Thursday, November 01, 2007

Union Funding and "Who Are Those Kids"? in SB Races

Emily Heffter's reporter's notebook on the SB races had some interesting blurbs. One is about where the other source of larger donations comes from (the first being venture capitalists/business leaders), namely unions. The incumbents received much of their donations from unions except for the SEA which gave to Peter Maier.

The other story is about who the kids are in photos on the candidates' literature. Frankly, I was kind of surprised because I always (naively?) thought they were candidates' children or children of friends. Turns out on both Steve Sundquist and Peter Maier's literature at least one photo is a stock photo taken from the Internet of anonymous kids (they each have one with local kids who they may or may not know). Sherry Carr's photo includes her daughter and other kids and Maria Ramirez knows the kids in her photo. (One thing interesting about Sherry's photo is the use of older kids; it's nearly always elementary aged kids. Maybe that's the cute factor.)

No big deal but something new to learn about campaigns.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

The flyer I got in the mail from Peter Maier's campaign included four photos of kids on the Loyal Heights Elementary playground. My daughter thought it was cool because she goes there.

StrongLeft said...

It seemed odd the way Emily presented the issue of Labor money. I think any source of political contributions is a vital topic for journalists to cover, but she seemed to present it as a titanic struggle between businessmen and Labor when the former is writing $10,000 checks and the latter is writing $500 checks. I think it's clear from each candidate's platform why they're getting support from one or the other, but I would hope that people put this all into perspective: The business-backed slate (Maier, Carr, Sundquist, sometimes Martin-Morris) is receiving tens of thousands of dollars from corporate executives, many of who don't even live in Seattle, while their opponents are receiving a couple hundred from unions whose members generally work in the city and often live here, too.

Anonymous said...

Strongleft,

What a sweeping and wrong generalization. The corporate executives are giving their personal $ first of all. While the unions are giving from PACS.
Secondly, the corp. execs. represent companies with significan presences in Seattle, other via employment or retail, and thus they have a sizeable horse in the race.
This isn't David vs. Goliath under any terms.

Charlie Mas said...

Who said anything about David and Goliath? Not strongleft.

If this isn't David and Goliath, then what would it take? What if one candidate had five times the contributions of the other? Ten times?

It seems disingenuous to say, on one hand, that these candidates are not "business-backed" because the contributions came from the executives PERSONAL accounts rather than the BUSINESS accounts, but then to say, in the very next breath, that these executives "represent companies".

Anonymous said...

strongleft and Charlie - business folks don't pony up this much money for candidates who haven't already generated AND demonstrated significant grass-roots support.

If you look at the PDC records, this money didn't come in until the primary was a distant memory and even then they had to demonstrate city-wide viability.

These sums may be like $100-$250 is to the majority of voters, but don't think they rush to throw it away any more than I do.

And the thousands of votes these "business-backed candidates" received in the primary? Who were they if not PTA moms and dads, retirees, working stiffs - the definition of grass-roots supporters.

Anonymous said...

I sent money to the campaigns of Peter, Sheri, Harium and Steve. I'm just a public school parent who wants a smoother running school board. I've met all these candidates and I believe they care about all the public school students and not just their district's particular needs. Sally and Darlene have ruffled too many feathers.

Charlie Mas said...

anonymous at 1:51pm accused strongleft of making "a sweeping and wrong generalization". What was it? I don't see it.

anonymous also tried to say, at one time, that the contributions were NOT from businesses but from individuals, and then wrote, immediately afterward, that these individuals "represent companies". Isn't this self-contradictory?

anonymous then went on to assert that this is not "David vs. Goliath" when no one had suggested that it was.

I point out the rhetorical trick of playing both sides of the net and the trick of the straw man argument (pretending that the other person had made an assertion that they actually had not made), and what happens? anonymous does it again.

In response, you repeat the trick of pretending that I made a completely different argument than the one I made. You pretend that strongleft and I had suggested that some of the candidates did not have popular support. No such statement was made. There wasn't even a hint of such a thing.

I'm not disputing whether these candidates have popular support. Why would you think it necessary to make that point? Why don't you, instead, reconcile the contradiction in your earlier post in which you say that the contributions are both not from businesses but are from people representing businesses.

Since you raise the question (no one else had), why don't you say what WOULD be David vs. Goliath?

Sorry to get sort of prickly like this, but this is EXACTLY the sort of stuff that really irritates. These anonymous commentors fly through here spreading all sorts of irresponsible misinformation, ascribing opinions to people without cause or evidence, making self-contradictory and inflammatory statements, and committing all sorts of rhetorical misdirections - such as straw man arguments and ad hominen attacks.

If you're going to say something negative about someone or if you're going to attribute an opinion to them, then you had better be able to back it up with facts and details.

It isn't enough, for example, to rant on about how this person or that person is "bizarre" or "irresponsible" or incorrect if you cannot support that assertion with some sort of evidence.

anonymous at 1:51pm wrote that strongleft had made "a sweeping and wrong generalization". What was it?

Anonymous said...

confusing, I realize, but I made only one anonymous post at 8:28 pm and was not responsible for the previous or subsequent anonymous posts.

And I am either too lazy or too weary (or likely just not smart enough) to answer Charlie's post beyond that.

Thanks -

Anonymous said...

The last comment by Mr Mas has finally allowed break my addiction to this blog.

What was once a somewhat useful clearing house of information has become a place for extremly loong winded attacks on anyone who does not agree with him.

Thanks.

dan dempsey said...

Thanks be to God at least one anonymous poster has decided to leave.

is it over yet? said...

It's time for this election to be over when one of the major papers is writing a story like "Who are These Kids, Anyway" (twice)

Candidates use stock photos! News at 11!

Candidates are gigged for raising and spending a lot of money - but then called out for choosing a campaign option that requires less time and money (the stock photo) than the photographer/campaign handler/graphic designer a real kids shot would have required - not to mention the privacy issues with a real kids photo.

And then the writer doesn't even spell out the issue that she and/or her editors insinuate (at the risk of incurring Charlie's ire, let's be honest) - that somehow a candidate who doesn't use real children in his or her photos perhaps doesn't KNOW any or can't GET them to be in a picture with him/her, so hmmm...are they even qualified to be on the SCHOOL board?

And note - I have no loyalties or affiliations to or with Peter Maier, Steve Sundquist or whoever else used stock photos (can't bring myself to read the story again to be specific about names - bad enough that I'll never get the 5 minutes back that I spent reading it the first time.)

Enough already!

Charlie Mas said...

Those who cannot or will not support their assertions with facts can leave and will not be missed.

Again, however, I am accused of holding an opinion which I do not hold. The anonymous commentor says that I made an "extremly loong winded attacks on anyone who does not agree with" me.

First, it was not an attack; it was an attempt to have a real discussion based on facts.

Second, I never said that I disagreed with the anonymous commentor. I said that they had failed to support their position with facts. I even went so far as to agree with the anonymous commentor that the candidates all had plenty of popular support.

I did not disagree with the person position (such as it was); I disagreed with their tactics.

ultimate fan said...

Charlie, as an observer with an opinion I ascribe to noone but myself, your Socratic questioning and dialectics are forms of exchange not familiar to most and are frequently misunderstood here - and I'm guessing out in the world - though I would have no way of knowing that, and you've said elsewhere that you (I paraphrase) are a mild-mannered easy-going person who (I can't remember if you said but I'm guessing it would follow) do not have issues in getting along with friends, family and work-mates.

Further, I respectfully submit your method comes with an "edge" or a sort of sensitivity that increases the potential for misunderstanding, and exacerbates it when it happens. I think people feel they are being personally attacked by you, and thus are even less able to understand your logic and purpose.

And last, hair-splitting has a negative connotation and I don't mean it in quite that sense, but "I didn't disagree, I said they failed to support their position with facts", while technically correct, is hair-splitting of fairly high order.

I've learned a great deal from you here, and learned to do my homework and examine my assumptions before I put something out here (most of the time), but I still have to work to separate your content from your style and not react to the latter.

I would urge you to understand that informing each other is an evolutionary process that requires a great deal of patience throughout - and inviting people to leave or exulting when they do is not what I would hope this blog is about.

Thank you for caring very much about truth, integrity of thought and argument, and public education.

dan dempsey said...

ultimate fan said:

.....but "I didn't disagree, I said they failed to support their position with facts", while technically correct, is hair-splitting of fairly high order.

Supporting a position with facts is what improves intelligent decision making. How can this be hair-splitting of a fairly high order?

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

If we do not rely on facts in decision making should we rely on anecdotal gossip instead? Of course not.

So how should we proceed without facts? What other avenues are available?

dan dempsey said...

In May in a forum of experts addressing the future of the School Board [that is available as streaming video on the School Board website] commented on the costs of a campaign.

It was mentioned that the costs used to be reasonable, but had been radically escalating. Last time candidates were raising around $30,000 but they forecast that for this fall it could rise as high as $50,000.

Only four SB candidates outside of Seattle had raised over $10,000 as of last week. I believe the four leading dollar raising candidates for Seattle SB are averaging in excess of $100,000 per candidate.

I think it is time that the Seattle Schools channel provide a lot of free air time for school board candidates to access. The public needs to have a way to easily access the full messages of each candidate.

Northeast Mom said...

Charlie, you have been very defensive lately. Your posts come across as biting the posters head off if they differ in opinion from you, if they post something that you feel is inaccurate, or if they do not support their statements with fact. I point this out because there are ways to let someone know you differ in opinion or need more information/facts without being so defensive. You could simply ask. Or you could simply state your opinion without even addressing the poster whom you differ in opinion. If a poster states something you believe to be inaccurate, you could simply post the version you feel is correct, without addressing the original poster, or gently correcting them. I agree with Ultimate, you do split hairs and it makes for an unpleasant exchange.

I value your input and data. If you post something I believe that it is fact based and well researched. If I don't agree with you, I ponder what you posted and see if my opinion might be swayed. In other words I respect you. I do wish you would work on taming the aggression in your posts though. Sometimes I refrain from adding my opinion or comment for fear of your retaliation and that really isn't the spirit of this blog, IMO.

As for Dan, your comment "Thanks be to God at least one anonymous poster has decided to leave." You have shown your true colors and appear to be very inconsiderate. You are a snide, sarcastic, person. It would have been very unsettling to see you on the school board. Is that how you would have treated the consituents that disagreed with you?

Uh oh, another anonymous poster said...

Dan said "If we do not rely on facts in decision making should we rely on anecdotal gossip instead? Of course not."

Dan, thanks to the wonderful Seattle voters, you do not make decisions. Thank god. So what the heck are you talking about? People have the right to share their opinions without a full page, rambling, Dan bashing.

You gave us a little break from your antagonistic, inflammatory posts. I had hoped you moved on, but I guess not. To bad.

dan dempsey said...

NE mom said to Dan:

You have shown your true colors and appear to be very inconsiderate. You are a snide, sarcastic, person. It would have been very unsettling to see you on the school board. Is that how you would have treated the constituents that disagreed with you?

It is difficult to correspond with those who will not even use any handle other than anonymous. You will notice at school board meetings that speakers are required to identify themselves prior to beginning testimony. It seems that the school board prefers not to listen to anonymous speakers either.

I found both my opponents to be qualified and well intentioned. I did not have any issue with what voters decided.

I still have difficlty with those who rarely use facts but rather prefer to intimidate.

Reggie Calahan said...

Well you'll have to deal with anonymous posters here Negative Dan. Beth Bakeman welcomed people using screen names, and it looks like the poster who uses "Northeast Mom" did just that. Sorry, it bothers you so. But then again, everything seems to bother you. You are so very negative. Perhaps you could start your own negative, non productive blog. Then those of us who are optimistic and positive and believe that working together, inclusively will bring about the results that will make Seattle a world class district.

You gave us a break for a few weeks. Nobody had to endure your vile comments and attacks. Do you have a vacation coming up.

I'll sign my name so not to get you on another negative rampage. But tell me, does it make you feel any better.

Reggie Calahan

Charlie Mas said...

I'm certainly aware of how people have, rightly or wrongly, seen me as opposing their position, attacking them personally, or trying to intimidate them. I'm certainly aware of how defensive I have become of late.

I'm reminded of a time when my parents were sharply questioning my sister when she was a teenager. At one point they asked her "Why are you being so defensive?" and she responded "Because you're being so attack-ive!"

I can say again that I have been misunderstood, but I think that ultimate fan and northeast mom offer me better advice, and I am grateful for it. I will try to bear it in mind.

It is frustrating, as I'm sure anyone could understand, to have anonymous people assign opinions to me which I do not actually hold nor have I ever espoused, and then berate me for holding those opinions in a public forum. It feels libelous and insulting and it is difficult not to rise to that bait and attempt to defend myself.

I certainly feel that I am being held to a higher standard. I do not see posts on this blog from folks who ask the same of the anonymous commentors, many of whom are extremely aggressive and negative. I don't see a lot of support for the principle of supporting your assertions.

Of course we can all have an opinion and state it. That's fine. But if we are to move beyond that, to discussing those opinions, then we will need to offer facts and reasoning in support of those opinions. I would like us to discuss opinion, not just state them.

I will try to find a gentler way to ask people "My, but that is a strongly stated position. Could you share with us some of the reasons and facts that brought you to this perspective?"

I can take benefit from the sort of constructive criticism offered here of late, I am grateful for it, and I shall try to do so.

ultimate fan said...

I think it's one part people don't like to be "out-smarted" and often resent the logical, articulate people who outsmart them; one part you don't suffer fools and we all are fools at one point or another; one part they don't understand what you're talking about some of the time; and one part you probably have to be a little kinder, gentler, and more patient.

You seem to have your hot buttons - criticism of Sally Soriano, people presuming to know about something it's pretty clear they don't, and advanced learning. Maybe count to 10 or let the draft sit overnight on those...

Who knew you'd get all of this free psychoanalysis?

ultimate fan said...

ps - I am one of "your people" as you once wrote in a pretty funny post, so I sympathize.

No facts said...

Charlie,

Nobody assigned opinions to you in THIS post. What made you so defensive here?

Not everyone has time to fact check, research, and become virtual PI's. Some people just have opinions on a subject that they are passionate about, they are knowledgeable about, or just have an opinion that they want to add to a conversation. That should be OK. I value the opinion of others, and I like to learn about what other people think. I learn this way, and in listening I am forced to keep an open mind, and realize that other people have ideas that I would have never thought of. Even if they have not fact checked them. Even if they are just an idea, a piece of advice, a persons vision or other. I may not always agree, and sometimes laugh out loud and completely disregard them, but I am grateful to all who contribute in any way that they can. We are all busy and sometimes a quick post is all we can manage.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, that's valid but there are some posts that make it sound like fact when it should be stated, "This is my opinion." That would be helpful.

Anonymous said...

From Dan Dempsey who is having problems posting tonight

"Dear Reggie and others,

I stated the following hoping for comment or discussion:

I think it is time that the Seattle Schools channel provide a lot of free air time for school board candidates to access. The public needs to have a way to easily access the full messages of each candidate.

No one responded to it.

I have no quarrel with screen names. I never said that I did (although Reggie indicates I do). I, as do others, still believe that the use of anonymous is cumbersome in a conversational blog situation.

As I've mentioned earlier, this blog is not much of a place for open discussion.

Reggie in addition to your statement about having to deal with screen names because that is the way Beth set it up. I found your statement that: "Nobody had to endure your vile comments and attacks." Very similar to shout down tactics at political forums.

Ditto for Northest Mom's:
You have shown your true colors and appear to be very inconsiderate. You are a snide, sarcastic, person.


I believe that inconsiderate would apply to those who continue to refuse to use any name and stick with anonymous. Is name calling appropriate on this blog?
I thought Melissa addressed this and strongly discouraged it.

Like Charlie, I would like to know why some care to believe that Kennedy is the cream of the crop? Clearly Babbie from Charlestown believes otherwise and has a few years of watching to make her assessment from. You can check her blog for more information on the Charlestown scene.

My true colors are that I state opinions that are sometimes unpopular here in the hopes of bringing about discussion and usually I include some data. Some appreciate this and others clearly and forcefully do not.

Dan"

Anonymous said...

Though annoying to Dan, it is apparently OK with Beth Bakeman for people to post anonymously. If it is OK with Beth, then it should be OK with you, Dan. If it isn't, please feel free to frequent the many other education blogs out there until you find one that meets your strict criteria.

Some people do not want to use their names as their opinions are controversial or unpopular. Posting anonymous is the only way that they can make their voice heard WITHOUT repercussions. Of course they still have to endure the Dan bashing for posting anonymous.

Screen names are favorable and Beth has encouraged them. However since this is still a free world and beth runs the blog in an open, inclusive, democratic way, she has not FORCED the use of screen names.

It has been suggested, and I agree, that Dan, you should start your own blog. You could start with not allowing any anonymous posters. That would solve your issue! Or would it? I think you enjoy conflict, confrontation and argument. That's a whole different can of worms.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, unless you are a teacher or staff, I have wonder why you wouldn't sign your name. Anonymous before me wrote:

"Posting anonymous is the only way that they can make their voice heard WITHOUT repercussions."

I can tell you from personal experience it is a very lonely and hard road to speak out with your name attached. But I also know that my integrity, whether you agree with anything I say, is fully intact because I sign my name. Am I saying someone has less integrity because they won't sign their name? I can't say for sure but this Internet world of being able to say whatever you want without standing behind your words, your ideas or your opinions is troubling.

Anonymous said...

I want to say to Melissa, Charlie, and Beth that I appreciate the time you all take to stimulate interesting conversations. I'm not bothered by the lack of facts since when I see what I think is an erroneous post, I have the opportunity to either correct it with information I have or wait to see what others have to say. If I want to debate someone, there are better way to do it than in a blog.

To Dan, I totally disagree with you about more free air time at board meetings. Your frequent presentations there have convinced me that there needs to be a careful screening process for who is allowed to present week after week.
Please find another forum, or find a job that you like, where they like you and busy yourself. I think Seattle Public Schools has had enough of your advise.

Sorry if that seems really negative, but the good you might have done has been totally overshadowed. No one is listening anymore.

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

Why does it bother you so that people don't sign their names? How is an anonymous post less credible than yours just because your name is attached to it?

When I recently applied for a Govt. job and went through a background check they asked me what internet activity I had and what blogs I frequented. That really made me think. Do I really want all of my ideas and views public information. Available to anybody who does a background check on me or anybody who can use google? I personally don't.

I wish you and Dan would stop letting this bother you and stop discrediting people for doing what is ALLOWED per Beth on this blog. Melissa I will give you the same advice another poster gave Dan. Make your own blog and make people sign their names. It won't be anywhere near as frequented as this one but at least you won't be up at night frustrated by all of the anonymous posters.

dispatcher said...

I just have to add my two cents here. I work for a Police department as a 911 dispatcher. We allow people to call and remain anonymous, and fully understanding that some people are more comfortable with this. We do not discredit their reports or believe them to be not credible unless proven otherwise. Their calls are investigated and acted upon with the same priority as those that have given their names.

Just some food for thought.

dan dempsey said...

To clarify---

I never suggested that:
To Dan, I totally disagree with you about more free air time at board meetings.

I am not advocating for more time at school board meetings.

I am advocating for declared candidates to have more time available on channel 26. I think that campaign donations in excess of $100,000 per candidate warrant such an action.

Again I have no problem with people using screen names, as it guarantees anonymity yet makes it reasonable to follow and respond to particular individuals.

Interesting that a request for people to use screen names is viewed as Melissa and I discrediting persons.

...Your frequent presentations there have convinced me that there needs to be a careful screening process for who is allowed to present week after week.

You will find that Roscoe Bass, Maggie Metcalf, Chris Jackson, and others are also frequent speakers during open testimony time. The school board rarely responds to those who testify. If they were interested in reducing testimony they should respond to persons who take the time to testify.

If you are interested in reducing the incidence of persons testifying on consecutive weeks, why not request the board to start answering questions?

So what is your proposal for the new testimony rules that you wish the school board to adopt?

1964 said...

No board, board director, Superintendant or any other person satisfy Maggie Metcalf, Roscoe Bass, Chris Jackins or you, Dan.

So, they tune you out and ignore you. I don' blame them one bit. You are all unreasonable, aggressive, disrespectful and demanding. It's not pleasant to witness. It does not invited discussion or resolution. It turns people off, and like a child with lecturing parents, we learn to tune you all out.

Anonymous said...

Right on, 1964! And right on Seattle voters!

Dan, face it. Your message might have some merit, but your tactics have so turned me and others off that anything you stand behind or endorse will be questioned.

dan dempsey said...

In response to Anonymous at 8:53 AM,

Anything that anyone stands behind or endorses in the current climate should be questioned.

When even the Superintendent of Public Instruction puts forth fraudulent data, then research is required to find your way.

Dr. Bergeson said at the last SPS board meeting:
Washington has a 70% participation rate on the SAT.
~~~~ The real number is 53%.

She appears to be an example to be emulated as SPS administration has used less than forthright tactics in the past to steer public and school board perception.