I Tweeted a question earlier this week: “Does anybody else smell a letter-writing campaign?”
And one of my readers responded: Yes, indeed, he’d received an e-mail on July 11 from Lancaster County Democrats and the mayor himself, asking him to support Mayor Chris Beutler’s budget by writing a letter to the editor of the paper, or the mayor (waa?) and the City Council.
I figured a little campaign was underway when I saw a letter to the editor from the mayor’s own chief of staff (Rick Hoppe), and the Democratic Party’s No. 1 fan, Phil Montag (who did campaign work for the Dems and Beutler during the last campaign) and still other letters from people practically begging Beutler to raise their taxes.
One woman even brought a petition to the City Council from people saying, “Raise my taxes!”
Now there’s nothing like a good ol’ grassroots effort to sway city hall — but these organized letter-writing campaigns are a sham, and it’s too bad the Journal Star doesn’t always recognize when it’s being played.
Here’s what Beutler’s letter to his fellow Dems said, in part:
Show your support for a budget that reduces the size of City Hall while keeping our families safe and preserving libraries, parks, pools, and senior citizen services. Write a letter to the editor by clicking HERE, email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org and the City Council at email@example.com. Make your voice heard at the upcoming public hearing on the budget August 8th.
So the mayor basically asked people to swamp the newspaper and city hall with letters and people on public hearing day. That’s old-fashioned politicking and maybe shouldn’t surprise anyone. I just thought you should know that when you see letters to the editor, they’re not always random people who suddenly were inspired to write a letter in support of the mayor and his tax increases. Sometimes, it’s just politics.