Charles Keefer's Blog

So Molly? You don’t know what day it is?

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As I understand it, Molly Douglas forgot to put the date on a government form that said she was running for mayor of West Palm Beach.

She did this as she was standing in front of a city official who time-stamped her form but didn’t ask her to hand-write the date.

The city official then accepted the form as complete and valid.

Some are saying that she can’t be an official candidate because she didn’t fill out the form correctly.

Now I wouldn’t know Molly Douglas from Adam’s house cat, but I would say that two things are perfectly clear. Molly Douglas wants to run for mayor and she filed the form on time. Otherwise, it would not have been accepted and time-stamped by the city.

Did she fill out the form correctly. Well, no. But does it matter? Well, no. What matters is that the city received the form on time. And that was attested to by the city bureaucracy.

If Molly Douglas is elected Mayor, will she ever have to worry about dating a form. Probably not. That’s why the city has staff.

Let me ask a simple question. How many of you sent off a check dated 2010 after Jan. 1? I’m getting pretty good at changing years in my old age, but I know I have made that mistake in the past.

This is something we call a clerical error. It means that someone not responsible for policy decisions made a boo-boo.

Molly wants to run for Mayor. She got her form in on time. So what is the problem?

She should be elected, or not, depending on what the voters think about her and her policies.

Here is what you should think about. Who does Molly represent?

The best way to determine that is by knowing who gives Molly money to run for Mayor. And you won’t know that.

The most critical time in a campaign is the last two weeks. The info on who gives Molly, or anyone else, money in the last two weeks to saturate you with TV commercials isn’t available until after the election. Information on who gives money to third parties to saturate you with commercials is not available at all.

So, when you wake up two weeks before the election happens, you won’t have a clue who Molly, or anyone else, is actually working for.

There is only one sure-fire bet.

No matter who it is, they aren’t working for you. They are working for whoever gives them the money to run.

There is a way to cure this. It is called public financing of elections.

You make a law that says whoever qualifies for an election gets some amount of dollars from the city to run their campaign. They get nothing from private contributions and nobody else is allowed to interfere. They use your money to run, but then they answer only to you.

This idea has been around a long time. The fact that it has not been implemented anywhere pretty much proves the politicians don’t want it.

What more can you say about a good idea?

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Written by Charles Keefer

January 13, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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