Voters should ignore sleazy mailer

Written by Baker City Herald Editorial Board October 22, 2012 08:29 am

‘Tis the season for slimy political tricks, but the example that a local resident brought to the Herald office on Thursday is particularly disturbing.

The package, which was sent by regular mail, attempts, in a pathetic and clumsy way, to besmirch the reputation of Steve Bogart, one of two candidates for Baker Justice of the Peace.

It’s based on a 1995 incident in which current Baker County District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff, at that time a deputy D.A., was arrested for drunken driving in Union County.

Bogart was at that time Baker County Judge — not an actual legal judge, but the position we now call chairman of the Baker County Board of Commissioners. Bogart did not fire Shirtcliff, who completed an alcohol treatment program and probation, and who has gone on to a successful career as district attorney.

The person who sent the mailer lacked the fortitude to attach a name to the missive.

But under the cloak of anonymity the person levels a blizzard of nasty-sounding charges against Bogart, suggesting that he is unqualified because he lacks a “true moral anchor,” “possesses a foul sense of justice” and, egads, he used to work in a lumber mill.

We hope few people received this insulting compilation in their maibox. 

Moreover, we hope no voter is influenced by this affront to reasonable political debate.

We believe both Bogart and his challenger, Don Williams — who we’re confident had nothing to do with the mailer — are eminently capable of serving as Justice of the Peace.

In fact we’re so confident in both candidates’ abilities, and in the similarity of their qualifications, that we’ve chosen not to endorse either in the election.

We feel this is a reasonable position, given that Williams and Bogart themselves, when we asked each if his opponent was qualified to serve as Justice of the Peace, both showed great honesty and civility by saying yes, the opposing candidate was qualified to do the job.