Saturday, April 02, 2005

Anonymous mailing commits battery on David M. Schauner

File this under "How to change stupid people's votes." : Mysterious postcards target Schauner:
An anonymous opponent of City Commission candidate David Schauner blanketed the city Thursday with a spurious postcard attempting to link the incumbent to domestic abuse.

Schauner, who is in the middle of a tight re-election battle, denied all allegations of domestic abuse and denounced the postcard as a political cheap shot.

"I don't know what to tell you other than it is an outlandish lie, perpetuated by someone who is afraid I may win re-election," Schauner said.

The postcard came in voters' mailboxes six days before Tuesday's general election. The message on the postcard was cryptic. It included a picture of Schauner and a Google logo, a popular Internet search engine. The text said, "I thought I'd let you know what I found on the web about this guy."

It then included the phrase "... David M. Schauner, Kansas National Education Association, of Topeka, ... for battery of his first wife and had been divorced by his second wife. ..."

A Google search of Schauner's name with the phrase "battery" turns up a document summarizing a case in which Schauner was involved as an attorney for his employer, KNEA. The case mentions battery, divorces and a second wife, but Schauner's only involvement in the case was as an attorney.

The postcard was signed by a Becky Kopeland. A search of phone records and voter registration records in Douglas County found no one by that name. The return address on the postcard was Schauner's home address.

There will be some sort of announcement tomorrow, at 3:30, at City Hall. The Post Office is investigating improper use of a prepaid stamp, and someone could get free travel down the road to Leavenworth.

What's fascinating about the attack is that it abuses Google's power, and people's unwillingness to actually read critically. Since Schauner had nothing to do with the crime, they couldn't make any claim. Instead they said "Hey, if you search for his name and this crime, you'll get a hit." It's simultaneously brilliant and idiotic.

After all, a search on George Bush and "draft deserter" would turn up tons of proof. Also, Pope and abortion. What does that prove? Nothing. But this cheap, petty slander will probably change the votes of a couple stupid people. For whatever reason, these postcards were only sent to female registered voters. I have some guesses why they did that, but none of them are favorable to anyone.

Schauner is one of two people endorsed by the Progressive Alliance, and one of three endorsed by the Sierra Club. I plan on voting with those endorsements, and I think you should, too. Schauner is a high school teacher and the lawyer for the Kansas NEA.

The Progressive Alliance quotes him saying "My compass for decision making will be the good of the entire community, not just a favored few." Apparently, that doesn't sound good to "a favored few."