Thursday, September 16, 2004
AWOL…Labor Day’s come and gone. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth continues its attacks on Presidential hopeful John Kerry’s Vietnam service, and Texans for Truth have begun running TV ads about President George Bush’s service in the Alabama’s 187th Air National Guard—or his lack thereof. Peg Pinard—the Democratic state Senate candidate for the Central Coast’s 15th District seat—landed a $1 million campaign donation from the Democratic State Central Committee, boosting her fundraising efforts ahead of her Republic opponent, Abel Maldonado. Yup, political season is in full swing.
But not in Monterey County—at least according to the Monterey County Elections Web site. Squid spent last weekend surfing—the Net, that is—trying to find some information about upcoming elections throughout Monterey County. It seemed to Squid the logical place to start would be the county Registrar of Voter’s site, www.montereycountyelections.us. Squid was wrong. Take a little trip to the site, click on Upcoming Elections, and November 2004 (Hmmm, shouldn’t March 2004 and April 2004 fall under the heading of Previous Elections, not Upcoming Elections?) and…”Information will be listed when it becomes available.” No joke. The deadline to submit paperwork to run for office came and went in August. So did the first campaign finance disclosure deadline. Squid’s gonna go out on a limb and say candidate information is available—just not on the County Elections Web site. But, hey, they’ve still got a little over two weeks before the mail-in ballots land in mailboxes countywide. Why rush these things?
IN THE CLEAR…What do you get when you take a Republican businessman, a Libertarian investment advisor, a Peace & Freedom bookseller, and an Independent Salinas rapper, and stick ‘em all in one shared campaign headquarters? Apparently it depends on whom you ask. According to US Congressman Sam Farr, shared office space between his challengers for the 17th District seat— Republican Mark Risley, Libertarian Joel Smolen, Peace & Freedom Joe Williams and Independent write-in candidate David Muñoz—may be illegal. Plasha Fielding, Farr’s campaign director, says the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, passed last year, outlaws such a joint effort. After Farr’s campaign told reporters last month that the new laws ban coordinating campaign efforts, Risley’s camp scrambled to check in with the Federal Election Commission, to ensure that his campaign activities were in compliance with FEC regulations.
At that time, Risley told the Weekly he expected a ruling from the FEC within 10 days. It’s been about 30 days. And the strange officemates are still happy as, well, clams.
“They said we would know in 10 days,” says Veronica Shippy, Risley’s campaign director. “If we were doing something that was a clear violation, we think they would have notified us by now.” Shippy says she doesn’t expect to hear from the FEC prior to the Nov. 2 election. Hmmm, Squid thinks, maybe, just maybe, they have more pressing concerns? Nah. Probably just lazy.