JULY 14, 2010
It seems I owe my readers an apology for my June 30 column, "Signs of the Times" in which I discussed the campaign billboards and mailers of a number of political candidates in this election cycle. I was puzzled why Shawnna Bolick, running for a House seat in Legislative District 11, would use a sign that looked like vandals had gotten to it. It turns out that she had reproduced a drawing of one of her small children to adorn the top of her sign. It is not my idea of smart marketing, but what do I know? I lost in my one run for office.
I was taken to task in comments posted on the website seeingredaz.com for not disclosing the fact that I had donated money to Bolick's campaign. Fair enough. While we're at it, I want you to know that I also gave a donation to another LD11 House candidate, Eric West.
The oversight of a disclosure was not meant to deceive anyone. In writing my columns since the late 90s, I have endeavored to never print a falsehood or deceive the public. My father drummed into his two children that there was nothing worse than a liar, and it stuck. (It unfortunately made me into a lousy poker player.) I also have made an effort not to make fun of something that a person cannot control. Therefore, you won't find me pointing at the big ears of President Barack Obama or Prince Charles.
As I watched lobbyists ply their trade down at the state legislature, I felt grateful that 99 percent of any lobbying I did was pro bono. Therefore, I never had to make statements to influence a vote that weren't aligned with my beliefs. That's a bigger deal than you might realize. Since I owe nothing to anyone, I have the marvelous freedom to call it like I see it.
A case in point is former U.S. Representative and gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon who always positioned himself as a fiscal conservative. When he took a lobbying contract for almost $200,000 with the City of Phoenix to bring home the bacon from D.C. for the wasteful light rail project that no fiscal conservative could ever support, he explained that he had to feed his family.
Misquote of the month
My eyes bugged out as I read this headline on the Internet last month: "Democrats Vote Down 5 Percent Rule." It went on to say, "In a bid to stem taxpayer losses for bad loans guaranteed by federal housing agencies Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) proposed that borrowers be required to make a 5 percent down payment in order to qualify. His proposal was rejected 57-42 on a party-line vote because, as Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) explained, 'passage of such a requirement would restrict home ownership to only those who can afford it.'"
That's quite a statement, even for Sen. Chris Dodd. Well it turns out that the source of the rumor came from my friend John Semmens who writes a weekly satire column entitled "Semi-News – a Satirical Look at Recent News" that is published in the Arizona Conservative. (See www.AzConservative.org.) When Semmens started his column, I wondered how many readers would not realize that the news items were satire, even though the kernel from which he launched his humor was true. Now we know.
Semmens must be laughing about his other news item that went viral in 2008. The photo of candidate Barack Obama not holding his hand over his heart at a campaign event in Iowa when the national anthem was an actual photo. However, Semmens wrote that Obama said he didn't salute the flag because the American flag "is a symbol of oppression" and that the National Anthem "conveys a war-like message." Look what you started, John, you devil you.
Becky Fenger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.