Got dirt? Don't tell a candidate


The City Council campaign is underway. Last time around I was a candidate. Not so this time -- and while I enjoyed campaigning, I think I will enjoy watching from the sidelines this time.

As a candidate, I got many phone calls from people who wanted to pass along negative information about my opponent. As my opponent was the recently retired Fire Chief, the information came from ranking officers in the department who had worked closely with him. They came to me with examples of favoritism, indecisiveness, ignorance, procrastination, and failure to lead. These were credible charges from credible people, and they raised valid questions about his fitness to serve on the City Council.

What did I do with the information? Nothing. What could I do? The people who brought these concerns to me were not willing to go public, certainly not with Susan Savage still in office. I couldn't make the stories public -- I didn't have first-hand knowledge or documentation, and the media would treat anything I presented as crass mudslinging. I appreciated their willingness to help and their sincere belief that the other candidate was unfit for office, but there were better ways to handle the inside information they had.

My advice to you if you have negative information about a candidate: Do not tell another candidate about it. Take it directly to the media. Call KFAQ, KRMG, the TV stations, the Tulsa Beacon. Provide them with specifics -- names, places, times, and dates. If you have corroborating documents, photographs, or recordings, provide copies of them. If they're ethical reporters, they should protect your anonymity. They may not be able to do anything with your story alone, but if enough witnesses come forward about one specific incident, or if you can provide them with enough information to form the basis for an investigation, or a pattern of behavior emerges, they would be able to move forward with a story.

So if you know firsthand that a City Councilor has misused his public office for private benefit, let a reporter know so that the public can know. If you've been on the receiving end of discourteous treatment from a Councilor, or if he has ignored your concerns, tell a reporter. If you have firsthand knowledge of rank hypocrisy -- to pick a hypothetical example, if the Councilor trying to score political points with strip club regulation is a regular patron of the same establishments -- tell a reporter. Don't torment another candidate by giving him information he can't use.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 19, 2004 10:05 AM.

KFAQ update postponed was the previous entry in this blog.

Homeowners for Fair Zoning meet tonight is the next entry in this blog.

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