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Thread: Facts and Falsehoods: WVN #245

  1. #16
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    I am attaching the PDF I inadvertently omitted previously.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #17
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    It would be great to hear from someone with legal experience on this topic, particularly in the area of state government campaign finance and conflict of interest. I'm not that someone, so take my comments as coming from a lay person attempting to apply common sense.

    As I see it, there are two over-arching questions.
    1. What are the schools allowed to do with respect to advocating/informing?
    2. What should the schools be allowed to do with respect to advocating/informing?

    With respect to this matter, it appears that "law" is a combination (at least) of laws themselves (in this case, as represented by the Massachusetts General Laws), state judicial opinions, and agencies authorized to interpret those laws and opinions. One such agency, the Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF), has ruled by interpreting Anderson v. City of Boston, 376 Mass. 178 (1978).

    According to the OCPF (per the attachment that Alan Reiss included with post #9 of this thread), Anderson v. City of Boston (a ruling by the MA Supreme Judicial Court) "stated that the campaign finance law demonstrates an intent to 'assure fairness of elections and the appearance of fairness in the electoral process' and that the law should be interpreted as prohibiting the use of public funds 'to advocate a position which certain taxpayers oppose.'"

    What I find most interesting is that the OCPF went further to conclude (same attachment) that "government entities may not expend public resources or contribute anything of value to influence or affect the outcome of a ballot question. Public resources may not, therefore, be used to distribute information regarding a ballot question, even if it is intended to be factual, unless expressly authorized by state law."

    This leads me to a series of questions.

    Q: What information distribution is expressly authorized by state law?

    Q: Do others agree that informing is a type of advocating?
    I don't agree. According to the first definition on dictionary.com, advocate means "to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly: He advocated higher salaries for teachers." (I particularly enjoy dictionary.com's example sentence!) As I read Dr. Schlegel's letter (from Kim Reichelt's post #8 of this thread), I don't see any explicit recommendation, but can see how some might see an implicit one.

    Q: Why would the prohibition on the use of public funds apply to ballot questions but not Town Meeting articles?
    Apparently, the schools can spend as much of their public funding as they see fit to advocate for a budget at Town Meeting, yet not spend a dime (or no more than $50--the law isn't clear on whether "anything of value" is bounded by the $50 limit, or by a $0 limit) to even inform the public about a ballot question. I don't see why there's a distinction.

    Q: What is the value "limit?" And what is the meaning of value?
    Is value the "price" (what the market would pay) or the "cost" (what must be spent to provide)? The difference is significant. Outside organizations would probably pay a fair amount ($1 per name?) to have access to our email lists. Actually sending the email might cost less than $1 in total.

    Q: To get back to echoing Kim's point in post #8 of this thread, what can the schools do with respect to advocating/informing (and what should they be able to do)?
    I would love to hear from people about which of the following possible school actions appear to be allowed based on the OCPF's ruling, and which should be allowed.
    Q: Discuss an override cut list internally as an administration?
    Q: Publish an override cut list for debate by a School Committee at a public meeting?
    Q: Hold a budget hearing (in a public building) and answer questions about a ballot question?
    Q: Hold a Budget Hearing and present information about a ballot question?
    Q: Publish and distribute a document containing information about a ballot question to some or all residents?
    Q: Publish and distribute a document (perhaps with limitations on cost/quantity per household?) advocating for a ballot question to some or all residents?

    By my read of the OCPF, none of these activities are allowed. In my opinion, all should be. That said, the School Committee has always been careful not to spend public funds (beyond the use of meeting rooms) advocating for ballot questions, and regardless of my opinion, I'm not suggesting that the Committee do otherwise. I just don't know where the legal boundary is, and wonder if others do?

  3. #18
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    Default Response to Jeff Dieffenbach's questions

    Jeff,
    You wanted a lawyer to answer your questions, well I can't do that for you since I'm an engineer but I will give you my responses to your questions...

    Q: Discuss an override cut list internally as an administration?
    Certainly, it should be done internally because the administration has to spell out what cuts would be made and what the ramifications are. This action would have no direct affect on unfairly swaying the ballot question voting.

    Q: Publish an override cut list for debate by a School Committee at a public meeting?
    I don't see a problem here because its a public hearing which should include public commentary and (as you said) debate. The School Committee is an unpaid entity and its the job of the school committee to explain the needs o the school and to also explain the ramifications of not satisfying those needs. The fact that its a public hearing with debate and public commentary make it even better because the public gets to weigh in and the SC would also consider their inputs. The fact that its held in a public building is OK in this instance because the public is invited and invited to speak too.

    Q: Hold a budget hearing (in a public building) and answer questions about a ballot question?
    Same as above but I think this is the way it should be done.

    Q: Hold a Budget Hearing and present information about a ballot question?
    Only if you allow public feedback and consider it.

    Q: Publish and distribute a document containing information about a ballot question to some or all residents?
    This is where we start to have problems. Public funds are now being used to print and mail. Will a budget be created for publication and mailing of opposing viewpoints? I think not so this is a problem and I would believe that the OCPF would see it that way too.

    Q: Publish and distribute a document (perhaps with limitations on cost/quantity per household?) advocating for a ballot question to some or all residents?
    Same as above.

    What Charlie did was to use a very powerful town resource - the WMS email list and the school system listserver bandwidth to send a not-so-subtle or implied message to vote for an override. He didn't say vote for the override but the message was clearly implied. He also did it on the eve of the election and apparently did it without the sanction of the SC or the knowledge of the Superintendent... unless I'm wrong about this? But Charlie's actions were not discussed beforehand at a SC meeting. No deliberation at a SC meeting ever took place on this beforehand (unless you give me the date of that deliberation - this is what I believe to be true). Charlie never mentioned any level of permission to have taken this action and finally, Charlie was resigning his Wayland job (prior to April 7th, 2008) and is no longer around to take the heat or suffer the job consequences of doing this... so this makes me naturally suspicious.

    Lastly, Charlie wrote a letter of explanation to the school administration which minimized his actions by saying that the email would have been fine if he didn't use that link to the WMS cut list. That was curious to me so I called the OCPF yesterday and they told me that they had no knowledge of any dialogue with Charlie to that effect and their official position is what they wrote in their admonishment letter to him. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Charlie's letter as published by Kim on Waylandenews strongly speaks to a person who didn't follow the OCPF rules, got slapped for it and then tried to minimize it by providing some excuse that the OCPF wouldn't verbally stand behind.

    Jeff, my non-legal opinion is that when public funds and public resources (especially very powerful ones like email lists on the eve of elections) are used to send implied messages on how to vote then lines get crossed. There is this commonly used example of putting pieces of paper in the backpacks of kids with messages to the parents on how to vote and then sending those kids home to deliver them. Everybody knows that this action is a big problem and crosses the line. What Charlie did was the electronic version of that. I think that simple common sense can help to answer what should be done and what should not be done.

    Perhaps you will get better legal opinions but I doubt it in the near term.

  4. #19
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    Alan, Charlie mentioned a specific person at the OCPF with whom he spoke. I wonder, did you speak with her specifically?

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    Default Who I spoke to

    Kim,
    I spoke to the General Council Mr. Birme.
    Ms. Hatry was out for a week or more but Mr. Birme told me that (1) he had no knowledge of the conversation with Ms. Hatry and (2) it wouldn't matter what she may or may not have said because the official position of the OCPF is contained in their June 3rd letter of admonishment. and (3) although he wouldn't comment of what Charlie wrote, this issue was not the link but the usage of town resources and public dollars to advocate for an override.

    However, my curiosity will cause me to get ahold of Ms. Hatry over the next few weeks and ask her directly.

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    Alan, I don't think that what Mr. Birne said is inconsistent with what Charlie said, in that I think the issue is primarily precisely what is considered "advocating". A question is how much of the email would have been considered fine, and at what point the line was stepped over. You make it sound as though any email would have been found inappropriate, but I do not believe that to be the case. If there is some email that would have been acceptable, a reasonable question to ask is what would have needed to have been changed.

    Ms. Hartry at the OCPF gave Charlie a specific answer. The attorney you spoke with does not seem to have refuted it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post

    Charlie wrote a letter of explanation to the school administration which minimized his actions by saying that the email would have been fine if he didn't use that link to the WMS cut list. That was curious to me so I called the OCPF yesterday and they told me that they had no knowledge of any dialogue with Charlie to that effect and their official position is what they wrote in their admonishment letter to him. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Charlie's letter as published by Kim on Waylandenews strongly speaks to a person who didn't follow the OCPF rules, got slapped for it and then tried to minimize it by providing some excuse that the OCPF wouldn't verbally stand behind.
    I think you are unfair to assume that Mr. Schlegel would be lying (that's not he word you used, but it's more clearly implied than his override advocacy), particularly since he offered me the PDF of his note to administrators, and when I asked whether it would be OK to post, he had no objections. I sincerely doubt he would have agreed to it understanding that it would be subject to public scrutiny if he was being untruthful.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 06-13-2008 at 02:59 PM.

  7. #22
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    Alan, you make good points about open meetings and the relative impact of the various media. I might summarize your position as saying that:

    1. deliberative meetings with moderate-sized audiences and the opportunity to rebut are reasonable venues from which to inform and even advocate for an override,

    2. whereas proprietary mass-market and essentially one-way channels are not.

    As an aside, I offer the somewhat tongue-in-cheek observation that (1), above, describes the dynamics of the Wayland eNews discussion board whereas (2), above, describes the Wayland Voters Network (oh, and for that matter, the School Committee elist). [grin]

    The problem with your reasonable proposal is that it doesn't match the law. Rather, the law looks only at (a) advocating vs. informing and (b) the source of funding.

    Regarding (a), advocating vs. informing, it strikes me that Anderson v. City of Boston would not have used the word "advocate" if they had meant "inform." Despite that distinction, the OCPF conflated the two. My not liking that conclusion doesn't change the fact that it's the current lay of the land.

    The real sticking point, as I see it, is (b), the source of funding. As far as I can tell, the letter of the OCPF ruling would appear to preclude the use of public meeting space, especially one prepared and overseen by paid staff, that consumes energy, and that includes paper handouts.

    In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that we spend more public funds on a meeting or hearing than we do on an emailing. Yet, the OCPF doesn't object. Why not? Perhaps because no one has filed a complaint.

    Let me try a different approach to my original question in post #17 of this thread: based on the "rationale" behind the OCPF's ruling on Dr. Schlegel's email, how would any of the following actions be permissible, since all involve the distribution of information regarding a ballot question using public funds?
    • Discussing an override cut list internally as an administration
    • Publishing an override cut list for debate by a School Committee at a public meeting
    • Holding a budget hearing (in a public building) and answer questions about a ballot question
    • Holding a Budget Hearing and present information about a ballot question
    • Publishing and distributing a document containing information about a ballot question to some or all residents
    • Publishing and distributing a document (perhaps with limitations on cost/quantity per household?) advocating for a ballot question to some or all residents

  8. #23
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    Default Cyber Arguing

    Kim,
    The only worse than arguing in person is to argue on a blog.

    This is what we know...
    An email with a very implicit message to vote and vote yes was sent by a former WMS principal on the eve of a ballot question vote.

    The principal got outta dodge just in time....

    The principal was hired to run a middle school and NOT advocate for an override.

    Its the job of the SC and others who are unpaid public volunteers to advocate for or against overrides. Politics are for the politicians and the parents... not the paid employees.

    Charlie used very valuable town and tax payer paid for assets in the form of highly targeted email lists to a captive audience. Perhaps as many as 500 were sent to as many as 1,000 parents and voters and some of them certainly must have forwarded those emails to others. In fact, its reasonable to assume that Charlie's action had a very substantive effect on the vote, even if not to change it but at least to reinforce it and remind those YES's to get out there and vote.

    The OCPF put in writing how they feel and said nothing about whether he used a link or not. Attorney Birme told me that this had nothing to do with the presence of a link or not.. it was the fact that he used town and tax payer paid for resources to help influence the ballot question which is ILLEGAL plain and simple. The fact is that the OCPF letter doesn't give a threshold of how many emails are acceptable or not. The letter says that it just shouldn't be done... so the threshold is ONE.

    I will be following up with the OCPF and talking with the person that Charlie mentioned but I already have my answer via hardcopy from the OCPF. But the truth is that whatever that lady said to Charlie... she wasn't on the same page was what was in writing from the OCPF so she was wrong for saying it.

    I have to tell you that the thing that got under my skin on this wasn't the crime... it was the minimization of the crime via some conversation with somebody at the OCPF that did not correspond to their written admonishment and Charlie's parting shot from Wayland to attempt to minimize it.

    It is my opinion that the SC should draft a resolution that this was not acceptable and this action should never be repeated again.

    Perhaps I'll get my wish.

    Kim, are you sure you want to continue this conversation with me?

    Now its even hotter outside.

    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Its the job of the SC and others who are unpaid public volunteers to advocate for or against overrides. Politics are for the politicians and the parents... not the paid employees.
    My lay read of the law concludes that relevant campaign finance and conflict of interest laws may affect unpaid volunteer board members in exactly the same way that they affect paid employees. See the first paragraph here.

    I'd be interested to know whether anyone can shed any light on whether or not my read is correct.

    Regarding the role of a building principal, they lobby the superintendent for funds and they interact with parents. It strikes me that it isn't fundamentally outside the scope of their job to think about joining the two. Alan, with your "private letter on private time" thought above, you say as much. (I understand that the law clearly forbids their doing this advocating using public funds.)

  10. #25
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    Alan,

    (1) This is not a blog, it is a Discussion Forum.

    (2) The weather has improved substantially, and I would not hesitate to call it beautiful actually. It won't be getting much cooler until September, so do your best to enjoy it.

    (3) I don't think of this as arguing, more as debating. I appreciate the civil tone of the debate, though I dislike the accusations against Charlie, which based on my understanding of the facts are completely unwarranted. You suggested maybe too many movies? I'm with you on that one. :-) (Go read a book instead!)

    (4) You write as though the OCPF's opinion was crystal clear about what is allowed and what isn't. I don't think it's at all that clear, or else we wouldn't be discussing things like what is advocating. Actually, now that I think about it, you are mostly skipping that question, but I think it's fundamental to this whole discussion.

    (5) I don't think Charlie was attempting to minimize the "crime" - he was merely reporting to his fellow administrators (not something he meant to be public at all) on his understanding of the OCPF issue to help his colleagues follow the rules in the future.

    (6) I don't think you read Charlie's email very carefully. Nobody reading it would think that he was against the override. But yet, he makes clear that he understands not everybody will support it, and that he wants people to understand what they are voting on. I think if you read it with an open mind, you could well come to the conclusion Charlie had no intention to break any rules.

    I don't mind having this discussion with you, but I'm not sure we're hitting anything new anymore. Would be nice to get thoughts from someone new.

    Enjoy the concert!

  11. #26
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    Default Let me try to parse through this

    Jeff,
    There are many points you make so I will handle them individually...

    WaylandeNews and WVN are private institutions, not paid for by the taxpayers and they can advocate for harvesting cheese on the moon if they want to. So if one believes that WaylandeNews advocates for overrides and WVN advocates against overrides then god bless them too - because thats first amendment stuff.

    Alot of the spirit of the law lays in the intent of the individual.
    Just taking the Charlie email case. We have a crafty worded email that walks right up to the line and tries not to cross over it by presenting a neon sign that says vote YES. It provides a link to the cut list, it makes concessions that not all can afford this next tax increase but its ominous arrival 24 hours prior to the ballot vote and using the office and stature of principal of a middle school it takes advantage of list information that was not available to anybody else outside of the school system. If I were on a jury and had to decide this one... it would be guilty as charged. And the preponderance of the evidence lay in the intent aspect of it.

    Advocating and informing does get fuzzy doesn't it. So given that knowledge we should error on the side of conservatism. Now the WSC newsletter (which you seem to provide) on a number of occasions did provide information to me (the taxpayer and voter) as to the ramifications of not passing the override. I didn't complain to the OCPF on that and apparently nobody else did. This complaint only seemed to occur with a much more obvious attempt made by a middle school principal. Why? That came from a paid employee with stature and authority and who used a proprietary taxpayer funded email list. The notice you mailed seemed to come from the WSC who is elected and not paid and, IMHO, may advocate and inform for an override if they choose. But if the WSC were to issue a blast-o-gram the night before or was too obvious in its pressure then they could run into problems to.. so I think its a matter of degree and intent. This is law its not physics or math so there is no black and white - only best judgement.

    Here is your list I will comment on again.. all of which use taxpayer money agreed...

    --Discussing an override cut list internally as an administration
    Discuss internally as you wish - I the taxpayer want to know that you thought this through completely. The more you discuss the better I feel.

    --Publishing an override cut list for debate by a School Committee at a public meeting
    The fruits of your discussion should be disclosed to me the taxpayer, I want to know your conclusions so I can make up my own mind... go ahead do this too.

    --Holding a budget hearing (in a public building) and answer questions about a ballot question
    And at that budget hearing where [me] the public gets to take advantage of that building I helped to pay for, I get to ask you hard questions which helps all of us make up our minds.. do this too Jeff.

    --Holding a Budget Hearing and present information about a ballot question
    Same as above..

    --Publishing and distributing a document containing information about a ballot question to some or all residents
    All residents is say 9,000 voters or about $5,000 in mailing now were starting to spend actual (real) dollars for a specific purpose on a grand scale. Better to publish on a webpage (as you already do) but I think that an opposing webpage be allowed on the same server. In fact, when I was in office I tried to get my con-override presentation put up on the town's website and I was voted down 4-1 in 2006. This is why I did my own website in 2008 and spent my own money. So no, I don't think this is a fair usage of public funds and jades the vote on a grand scale. Its one way communication at the taxpayer's expense.

    --Publishing and distributing a document (perhaps with limitations on cost/quantity per household?) advocating for a ballot question to some or all residents
    As above, you can either do it or not.

    I'll add one...
    --Using a proprietary school based taxpayer paid for - email list to forward the agenda of a vote on a ballot question
    Absolutely NOT and especially not by a principal on the eve of the vote.

    Jeff, perhaps the law hasn't caught up with the technology yet (which is usually the case)... but please consider this analogy.
    The music industry pretty much turned their heads at the fact that friends and neighbors were copying CD's or using Flash memory sticks to get free copies of songs. This was the 1% effect that the music industry was willing to put up with.

    Then came Napster. Napster took this copying modality to a whole new level and the sales of music dropped like a stone. Now it wasn't a 1% problem anymore... it was approaching a 50%+ problem.

    Then they started filing lawsuits first against Napster and Napster clones and then a second wave against people who share out the music.

    I think that using email in a wide and far flung basis and in the manner that it was done is a dangerous thing and goes way beyond the scenarios of using public buildings to have discussions.... or some of the other points you make.

    Its all a matter of intent and degree.

    Alan

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    Default Private Letter on Private Time

    Jeff,

    You directly addressed me on a question about whether I would feel ok about (say) Charlie writing a private letter on private time.

    If Charlie were to have purchased a list of addreses from Lois Toombs (as an example) like many of us have.
    If he were to have printed a letter with his own paper and equipment on his time.
    If he were to have paid for the postage and affixed, stuffed and mailed the envelopes or funded the entire operation with a check outsourced then that would have been much better than using the WMS email list, list server and public employee time including his own.

    By doing it this way, he would have put an arms length between the school system and the voter because the return address would have been his own house (I assume) and it would have come well in advance of the vote.

    On the flip side, Charlie would have had to have spent significant dollars and time to accomplish this and isn't it a whole lot easier to have asked a school secretary to publish this email (he just cranked off in 5 minutes flat) to blast the entire WMS in cyberspace and with such forwarding ease?

    The power is the electronic medium Jeff... this is what your hearing me say. Here's an interesting thought, can I, a Wayland tax payer, get access to the WMS email list? I mean it was used to inform/advocate for a ballot question, why shouldn't I be able to get that same list for purposes I may have? Something to ponder isn't it?

    I think the SC should make a resolution that this was bad, face up to it and resolve to never let it happen again.

    That would be the right thing to do.

    Alan

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    Alan, curious what you think about a Political Action Committee or Ballot Question Committee making automated phone calls that contain inaccurate information the day before an election?

    The same information, contained in a mailing, would be illegal, but put it in a phone call, and it isn't because election laws don't cover telephone calls, those are under the jurisdiction of the FCC -- and it handles federal issues, not local ones.

    You might say this is another example of the law not keeping up with the technology. But in the meantime, we should all behave shouldn't we? How would you sanction such a PAC?

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    Alan, I must not be making my point clear. To *attempt* to keep this simple, I'm going to look at just one of the actions that the School Committee frequently takes and that you (and I, and many others) think is appropriate: holding a budget hearing in a public building in part to convey information and answer questions about a ballot question.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    And at that budget hearing where [me] the public gets to take advantage of that building I helped to pay for, I get to ask you hard questions which helps all of us make up our minds.. do this too Jeff.
    There can be no disputing that the Committee in this case is distributing information about a ballot question. There can also be no disputing the fact that this same budget hearing causes the spending of public funds on custodial time, paper handouts, and electricity.

    Yet by ruling of the OCPF, we are prohibited from publicly funding the distribution of information about a ballot question. Unless there is a list of explicit exceptions (of which I'm unaware), I as a Committee member can only conclude that we cannot discuss a ballot question in any public venue, which would include not only budget hearings but also regular meetings.

    I don't for a minute think that this is in fact what the OCPF is saying. But I'm not sure where to draw the line. Let's return to the example of the budget hearing, which you and I both agree is appropriate.

    Scenario 1: Does anything become impermissible if the budget hearing was televised?

    Scenario 2: Does anything become impermissible if the budget hearing was to be viewable in real time via the web?

    Scenario 3: Does anything become impermissible if a recording of that budget hearing could also be viewed after the fact via the web?

    Scenario 4: Does anything become impermissible if a resident could request in advance that they be notified that the recording was available via the web?

    Scenario 5: Does anything become impermissible if a resident could instead request in advance that the recording be emailed to them?

    Scenario 6: Does anything become impermissible if a resident could instead request in advance that a transcript of the recording be emailed to them?

    Scenario 7: Does anything become impermissible if the budget hearing were held the day before the election and the transcript was emailed to a resident later that evening?

    Scenario 7 fairly closely approximates what the OCPF explicitly ruled was in violation. But is Scenario 6 still okay? If so, why? Scenario 6? And so on back up the chain.

    Which brings me back to the important question at hand: how does a School Committee know what actions are permissible when the OCPF ruling appears to preclude not just Scenario 7, but also Scenario 1 and in fact *any* discussion of a ballot question in a public venue?

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    Default To answer your question

    Kim,

    You seem interested in my opinion of how I might sanction bad behavior in various circumstances. So you know me, I'm not a lawyer so this just a layman's opinion as you have laid it out.

    I have heard about complaints on phone calls on both sides. PAC's saying incorrect information and PAC's talking down candidates even though they are only supposed to be talking about ballot questions. I never received any of these calls so its only here-say to me.

    I also didn't know that there was this caveat about it being a phone call and therefore out of the jurisdiction of campaign laws and only under the jurisdiction of the FCC. So I've learned something here. Clearly, something under the jurisdiction of the FCC would be a much harder thing to marshall if one wanted to complain. So, I do agree with you when you say that all parties should behave and if they make mistakes then they should try to remedy them.

    Remember when I made the mistake of quoting real estate data from Boston Magazine only to find out that the data had been changed after publication? When it was pointed out to me I took off work the next day and worked all that day to correct the mistake, retract the story and make sure that this analysis had zero effect on the vote. So I sleep well on being clean about this stuff. I hope you agree with me that I have run a clean campaign.

    Now you asked me about sanctioning PAC's or (lets expand this) and talk about sanctioning municipalities.

    If a municipality makes a substantive error in campaign law then...
    1. The offending individual could be fined... $1,000 or $5,000 or $10,000
    might be a good set of numbers to consider which would send a clear
    message not to do this again.
    2. The offending municipality might be fined... same order of magnitude or
    even more depending upon the size of the offense.
    3. In a worse case scenario, the entire election or ballot vote could be held
    invalid and the town would be forced to re-vote. This is an extreme
    measure but not unreasonable depending upon the offense.

    If a PAC were to make such a mistake or commit such a crime then...
    1. Individuals could be fined, either those that directly made the breach or
    those officers that oversaw the breach.
    2. Holding an election invalid in this case would not be warranted because
    it wasn't the municipality that made the breach.
    3. Unless wanton crimes of extortion, outright fraud or physical / verbal
    intimidation were involved I don't see jail as a remedy and clearly other
    laws cover these things.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In our previous exchange you signaled to me that I was offering nothing new to the discussion and you wanted to hear from others but you did come back to me and ask my opinion again on this related topic.

    Given this, I want to state for the record that I have no reason to believe that Charlie lied or fabricated his side conversation with that lady at the OCPF. I called to speak to her and she is out for a while so I couldn't verify it or ask her to compare the OCPF ruling against what she is quoted as saying to Charlie. In lieu of that I spoke to a level higher than her and was told that the OCPF had no knowledge of this side conversation and that it didn't matter what 'she' said because the official response from the OCPF is in writing and stands as is.

    That official response complained that public resources were used to solicit voting results in an inappropriate manner.

    Charlie's explanation of his conversation was that the only complain of substance was the usage of a link to a cut list.

    The official response of the OCPF makes no statement like this and makes no exception to their admonishment based on usage or non-usage of a link to a town cut list. So there is a vast inconsistency between the official OCPF complaint and Charlie's explanation of his side conversation.

    Hence, it appeared to me that he was minimizing it. Not lying, just minimizing.

    If you can get the OCPF to issue another letter which corresponds to Charlie's explanation then you have hit pay dirt on this and the deed was not as severe as the OCPF letter says it is.

    We both know that the OCPF does not issue admonishments unless it feels that the deed has risen to a level that deserves it. They did in this case and this cannot be ignored.

    Now I will follow up in a week or two with the OCPF to get the rest of the story and I really don't have anything more to offer on this conversation to Waylandenews than what I have already said to both you (Kim) or Jeff.

    On that note...
    I take back the statement that this is a blog... your right its a discussion board and a good one at that.
    I take back the statement that we were arguing... your right we were discussing only and still are.
    As for movies, I still see lots of them but the books that I would read would still make me suspicious given this set of circumstances... its my nature.

    Finally, as for my references to how hot its getting in Wayland..
    I wasn't necessarily referring to the atmospheric temperature.

    And... Tom Petty was great tonight and there was an extra bonus with Steve Winwood on stage.

    Regards,

    Alan

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