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Erv Hoglund Receives Washington CSE’s “2002 Friend of the Taxpayer Award”
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Press Release

Erv Hoglund Receives Washington CSE’s “2002 Friend of the Taxpayer Award”

Erv Hoglund, candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives and CSE activist, received the Washington Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) “2002 Friend of the Taxpayer Award” last night during an event in Marysville. Northwest CSE Director, Russ Walker, had the following comments:

10/29/2002
CSE Mobilizes Voters Across North Carolina
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Press Release

CSE Mobilizes Voters Across North Carolina

The election debate in North Carolina has turned to Social Security reform and Taxes, and liberal tax-and-spenders are distorting the truth about Elizabeth Dole and other candidates. That’s why Citizens for a Sound Economy is mobilizing to educate North Carolina voters on these key issues.

10/29/2002
A Hit Piece Boomerangs
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A Hit Piece Boomerangs

Summary: Republican Keith Parker should strongly disavow and denounce a grotesque attack on Democrat Jeff Barker Two things we know about negative campaigning: 1. People despise it. 2. Sometimes it works. Amid the political mailers flying through the mail right now at a furious pace comes one that goes beyond the rhetorical excess of the season. It's not just annoying or misleading. It's disgusting. The attack piece is aimed at Democrat Jeff Barker, a retired police lieutenant who is running for state representative of Oregon House District 28, which covers parts of Beaverton and Aloha. The attack piece, sent out by a Keizer-based group calling itself Citizens for PERS Reform, an affiliate of Citizens for a Sound Economy, shows a solemn-looking little girl, a school bus and an older man. "Should convicted sex offenders be paid money while in prison?" it says. Inside it shows multiple photos of Barker. It alleges that, as "a director" of the Portland pension fund, Barker "paid retirement benefits to a convicted sex offender serving an 18-year prison sentence. It's shocking but true . . . Barker's judgement (sic) was flawed, misguided and downright horrific." If anything is "downright horrific," it's this smear on Barker. It's true that, for 12 years, Barker served as one of 11 trustees on the Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund. That's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it would give him special expertise if he is elected to the Legislature. It's also true that a former Portland police officer was awarded disability benefits and later convicted of sex offenses. He has continued to receive benefits because the pension board has had to hold its nose and continue paying him. Members were advised that they had no authority under the law to cut them off, once they were awarded. Barker, however, had nothing to do with that quandary. In fact, Barker helped to champion a change the Portland city charter to make it impossible for such a thing ever to happen again. Barker's opponent, Republican Keith Parker, says he had nothing to do with this mailer, and neither did anyone in his campaign organization. Parker also says this flier may hurt him more than it helps him, and he's right. One other thing we know about low-blow campaigning is that it hurts the democratic process. Some voters are so turned off that they respond by not voting at all. "My view is that it's unfortunate these third parties are sending things out," Parker said Monday. "I had not seen it, I had not authorized it. I don't know anyone from that group (Citizens for PERS Reform)." Parker seems to be suggesting that this flier is just one of many run-of-the-mill political distortions. We disagree. To accuse a police officer of authorizing payments to an imprisoned sex offender is to aim a nozzle of mud squarely at the officer's integrity. As it happens, we believe both Parker and Barker are highly qualified and would do a good job of representing the voters in House District 28. In what was admittedly a close call, we previously endorsed Parker. Parker should go further than he has done so far in distancing himself from this attack, however. He should condemn, in no uncertain terms, this vicious smear on his opponent.

10/29/2002
In Close Race for State Senate, Money Talks--With Great Civility
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In Close Race for State Senate, Money Talks--With Great Civility

BY Jim Tankersley

Summary: Although Democrat Barbara Ross and Republican Frank Morse have raised $497,934, they have eschewed attack ads For nearly five months after the primaries, voters here watched the political equivalent of a baseball no-hitter: a $500,000 state Senate race without a single attack ad. That race is one of a half-dozen that could swing legislative control this election, and it pits Barbara Ross, a Democrat who served three terms in the Oregon House, against Frank Morse, a Republican businessman making his first political bid. They are vying for an open seat in District 8, which includes Corvallis and Albany. Each of the six high-stakes races has attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars, and all but the Ross-Morse matchup got ugly early. Now, six days before ballots are due, outside groups have tossed a stream of hit ads into the Morse-Ross campaign. Like a single in the ninth inning, they've broken up what was arguably Oregon's last clean, close Senate race. While both candidates have so far stuck to their own virtues, the change illustrates how difficult it has become to keep negative advertising out of campaigns. "I'd like to think campaigns could be run more on content than on attacking your opponent," Morse said. "I think the public gets sick of it." For Ross, it comes down to conviction. "Frank is an honorable man, and I don't feel the need to attack him," she said. If negative ads often are the dominant mode, voters shouldn't be surprised. "Negative information tends to be the most powerful information," Chuck Adams, a Republican consultant, said. "I can't remember a (tight) race that went this long without more fireworks." Portland television stations, which broadcast on Albany cable, have aired attack ads from metro-area Senate candidates for weeks. For example, viewers have seen Rep. Charlie Ringo, a Beaverton Democrat, accuse opponent Rep. Bill Witt of blocking a bill to ban guns on school buses -- and Witt, a Cedar Mill Republican, accuse Ringo of ineffectiveness for only passing one bill in the House. Closer to home, however, the rhetoric had been muted. Ross and Morse have combined to raise $497,934, and bought lots of issue-oriented ads with the cash. Morse is a self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate from Albany who built his fortune as president of Morse Bros. Inc., an aggregate company. He touts a "business model" for the state budget, controlling costs and prioritizing spending. Both Democrats and Republicans tried to recruit him to run for Senate. Ross, a Corvallis resident who was term-limited out of the House after the 1999 session, has been a Benton County commissioner and a school board member. She's pushing her record as an advocate for senior citizens, schools and the environment, along with her experience handling government budgets. Their civility -- which analysts attribute partly to personalities and partly to political strategizing -- lasted until last week, when a pair of groups supporting Morse questioned Ross' record on crime and the Pledge of Allegiance in mailings. Ross' campaign manager said the mailings are evidence of negative campaigning by Morse, though Morse didn't pay for them. Morse said he can't control outside groups' ads, and he accused Democrats of using a negative tool of their own -- "push-polls" -- in their campaign. Negativity has become the norm in Oregon politics when races are tight. Analysts say attack ads get voters' attention and help candidates distinguish themselves. Adams, the Republican consultant, said first-time candidates such as Morse often shun negative ads -- at least until their opponents attack. So far, Ross hasn't hit Morse. Analysts say it's practical: It's tough to attack Morse on a legislative record he doesn't have. With the race looking close last week, both candidates worried third parties could break the calm. Midweek, voters in the district received letters from Crime Victims United, a Lake Oswego-based group that supports Morse. The letter mentions the murder of two Oregon City teenage girls this year and the sniper killings in Washington, D.C. Then it criticizes Ross for votes on criminal justice issues while in the House. Later in the week, a mailer from Keizer-based Citizens for a Sound Economy said Ross "wants to stop the traditional practice of children standing and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance." It cites a 1997 quote from Ross, then a school board member and state representative, saying students should know the Pledge, but that she opposed requiring them to say it regularly.

10/29/2002
Elizabeth Dole Saves Social Security
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Press Release

Elizabeth Dole Saves Social Security

North Carolina CSE has recently started running a radio ad on Social Security. Click here to listen to the ad. The text of the ad is below: Man (knocking on door): "Hi, I'm with North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy and I've got some election information for you." Elderly woman: "There are som many ads about Social Security. I can't keep it all straight." Man: We've done the research on where the candidates stand." Elderly woman: "Please tell me the truth."

10/28/2002
Jeanne Shaheen is a Taxing Machine
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Press Release

Jeanne Shaheen is a Taxing Machine

CSE is spending tens of thousands of dollars to air radio ads in the Granite State to let voters know where Governor Jeanne Shaheen stands on taxes. The radio ads complement CSE's voter education activities, which include distributing 3,000 yard signs across the state, placing . Jeanne Shaheen is a Tax Machine for supporting the creation of new taxes in New Hampshire, include support at different times for: The creation of a state sales tax

10/28/2002
Saying No to Tax Hikes in Oklahoma Elections
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Press Release

Saying No to Tax Hikes in Oklahoma Elections

The election debate in Oklahoma has turned to taxes. That’s in large part because of the work of Oklahoma CSE volunteer activists, who have asked all state candidates to sign a pledge promising not to raise taxes during the next legislative session. To date, 36 OK state House and Senate candidates (26 Republicans, 5 Democrats, and 4 Independents) have signed the promise to keep taxes at their current level.

10/28/2002
Vote 2002
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Vote 2002

BY Laura Gunderson, Richard Colby

If you listen to Charlie Ringo's campaign, his Republican opponent Bill Witt is a mean-spirited extremist trying to distract voters from an ultra-conservative past with an inaccurate list of bills he's passed in two sessions as a legislator. From Bill Witt's camp, you hear that Ringo is an ineffective and partisan Democrat who has sued schools and hospitals and now wants to increase taxes. The Senate District 17 candidates agree on one thing: The other is lying. In the dwindling days of the election, candidates across Washington County complain about what their opponents -- and political groups not directly tied to the candidates' campaigns -- are claiming in millions of dollars worth of TV ads, mailers and nightly phone calls. Many voters feel the same way, wondering what to think as they work their way through ballots due Nov. 5. "Candidates end up focusing on what the other guy is doing, and how different they are from that other person," said Jim Ellison, a 63-year-old retiree who lives in Bethany. "I would rather a guy tell me exactly what he stands for and why. But you don't get that today. When you ask, 'Why should I vote for you?' it's 'Because that other guy's a jerk.' " Political experts say campaign tones seem no more negative than usual, but the mass of mailings and TV ads may be on the rise as candidates' coffers grow. Voters grumble about being hit with ads over the airwaves or through their mailboxes created by political groups they don't recognize or that don't list who paid for the ads. Recent mailings with "Portland P.O. Box 1754" as its only identifier question the political stances of John Scruggs, the Republican candidate in House District 34, and the attendance record of Keith Parker, the Republican candidate in House District 28, at meetings held by civic groups of which he was a member. Future PAC, a group supporting Democrats, says the Scruggs and Parker slams are theirs. Melissa Chernaik, the group's campaign director, said a printing error caused the group's name to be left off the mailers' return address. "A court decision nixed the requirement to list 'paid for and authorized by' on mailings, so we just use our name on the return address," Chernaik said, adding that her group is so well-known, further description isn't necessary. "That's sort of common practice." She says fliers mailed since her office realized the printing mistake about two weeks ago include the group's name. Scruggs' campaign against Democrat Brad Avakian and Libertarian Kevin Schaumleffle also draws criticism from his opponents' supporters, especially for one recent flier. "Brad Avakian Sues School Districts and Fire Departments," the mailer says. It suggests Avakian's lawsuits cost cash-starved agencies money to fend off or settle. The mailer also says Schaumleffle was "Convicted of two felonies." Avakian, a civil rights lawyer, acknowledges that he has filed "fewer than 10" lawsuits against districts and agencies on behalf of employees who claimed their employers treated them unfairly. The ad is similar to one used by the Republican's Leadership Fund against Ringo, also a lawyer. Schaumleffle, whose Libertarian tax-reduction stance could siphon votes from Scruggs, acknowledges he spent 90 days in jail 10 years ago for taking his two young children after his ex-wife was granted sole custody of them. Acknowledging he was wrong, Schaumleffle says he was warned by Republican campaigners this year that the issue would be brought up if he didn't get out of the race. Scruggs, meanwhile, chafes at an Avakian mailing claiming the Republican flip-flopped on his no-new-taxes pledge by supporting a referendum to increase the state cigarette tax. Such tactics don't sit well with some voters. "People should be upfront, tell me who they are and why they represent a particular candidate or cause," said Jeanette Broemeling, a Forest Grove resident. Broemeling, 57, said she was confused by a call from someone based in Louisville, Ky., claiming the best representative for seniors in House District 29 is Chuck Riley, the Democratic candidate running against Republican Mary Gallegos. When Broemeling asked who the group was and with whom it was affiliated, she said, the caller was unclear. James Davis of the Oregon State Council of Senior Citizens, a 33-year-old group representing retired union members' interests, says the political arm of his group approved the text of the call. He says the American Federation of Teachers, a teachers union, paid for the ad and likely used the service of an out-of-state call center. Citizens for PERS Reform, an offshoot of the national group Citizens for a Sound Economy, mailed fliers last week claiming Jeff Barker, the Democrat running against Parker in House District 28, sent $500,000 from a pension fund to a sex offender in prison. The ad refers to a former Portland police officer who received disability payments in prison after he was fired and convicted of sex abuse. Barker, a retired Portland police officer, confirms that he served on that board, but not until 1990 -- six years after the officer was granted disability. "I'd expect Republicans to hit with, 'He's evil: He's pro-choice,' something factual," Barker said. "To say I gave money to a sex offender, that's an appalling lie." Parker says he had not approved or seen the flier. In the hotly contested race for Senate District 17 between Rep. Bill Witt, R-Cedar Mill, and Rep. Charlie Ringo, D-Beaverton, accusations are flying. One mailer created by Witt's campaign says Ringo "failed to pass any new legislation to improve Oregon." It says Witt sponsored and passed 25 laws. Witt says his count is based on the number of successful bills on which Ringo was a primary sponsor. Ringo's campaign tallies 16, counting bills on which he was either a chief or co-sponsor. Ringo says there is no distinction between the two; Witt disagrees. A Ringo TV commercial says Witt voted against a bill banning guns from school buses. During the 1999 legislative session, Witt voted against sending Senate Bill 59, which also would have forbidden firearms in courtrooms, mass transit buses and trains, to the House floor. He says he was reluctant to send the bill to a floor vote because the committee hadn't had a hearing on it. Ringo says Witt's vote helped kill the bill. Russ Dondero, a Pacific University political science professor, says voters can expect candidates and political groups to continue down the same road until Election Day. "They wouldn't do it if it didn't work," he said. "And the fact is that it does work."

10/28/2002
Gaston Forum
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Gaston Forum

Beth Saine a friend any time of the year Lincoln County voters should not miss an opportunity to elect Beth Saine as register of deeds. I came to know Beth Saine and her husband, Larry, when they were chaperones for the Lincolnton High School Band. Beth is one of the friendliest people I know. Her leadership over the years as one of our county commissioners has been very needed and appreciated. Sometimes political candidates get extremely friendly around election time. Beth Saine has been, and always will be, a friendly and consistent public servant. We need people like Beth Saine to serve in our public offices. Rhett Heglar Lincolnton Joe Kiser not the man to represent county In the past session of the N.C. House of Representatives, Rep. Joe Kiser of Lincoln County voted against a very important bill to reduce harmful, toxic air emissions from coal generating steam plants. He was one of only four out of 120 to vote against the bill. Another Lincoln representative, Rep. Dan Barefoot, was one of the sponsors. Lincoln County is surrounded by coal generating plants: Cliffside plant to the southwest, Allen Plant to the south, Riverbend Plant to the southeast and Marshall Plant to the northeast. Whichever way the wind blows, Lincoln County air is affected. We work from an environmental standpoint concerning the water on Lake Norman, but air is just as important to the environment as water. We need better representation for all of Lincoln County in Raleigh. Jay S. Bunzey Selah B. Bunzey Lake Norman Lakekeepers Denver David Phillips backed for school board I urge you all to vote for David Phillips for school board on Nov. 5. I believe him to be a person of integrity and dedication. He would be concerned about the education of Gaston County's children. As he is an attorney, Gaston County would have the benefit of another legal opinion at its disposal, not as a source of conflict but rather as someone with a different perspective to offer. Burnett Lynch Gastonia Knights of Columbus grateful for support The Knights of Columbus thanks Gastonia. We have just completed our 29th annual Tootsie Roll campaign and want to thank all the merchants who allowed us to make our program available to the people of this area. Thanks, also, to all the volunteers, the Civitan organization, the teachers at Webb Street School, the members of Structured Athletics for Challenged Children and the Gaston Comprehensive Day Care Center. We especially thank all the generous citizens of Gastonia who really made it successful. We can assure you, we are helping our fellow citizens in a joyful way in all the many programs that are a part of this great community. Jim Kennedy Gastonia The greatest danger is the politician A news item in the Oct. 23 Gaston section said: "Lincoln County commissioners have accepted a $127,150 grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Program to reduce speeding along U.S. 321. The county will match the grant with $15,637 over three years." In this time of tight state budgets and shortfalls, is this really money well spent? I hardly think so. Is the accident rate on U.S. 321 in Lincoln, or any of the other rural sections of that highway (which is most of it) so high that it begs for immediate intervention by law enforcement? Or is traffic moving at a safe pace for the conditions and general unlimited visibility the road generally offers in good weather? It's downright irritating to think the state legislature just approved toll roads because of a shortfall of funds in the highway gas tax trust fund. Now the governor is throwing it away like some big beneficent brother. Is there money for highways or isn't there? I think the politicians are getting more dangerous than any speeding trucker or motorist in this state. Tom Stocker Gastonia Michael Harrington failed to take a stand Issues faced by the N.C. General Assembly are increasingly complex and often divide constituents from the same legislative districts. Some legislators "take a walk" on key votes to avoid the criticism that comes from taking a stand. Michael Harrington's no show on the local-option sales tax vote in the N.C. House seems to fit that mold. He was in Gastonia while his colleagues were voting on the sales tax bill in Raleigh. Gaston County needs a state senator who understands the importance of standing up for what he believes and backing those beliefs with his vote. Michael Harrington doesn't seem to understand that concept. Sen. David Hoyle does, and that's why I intend to vote on Nov. 5 to return him to Raleigh. Rick Coleman Dallas Craig Collins lauded for record of fairness Judges should be chosen according to ability, fairness and work ethic. That's why I'm supporting Craig Collins for district court judge. His record demands this support. He has a reputation for treating every case equally, regardless of what lawyers are involved or what time of day it is. Craig Collins has experience in just about every kind of law and has shown the ability to work in different fields. From his days making duct work for a general contractor while in college through his employment in a civil law firm and his current position of convicting drug dealers as an assistant district attorney, he has demonstrated his ability to be a hard worker who doesn't know how to settle for second best. Janice Quinn Gastonia Attitude of economy sorely needed in N.C. Michael Harrington is a sincere, thoughtful, well-informed, experienced senatorial candidate. He served two years in the N.C. House of Representatives after defeating John Bridgeman, a formidable Democratic opponent. In the N.C. House, Harrington sponsored a Taxpayer Protection Act, a bill requiring a two-thirds vote to levy taxes, and a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. He will bring an attitude of economy to the N.C. Senate, which is sorely needed in state government. Wasteful spending and unnecessary programs have created the financial mess in which North Carolina finds itself. Jonathan App Gastonia Efficiency goes with experience I believe in preventive maintenance, but I believe more in the adage, "If it ain't broke don't fix it." Our former clerk of Lincoln County Superior Court told me once that her office was self-supporting, something unusual in government. To keep it that way, we need to keep Teresa Peeler in that office. Others may do a good job, but they are not proven and experienced. In keeping with that idea, we also need to consider the register of deeds office, which is continuing its modernization under Elaine Harmon. I'm afraid if we change the people who hold these offices, our county commissioners may have to increase taxes 22 percent again as they did in 2001. Guy McIntosh Lowesville Reject Andy Dedmon, who voted for tax hike In September 2001, Rep. Andy Dedmon voted to increase the state sales tax, putting more burden on families in Cleveland County. On July 29, 2002, he voted to postpone the increase in the child tax credit and elimination of the marriage penalty. In 1999, he co-sponsored legislation that would have added a prescription drug surcharge in North Carolina, a plan the AARP and N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry called outrageous. Yet, in 2000, he sent out mail to people in his district stating he has opposed raising the state sales tax and income tax. We now have someone - Tim Moore - running for N.C. House District 111 who has signed the Citizens For A Sound Economy "no tax increase pledge." I have known Tim Moore for a long time and have found that he does not waiver on these issues. He understands that a lot of jobs have been lost to layoffs. That's why his platform supports more jobs and lower taxes. I encourage everyone to join me in voting for him on Nov. 5. J. Wayne King II Kings Mountain

10/27/2002
Group Challenges Kirk's Record
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Group Challenges Kirk's Record

BY Mary McKee

DALLAS--A group of taxpayer watchdogs Friday challenged claims that former Mayor Ron Kirk left the city on sound financial footing, saying that the city's recent budgetary struggles tell a different story. Campaign advertisements by Kirk, the Democratic contender for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Phil Gramm, have emphasized his record of balancing budgets and cutting taxes, but the taxpayers said their tax bills grew during Kirk's six-year tenure because of higher appraisals. "The trick-or-treat antics of politicians claiming to cut property taxes while ramping up assessments is nothing short of financial trickery," said Peggy Venable, director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "While claiming to have balanced the city budget, Ron Kirk left Dallas to deal with a $95 million budget deficit." Kirk's campaign spokes-man, Justin Lonon, disputed the claim that Kirk is to blame for the city's recent $94 million budget shortfall, saying that the losses were tied to the economic downturn after the 2001 terrorist attacks. "No one could foresee the events of Sept. 11 and what effect that would have on cities all over the country, especially a city like Dallas that depends on tourism and convention business through sales tax revenue," Lonon said. Several of the speakers at the news conference have been longtime Kirk critics, including former City Councilwoman Donna Blumer and city watchdog Sharon Boyd, who is backing Kirk's Republican opponent, state Attorney General John Cornyn.

10/26/2002

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