking money from your Mom so you can run for office is “unethical” and not grown up? Lee’s mom gives him $100 more than anyone else could and it’s a federal crime. And he shouldn’t take her money ’cause she’s from out of town? (I notice no one has said anything about Jon DeHart’s contribution from Wake Co. School board candidate Republican Donna Williams. She’s from out of town and wanted to join the GOP majority which we have heard so much about; is that who want funding our local candidates? but not their moms?). Jeez you people really have lost perspective. Or maybe you think that Lee is gonna beat Matt or Jon…..
    Terry-why should we all get along? Nancy completely booted this post and no one is supposed to notice? All these people with one name support her when she gets her facts wrong and she makes “snide” insinuations. Who wants to get along with people like that?
    As far as signs go: accusing a candidate of tampering with them without evidence is just shameful but that’s what I have come to expect from the “blog”.
    Keep an eye out for this year’s mailer……

  13. Nancy Oates

     /  October 25, 2011

    The only Town Council candidates who have not received out-of-town money are Augustus Cho, Laney Dale and Carl Schuler.

  14. Terri Buckner

     /  October 25, 2011

    Why should we get along? Because we live in the same community and snarking and sniping at each other (it goes both ways, so don’t put all the blame on Nancy) doesn’t accomplish anything.

    Laney Dale is another one of the Chapel Hill candidates I wish I could vote for.

  15. DOM

     /  October 25, 2011

    If I were Cam Hill, I’d stay clear of commenting on local electioneering. IMO, his actions in the last mayoral election lowered the bar of ethical behavior to toe height.

  16. Dom says: I understand that Mr. Storrow’s contributions from family may be within the letter of the law, but it seems to me that accepting considerable sums from anyone – even direct family – outside the local area is not in the best interests of local voters. IMHO, any and all contributions for local elections should come from folks familiar with local issues and the candidate’s position on those issues. Sorry, mom.

    Is $381 a considerable sum? By your criteria everyone would have to take a test before they would be allowed to contribute. They might even be required to have a last name…..

  17. John Kramer

     /  October 25, 2011

    The pot calling the kettle black is perfectly okay in Chapel Hill. Just ask anyone who has run for office.

    It’s a progressive thing- ethics? What are they?

  18. Cam, maybe Nancy was taken aback by the disconnect between Lee and Donna’s statements and actions on campaign finance.

    Before I go through the details, I want to be clear on where I stand on Lee’s candidacy. After a quick review of his campus work, his statements on diversity and protecting minority interests, I was fully prepared to support him.

    But as the campaign has progressed and have seen Lee in action, heard what he has said he has done locally, measured it against what I know of recent local history, I have arrived at this time feeling that he is running more to embellish his political resume than being prepared to take on what will be a very tough couple years.

    I understand that his supporters might not see this as a negative and like that he is a young, ambitious politician. Me? I’m not looking for slick this year.

    First, he said he supported VOE – which is all about concentrating on local support – but needed to raise more money than it allowed. Fair enough. My unease about his candidacy started with the way he handled questions about the obvious problem with his claims that the pile of money he raised indicated broad local support. His 35-day report revealed he raised 53% of his money from out-of-town (Cam, you gave Diane Bachmann a hard time for doing just that). At more than half, this clearly contradicted that claim.

    Of 77 identifiable contributions on the 35-day report, 52 were out-of-county. $7305 came from identifiable sources, $1452 came from originally unspecified non-aggregated sources adding to $9183.

    Of that $7305, $3896 or 53% came from out-of-county (Asheville the dominant location). The breakdown of the out-of-town is: 16 $100, 1 each of $250, $280 and $381. The rest are mainly $50.

    When challenged on the facts by WCHL1360, he changed his claim from money raised equaled strong local support to having the most local “registered” contributors (numerically, not by amount of cash).

    When it came to supporting that claim, first he balked. In-spite of his claims of wanting to be transparent both in and out of office he begrudgingly revealed all but 4 of his aggregated contributors names and addresses (those 4 mystery folks have local zips but can’t be verified as registered).

    He finally documented the75 aggregated contributors via online spreadsheet. 64 have Orange County zips. Of those, 5 were not registered in Orange County as of the date of Lee’s claim.

    That leaves 59 of 79 contributors on the aggregate report, or roughly 75% that are Orange County registered voters. Those 59 contributed $574 of that $1452 or roughly 40%. So, numerically the majority of aggregated contributors were registered in Orange County but by aggregated contributor dollar amount, Lee’s campaign was being funded 60% from outside-of-county.

    Of the “named” 77 contributors in the 35-day report, 55 are not registered in Orange County and 52 are from outside-of-county or 71% not registered/29% registered and 67% out-of-county/33% in-county.

    All together, then, Lee has 156 contributors – the maximum for any candidate – of which 72 were not registered in Orange County. That’s 46% of his supporters non-registered, the other 54% or 84, local registered supporters.

    Who were those contributors?

    A number of the aggregated contributions coming from out-of-county are affiliated with similar organizations to the one Lee heads – a good indicator of his proficiency at his current job.

    Of the rest, though mostly concentrated in Lee’s hometown of Asheville, they come from all over.

    It is also clear that Lee has used his relationship with UNC’s Young Democrats to great advantage. 6 contributors were YD executives. Several more were with YD in 2010 (not sure 2011).

    As far as using UNC’s YD muscle to support one local Democrat over another, I haven’t heard from other Democrats a complaint. Knocking on doors, manning phone banks (paid for by?), holding special events for Lee, they have done yeoman duty on his behalf. That work has great value. The way Lee has used the UNC Young Democrat machine to bolster his candidacy doesn’t feel appropriate to me.

    And leveraging his former position as a YD to get elected doesn’t quite sync with an image of broad local support.

    Again, I understand that what I see as another strike against his claims of working within the spirit of VOE might be held up by his supporters as savvy politicking. It still bothers me.

    Did he have more registered voters support than his fellow candidates at the time?

    Of 60 contributors on Jon Dehart’s 35 day report (all accounted for – name and address) 39 of 60 are registered Orange County voters. Roughly 65%.

    Of Matt Czakowski contributors (accounted for same as Jon and every other candidate) based on his 35 day report 22 of 26 were registered or 84%.

    Of the two remaining “big” moneyraisers, Jason Baker and Donna Bell, the numbers continue to exceed Lee’s.

    Jason Baker had to toil the hardest but, arguably, that hard work paid off in having the most solid local support. Based on his VOE qualifying and 35-day reports, Jason was the king of the hill with 107 contributors only 2 of which were non-local or 98%.

    Well done hewing to the spirit of VOE Jason, I know it was a slog.

    Donna Bell raised a lot of out-of-town money prior to her 8/22 filing of intent – $820 of $1268 for seed money with 32 of 57 contributors – 56% – not registered to vote in Orange County. She worked hard and secured another 98 registered Chapel Hill contributors to qualify for VOE funds which tilts her numerical score of local to non-local supporters at 80% (123 of 155).

    What bothered me about Donna’s campaign finances was that while she was quite eloquently defending VOE as a program design to inject transparency and local control into local elections (getting a lot of good press from local media) she was actually raising the majority of funds from out-of-town.

    To her credit, she never made a claim, like Lee, that money equaled local support.
    So, back to the question of did Lee have a numerically greater number of local supporters?

    Donna Bell and Jason Baker, at 123 and 105 local supporters respectively, easily outweighs Lee’s 84.

    How about percentage support?

    With 54% of Lee’s supporters registered to vote locally, he still doesn’t leap the bar that his claims set.

    Of course, the newest reports from non-VOE candidates might alter this analysis.

    As of now, though, Lee’s local support, based on both numerical and percentage measurements of “registered Orange County voters”, doesn’t square with his claims.

  19. Leroy towns

     /  October 26, 2011

    Here is the lesson: in politics, money always keeps flowing downhill no matter how many dams are thrown up. Campaign spending and contributing make up our basic right of speech. Disclosure is the best (and only) campaign finance regulation.

  20. Leroy Towns

     /  October 26, 2011

    PS: keep blogging. You do a great public service for Chapel Hill.

  21. DOM

     /  October 26, 2011

    Citizen Will –

    As usual, a font of factual information. Thanks for doing all that homework for the rest of us.

  22. Terri Buckner

     /  October 26, 2011

    I hope people are paying attention to candidate responses to questionnaires and at forums, not just their financial accounting. And in the case of incumbents, of course, review their voting record.

  23. Terri, I’ve either listened to or attended most of the forums (OCDW/Carol Woods the exceptions). Read all the candidate statements, questionnaires, etc.

    The problem is how much credence can one put into those answers. When a candidate continues to make claims that are verifiably inaccurate to create a narrative at odd with the facts it calls into question the reliability of their answers elsewhere.

    I’ve now been active in local politics for about a dozen years, Lee is not the only political candidate I’ve seen who shaved the truth or puffed up their meager public service resume. I am almost inured to the practice. But not quite, which is why when Cam brought the issue up I thought I’d go ahead an relate my campaign report research.

  24. Mark Marcoplos

     /  October 26, 2011

    Terri,

    It’s not so much who is donating money, just that voters know who it is. So voters know that Storrow’s mom gave hime some money. Last time around voters knew that Roger Perry was supporting Kleinschmidt. That knowledge allows voters to make an informed decision.

    I agree with you that the focus should be primarily on the issues. Making a big deal about the cost of a candidate’s web-site designer or that someone saw a bunch of signs down except for one candidate’s or restating unproven charges against a Council member are just indications of a decision to distract voters from the real issues.

  25. Terri Buckner

     /  October 26, 2011

    I don’t see Nancy’s post as any more distracting that the multiple discussions on signs (color, pictures, grammar, placement, etc.) that have been on OP for many years running or the candidate attacks there. I know without doubt that you and Cam will slam Matt C either directly or through inuendo as surely as I know that Nancy is going to slam Penny, whether she is a candidate or not. It didn’t surprise me in the least when Penny got into a tiff on OP with Jon de Hart re: campaign financing or that Kevin Wolff pulled another boneheaded stunt after not showing up for the forums. What has surprised me is the selection of Lee as a target. Not good for Lee, but I appreciated the detour from the known route.

    What dismays me the most is that in this highly educated, activist community, who one votes for (or at least who one voices support for) is so very predictable, and rarely does there appear to be a solid rationale behind those choices, at least in published endorsements/discussions. Every election seems more and more like junior high to me. It’s not about who you are or what you say, it’s about who you know.

  26. Mark Marcoplos

     /  October 26, 2011

    Red herring stew – looks good but doesn’t taste too good.

  27. Terri, I disagree with your emotive statement “selection of Lee as a target” for the material I provided. Lee could have diffused any controversy by simply being straightforward.

    He must have know that based on money and contributor count his statements were not accurate. They certainly didn’t jibe with the narrative he was constructing – strong local support.

    As a Democratic activist, having worked on campaigns, I don’t think Lee’s missteps are accidental – that is what bothers me. As I said before, coming into this election I thought I’d be helping Lee. He certainly was affable and full of pep when I spoke with him in the months leading up to the election. At this point, the best I can say is I’m disappointed he took the slick way out rather than confront these issues dead-on.

  28. Terri Buckner

     /  October 26, 2011

    Will,

    This may come as a surprise to you but every response is not directed to you. Nancy took her aim on Lee before you did.

    However, if you want to take it personally, please let me remind you that you were targeted for being less than honest in your last campaign. The accusation came as a result of you excerpting a portion of the Independent’s endorsement write up, giving the impression that they had endorsed you (they didn’t). I stood up for you when the accusation was made because I believe you are an honest person, and it didn’t rise to the level of concern with me. Same for Lee’s finances. Campaigns are all about advertising. And in the process of advertising, it’s really easy to see what you want to see. Heck that’s easy anytime you are working toward a goal that you really want.

    Lee is a first time candidate and it would be really amazing if he got everything right. Nothing about him says manipulator to me. I would like to see you give him the same degree of leeway that many of us gave you. Surely you agree that your 2nd and 3rd campaigns were much better than your first attempt.

  29. I didn’t take it personally, where did you get that? I understand now you meant Nancy, which makes better sense.

    I wasn’t aware of the Indy issue – was that an OP thing? I definitely used a nice thing the Indy said about me on my mailer. How could that be controversial? It was a direct quote from the Indy Endorsement issue. In any case, if someone didn’t like it they never said anything to me about it but if they had I would have whipped out the endorsement issue and shown them the verbatim quote. Thanks for the defense.

    This is the last time I’ll post on this thread so, one more time trying to clarify my position.

    Lee created the narrative of local support in this ChapelBoro.com story:

    Storrow says his success demonstrates widespread community support.

    “I’m really proud of our numbers, I think it reflects a lot of support from Chapel Hill residents,” he says. “Folks who could give five dollars and folks who could give more are supporting and endorsing what we’re doing.”

    He chalks his success up to an extensive outreach effort, but a large number of out-of-town donations to his campaign has raised some eyebrows. Still, Storrow says his base of support is in Orange County.

    “I have more money raised from Orange County residents and more individual donors from Orange County than anyone else in the race,” says Storrow. “Friends and supporters who didn’t live in the county who wanted to support me, I wasn’t going to not accept their funds. But I’m really happy to see we have over 160 donations and a good many of them are from residents who live in Chapel HiIl and Orange County.”

    and Daily Tar Heel

    Although Storrow has emphasized that many of his campaign donations come from the local community, he also received a donation from a political group located in Davidson.

    He did agree he should have been more transparent:

    “I’ve realized in hindsight that we want to be transparent and fair so folks know where those donations are coming from,” says Storrow.

    When the facts didn’t align with those claims, he said this (which I googled and found on OrangePolitics.org)

    Despite my contributions from donors outside of Chapel Hill, I’m proud to say that I have more donors from registered voters in Chapel Hill than anyone else in the race. I’m honored to have received such a wide range of support, everyone from new students to community members who’ve called Chapel Hill home for decades.

    So now it was “registered voters in Chapel Hill” but, as you can see from the Council candidates reports analyzed above, that also doesn’t hold water.

    And that is what bugs me.

    Chapel Hill has been experiencing a slow train-wreck over the last few years. The piper is warming up. I’m looking for serious, professional representation to be straight with our citizens and get the job done. Slick won’t cut it.

  30. DOM

     /  October 26, 2011

    CitizenWill –

    Again, nice job of informing us what’s what.

  31. Terri Buckner

     /  October 27, 2011

    Will,

    I know you are proud of the way you do research, but at the bottom of any effort to dig has to be a conscious decision as to whether there is any significance to the issue. It’s one thing for you to be personally bugged about something, but it’s quite another thing for you to raise those issues publicly. For example, one election season you and Dan Coleman went after Ed Harrison for not supporting deeper stream setbacks, challenging his well-established credentials as an environmentalist. You both ended up apologizing to Ed. But how many people read all those criticisms and never the acknowledgement that Ed was doing the right thing and your criticisms were off-base?

    As I said on the tweeting issue, if something bugs you, talk to the person first. And then if the answers don’t add up, report publicly if you must. But don’t put out information that could damage someone’s reputation/public image unless you have first given that person a chance to explain. It wasn’t fair when someone did that to you, and it’s not fair for you or Nancy to do it to Lee (or Donna). I want to have an informed electorate, but I don’t think we should sacrifice civility or fair play to get there.

  32. Terri, a quick correction on the 2005 election.

    Dan did have problems with Ed’s candidacy and was fairly straightforward with his concerns. Your comment seems to indicate collusion. There was none.

    I didn’t “go after Ed”. I pointed out at one forum that Ed’s answer to a question on his support for stronger RCD stream buffer sizes (not depths) didn’t align with his recent vote. That was it.

    I had supported limits which turn out to be more in-line with what today’s original Jordan Lake rules wanted (and, in some cases, required) and was both familiar with the issue and had watched it crawl since inception through the Council process.

    Not familiar with the silliness of campaigning at that time, I found pointing out a factual discrepancy in an opponents statements can be turned against the “offending” candidate. As Foy put it, I wasn’t being “collegial” (what a crock, but that’s a different matter).

    I didn’t apologize. Ed wasn’t happy about it. Over the years since, though, we’ve developed a good working relationship.

    I respect Ed, especially for his professional approach to Council (as I noted elsewhere in this ‘blog), but if he tried to shape a narrative at odds with the facts to win an election, like Lee has done, I would once again challenge his statements.

    Reviewing campaign reports used to be a bread-n-butter kind of thing for OP. I used to do most of that research and, along with other folks who used to think OP was a community platform instead of a business venture, contributed analysis.

    One of the reasons I left OP was that critique wasn’t even-handed. If, like Lee’s situation, campaign reports didn’t jibe with a “favored sons” narrative – well, let it be. But if there was a typo in column XJ on a report for a “one of them” – yow! – out came the claws.

    That wasn’t fair. That wasn’t honest.

    One function of the press (of which this ‘blog could loosely be considered) is to help keep democratic contests honest and fair. Prompted by Cam’s comment and in the spirit of what the press should be doing, I related some research I had done.

    As far as the tweet issue, I responded directly to Donna moments after her tweet to Jason.

    I do apologize to the CHW audience for continuing this thread but I wanted to clear the air on the 2005 event.

  33. Mark Peters

     /  October 31, 2011

    Will, you rock! Thanks for the info, especially the campaign finance research.

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