Saturday, September 09, 2006

A mailbox of muck

My mail box is filling up with ads for candidates for the New York Democratic primary.  I sort of scan through them and toss them, and with a couple of exceptions I haven’t even decided who I’ll vote for (I have to talk to my politically knowledgeable friend Cheryl, whose advice on such matters I trust).

But there were two pieces of mail that caught my eye, both of them ads against Ken Diamondstone.  I had received mail from him that I hadn’t looked at, and had no idea what he was running for, but this ad I noticed because it said, in big letters, “Ken Diamonstone: SLUM LORD.”

When I see harsh attack ads I always check to see who put them out.  So what struck me about these ads was, there was no indication of who paid for the ad.  Nothing that said “paid by so-and-so.”

So that made me curious.  There was an address – 61 Pierrepont Street Suite 71 in Brooklyn, so I googled for that and found one document that listed that address on a list of contributors to the Democratic Party, and it was from The Connor Committee.  I googled around some more to find out what Diamondstone was running for, and found he was running for State Senate against Martin Connor.

I don’t like attack ads, although since both sides do them it’s hard to vote against either candidate based on that alone.  But putting out attack ads that don’t say who’s putting them out – that’s too sleazy for me.  I’m going to vote for Diamondstone simply because Connor did something so disgusting that I couldn’t possibly vote for him.  The Times is supporting Diamonstone, which hopefully means he’s not that bad, and Connor does not, from what little I’ve read, sound like much of a prize anyway.

One of the ads actually had a url for a government housing agency and listed three addresses and said something like, go ahead, see for yourself.  It said some of the addresses were in Manhattan and some were in Brooklyn but didn’t say which were which, and since on the website you have to specify the borough I searched two of the addresses in both boroughs but didn’t actually find anything that told me anything at all.  It may be there’s a better way to search, but it looks like the mail just wanted to look legitimate by listing some addresses and a url but wasn’t really designed to let you actually find out anything, at least not with a lot of work.  So that’s also pretty sleazy.

Diamondstone, by the way, has put out some negative ads about Connor, saying he’s not in politics for his constituency but just for himself, but since I do check attack ads to see who put them out, I’m going on the assumption that the ads did not hide who put them out.  But I will check my mailbox and if I see any anti-Connor ads that don’t have an attribution from Diamondstone I may give up entirely (or if someone else is running from the Green Party or someone I might vote for them).

Some people would argue you should vote for the candidate who is best on the issues, but I am so sick of sleazeballs that I think perhaps we should vote for the politician who appears to be the slightly less sleazy one.  Maybe if we all vote for the least morally reprehensible candidate each time, someday we’ll actually get the chance to see two candidates discussing the issues instead of flinging mud.    


  1. New York State law does not require political campaign material to list a "paid for by" attribution.

    This is the result of a court decision in 1974-75 which held that anonymous speech was an important component of free speech.

    Since you don't require that we posters identify ourselves either, you consciously or unconsciously seem to agree with that court decision.

  2. I didn't say it was illegal, I said it was sleazy. A politician who does sleazy things that are within the law does not impress me. And the difference between smearing your opponent in an ad campaign and making an anonymous post to a blog is so huge that it seems ridiculous to even compare the two.

  3. Diamondstone's mail seems to at least be talking about issues like smoking ban--negative for a reason--this just seems like a blatant assault on Diamondstone that has nothing to do with the issues..