Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Who in Arcuri Campaign Started the Disinformation?

Over the last few days, the questions about Democratic candidate Michael Arcuri's position on abortion have been flying around the blogosphere. The Arcuri for Congress discussion board was removed from the Arcuri campaign web site after questions about abortion were asked there. So, speculation began in many quarters that Michael Arcuri is Pro-LIfe (anti-choice ;) ) and didn't want to answer the question because he didn't want the issue of his opposition to legal access to abortion to ruin his chance to win the Democratic nomination.

It seems that the Arcuri for Congress campaign has become aware of the problem presented by these questions. It's a good thing, because, as the informal poll on the right hand side of the Take Back 24 blog front page indicates, the majority of Democrats now open to Michael Arcuri's campaign would reject Arcuri and vote for another Democratic candidate in the primary if they found out Arcuri was Pro-Life.

The Arcuri for Congress campaign has sent an email out to its supporters, and part of that email has been forwarded to me by someone named Jim (he doesn't provide a full name or email address). That selection from the email is seen below:

"The Message Forum has been temporarily removed from the website. It was done reluctantly because Mike most certainly wants a free exchange of ideas. But he also is still a sitting District Attorney... and is responsible for the integrity of the office. He does not want his campaign website being used by disgruntled individuals to undermine the integrity of the office. Until we figure out how to handle that, the message board will be down."

I was struck by this email because it suggests that the Arcuri for Congress discussion board was taken down for reasons other than we were otherwise told at first. The message from Arcuri's email, quoted above, clearly shows that Arcuri was involved in the decision to take delete the discussion board from his web site, and that his motivation was to prevent certain kinds of messages from being seen there. For one reason or another, Michael Arcuri didn't want the contents of a message on the Arcuri for Congress campaign discussion forum to be seen by the public - this much is admitted to in the email from the Arcuri campaign.

But, that's not the message we got from Arcuri campaign insiders. The message we got from Arcuri campaign insiders is that there was a software problem. Maimun Kahn, an Oneida County Democrat who on her blog says that she is working with the Arcuri for Congress campaign, also states in a comment on her blog that "I was the one who asked for the upgrades on the discussion boards that are being worked on so I can use it as the campaign tool I need."

Bob Hyde, the webmaster for the Utica County Democratic Committee (which has pro-Arcuri messages plastered all over it, but nothing for the other Democratic candidates), said knowingly in a comment on this blog that the reason the Arcuri for Congress discussion forum was deleted was just "a glitch in a website".

Both Maimun and Hyde suggested the problem was with software, not with the effort to censor content on the Arcuri web site that Arcuri didn't want people to see. Arcuri's email to his supporters contradicts that, and I'm inclined to believe the email. It's mighty suspicious to me, though, that two people with the Arcuri campaign separately fed me the same disinformation about what was behind the sudden deletion of the Arcuri discussion forum.

This episode suggests that the Arcuri campaign has some serious problems in organizing its communications. When the Arcuri campaign encounters problems, it needs to speak quickly, and truthfully, and with a unified voice. People like Maimun Khan and Bob Hyde should not be speaking about what's going on in the Arcuri campaign before the Arcuri campaign is officially ready to speak. They certainly should not be spreading disinformation about a growing controversy. What Khan and Hyde should have been told to do is to call Arcuri first.

This episode has further eroded the credibility of the Arcuri campaign, and it didn't need to. From the start of the Arcuri campaign's deletion of its discussion forum, I have been asking for communication from the Arcuri campaign. They would have been wise to heed those requests, but instead, they let the problem fester. It has now been festering, without response, for 5 days. The issue could have been over with in 5 minutes.

Mr. Arcuri, I'm a Democrat, and I want a Democrat to win. My only interest has been to open your campaign up so that the public can see who you are, and what you stand for, instead of getting the minimum amount of information possible from you, which has been the pattern so far. If I am pointing out these problems in your campaign, then you can be sure that the Republicans will find much worse and be much more brutal about it.

If you are going to be the Democrats' candidate, Mr. Arcuri, then you need to put your house in order. No more bumbling with communications issues like this. You need to take care of these things immediately and decisively, instead of letting campaign volunteers or aides, speaking on their own, try to do the talking for you.

The Arcuri campaign is always free to send me messages for clarification or dissemination - on the record or off the record. The same is true of the other Democratic campaigns, too. So far, the Les Roberts for Congress and Bruce Tytler for Congress campaigns have been making much better use of this blog as a resource.

Arcuri's campaign has seemed more interested in leaving me in the dark as much as it can than in utilizing this blog as a platform for communications. My requests for information have gone unanswered. Promises to contact me by email have not come to fruition. I've sent a request to two of Arcuri's campaign advisors for an interview with Mr. Arcuri, to help him get out his message, and that request has been met with silence.

What are we supposed to think about a candidate who runs a campaign more interested in secrecy than in communicating its message with the voters, and why should we Democrats accept the Washington D.C. insider declarations that you'll serve us best when you won't even talk with us?

Anonymous Jim has said that the Arcuri campaign plans on revealing Arcuri's campaign positions, on issues including abortion, through the Utica Observer-Dispatch on Sunday. Jim says that the message that led Arcuri to delete the message board on his web site was about something else other than abortion, and that the abortion messages just happened to be there at the same time.

Jim says. Jim says. I shouldn't have to be reporting on what some anonymous guy named Jim says. I should be reporting on what Michael Arcuri says, or at the very least, what Steve Cox says.

Help me out with this, guys, will you?


jim said...

I had also heard that there were web problems, particularly that some people found the forum to be confusing. That was the original probably, but then when individuals started using the forum to make accusations and not talk about issues it was removed. For several days prior to that they had already started talking about stopping the forum temporarily. These are the answers you ask for. The fact is that their is nothing mischievous or deceptive going on in the campaign with the forum. Arcuri does not want to duck issues, he encourages the healthy discussion of issues.

On a personal note I am truly dissapointed as to what I have seen on this blog. I was hoping that it would be a forum to discuss the issues. Yet instead it has been turned into a forum to discuss nonsense, to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I like this blog and the idea of this blog, but nothing seems to satisfy anybody on here.

Why do I support Mike Arcuri?

Because he is a good person that can lead our area into a prosperous future.

Anonymous said...

"Jim" is right, it didn't have anything to do with abortion. I have tried to elude to that fact in previous posts here, however, you qued in on the abortion issue. The REAL problem is a more serious one, his false, politicaly charged/motivated, "attempted" prosecutions as DA that have led to so many lawsuits and litigation, costing taxpayers a ton of money. Ask Mr. Arcuri when he conducted his first jury trial...I believe it was AFTER he became DA. The reason I point that out is beacause it shows that he is nothing more than a caeer politician, never intending to actually practice law.

The issue about misinformation being handed out by different members of the campaign is just one more example of the dishonesty of this man, which should validate my earlier encouragements to research the aforementioned cases along with many more. You will find that this is an evil man. And yes I said "evil".

This Jim charachter mentions the integrity of the DA's office, and "disgruntled" people who may have been prosecuted...Well, prosecutions for crimes are one thing...prosecutions and/or "attempted" prosecutions for politically motivated/charged reasons, that lead to costly litigation are an entirely different ball game, and certainly fall into the category of "campaign importance". Ask Arcuri how much money the country has had to pay Attorney Bartle Gorman of Utica, to represent him in the Cornel Maye case which will be argued in NYC. Jon, if you would like, I can email you a copy of the Brief filed on behalf of Cornel Maye that is now being reviewed by the Second Circuit Court of Appealls, this may help you understand why Arcuri REALLY pulled that forum down.

Yano said...

Interesting post. You don't live in Oneida County but you seem very knowledgable. However, I worry about the myopia I see on a lot of blogs such as this. These issues you are bringing to light aren't even on the radar screen for the residents of Oneida County. They get their local news from the O-D and WKTV and their friends and neighbors. This message board mishap hasn't tarnished Arcuri's credibility.

I laughed at Arcuri's attempts to paint himself as an underdog on his campaign website. This isn't some political neophyte outsider. His father was an important public official (he ran the UTA) with important connections to the Democratic powerbroker and local legend Rufie Elefante.

What's more, Arcuri has spent the last ten years or so cosying up to the biggest donors in the area. He's got definite backing--but now that Meier is in the race, Arcuri's chances are dimmed. A battle between Arcuri and Meier would really show the relative power and ultimate allegiance of the would-be powerbrokers and donors in the area.

His public profile is fairly solid--he's a law and order guy, and the conservative upstate NYers love that. But he does have some chinks in his armor--and he's had some bruising experiences.

The problem is there's no credible opposition to Arcuri. The Democratic machine is fully behind Arcuri, and no insurgent is going to upset that.

There are two problems here for him, as I see it. One is the potential for the character issue to hurt him in the rural counties. The second problem is if he gets drawn into an issue battle. The more he talks, the more dents he risks. His pro-life stance, if it is that, won't hurt him here though. In fact, it will only help.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Mike's fundraiser drew 300 people (a conservative estimate since the place was packed!) DCCC was there and already grooming him for a Spitzer event. Sorry Jon. Word is Eliot is the draw at a Manhatten fundraiser for Mike!!!