April 5, 2005

Welvaert enlists cronies for attacks

Don Welvaert apparently hates a fight. He must, otherwise he wouldn't be relying exclusively on others to dish out the dirt. And there's been enough mud slung to drain a swamp.

As I jokingly suggested in my April Fool's Day entry, I could have guaranteed that there would be at least one bomb hurled the day before the election. It was so in keeping with Welvaert's GOP backers go for the gutter strategy. And sure enough, an insert in today's Dispatch/Argus hit's a new high in lows. (The parallels between this and Bush's use of surrogates for dirty work at the national level are numerous and uncanny, but I won't go into that now)

It's a "letter" sent over the name of Moline Park Board Chairman Roger Clawson which is pretty shrill, disjointed, and rambling. It spends two full pages attempting to leave the impression that if O'Brien is elected, our parks will fall apart, no one will ever again have any fun, children will no longer be able to play sports, and the city will be a hellish nightmare to live in.

What does Clawson base his overheated charges on? Repeated readings show that the only evidence Clausen uses to construct this blistering indictment is that O'Brien, A. Only attended two meetings of the park board, B. Didn't show up at any of the grand openings of various park improvements and projects, and C. Has been critical of the park board and it's members.

That's it. There's not a shred of evidence suggesting that O'Brien will cut funding for parks or feels that they're unimportant. Nothing as far as any evidence of any of the charges, and nothing at all to suggest that parks would suffer under O'Brien.

Yet Clawson even goes as far as saying that if O'Brien were mayor, the city never would have hosted the ASA National Softball tournament.

This argument is even more disjointed and illogical than the others in the "letter". Clawson states that Moline got the tournament due to park director Milt Hand being involved in the ASA organization for over 30 years. He then proceeds to ask in bold type, "My question is would we see another ASA NATIONAL SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT IN MOLINE if Pat O'Brien is mayor? I DOUBT IT." Well then. There you have it. Clawson doubts it. Again, you ask, based on what? Well, based on the fact that O'Brien has only attended two park board meetings and has had the audacity to question some of the actions of the current board. (Oh yeah, and he didn't show up at grand openings.)

In the next paragraph, Clawson also comes out of nowhere and starts defending the use of city owned housing for parks department personnel, listing all the supposed benefits. The only problem is, he's being incredibly defensive yet says nothing about who is criticizing the practice (though we assume O'Brien), why the practice is being criticized, or even if it has been criticized. I haven't heard or read of anyone criticizing the policy, though I'm sure it could be open to debate.

Then he makes a backward leap to the softball tournament. He mentions a guess as how much revenue the tournament brought in and stresses that "Don Welvaert was there."

Well whoop-de-freaking-doo. Was Stan Leach there? He was mayor. That IS what we're talking about, is it not? And only a paragraph back he'd said Moline had gotten the tournament due to Milt Hand's 30 year association with the ASA! Which is it? Am I missing something here? Does O'Brien want to sack Hand? Would that even matter? Did the ASA hold it's tournament in Moline solely because Welvaert attended some meetings? Or would it have come to Moline no matter who showed up at meetings? The letter raises more questions than it answers, which of course is the point, though they hope it will raise serious questions about O'Brien. To me, it raises serious questions about the bunch that sent it.

Hand capitalized on his relationship with the softball association. That's good. But tell us Roger, how the hell does this relate to O'Brien? And how would his presense in the mayor's office somehow preclude getting a tournament such as the one that you're touting? Obviously you believe this to be true. I only wish you'd tell us why.

Oh, that's right. O'Brien didn't attend many meetings of the park board and didn't show up for grand openings. I almost forgot. And he said things that hurt your feelings, evidently.

Clawson runs on and on listing every project, good and bad, that the park board has done in the past several years, then curiously gets defensive once again.

He asserts twice that O'Brien has "gone out of his way to attack the Moline Park Board, it's director, and individual members." and that O'Brien "resort(s)(to)smearing your parks department." Gee, Roger, that wouldn't have anything to do with why you're attacking O'Brien now, would it? And really, which is worse? Did O'Brien smear you without a shred of evidence like you're doing here?

And though O'Brien's supposed "smears" and "attacks" are mentioned twice in the two page letter, Clawson never gets around to mentioning either when, where, or how O'Brien made these "attacks" and "smears", let alone letting us in on what O'Brien actually said.

Again, two packed pages and the only point Clawson makes is that Don Welvaert shows up to more park board meetings than O'Brien and assertions that O'Brien has "attacked" the park board. He then uses these rather feeble points to make the leap to suggesting that our park system will be in mortal danger if O'Brien is elected.

It's routine for a candidate to characterize their opponents efforts to smear them as "desperate", but in this case, Clawson's effort has the smell of desperation dripping off the page.

The fact that Roger Clawson is panicked should not be a valid reason to vote for his guy. Judging from his powers of persuasion, or lack thereof, and his willingness to frantically and ineptly try to cast O'Brien in a negative light, it might even be a reason to vote O'Brien.


At 4/05/2005 3:30 PM, Anonymous Blue State said...

I think Roger Clawson's letter was way out of line. For an official of the city parks department who is, therefore, under the city administration to interject himself in such a partisan manner is inappropriate at best.

He should offer Pat O'Brien an apology and, if not, he should resign his parks job with the city.

At 4/05/2005 4:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The Dope agrees. I don't know how Clawson could serve in Moline after this if O'Brien wins today.

Seems to be a foolish move on his part.

At 4/09/2005 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well sadly Dope, the fact is that this Clawson guy is a volunteer appointed by the Republican regime to chair a citizen committee. So that means there are no repercussions to him in connection with his "service" to the city. Especially now that his guy won - he probably won't be held to any higher standards than he has displayed to this point. However, Roger Clawson does sell insurance for a living which means the general public may connect the dots here and stop buying his wares if they are disgusted enough.

Having said that, the drivel Mr. Clawson wrote was likely trashed before read in most households. And if anyone attempted to read and make any sense of it, they probably wadded it up and tossed it.

I bet those who know him and were not actually on the park board with him called and gave him a piece of their minds.

Go ahead and check the yellow pages listing under insurance and call him yourself if you wish. He's real easy to find.

You know what they say, you can run but you can't hide.

At 4/10/2005 7:17 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for that Anon. (grrrrr)

I knew that he was not an actual city employee, which as you point out, gave him a little breathing room in issuing that disgusting letter. But I'm sure that distinction was lost on anyone that read the letter.

It was one of many unfortunate attacks in the campaign that as many have suggested, should make the Republicans blush. (like that's possible.)

And you're entirely right. If anyone happens to feel that what Clawson did was less than honorable, then they have a duty to not patronize his business.
That's a perfectly legitimate way of expressing your opinion.


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