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Going Negative
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Going Negative

BY Peter Wong

Every day the messages arrive in mailboxes and are broadcast on radio and television, filled with shocking accusations and righteous indignation. The critics say state Sen. Peter Courtney is a tax-and-spend liberal who has been in public office too long, and Marion County Commissioner Randy Franke is part of a government that wastes money but benefits him. But Democratic incumbent Courtney and Republican challenger Franke are not the ones hammering each other in campaign debates or advertising. The accusations against Courtney were contained in mail brochures sponsored by Citizens for Truth in Government and Politics, represented by a Keizer couple, and the political action committee of Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy, an offshoot of a national group promoting lower taxes and less regulation of business. The accusations against Franke were contained in a mail brochure sponsored by the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, the campaign committee for Senate Democrats. The Courtney-Franke race in Oregon Senate District 11 may be the most prominent local example of negative advertising, but far from the only one. Often the ads are generated by the candidates themselves, but sometimes THEY are done by others. Voters say they have come to expect such attacks during campaigns - and generally discount them. "All of those candidates are trying to play up their better sides - and make the other guy look like the devil," said Dick Warnock of Salem, a Republican. Warnock said even Ted Kulongoski's positive ads have not swayed him to vote for the Democratic nominee for governor. Aileen Kaye, a Democrat who lives outside Turner, is critical of Republican nominee Kevin Mannix for attacking Kulongoski. Mannix's photo appears in the ads, but women speak the critical words about Kulongoski and taxes. "People think because we have regulation of TV ads, lies couldn't possibly be put up on the screen," Kaye said. Think again. Mudslinging TV ads have been around only a few decades, but negative campaigns have been around almost as long as the United States has had elections. Even the Founding Fathers were subject to bitter partisan attacks. Opponents of Grover Cleveland's presidential candidacy in 1884 sought to capitalize on his fathering an illegitimate child with the slogan, "Ma, ma, where's my pa? Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha." But Cleveland got the last laugh - he was elected. Eighty years later, a national television audience saw a child picking daisy petals and counting to 10, and heard her voice melded with a male announcer counting down before a nuclear explosion. The "Daisy" ad, shown only once on NBC, never mentioned its real target - Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, who lost in a landslide to Democrat Lyndon Johnson. One of the first studies of negative advertising, by two political scientists, concludes that it divides voters into increasingly partisan camps and turns off those who are not so partisan. "As the independents in the middle stop voting, the partisans at the extremes come to dominate electoral politics," said Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar in their 1995 book "Going Negative." Television has magnified negative advertising - and campaign consultants promote it. "But the effect is not always as predictable as the campaign consultants imagine," said Stephen Ponder, an associate professor of journalism and communication at the University of Oregon. "The ads may discredit your opponent and discourage your opponent's supporters from turning out. But they also might blow back at you if you are identified with turning the campaign negative." Franke and Courtney, who are locked in one of a half-dozen races that will determine which party controls the Oregon Senate, said each feels he is the injured candidate with the negative brochures. The mailer from the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, dubbed "Government Gone Wild," depicted Franke in a variety of computer-generated images while criticizing his record as a Marion County commissioner. Franke called it "a piece of trash." "Records like Courtney's or mine are what define us as individuals and elected officials," Franke said. "I expect some pushing and tugging on voting records, and being dramatic with how our voting records are portrayed. I can live with all that. But I am insulted by the piece that the friends of Courtney put out there." Franke criticized its tone and singled out a specific reference to a $400,000 county grant of state lottery proceeds to The Oregon Garden in Silverton, where his wife, Jacqueline, is development director. "What offended me the most was that it dragged my wife into the campaign," he said. Courtney said he never authorized it, and he asked Senate Democratic Leader Kate Brown not to do anything else on his behalf. "I will tell you that I did not know anything about that until I read it in my own mail," he said. "But it was done." Courtney said the increasingly negative tone of the campaign was "unfortunate" but perhaps inevitable. "At this point, confrontations take place and things happen," he said. "But issues and records are being discussed, and differences in styles and experience are being discussed." Still, Courtney said his own record has been distorted in brochures and letters mailed independently of the Franke campaign. "I've been misrepresented on the Public Employees Retirement System, the sales tax and taxes," he said. One brochure, "Tax and Spend," listed Courtney as voting for a gasoline tax increase he actually opposed in 1989, and voting for another bill that ended a tax exemption for fallout shelters - but was converted later to a gasoline tax increase. A third bill, mentioned twice, was the biennial bill that sets the tax rate for timber producers to pay for forest practices enforcement and fire suppression. Courtney sponsored a 1983 sales tax bill, which went nowhere, and voted for referral of a 1993 sales tax plan that voters rejected. "I have seen the one you are talking about," Franke said. "I do not know that it is not accurate. But it is a far cry from the insulting and demeaning piece that came out on Courtney's behalf." While some observers believe exposure and independent analysis can reduce the frequency and impact of negative ads, others disagree. The political scientists who wrote "Going Negative" and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, question whether independent analyses of negative ads do any good. They say voters tend to remember only the negative material, and that "ad watches" reinforce rather than correct impressions. Kaye, the resident from outside Turner, said she has a differing view. "I think one reason negative ads are effective is that reporters do not have the time or resources to do good investigations of them," she said. "People watch the ads but do not have the time to do that research on their own."

10/24/2002
Correspondence Support Libraries
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Correspondence Support Libraries

BY Bill Gerkin

Support libraries; yes on 34-54 I wholeheartedly support the passage of ballot Measure 34-54, the levy that would permit the continued countywide support of library services. Tigard residents wholeheartedly supported the bond measure to build a new library. The way to view the levy is as the partner to our bond measure. Our bond provides the new library, and the current levy will provide the operational funding for it. We all know the importance the library plays in our city's cultural, educational and recreational life. What we might not all know is that the county funding source that provided 60 percent of the operational funding for our library this fiscal year will be spent down by next June. Recognizing that circulation has increased by 12 percent from the prior year, and demand for print material as well as books on CD and on DVDs increase, the need for county support is essential. To maintain the current hours of operation as well as to provide programs for adults and children, passage of Measure 34-54 is essential. Remember to vote by Nov. 5, and to support Measure 34-54 as it affects all of us in a very special and personal way. MARVIN DIAMOND Tigard Libraries represent culture The libraries of Washington County provide a remarkable service for all its citizens. Libraries are places where a preschooler can discover the joy of reading, a student can research a homework project. At Washington County libraries, everyone has access not only to books but also to CDs, video and audio tapes, magazines and even meeting spaces. In addition, libraries provide a venue where heritage, the arts and culture can be explored and appreciated through exhibits, lectures, performances and other special programs for young and old alike. The Westside Cultural Alliance, a volunteer group of advocates dedicated to helping strengthen culture, heritage and humanities in Washington County, wholeheartedly supports its libraries. Vote yes for Measure 34-54 on the November ballot. A yes vote allows Washington County libraries to meet the demands of its growing population base and to continue to serve its citizens in the excellent manner which we have all come to expect. SUE WENDEL Founding member, Westside Cultural Alliance Beaverton Vote yes for library services I have been a Tigard resident and library user/volunteer for the past 31 years. During this time, I have observed substantial growth for library services from citizens young and old from our community and the surrounding area. The citizens of Tigard recently approved the building of a new library, which confirms that the community wants and is willing to pay for improved library facilities. However, it is equally important that Washington County Cooperative Library Services maintains its operating funds in order to serve its citizens not only in Tigard but also in the county overall. Therefore, I strongly urge Tigard and Washington County voters to vote yes on ballot measure 34-54 on the Nov. 5 ballot. Passage of this levy will ensure that the growing demand for library services will be available to all users through 2008. Please vote yes on 34-54. SUE CARVER Tigard Bravo for dropping CIM I think the Tigard-Tualatin School Board has made a brave move that is long overdue on the part of Oregon schools ("District drops scoring of work samples," Oct. 17). The CIM/benchmark system has been eroding since it began. Just this summer, a single legislative vote prevented making the requirement optional for school districts. Many in the profession know that the system is flawed. There is no motivation for students to earn a CIM. It is not required for graduation or entry into state universities. Private schools do not even teach their admission counselors about CIM. It looks good on paper, to show the public that the Legislature is trying to improve education. However, it merely adds to the plethora of duties added to teachers over the past 30 years without any significant increase in the time allotted for preparation or assessment, not to mention collaboration or staff development. In the past 10 years, the Oregon Department of Education budget has increased by 90 percent, and the assessment subdivision has grown from three employees to 30. If we want to fund our schools and improve education, we need to get rid of the state assessment system. It would be more cost-effective to conduct a yearly, one-day test using a nationally approved assessment piece. Put the money used on our system back into the schools to reduce class sizes and hire more teachers, then give those teachers more time to develop their own assessments. They are professionals. That is what we are paying them to do. FRED ROMERO McMinnville Mailer skews Devlin's votes Once again, supporters of Bob Tiernan have resorted to made-up "facts" to attack Rep. Richard Devlin. A recent mailing from Citizens for a Sound Economy claims that Rep. Devlin "voted to increase PERS benefits," citing four bills. Two of those bills do not even mention PERS. One bill clarifies PERS statutes and does not increase benefits. The fourth bill allows state forestry employees who fight forest and range fires to retire as firefighters. It did not raise benefits for firefighters, and passed 43-7. The mailing claims that Devlin "voted to increase PERS benefits to elected legislators like himself," citing two bills, but again, neither bill mentions PERS. As best, one can determine, there were no such votes while Devlin served in the House. The mailing claims that Devlin "led the fight to kill PERS reform," citing two bills. One bill failed 20-40. Of those voting "no," 15 were Republicans, including Kevin Mannix. The other bill did not make it out of the Rules Committee -- a committee with a Republican chair and Republican majority in control. So this "hit piece" is a case of sloppy research, sloppy thinking and innuendo. In light of this, I hope neighbors will ignore Citizens for a Sound Economy. In my experience, Devlin is one of the most honest, competent and hard-working legislators in Salem. We should promote him to Senator Devlin. STANLEY ASCHENBRENNER Lake Oswego Deguc well-qualified for court Vincent A. Deguc is best qualified to serve as Washington County Circuit Court judge. He is the only candidate who lives in Washington County that is running for the new position of circuit court judge in District 20, Position 14. He has lived in Washington County for more than 22 years, practiced law in Washington County, done extensive volunteer work in Washington County and was chosen volunteer of the year for Washington County in a previous year. He is dedicated to serve the people here, unlike the other candidate, who lives in Clackamas County and has done very little volunteer work in either county. Deguc has more than 27 years of experience as an Oregon trial attorney in criminal, civil, family and business law, prerequisites to fill all aspects of this new position and not just a one-dimensionsal practice as a district attorney that the other candidate has. Deguc has all the experience necessary to become our judge for this new position to help relieve the backlog in all types of pending cases, not just criminal cases. He was a pro tem judge (like a substitute school teacher) for 10 years and had never had a case overturned on appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. This says to me that he has made the right decisions. He is the only candidate who has been endorsed by The Oregonian, even though a few kind words by them about his opponent have been used to make it appear that he received their endorsement. He was the winner of the October 2002 Oregon State Attorney Preference Poll by a wide margin. Deguc also has been endorsed by Washington County judges Holli Pihl, Timothy Alexander, Donald Latourneau and Michael J. McElligott. He also is endorsed by Multnomah County judges Roosevelt Robinson, Jan Wyers, Edward Jones and Richard Baldwin. These judges know the temperament that is required to make a good circuit court judge. Deguc has been married for 30 years and made a lifetime commitment to that marriage and his family, unlike his opponent, who has never been married. My vote goes to the person who is willing to make commitments to his profession, the courts, the community and to his family. Please join me in electing Vincent A. Deguc to this important position for Washington County.

10/24/2002
Correspondence Charge Against Devlin False Once Again
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Correspondence Charge Against Devlin False Once Again

BY Faithe Ledbetter

SENATE DISTRICT 19 Charge against Devlin false Once again, supporters of Bob Tiernan have resorted to made-up "facts" to attack Rep. Richard Devlin. A recent mailing from Citizens for a Sound Economy claims that Devlin "voted to increase PERS benefits," citing four bills. Two do not even mention PERS. One clarifies PERS statutes and does not increase benefits. The fourth allows state forestry employees who fight forest and range fires to retire as firefighters. It did not raise benefits for firefighters. The mailing claims that Devlin "voted to increase PERS benefits to elected legislators like himself," citing two bills, but again, neither mentions PERS. As best one can determine, there were no such votes while Devlin served in the House. The mailing claims that Devlin "led the fight to kill PERS reform," citing two bills. One failed 20-40. The other did not make it out of the Rules Committee. So this "hit piece" is a case of sloppy research, sloppy thinking and innuendo. In light of this, I hope neighbors will ignore the Citizens for a Sound Economy. STANLEY ASCHENBRENNER Lake Oswego DISTRICT BOND MEASURE Measure 3-75 helps schools As a parent, taxpayer, businessperson and volunteer chairman of the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board, I urge you to vote yes for Capital Bond Measure 3-75. The citizens of these two fine communities have demonstrated a level of support for our schools second to none in this state. You cannot be at a school in this district without bumping into parents and other community members. Whether it's helping teachers, reading to students, coaching after school or working with the district's community partnership programs, the citizens of West Linn and Wilsonville are always there for our kids. I am asking you to be there again. We need your help to make our schools safer, to add classroom space, to upgrade technology, to make investments in energy efficiency and to create equity in music and the arts. Measure 3-75 does not address the operational budget shortfall coming from the state budget, but it does put the decision to invest in the district's assets in your hands. Measure 3-75 allows you to demonstrate that our kids come first. And all operational savings we gain from our infrastructure upgrades do help alleviate the budget shortfalls we experience from the state budget. Please join me and thousands of others and vote yes on Measure 3-75. PAT HANLIN West Linn Keep schools in top shape The number one investment we can make to our community is in our schools. Whe we relocated from out of state eight years ago, we could have moved to any of the surrounding communities. Our decision to purchase a home in Wilsonville was primarily based on the outstanding West Linn-Wilsonville schools. It's time to invest in our most important community resource by voting yes on Measure 3-75. Measure 3-75 will pay for facilities to alleviate crowding. All of our schools will be modified and repaired to provide for safety and security, energy conservation and technology updates. It will allow us to acquire land for primary and middle schools. Please help maintain our excellent educational system by voting yes on Measure 3-75. LORIE YAVORSKY Wilsonville WEST LINN ELECTIONS Be wary of campaign talk Developer Herb Koss and others have made campaign assertions against the West Linn City Council and a political action committee called the Rosemont Alliance that are invalid and need to be countered. It's being claimed that Mayor David Dodds and some present councilors -- the accusers don't say which ones -- have (1) delayed or stopped construction of ball fields, (2) delayed construction of the senior center and (3) terminated most of the city department heads, with some characterizing those as firings and others saying six department heads were fired, let go or left. The facts are as follows: This council has not delayed or stopped construction of any ball fields. On newly acquired park lands that are suitable for what was described in the 1998 voter-approved parks bond as multipurpose playing fields, adequate funds remain to develop them, and the council has invited citizens to determine the nature of their development through volunteer park development committees. This council also gave citizens three opportunities to acquire at least 30 acres for additional sports fields outside the city for the very low cost of a $2.5 million, 20-year bond, but voters didn't pass it. The senior center's construction has not been delayed one iota by this council. It's staying within budget and on schedule to meet its originally projected completion around early November or before. This council did not terminate any department heads. It doesn't have any power to do so. The only staff persons whom any council can hire or fire are the city manager and the city attorney. They are not "department heads." BOB THOMAS West Linn Mayor no help to senior center I am certain that the current mayor of West Linn is going to take credit for the new West Linn Senior Center. The truth is, the center is being completed in spite of the mayor. Under his guidance, the project was delayed for one year and cost the taxpayers well over $500,000. The development/building community was prepared to donate labor, materials, engineering and project management services to the worthwhile and needed project. Mayor David Dodds wanted nothing to do with the people who had previously worked on the project or who were connected to the development or building industries. I was involved in the planning of the new center and the renovation of the temporary center. I was also willing to donate my time to manage the building of the new center. Once the new council was elected, I was not invited to any meetings. Dodds apparently preferred to hire a project manager, increasing costs by thousands of dollars. The interest and momentum that were cultivated from the development and building industry were also ignored. Yes, the senior center is now almost complete. I hope the mayor takes the full credit for the delay and costs -- he deserves that. BRIAN KEICHER West Linn Zagone good choice for mayor Thirty years ago I was West Linn's state legislator. Nearly 40 years ago I was on West Linn's planning commission. I practiced law in West Linn for nearly 20 years and have been an activist for a lot longer than that. Today's issues aren't all that different than they were back when I ran for office. When it all comes down to it, we all want someone we trust to do a good job for us in office. Frankly, I don't feel that way about the mayor and the current bunch of councilors. They have exposed our citizens to potentially several million dollars' worth of needless litigation costs with their poorly conceived policies. I think we made a mistake voting them into office. I would like your help in rectifying that mistake by electing a new mayor, Terri Zagone. Zagone is a former teacher, businesswoman and a highly regarded children's book author. Zagone is a well-rounded, well-grounded woman who has the abilities and ideas we need at City Hall. A lot of years ago I asked West Linn to support me in an election; now I am asking West Linn to support Terri Zagone in this election. ALLEN PYNN West Linn Photo doesn't represent view This past weekend a campaign brochure was sent to the homes of West Linn city voters. This brochure included a picture of several people from the sports community, including my children and myself. I do not want anyone who received this political piece to believe that I promote its negative message or method of communicating. I do not support, endorse or have any affiliation with this group. I do believe that we need to provide more high-quality athletic fields and facilities for our youth. I have worked hard to find a positive approach to solving some of our field-shortage problems, such as working with the West Linn-Wilsonville School District and the city of West Linn to build an athletic field for lacrosse and other activities. I will continue to work with the governing bodies to help provide opportunities for all of our citizens. But I will work with them as I always have, in a respectful and cooperative manner. Do not believe everything that you see and read. Get out there and meet as many of the candidates as you can. And evaluate for yourself who has the skills that can best solve the problems that our community faces. ALISON C. HENDERSON West Linn Developers backing city slate During the last general election, "pro-growth" interests dumped thousands of dollars into a political action committee, West Linn Citizens for Responsible Government. The objective was to elect a development-friendly mayor and city council. The development community has a longstanding record of involvement in local elections. It believes it has the same rights to participate in our elections as do you and I. While I do not necessarily agree, its presence is a political fact of life. The candidates the development community appears to support this election are easy to identify. One has only to travel to any of the big undeveloped pieces of land where property owners have been pushing for development, and you will find their signs sprouting like weeds: Brian Newman for Metro; Terri Zagone for mayor; Grant Oakes, Bill Hewitt, John Steele, Mike Babbitt and Sam Sabo (for City Council). This election, like the last, is all about growth. If you are concerned about the fragile health of West Linn and wish to see the city's resources used to make our community better and not bigger, I urge you to vote David Dodds for mayor; Mike Kapigian, David Tripp, Bob Adams and Norm King for City Council; and Bill Atherton for Metro. DAVID ADAMS West Linn LAKE OSWEGO ELECTIONS Gay Graham shows promise I am a 2002 graduate of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Lake Oswego program. While I am deeply committed to my community, my interest in matters political is minimal, and I confess that I anticipated the Nov. 15, 2001, "Understanding Your Government" leadership session with about as much enthusiasm as most people have for cleaning their garages. Gay Graham changed my mind, however. As the opening speaker for that day's events, she immediately captivated my attention with her passion and verve. Graham related her inspirational story of how her desire to create positive change within her community led her into public service, and shared valuable insights into effective leadership and teamwork. She also impressed me with her ability to listen. In the year since, I've observed that Graham has become one of the City Council's most visible, inquisitive and effective members. She is dedicated to maintaining and improving our exemplary quality of life in Lake Oswego. Please join me in voting to re-elect Gay Graham. MICHAEL EURY Lake Oswego Graham good for Lake Oswego Lake Oswego is fortunate that Gay Graham is running for another term on the City Council. Her years of experience in politics are being put to good use helping govern our city. She is the kind of person who is not subject to prejudgment, but listens to all sides, gets facts, weighs them and then intelligently discusses the problems or angles, often coming up with ideas which are creative, yet practicable. She does not assume that she is right and those who disagree are wrong. Always, Graham is respectful of the different talents and insights that diverse people can bring to the table. She can and does work with all, mediating, inspiring and instructing as only a true leader can. After decisions are made, Graham is the one who can ably organize and get things done in a timely and productive manner. Her energy is amazing. Do vote for Gay Graham. ANN C. MEYER Lake Oswego Second term for Graham Gay Graham is intelligent, informed, ethical, energetic, knowledgeable, responsible, resourceful, dedicated, a listener, team player and a consensus builder. All these attributes are apparent to those of us who have known her for years and to those who have watched her work on the Lake Oswego City Council the past two years. I will vote for Gay Graham to return her for a second term. We, the citizens of Lake Oswego, will benefit from her dedicated efforts. SANDRA L. GERLING Lake Oswego Democrats' signs defaced During political campaigns, the southwest corner of Kruse Way and Carman Drive has traditionally been a "neutral corner" where candidates from all political parties erect signs. Recently, I was shocked to discover that several signs at this corner for Democratic candidates, including Greg Macpherson, had been vandalized. Several Macpherson signs had been sliced into pieces. Also, several Democratic lawn signs on nearby Quarry Road had been slashed. In the many years I've lived in Lake Oswego, I've never seen such an openly vicious act committed against a candidate. No matter who wins, we have to live together and try to work out our differences so we can solve pressing problems. Vandalism of the sort described above can only deepen the polarization and partisanship that is degrading our political system. I believe that most Lake Oswego Republicans would deplore the behavior exhibited by the individual who vandalized the Macpherson signs. I call upon Jim Zupanic to reprimand those of his supporters who performed this deplorable act.

10/24/2002
Democrats Reach for the 1992 Election Playbook
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Press Release

Democrats Reach for the 1992 Election Playbook

Suddenly, the election is once again about George Bush, taxes, and the economy. Déjà vu? No, call it “It’s the Economy Stupid, Part II.” But as Democrats attempt to revisit the winning election playbook that brought Bill Clinton to office, they’re discovering that things are a little different this time around. What’s a Democrat candidate to do? They can’t really oppose Bush on terrorism or eliminating Saddam Hussein. Their attempts to use scare tactics on Social Security reform have mostly failed. The Enron-style corporate corruption issue is mostly on hold, thanks to a sweeping new reform bill. And new polling shows that the economy and jobs are the top issues of concern to Americans. So, last week, the Democrat leaders launched a vigorous new attack on George Bush’s “handling of the economy.” Typical was Tom Daschle’s (D-SD) rip that “…there has not been such catastrophic mismanagement of America's economy since the presidency of Herbert Hoover." Of course, markets are still down, growth is flat, and it’s not like Washington Republicans have been disciplined lately when it comes to the U.S. budget. But while there might be some fertile ground for political gains here, unlike in 1992, Democrats are discovering they’re in a box on the economy issue. Democrats might attack the orgy of irresponsible new spending in Washington. Doing so would probably get support among independents (remember Ross Perot’s charts?) and work against Republicans on their base. But the Democrats are just as, if not more, responsible for Washington’s current spending binge as the GOP. More important, Dems are also disarmed on taxes; unlike his tax-raising dad, George W. Bush is cutting them. In the absence of a coherent policy vision, the Democrats go to their old election stand-by: scaring senior citizens. Consider the AP’s description of the new ads they’re running nationwide on the economy: In one of the ads, a young husband is getting ready for work with his wife in the background. She asks him: "So, first day of the new job, ready for the big adventure?" And he responds: "Ready as I'll ever be." The narrator then talks about "$175 billion in savings gone, over 2 million jobs lost. Many seniors starting over, looking for work." The ad…cuts to a senior citizen getting ready for work with his wife in the background. "So, first day of the new job, ready for the big adventure?" she asks him, and he shrugs and replies: "Ready as I'll ever be."

10/23/2002
Ruderman Has Formidable Foe in BookspanHouse District 45, Position 2
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Ruderman Has Formidable Foe in BookspanHouse District 45, Position 2

BY Nick Perry

Laura Ruderman has dropped two dress sizes and worn out several pairs of shoes in her relentless doorbelling campaign in the 45th District. She claims to have visited more than 18,000 homes -- close to half of all the houses in the area. What would prompt a two-term incumbent and rising star of the Democratic Party to campaign like an eager first-time challenger? Part of the answer is that the district has traditionally favored Republicans and is viewed by the party as rightfully theirs to take back. Another factor may be that a novice Republican candidate from Texas came unexpectedly and uncomfortably close in the primary. Elizabeth Bookspan, 29, polled 46.4 percent to Ruderman's 53.6 percent. Sensing a possible upset in the Nov. 5 general election, the Republican Party has pumped more than $30,000 into Bookspan's campaign, nearly doubling her initially modest resources. The race has eerie parallels to Ruderman's first campaign four years ago, when she was a 27-year-old newcomer taking on an established incumbent. Back then, the Democratic Party helped out Ruderman's campaign with -- you guessed it -- $30,000. The duel reflects the 45th's diverse residents. The district stretches from the cafes and art galleries of Kirkland to the high-tech hub of Redmond, north to Woodinville and east to the semirural communities of Duvall and Carnation. It encompasses a rich mix of suburbanites, techies, aging hippies and old-timers. Ruderman is putting a positive spin on the primary result -- pointing out that she actually has a greater share of the vote than she did after either of her past two primary races. But state Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance said Ruderman is in deep trouble. "She spent nearly $100,000 on the primary, and for an incumbent to be where she is, is not good," Vance said. He said that Bookspan is the kind of Republican -- not too abrasive, not too negative -- who appeals to voters in the district. Fielding a woman against Ruderman is also probably an advantage, he added. It was a conservative, outspoken Republican male who lost to Ruderman four years ago. Bill Backlund appeared safe with 59 percent of the vote after the primary, but Ruderman made a late charge to beat him by 746 votes. Ruderman portrayed him as an extremist and sent out a mailing suggesting he supported a bill banning the teaching of evolution. Republicans complained that it was dirty campaigning. She again is planning some late mailings, this time targeting Bookspan's role as an activist with tax-cutting crusaders Citizens for a Sound Economy. Ruderman will highlight the group's stance on reforming Medicare and privatizing Social Security. Bookspan, who moved to Kirkland three years ago, is planning mailings that attack what she claims is Ruderman's liberal voting record and three votes to raise taxes. She is already targeting Ruderman's voting record on her Web site under a page labeled "The Ruderman Files." A New York native, Ruderman worked at Microsoft for four years before turning to politics. She describes her biggest personal success in the Legislature as her work on women's health-care issues, including access to screening and treatment of breast cancer for low-income women, and emergency contraception on request for rape victims. Her modest town house in the Totem Lake area of Kirkland serves also as a bustling campaign headquarters, with volunteers taking shifts around the kitchen table to stuff envelopes. The walls are covered with paintings and ceramics created by her artist mom. Bookspan's house is larger and more serene. Her three cats rule the polished wooden floors and nothing is out of place. Both she and Ruderman have a district war-map displayed in an upstairs office. Bookspan has little previous political experience. She serves as secretary of the Kirkland Highlands Neighborhood Association and has campaigned for the Sound Economy group. The group portrays itself as a grass-roots lobby organization in favor of less government, lower taxes and more freedom, although opponents label it a corporate front group. Ruderman said that most constituents she visits want more money spent on education and some kind of transportation fix. They also question government's trustworthiness and want to know how the Legislature will deal with a $2 billion-plus budget hole. Ruderman said she would support an expansion of gambling, a possible privatizing of the state-run liquor business and would take a hard look at other governmental sacred cows, including optional Medicaid services. Bookspan said she would favor privatizing or contracting out certain services, including liquor sales, and would work on reducing governmental fraud and waste with strict accountability audits. She would also try to draw businesses back to the state, by replacing the business and occupation tax with more-equitable business taxes, and by making it easier to comply with ergonomic standards. Both Ruderman and Bookspan said they favor Referendum 51. Should the measure fail, Ruderman wants the Legislature to come up with an alternate transportation package to put before voters. Bookspan said she would favor devising another plan then finding a way to fund it. She believes the vote should be the Legislature's responsibility. While not committing to a position, Ruderman said some people in her district may be willing to look to an income tax in exchange for getting rid of certain sales and property taxes. Bookspan said she is firmly opposed to an income tax. Public Disclosure Commission records show Ruderman has raised $173,000 to date, including a recent $10,000 boost from her party. Bookspan has raised $71,000.

10/23/2002
Candidates Face Off in Two Forums
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Candidates Face Off in Two Forums

Voters will get an opportunity to learn more about the local candidates during two forums scheduled for this week. The Upper Catawba River Landowners Alliance (UCRLA) and the Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) will sponsor both events. The forums will be held in the main courtroom of the McDowell County Courthouse. The first forum will be held today from 6 to 9 p.m. and will feature the candidates for the N.C. House of Representatives and the McDowell County Board of Education. The two candidates for the 85th District seat in the N.C. House are incumbent Mitch Gillespie, a Republican, and challenger A. Everette Clark, a Democrat. Four seats on the School Board are up for election this year. This race is nonpartisan. The Pleasant Gardens seat is now held by incumbent Priscilla Owenby, and she faces challengers Scotty Willis and Roger Hollifield. The Marion seat is now held by Phil Tate, and he faces opposition from Janie F. Schutz. Joe Kaylor is running unopposed for the Glenwood seat. Wayne Miller now holds the Nebo seat, but he is facing opposition from Bill Barnette. The second candidate forum will be held Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. and will focus on the candidates for the sheriff's office and the clerk of Superior Court office. The sheriff's office is now held by Jackie Turner Sr., a Republican. He is facing opposition from A.A. "Butch" Justice, a Democrat, and Eddie Smith, who is running as a write-in candidate. The clerk of Superior Court race is between incumbent Don Ramsey, a Democrat, and Jerry Lee Hunter, a Republican. Invitations were sent out to all the candidates in these races, said Jeff Dreibus, a member of the UCRLA. Each candidate has three minutes to introduce himself to the audience and make an opening statement. Members of the audience also has an opportunity to ask a question directed to one or all of the candidates.

10/23/2002
A Lottery You Don’t Want to Win
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Press Release

A Lottery You Don’t Want to Win

Taxpayers are receiving mixed signals from Washington, D.C. Recently, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill announced his distaste for the complexities of the current tax code, sparking hope that there will be serious discussions of fundamental tax reform once the dust from November’s elections settles. Streamlining the tax code can reduce the burden as well as the administrative and compliance costs of the current tax code. At the same time, however, the Internal Revenue Service is moving forward with a project referred to simply as the “National Research Project.” This nondescript title masks the burden that will befall taxpayers selected to “participate” in the program, with the grand prize being an excruciating line-by-line audit.

10/22/2002
Off to the Races
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Press Release

Off to the Races

America goes to the polls in less than two weeks. With the House of Representatives controlled by Republicans with just a six-seat margin and Democrats running the United States Senate with just a one-seat spread, control over the legislative branch of government is truly up for grabs. As one observer, James Thurber of American University put it, “I cannot think of a time in modern politics, since FDR, where we have had such consequential issues in terms of the outcome of an election.”

10/21/2002
Worst Time to Increase Labor Costs
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Press Release

Worst Time to Increase Labor Costs

Chad Moutray is chief economist in the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration. This article originally ran in the Chicago Sun-Times.

10/19/2002
Half-cent sales tax to hit county Dec. 1
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Half-cent sales tax to hit county Dec. 1

BY Rob Shapard

CHAPEL HILL - Calling it the "pass-the-buck" sales tax, county officials have agreed to start collecting a new half-cent sales tax starting the first of December. On Dec. 1, the overall sales tax rate in Orange County and counties across the state will go to 7 cents on the dollar, but it may drop back to 6.5 cents in July, when another half-cent tax is set to expire. That tax generates money strictly for the state. The new half-cent tax, which will be on purchased items except for unprepared food, could generate about $ 1.8 million for Orange County in the seven months between Dec. 1 and the end of the fiscal year, according to projections from the N.C. Association of County Commissioners. In addition, the projected revenues for the towns over the seven months include about $ 781,000 for Chapel Hill, $ 261,000 for Carrboro and $ 85,000 for Hillsborough. The half-cent sales tax comes in the context of the state's budget crisis and its impact on local governments. With the state moving to hold back reimbursements and other revenues due to the cities and counties, the General Assembly authorized the local governments to enact a new half-cent sales tax, starting in July 2003. And the Legislature agreed last month to move up the date to December. The Orange commissioners and others have complained that state officials are forcing the local governments to enact a new tax, rather than doing so at the state level - hence the "pass the buck" description. But the commissioners unanimously agreed this week to enact the half-cent tax, saying they didn't see other options for recouping money the local governments no longer will get from the state. In the current fiscal year, Orange would have expected about $ 3.1 million in reimbursements from the state. If the new half-cent tax does generate about $ 1.8 million between December and July 2003, then the county still will be out $ 1.3 million. Starting with the 2003-04 fiscal year, the tax likely will bring in more money for Orange than the county once received through reimbursements. "Over the course of three-plus years, we will probably recover what we lost," Commissioners Chairman Barry Jacobs said Friday. "We just won't get it all back at once. "It's money due to the citizens of Orange County, and we were given one tool to recover it," he said. "Thank goodness we didn't sign a no-tax increase pledge," Jacobs said, referring to a pledge circulated by the Citizens for a Sound Economy. "The citizens of Orange County would be stuck. That's the kind of irresponsible decision-making that's gotten the state in the mess it's in. I certainly don't think raising taxes is always a good answer, but there are times when you are forced to make a decision you don't want to make." The numbers look better in the current fiscal year for the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, but not for Hillsborough. For Chapel Hill, the projected revenue of $ 781,000 from the half-cent tax between December and July is about $ 51,000 more than the town would have expected this year in reimbursements. For Carrboro, the projected $ 261,000 is about $ 10,000 more than the expected reimbursements. But Hillsborough will get about $ 30,000 less from the sales tax this fiscal year than it would have from reimbursements and other state revenues, if the $ 85,000 projection holds true. Town Manager Eric Peterson said Friday it's a good-news-bad-news situation. "It depends on how you look at it," Peterson said. "We'll end up losing another $ 30,000 in addition to what we lost last year." In the 2001-02 fiscal year, the state withheld roughly $ 250,000 from Hillsborough in various revenues, primarily from franchise taxes. But in the budget the Town Board adopted for 2002-03, the town took a conservative approach and didn't count on any of the state revenues. The fact that the town will get approximately $ 85,000 will be a big help, Peterson said. "From a long-term standpoint, I think the half-cent sales tax is a win-win situation for the state and local governments," he said. "They get to keep the reimbursement monies, and we end up getting a revenue source that isn't subject to withholding by the state, which has made it very difficult for local governments to budget. "Another advantage will be that the sales tax, in most places, will have a growth factor to it. In the long-term, it's a good solution."

10/19/2002

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