July 23, 2006
Stuart James' One-sided View of Impropriety
Hamilton County Democratic Party chair Stuart James is correct to point out the possibility for inappropriateness with regard to Sheriff John Cupp and his campaign manager, Election Commissioner Mike Walden. The point is made, though, without telling the story's other side.
You see, there is another Election Commissioner who has close ties to an elected official. These two just happen to be Democrats, while Cupp and Walden are Republicans.
Karen Lee, who lost a primary election for City Council in March 2005, was named to the County Election Commission soon thereafter. The state legislature votes to install county election commissioners, right? So it would appear that Rep. JoAnne Favors, District 29, would have voted in "favor" of Ms. Lee to join the commission. Their relationship? Mother and daugther.
Furthermore, as Rep. Favors is running for re-election this November, the same potential for conflict named by Mr. James in his diatribe against Cupp and Walden is theoretically possible in the case of Commissioner Lee and Rep. Favors. (I say "theoretically" because it just so happens that Rep. Favors is unopposed in this eleciton; but what if she weren't? The same power to count votes for her Mom would be in her hands as is in Commissioner Walden's hands to count the Sheriff vote.)
This post is not written to defend Sheriff Cupp. The man has done Hamilton County wrong in many ways for several years, and this closeness with court security manager and campaign manager Walden, whom I understand is a great guy (as is Cupp, I might add, from a private-sector perspective), does raise several questions.
But the Democratic party leader, if he is to point out the existence of these questions, needs to first look in his own glass house (conveniently, Rep. Favors is also his party's vice-chair) before throwing the proverbial stones.
Better yet, let an independent (say, yours truly) point out the potential for impropriety on BOTH sides and demand that something be done by the respective parties -- and, if necessary, the legislature -- to ensure absolute fairness to all voters.
Finally, this whole thing is really blowing so much smoke up our hindparts. I have seen no evidence to suggest that Mike Walden would ever abuse his position on the Election Commission to alter the outcome for his friend; and likewise, I have none to suggest that Karen Lee would do anything of the sort regarding her mother's chances. That said, though, it's important for us citizens to be watching our government officials and agencies for these very types of questionable relationships. Let's just watch in all directions, rather than with partisan blinders on.
Hamilton County Elections | By joe lance | 12:37 PM