Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jim Gray & His October-Surprise!

October-surprises are just part of the election process as candidates use shock-and-awe in last-minute attempts to sway (make that…snow) the voters. Most of the time, the efforts involve skullduggery and may even smack of desperation. Dan Rather of CBS infamy tried the venal October-surprise in 2004, when he and his partners in crime claimed to have a document somehow denigrating George Bush only to discover that their hoax was easily discovered. The appropriate firings took place even though Rather lasted a bit longer than his fellow conspirators.

Lexington, Ky., vice mayor and current mayoral candidate, Jim Gray, has just tried the same kind of ploy, although he might have been better advised to wait a few days longer to do his shock-and-awe number. As it is, his opponent, Mayor Jim Newberry, has time to expose Gray’s fraud and dig up some dirt of his own, which shouldn’t be hard.

Gray’s outfit contrived a document exactly resembling a water-bill statement, placed it in envelopes made to look entirely official, even to the return-address window, and bearing the caption OPEN IMMEDIATELY – WATER RATE INFO ENCLOSED and mailed copies to the voters. The document purports to inform the public about rate-increases blamed on Newberry but neglects the small item that the main reason for the increase is to defray the $164,000,000-cost of a pipeline desperately needed since during drought-periods Lexington is threatened with water-shortage for its 300,000 people, a population that is growing.

The most ridiculous part of the “statement” has to do with the official-looking box having to do with the water-company’s campaign contributions to Newberry for 2005-2010, a staggering $28,150 in campaign coffers amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars over four years, a drop in the bucket. Gray has “loaned” his campaign $280,000 but if the primary race is counted that figure rises to $380,000. Each candidate has raised about a million but Newberry has “loaned” his campaign zilch.

Gray has a history of “loaning” himself campaign funds during previous races, which, of course, amounts to attempting to literally buy the office, not unusual these days as the comfortably wealthy feel no pain or risk in parting with their cash. Shades of Mitt Romney and his $40 million outlay in the last presidential quadrennial quagmire – all for nothing!

This episode is illustrative of the chicanery involved in seeking office. It becomes more apparent each day that elective offices can be – and are – bought by the wealthy. They make their money while relatively young, get set for being rich the rest of their lives and then, almost as a diversion, use their millions to buy their way into government…sort of like another toy to add to their fun. Disgusting!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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