Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where you don't want to be

Sometimes it's easier to know where you don't want to be than were you want to be. One place I don't want to be is anywhere near my opponent, Mr. Covey, when a couple women I know get a hold of him.

First he insults my wife and campaign treasurer, Tiffani, by claiming our campaign's finance statements were delinquent. Though I was his intended target he's going to wish Tiffani wasn't injured in the attack.

Now he's claiming another woman is a shill (posted late October but retracted mid-November) for our campaign because she chose to respond to him in the same forum he chose to respond to her--a city council meeting.
".. anyone watching the last City Council meeting would know, my opponent did send a surrogate to the Call to Audience who lambasted me for a supposed 'conflict of interest.'"
Mr. Covey hopes no one reading his article will talk to the woman who "lambasted" him. If they did she'd tell them she had a good relationship with Mr. Covey, that they've worked together before, and that she was astounded when he responded during a council meeting to a confidential email she'd sent him privately. She felt her confidence had been betrayed and that she'd been attacked in public. She spoke out to defend herself.

If he thought she was mad because his public response to her private email, I wonder what he'll think when he sees her next after dismissing her as a puppet and trivializing her point on the Internet!

Personally, I think he knows better but is hoping no one else will bother looking behind the curtain.

Now is a good time to introduce our vocabulary word for the day, sophistry
a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone [syn: sophism]
At the end of the same article he tries another sophistry, but trips through some illogical arguments along the way.
"[My opponent's campaign finance report] shows a list of contributors that is a veritable Who's who of Republican activists and supporters. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but it makes one wonder why when asked about leadership and support of local community groups during the debate, Mr. Gagne never mentioned his leadership position with the Ferndale Republican Club. Full disclosure should not include omission by design."
He could have claimed my contributors were a who's-who of church-goers, family members, friends, neighbors, or Australian Aboriginals, but unless you know them by name how would you know? He's hoping you take his word for it.

And what of the Democrats on the list? There are contributors that made Granholm's short list for judicial appointments. Did he mention them? No. He's less interested in the diversity of my support than in vilifying a single group. That kind of bias isn't what Ferndale's known for.

Next he says there's nothing wrong with that (if he really thought that why say it in the first place?) but why didn't I include my relationship with the Ferndale Republicans? Again, he's hoping you don't remember the question asked for non-partisan activities. I was surprised he listed his involvement with the Democratic clubs because last I checked they were still partisan.

In retrospect, I didn't like my answer to the community involvement question either. I would have rather started with, "I believe charity begins at home. It starts with giving generously of my time to my wife, Tiffani, and my sons, Joshua and Michael." Then move from there to talk about Cub Scouts, soccer teams, church groups, pre-schools, dances, movies, monitoring their online activities, the rest of my family, neighbors, etc.

Most of Tiffani's and my extra-curriculars will involve our children and their activities. If that makes me an activist, well, I can live with that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rubber and glue: late filings and premature accusations

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!