If you watched Friday’s Comment on Kentucky, you didn’t learn anything about the special election in the 56th State House District. Jack Brammer claimed there had been next to no get out the vote (GOTV) effort. Despite Lyen Crews working for five or six weeks going door to door – he’s knocked on more than 5,000 doors personally. Despite John-Mark Hack’s campaign reaching out to voters with targeting, telephone calls, advertising and mail every day. Despite James Kay’s campaign doing mail and walking for two weeks.
Ferrell Wellman allowed his bitterness and anger to boil over, slamming a Kay mail piece down on the desk, insinuating he was the only candidate reaching out to voters. In discussing the piece, he further suggested Kay wasn’t using negative advertising. Despite Brammer pointing out that Kay was launching television attack ads over the weekend.
Head – desk.
So let’s take a look at highlights from the newsprint world this weekend.
From Jack Brammer:
Kay is facing scrutiny from his opponents for his youth — he’s 30; speeding tickets — 11 in the last 11 years; and whether he has misrepresented his status as an attorney.
Crews is having to deal with questions about his performance as financial officer in two major Woodford County financial disasters — the cash-strapped former Woodford Memorial Hospital and Midway College’s costly failure to build a pharmacy school in Paintsville.
Hack is being attacked by both sides.
Kay does not deny that he has gotten 11 speeding tickets since 2002. “This race is not about my speeding tickets,” he said.
Republicans hope to make it an issue, especially a ticket Kay got in May 2010 in Scott County for driving 94 miles per hour in a 55-mph zone.
Republicans also are contending that Kay misrepresented himself as an attorney when he was arrested because his release form, after he posted $100 bond, listed his occupation as “lawyer.”
They note that Kay had graduated from the University of Kentucky law school in 2009 but did not pass the state bar exam until July 2011.
Kay said he was not successful in passing the entire exam on two earlier occasions.
Kay maintains that he has never misrepresented himself as an attorney. He said when he was arrested in May 2010 he had simply told the officer he had graduated from law school.
Kay previously told people he had never had issues passing the bar exam. As our readers know, the lawyer bit with him went much further than telling an officer he had finished law school. He told corrections staffers and wrote a letter that’s part of the official record on a law firm’s letterhead.
Meanwhile, Democrats are raising questions about Crews’ work at Woodford Memorial Hospital and at Midway College from March 2000 to earlier this year when he took a job with eCampus in Lexington.
At Woodford Memorial from 1994 to 1997, Crews, the chief financial officer, was responsible for the hospital’s assets. Its budget was $9 million to $11 million.
In 1999, the hospital’s chief executive officer, Nancy Littrell, who had hired Crews, was dismissed. In 2002, she was acquitted of one count of felony theft involving accusations that she grossly overstated her mileage expenses.
In 2003, Littrell averted a trial on another theft charge by agreeing to pay $3,400 toward indigent health care and performing 200 hours of community service.
From Al Cross, who seems to have a better grasp on what the race means for the Commonwealth:
It remains to be seen whether Hack’s underfunded campaign in the 56th District can get its message through the clutter of advertising for Crews and Kay, which have relied heavily on intellectually bankrupt mailers built around catch phrases, labels and innuendo.
“The two parties are so devoid of ideas and so inept at developing solutions to the complex problems we face, they have to . . . make people believe things that are not true, and that takes a lot of money,” Hack said in an interview. “The cigarette companies spent a long time doing the exact same thing, convincing people to act against their own best interests.”
But Hack’s main target is the legislature itself. He calls for repeal of the 2000 constitutional amendment that began annual sessions, an end to “full-time pensions for part-time legislators,” making all state pension payments public, and turning legislative redistricting over to an independent, nonpartisan commission.
Those proposals evoked interesting responses from the other candidates, showing how Hack is cutting across party lines, ideologies and attitudes, and making the race three-dimensional.
Crews and Kay favor keeping annual sessions, but Kay agrees a commission needs to draw districts. Crews says he doubts a truly nonpartisan panel could be created, says legislators should have no pensions at all, and agrees that any public employee’s pension should be a public record.
Kay said legislators should be in the same pension system with state employees, and legislative salaries and pensions should be set by an independent body. As for making all public pensions public, “It’s something maybe I’d consider, but I’d want to hear from the state employees first.”
Intellectually bankrupt, indeed.