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Posts published in “Day: April 10, 2006”

Three web pluses, noted

Jim Hansen web siteThree likeable things jump out from the campaign web page of Jim Hansen, now the sole Democratic candidate for the House in Idaho's 2nd congressional district.

One of them is the clear statement, up near the top right, saying: "Jim Hansen - an Idaho Democrat." There: He said it. He's a Democrat. A lot of other Idaho Democrats seem to do whatever they can to play it down. Hansen plays it up, and that's good politics: You should always wear what you have as a badge of honor. That may mean being despised by your own party's leadership (in the case of Republican Bill Sali) or may mean any number of other things. In Hansen's case, he's doing something a little audacious and wise, defining himself as an example of the species Idahoa Democraticus. He has something to live up there, since other Democrats will be tagged with him. But if he carries himself well, his whole party benefits. This kind of approach done in mass can do a lot to define who a party is, through who its people are.

Second thing is down toward the bottom of the page. There, he includes links not only to the web site of his recently-departed primary opponent, Craig Cooper, but also to his Republican opponent, incumbent Mike Simpson. Subtle, but something you don't see often - and another smart move. It's an open invitation to contrast and compare, with the implicit message: I'm not afraid of what you'll think about me after you check us all out. It puts him out there and above it all at the same time. (more…)

A proper show, but little more

Not a whole lot of inspiration coming out of the Oregon Democratic gubernatorial debate - the only widely-seen one betwen the three contenders - on KGW-TV tonight.

Probably none of the three - incumbent Ted Kulongoski and challengers Jim Hill and Pete Sorensen - lost any backers. But they probably didn't pick up many, either. None seemed to have the ability to consistently drive home a point, or get seriously into the implications of their messages.

On presentation points, Kulongoski fared best - he should have and had to, being the incumbent. He came across as smart, informed, connected and practical, and some real passion for his work showed through as well. He took good advantage of the viewer question of why someone would want this job: Kulongoski said he loves the jobs, loves being in the thick of things and making things happen. You could sense he meant it. It was a good response: Why would you want to elect someone with a dour attitude toward the job? (Both of the other two came across are much more dour.) (more…)

Not as I do

Jury duty - perhaps the most undervalued, certainly the most underpaid and poorly treated of our civic responsibilities - isn't popular when it comes to oneself. Few people want to take the time to exercise some of the most powerful decision-making any of us are called on in the public sphere, and that's in part because prospective jurors are not treated like public officials with an important responsibility - they should given the courtesy and deference of at least, say, a state legislator - but more like prisoners being shuffled through the system.

So consider the case of Kasia Quillinan, a former city councilwoman and now a candidate for muncipal judge there, at least partly through the perspective of an alarm bell. This is after all a person who, if the candidacy is successful (maybe a little more doubtful today than it was last week?) , soon will have to be insisting on people showing up for jury duty when they're called, and even punishing them if they don't. (She is opposed, it should be noted, by two other Salem attorneys, Jane Aiken and Lynda Olsen.)

Quillinan received a jury summons in March, doubtless an inconvenient time. What she did next, according to an Associated Press report and apparently unrebutted, was the real problem: "Quillinan used her electronic key card to access a back office, which is off-limits to the public. Once inside, Quillinan approached Judge Terry Leggert to see if she could be excused from jury duty." She used, in other words, her special pass - given to some but not all attorneys - to privately lobby a judge for a favor. You could use some ugly words to describe that sort of thing.

It certainly raises the question - as a secondary but potent campaign issue - of what she would tell a potential juror, asking publicly in open court, to be dismissed from jury obligations.