NBCRG Speaks blog on New Berlin NOW, which was dormant for over nine months (last post was June 1), was revived yesterday.
Evidently, it was reactivated March 12 —---3 weeks before the spring election----- in order to hype mayoral candidate Dave Ament and ask voters to vote for him on April 2.
The blog post carries an endorsement of Ament by New Berlin Citizens for Responsible Government, a registered political committee, but displays no disclaimer. (You know, that “Authorized and paid for by…” statement that’s supposed to be on campaign literature, web pages, signs, etc. ). I called the Government Accountability Board and was told a disclaimer should be on there.
NBCRG Speaks blog has opted for one-way communication. No comment capability. It used to allow comments, but not now. Shutting off comments was done at the blogger’s request, according to the NOW online editor. Clearly, NBCRG Speaks wants to promote Ament, but not enable people to criticize him or raise concerns. The endorsement reminds me of a PR spot or unpaid ad. Gee, I wonder if NBCRG's spokeswoman Dolores Karner will be accused of cowardice and censorship for not allowing comments on her blog.
In his endorsement message, NBCRG President Ralph Heun contends Ament runs a successful business and claims he’ll control taxes.
Ah, but Heun omiitted to mention that Ament Industrial Truck (Ald. Ament’s business) had delinquent property taxes owed to the City of New Berlin at least three times in recent years. See my previous blog post.
I contacted the City Assessor and the City Finance Director today and was informed that the assessed value of personal property of Ament’s business for 2012 was a self-reported $2600. (That’s the value of assets to run the business—things like desks, chairs, filing cabinets, printers, fax machines, tools, machinery, equipment.) Wow. $2600 seems awfully low.
Unlike the Aments, my husband and I do not own or run a business. But if we did co-own a successful business in New Berlin, I would not be working at Walmart like Ament’s spouse. If I was running a successful business, I would not be also running for a full-time elected administrative position like mayor that requires so much time, effort and attention.
NBCRG Speaks conveys that NBCRG’s mission is to inform the public about significant issues and to recommend action when deemed necessary. Was there nothing they considered significant between June 1 and March 12?
***** 3/14/2013 Did I mention that Ald. Dave Ament's wife has been actively involved in New Berlin Citizens for Responsible Government (NBCRG), a registered political committee that endorses candidates for office and seeks to influence elections?
On March 12, NBCRG Speaks (their blog on New Berlin Now) was re-activated and it posted an endorsement of Dave Ament without any disclaimer on it. The morning of March 13, I spoke to the City Clerk about NBCRG's endorsement. She told me that she'd informed them previously that they needed to file a certain form with her before endorsing/supporting a candidate but they hadn't done so. I called the Government Accountability Board about NBCRG's online endorsement on a Now blog and was told NBCRG needed to have a disclaimer on there as to who was authorizing and paying for that communication.
I guess it's a testament to the effectiveness of my blog that on March 13 at 3:21 pm I posted my NBCRG's Unpaid Ad-Endorsement blog, which mentions NBCRG's lack of a disclaimer--and then AFTERWARD on March 13, NBCRG Speaks amended their March 12 post to include the disclaimer.