Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or treat

With one week to go before Election Day, Tuesday, November 7, it's FUD time.

FUD stand for Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. At this stage of the campaign, as the incumbent, all you have to do is sew enough fear, uncertainty, or doubt about the challenger to make your candidate look like the safer alternative: "the devil we know."

If your opposition researchers can't find any dirt to exploit in the challenger's past (a controversial vote, voting against an otherwise popular bill because of an unacceptable tag-on amendment, appearing in a photo with George W. Bush, or preferably some personal problem), then make up something!

The latest four-page DFL hit piece sent via bulk mail on behalf of Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) says, "Last year, Judy Johnson said 'creationism' should be taught in our public schools [lie]. Now Judy Johnson has suddenly changed her tune [lie], but who knows what Johnson really believes? And how can we trust Judy Johnson to be our schools' advocate in St. Paul?"

These charges are a rerun of a lit piece from a year ago. Well, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start to believe it. Injecting wedge issues like this, especially late in the campaign, may rev up your base, but will do nothing to unite the middle. Of course the business of political parties is to win elections, not unite the middle. I get that.

The truth

Johnson is first and foremost an advocate of local control of schools, including curriculum decisions. "While state standards are important, local officials, school curriculum experts, teachers and parents are the best people to decide how to implement those standards in a manner that represents the interests of our local communities," says Johnson on her campaign web site.

As city council member and mayor, Johnson has a long record of working collaboratively with the school districts (Wayzata, Robbinsdale, Osseo, and Hopkins) that lie within the Plymouth city limits. All four of her children attend or attended Wayzata public schools (her oldest is a 2001 graduate of Wayzata High School). From the Johnson campaign web site:
During her years of public service, Judy has promoted innovative initiatives that have helped stretch public education dollars farther for our children. In creative partnerships, the City of Plymouth and our local school districts have worked together to offer more opportunities for our youth by collaborating on award-winning parks, pools, ice arenas and programs. By working in joint partnership, millions of tax dollars were saved and more opportunities have been made available for all students.

As President of the League of Minnesota Cities, Judy recently advocated for joint work with the Association of Minnesota Counties and the Association of Minnesota School Districts. This new effort of partnership advances cooperative thinking, stronger advocacy and legislative action at the Capitol that seeks to better serve our taxpayers and constituents. Never have these three organizations worked in such a collaboration to improve service delivery to the citizens of Minnesota.
How can we trust Judy Johnson to be our schools' advocate in St. Paul? Look at her record, not demonizing hit pieces from the DFL.

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