21 May Will PACs Flock to City Hall this month?
This article, originally published by Al Zucaro on BocaWatch.org, is preserved for historical purposes by Massive Impressions Online Marketing in Boca Raton.
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There is no doubt that Political Action Committee (PAC) dollars will find their way into the upcoming ‘special elections’. That is inevitable. Special interests always have significant interest in the outcome of the election process; particularly with access to the candidate post election. That is simply how the political game is played. What is most important, however, is how residents respond. Generally speaking PAC dollars are supposed to be raised independent of the candidate’s campaign. Most observers find that hard to believe. Also of great import is how PAC dollars are expended. Referred to as ‘dark’ dollars, these funds often are use to advance negative opposition research allegedly independent of the campaign. Again most observers find this notion of independence hard to believe. If voters accept the probability that the candidates have some advanced knowledge of the PAC generated mailers and, also, that the campaign has some ability to control the PAC’s messaging, then the candidate can be held accountable for negative campaign tactics. In this ‘special election’, all candidates, in both the Mayor and Seat A elections, should take a pledge to not go negative and to use ‘best efforts’ to have their supporters refrain from negative campaign materials regardless of form or medium. Boca Raton residents have clearly demonstrated their discomfort with the negative tactics employed in each of the last four City Council/Mayor elections. (See the open letter from resident Jay Van Vechten published in November 2017) Enough is enough! Civility must prevail.
Al Zucaro, Publisher
The following was a letter sent to city council members by Boca Raton resident Jay Van Vechten in November of last year:
Friends, and I consider you all friends – I see that another of your own, Michael Mullaugh, has now teamed up with former city councilman Al Travasos and my friend and neighbor, former city councilman Mike Arts, to begin mounting political attacks through their website, ForBoca.Org.
I beg each of you to say enough to this group and any other group that attempts to interfere in our elections going forward. It needs to stop now. It places a very dark cloud over our city government and the entire community at large. We cringed earlier this year every time we opened our mailbox and took out another hate piece. I don’t think anyone in this town wants to go through that again. There’s enough insanity in Washington DC these days to last all of us for a lifetime. Let’s agree not to bring it here.
You’re the only ones with the collective voices that can call an end to what we all witnessed earlier this year – on all sides. It was hideous and put a pall over Boca’s election process – even after the elections were over. Some might even say that rancor continues to this day.
It saddens Lowell and me to see this great jewel of a city dragged into such dark places. And I have to believe it doesn’t please any of you either. Time to let your collective voices be heard in Tallahassee, in Boca or wherever any of this is unleashed.
Thanks for listening. See you at the Bash on Sunday, March 4th, our 10th anniversary celebration of diversity in our community.
Jay Van Vechten