BY BUDDY NEVINS
In the waning days before Tuesday’s election, the Miramar Democratic club has criticized the only Democrat in a city commission race.
The race is between Republican incumbent Troy Samuels and Yvette Colbourne, a Democrat. The news release makes it clear the club is endorsing neither one.
Wink wink nod nod.
Only the Democrat, Colbourne, is singled out for alleged ethical laps in her campaign.
The laps include using photographs of folks like County Commissioner Barbara Sharief in a campaign ad without permission. Such use is legal as long as the candidate doesn’t indicate it is an endorsement. For instance, candidates use pictures of themselves with Barack Obama without being endorsed or getting his permission to use it.
Although the goal of the club to clean up elections is noble, it is highly unusual for a partisan Democratic club to attack a Democratic candidate when the only other candidate is a Republican.
The news release may even violate the party bylaws.
Why didn’t they send out a news release without using the club label?
Here is the news release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Miramar Democratic Club has issued a statement regarding the Seat 2 Race in the Miramar Municipal Election:
The mission of the Miramar Democratic Club is to represent “the diversity of the City of Miramar” and to serve “as a catalyst for positive change, present and future, for our community.” To remain in alignment with our mission, we wish to speak about the current race for Miramar City Commission Seat 2 between Troy Samuels and Yvette Colbourne. We are not endorsing nor have we endorsed either candidate in this race. We are speaking about campaign activities, about the spirit of a non-partisan race, and about what is in the best interest of our city.
Keep it a Non-Partisan Race:
At the municipal level, we elect officials to represent us outside the lines of political party. Party affiliation is not to be placed on any advertising sent by the candidate’s campaign. A mailer for candidate Colbourne identified the political parties of both candidates. In a second mailer, candidate Colbourne identified the political parties of elected officials below their photographs. This is not in the spirit of a non-partisan race.
Handle the Use of Photographs and Endorsements Ethically:
In a recent mailer from Candidate Colbourne, there were photographs of the candidate with various elected officials. Many, if not all, of the photographs were used without the consent of those officials and some of them were clearly photo-shopped. Photographs of a candidate with an elected official imply endorsement. In this case, elected officials did not even know their photographs were being used. It is a good practice to request written permission from elected officials to use their photographs in campaign materials and to have signed endorsements in writing.
The Miramar Democratic Club was mentioned in the headline of a mailer for Ms. Colbourne. We do not wish our club to be used as a vehicle for declaring one’s political party in a non-partisan race. We also do not wish the use of our name to be interpreted as an endorsement.
Keep the Campaign Honorable, Respectful, and Unifying:
Reports of Ms. Colbourne’s campaign manager yelling to passing motorists at a sign waving that her opponent “hates black people” are very disturbing. The fact that it was in front of a group of high school football players and their manager, all sign waving in support of her opponent, was even more disturbing. Mr. Samuel’s supporters were asked by Ms. Colbourne’s campaign manager to “support their own” – to support a candidate based on race. These activities reportedly took place in the presence of Ms. Colbourne, who did not stop them. Civility in politics begins locally. Supporters can wave signs for their candidate without engaging those campaigning for their opponent, and they can shout out for their candidate without maligning their opponent.
Keep the Campaign about Qualifications and Vision:
Voters would like to hear about a candidate’s vision and qualifications. Voters would like candidates, regardless of their political party, to be respectful of one another. We would like candidates to appeal to a voter’s best interest, not to fear, ethnicity, or political party.
Voters view how a candidate handles the campaign as a reflection of how that candidate will govern if elected. Respectful campaigns are in the best interest of the candidate, the residents, and the city.
Gloria Barry, Area Leader
Maggie Macaulay, President
Valerie Pigatt, Vice President
Michael Morell, Treasurer
Elizabeth McCartney-Morell, Secretary
Alanna Mersinger, Board
Bill Macaulay, Board
Glenn Joseph, Board
Roslyn Alic-Batson, Board