A few weeks ago, the Palin/McCain campaign actually announced that it was "going negative". They should have talked to Hannabelle first...
There was a distinct point when I, too, made a decision to "go negative". I created this blog solely for this purpose. It was part of an overall strategy that should have worked - but didn't.
Why did I choose to go negative? Well... my "campaign" wasn't about winning votes and making friends. My job was to try to make the prospect of moving 94 sex offenders into my neighborhood as unpleasant as possible - to suggest that just about any place else would be preferable to building next to that nasty Hannabelle. That's right. Hannabelle was nothing more than a big BEWARE OF DOG sign. At least, that's what she was at first.
Before Hannabelle arrived on the scene, I'd spent months working within the system, i.e. the Bradbury township board, the Onamia city council, the Mille Lacs county board of commissioners, the county assessor, the state senator and representative from my district, the attorney general, the state auditor - all the way up to the governor's office. (I even hired a lawyer. KACHING!) I took a very positive approach, especially - contrary to accusations - with the sellers of the 38.81 acres. I even offered to buy the land myself to keep Nexus away. What I discovered is - the system is faulty. It doesn't honor individual rights. And it also doesn't want to be bothered with our small problems... And nobody cares.
Cities are given power without consequences. They basically have immunity. The theory is that the council has it's own checks and balances built into the system. That might work, assuming the council is honest and doing the work of the people for the people. If you have a bad city council, watch out! Those five men can do anything they want without any restraints, restrictions, without any confines. Open meeting violations? No problem! Conflict of interest? No sweat! Majority rules? Hah! Which majority? They can ignore petitions and protests and invade a neighboring township at their whim. How about the LAW? Shucks. Not a problem. They can change laws any old time - even laws which prohibit sex offenders in a residential area. They can grant conditional use permits for corporations while removing the rights of citizens. With tax payer money, they can hire a slick, unethical city attorney to manipulate the law to suit their personal agenda. City governments are omnipotent. So screw you, USA.
So what's a girl to do? How do you fight against all that power? We're talking about the power that the guy who runs the grocery store has been given to determine YOUR fate, YOUR life, YOUR property values.... (sigh). It's like having FIVE Sarah Palins making bad decisions about your life which will affect you FOREVER and you have absolutely no control over. Its a Done Deal, there's nothing you can do about it. Your rights? HAH! You don't have any rights. At least I can vote against Palin. I have no right to vote in Onamia. And what made things even worse was that the people of Mille Lacs county were buying the propaganda spewed by the self-serving government. The citizenry, even the local newspaper, was totally bamboozled.
So I went negative. It was easy. There was a lot to be negative about.
A whole lot of debunking. The Mille Lacs Academy is not an academy. They are not "poor troubled boys". They are convicted sex offenders. Nexus is not a local, small business in our community. It is a multi-million dollar private corporation with its fancy corporate headquarters in Golden Valley. It doesn't serve our community, but brings unwanted sex offenders in from other counties to live among us, go to school with Onamia kids. Nexus lied about safety risk statistics. We were told that they don't escape and that they are not dangerous. (That isn't true.) Nexus is a private corporation, but is funded through our tax dollars. Jobs? Over 60% of employees live outside of Mille Lacs County. Where do they shop? Outside of Mille Lacs County.... Although the former CEO said he spent some of his $267,015 (2005) annual salary at the Cedarwood restaurant in town, (in between trips to Palm Springs and Italy?), in 18 months of hardcore research, we couldn't uncover any benefits to the community that outweighed the detriments.
Tax abatement for them. Higher property taxes for us. You don't need to worry about Fanny and Freddy.... We have Larry and Frank! And the people bought it all - hook, line, and sinker. And I should emphasize - the people PAID for it all.
And so did I. I paid dearly for trying to keep the sex offenders from moving in - next to my 85 year old mother. Former Nexus CEO Jim D'Angelo and Nexus Chairman of the Board Peter Freeman made a decision to "go negative". Apparently it wasn't enough to force themselves upon Hannabelle and her family. It wasn't enough to ruin the neighborhood. They had to punish me AFTER THE FACT. Put a muzzle on that barking, snarling dog... So they sued me for defamation. Yes. I called D'Angelo "Poopsie". Yes. I questioned their ethics and honesty. I still do. I have documents to back my case.
You know, I realize one of my problems with going negative was that people thought I was the liar when I told the Truth. I've seen this in reverse with the Palin/McCain campaign. Some people believe they're truth-tellers when they tell lies. All that nonsense about Barack Obama - ooooh he's a Muslim! - ooooh he's palling around with terrorists! - oooh he's teaching sex education to kindergartners! - oooh he'll raise your taxes! - oooh he's a socialist! - oooh oooh oooh..... All debunked, yet the people cling to believing the lies Palin and McCain have been spreading. Just like they cling to the lies of Nexus. Maybe what they really believe is - oooh he's black. And that IS, of course, well... a half-truth. And maybe they really want to believe that Nexus is good for the community. Maybe they just want to believe in SOMETHING. Sometimes the Truth hurts. Like the Truth about Palin and McCain would hurt.
Here's the funny part about my going negative. Although that was indeed my job - while trying to procure favorable government action through public participation - it was up to the other neighbors to lead a POSITIVE campaign, to gain public support, to spread the word, to.... oh well. What's the point. They didn't do their job. Period.
Two of the abutters to the new Nexus sex offender treatment facility have McCain/Palin signs in their yards - along with their Sondra Erickson signs. Sondra was instrumental in keeping Nexus in Onamia. Can you believe it? They would vote for the Republicans - those who, by direct or indirect means put 94 sex offenders literally next door to them and made them cry! They should have included signs which said: YES! WE ARE BRADBURY IDIOTS AFTER ALL!
But there I go. I sound negative. Personal attacks... (sigh). It's so easy.
In the end, going negative didn't work for me. You'd think it wouldn't work for Palin and McCain either. But then, Bradbury Idiots are everywhere.