On September 10 I wrote an article describing how two candidates for the same position could get along and agree not to stoop to the kind of negative campaign tactics that are typical today and so poorly serve both voters and democracy.
I was as proud of that article as any I've written, but I'm sorry to report that pledge came to an abrupt and surprising end at the conclusion of Sunday's candidate forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, during councilman Craig Covey's closing statement.
Mr. Covey said of elected officials that voters, ".. entrust us with a very serious and deep responsibility. My campaign .. has followed the rules, followed the regulations. If you go to Oakland County you will see that we've filed our campaign finance reports so that there's full disclosure..."
"Here we have a notice of failure to file from Oakland County, it's online, from my opponent."
Mr. Covey isn't as familiar with campaign finance laws as he wants you to believe he is, or that four campaigns and eight years on council might have taught. The county clerk's instructions state any report, ".. sent by registered mail, certified mail or an overnight delivery service and postmarked two (2) or more days before the filing deadline will be accepted as a timely filing regardless of when it is delivered (emphasis not added)."
To make a long story short, you can visit both our campaign's filings as well as Friends of Craig Covey's and see for yourself which campaign, ".. has followed the rules [and] followed the regulations."
The forum's moderator, Neil Zechman, instructed candidates ahead of time they were to avoid saying anything directly about their opponents. That was good advice. It keeps candidates focused on their message and shows respect to the audience and voters alike.
So what really happened?
The October 26 deadline was for finance reports as of the close of business, Sunday, October 21. Tiffani (my wife, campaign manager and treasurer) delivered our complete report that Monday to the Pleasant Ridge Post Office and for $6.11 received a Certified Mail receipt post-marked 10/22.
AT 8AM this morning she called Oakland County and confirmed the clerk hadn't received it yet then visited the Pleasant Ridge Post Office. She was impolitely told Pleasant Ridge didn't scan certified mail--that was Royal Oak's job. In Royal Oak another unfriendly clerk informed her it wasn't their problem--that would be Pontiac's responsibility.
Regardless, Tiffani hand-delivered a copy of our report to the clerk's office in Pontiac along with our proof of certified mailing. The report was promptly initialed by the clerk, marked "timely," scanned in, and the computer-generated late notice removed.
The undelivered certified package was returned to us today, a week later, because even though the USPS clerk in Pleasant Ridge took Tiffani's $6.11, gave her a receipt, and stuck the "certified mail" label on the package, they didn't affix the postage stamp. It was returned for $6.11 postage.
So the video proves I was right. It was government in action!