Friday, October 20, 2006

Media Fairness & My Crystal Ball

November 7th is almost upon us, and finally all those annoying recorded phone calls from those political sorts will stop. Gone to will be all that campaign “literature” which seems to pile up in our mailboxes, and with a single flick of the wrist, disappears just a quickly into the trash can, often without so much as a glance.

The Courier Journal too is announcing their endorsements, as if anyone really cares. 38th State Senator Dan Seum (R) was recently endorsed by the C/J, said it wasn’t anything he was proud to tell voters. Several other candidates who received the once coveted endorsement of the “once great newspaper” echoed the same words. The Courier even ran a piece trying to explain how careful and considerate their endorsement process was. Having gone through it personally twice and knowing numerous other candidates over the last 30 years that have appeared before the C/J Editorial Board, I’ve found them to be less than fair—or informed.

In my last race in 2003, I was “summoned” (and I use that word intentionally) to appear on a particular date for my interview. As it happened, I had a prior commitment. I politely requested the interview be rescheduled for any other time of their choosing (which, I was assured by the young sounding lady who called, would be fine). After not hearing anything for a couple of days, I made repeated calls to find out the new date. I was informed rather matter-of-factly that there would be no interview, but an endorsement would be made. Based on what I inquired? No answer. Despite further calls by me, and on my behalf, a new date was ever scheduled.

Well, the Courier’s Editorial Board made their decision, in favor of my Democrat opponent based on no interview of either of us. No survey or questionnaire. No review of campaign material. Nada. Somehow, I don’t just don’t see the fairness or consideration here, do you? It reminded me of my first race for Metro Council in 2001. My opponent was an allegedly a convert Democrat and genuine political novice (there was a third person at the interview. He was a friend of my opponent. Played in his brother’s band, but that’s another story). He was on the opposite side of the C/J’s stated positions on several issues, and didn’t have a clue when it came to some of the other questions. But because I made the comment that, as Metro Councilman in the newly created Metro Government, I planned to work closely with other Southwest councilmen on related issues; the C/J said I would “balkanize” the Metro Council.

The Editorial Board touted his community experience, but failed to do their research. Had they done so, they would have found that the experience was (at the time) 15 years prior and nothing since, while I had built quite a community resume starting from 1980. Another bungled decision? Perhaps, but I could spend pages relating similar stories that others have experienced. The point I am driving at is everyone has their own agenda, including those that made decisions regarding endorsements, regardless of whether it’s some PAC, or a newspaper. The difference is that we expect business, unions, or other single issue groups to have an agenda, but we count on the media for the unbiased balanced truth. So, how can the media expect us to believe them, when at the same time, they’re trying to manipulate the outcome of elections? Should the media be in the business of trying to influence elections by telling us who to vote for?

What if ABC, NBC, FOX, CNN and all the other media outlets started endorsing candidates? What then? Heck, the media has a hard enough time trying play down accusations of being too “liberal” or too “conservative”! Where do we, as concerned citizens, go for the simple facts, especially in a one newspaper town? The media, and this especially includes newspapers, should, in my opinion, simply publish each candidate’s opinions on the issues and let the voters make their own decisions. We don’t need them playing “big brother” and telling us who and who not to vote for thank you very much.


Well, I guess I can’t resist making my predictions about some of the upcoming races. It been a long campaign season, and it’s starting to show on the some of the candidates. Tempers are getting short, and dirty deeds are being done…for free! So, here we go:

For 3rd District Congress, I predict “Ms 51%”, incumbent Republican Anne Northup will win reelection by beating John Yarmuth by her usual 51%. The Democrats don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept that you can’t run a liberal in a generally conservative district and expect to win. If the Democrats are serious about reclaiming the 3rd District (and they have a huge voting majority county wide), they need to run a genuine moderate. Someone with some military experience would be a great addition too.

For the 38th State Senate, it’s going to be Republican Dan Seum over former priest, Robert Valenza. In fact, I almost expect Dan to get arrested, because he’s “goin’ to murder the bum”.

28th State Representative, Charlie Miller (D) will walk over the Republican newbie, John Brewer. Brewer, a minister, is so new that even his campaign material is green.

In the 38th House, Dan’s daughter, Dana Seum Stephenson is running against former PVA and Louisville Democrat Party boss Tim Firkins. Denver Butler, the current holder of the 38th is hanging it up after taking a beating from yours truly in 2003. Tim should win based on name recognition…Dana’s. Everyone in the Southend is still reeling over the 2003 race and subsequent court case concerning Dana’s failure to meet residency requirements in her run for 37th State Senate. The court refused to seat Dana, a Republican, which led to a special election in which Democrat, and former 37th State Representative, Perry Clark, was elected.

For Metro Mayor, I expect “King” Jerry Abramson to win another term. Kelly just doesn’t seem to have the charisma. I’ve heard too many people say he comes off as “bland”. Kelly has all the right credentials, but just lacks the excitement you’d expect of a winner. As an aside, look for Independent Ed Springston to break the “5%” barrier. For whatever reason, most independents can’t seem to make it past 2% or 3%. I think there are enough people who are tired of the status quo to give Ed a go.

For PVA, Tony Lindauer (D) will have a steep mountain to climb in taking out Republican Appointee John May. Look for May to keep his seat in what may be an uncomfortably close race. There won’t be any change in Jefferson County Clerk. Republican Bobbie Holsclaw wins hands down against Paul Shaughnessy (D).

In Metro Council District 13, Republican Renay Davis is up against Democrat Appointee Vicki Welch. Vicki is a very personable individual, with a lot of drive to help the community, but she lacks experience. Renay, on the other hand, has considerable “hands on” political experience, and the desire to do something for all the residents of the 13th, many of whom have been all but ignored for the last four years by Vicki’s predecessor. This race has already gotten down and dirty with the usual immature tactics such as stealing signs, rumors, smear letters, etc. (usually a sure sign that you think you’re losing). In what I expect will come down to the wire, Renay Davis will be the new Metro 13 Councilwoman.

District 21 will see the return of favorite son, and “Sidewalk King”, Dan Johnson (D) as he defeats Republican Betty Drexler and Independent John Witt.

Incumbent Metro 25 Councilman Doug Hawkins (R) will win easily win political rookie Erin Ryan, a Democrat. Erin hasn’t mounted much of race, relying on her famous name for much of her support (Erin is the daughter of Judge Ryan). Unfortunately for her, it’s going to take a lot more than that to beat Hawkins.

So, there you have it. Wherever you live, show the special interest groups that the people still have the ultimate power—the vote. Power to the People.

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