Letter: Town chair has unfair advantageKinnickinnic residents received a mailing last week that appears to function as a campaign flyer for our current town chair, Roger VanBeek.
By: Elaine Ray, town of Kinnickinnic, River Falls Journal
Kinnickinnic residents received a mailing last week that appears to function as a campaign flyer for our current town chair, Roger VanBeek. However, it was the town’s newsletter, printed and mailed at taxpayer expense.
Wisconsin Statute 11.33 regarding the “Use of Government Materials By Candidates” prohibits using “public funds for the cost of materials or distribution for 50 or more pieces of substantially identical material distributed after...circulation of nomination papers as a candidate.”
The front page article in this publicly funded newsletter seems designed to justify VanBeek’s instigation of a policy change regarding our town roads. Voters at the budget hearing in November overwhelmingly rejected a proposed massive road budget increase.
Those voters may recall that the road policy the past four years offered VanBeek’s employer bidding opportunities that were unavailable prior to the policy change. Since the town chair election could depend on voters’ views surrounding that policy, the timing of this mailing right before the election appears designed to repair VanBeek’s image and influence votes.
In addition to the newsletter’s quarter-page VanBeek profile on page 3 asking for our vote, the inside cover features a half-page article by VanBeek wherein his campaign promise says he hopes “...to continue representing you as a resident in the fairest and most productive way possible...”
It is obviously productive for VanBeek’s campaign to use our tax money to print and send this mailing, but how is it fair to his opponent or to the taxpayers?
The tiny space devoted to the other candidate for chair — about 1/6 page —failed to even mention that candidate’s name. It’s Gordon Awsumb.
Candidate Awsumb has a website (paid for by him) where the public can read about his background and opinions. He invites public comments, questions and suggestions at: www.voteawsumb.com.