Sunday, March 18, 2007

Breen and mis-spent resources

I see the trial of Mark Smith on the issue of allegedly tampering with Kevin Breen's campaign signs has started. For those who are not up to speed on this, check out Bond and Meeker and Locke. These prior posts have gone some way to putting this matter in context.

So you have to wonder what damage was incurred that warrants this kind of prosecutorial full-court press: $160 worth of "Lying" labels placed on campaign signs that were, in turn, corrected by $60 in "Service" labels within 24-36 hours.

It wasn't the fact that there are huge amounts of money at stake because you don't see this kind of action based on a monetary loss of $60.

And the Breen camp, quite wisely, are not making the claim that this incident was one on which the election turned because it clearly was not.

Breen was walloped by Ellsworth - 3302 votes to 2138 with even Geoff Peters hot on Breen's tail with 1876.

Pointing out the fact that Breen had promised one thing and then voted a different way on a high-profile issue might have turned the tide against Breen if those facts were a revelation to the voters but they were not. Every municipal voter with a pulse, and every voter in that ward for sure, knew what Breen had done and said on the Memorial Stadium issue.

For the voters, the only question left was whether that fact was sufficiently unimportant enough to them to vote for Breen anyway. In the end, only 2138 voters out of 7316 or 29% thought Breen deserved their vote. "Lying" labels didn't cause that.

So if the reason for this prosecution is neither monetary loss nor the cause of public policy due to a subverted election, then all that's left is just the exercise of personal influence in an over-response to public embarrassment.

And that's not good enough.

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