Dear Editor -
A few notes on the PA 42nd Senatorial election:
* Thank you for noting that there is a third candidate in this Special Election. (Fontana, Diven trading punches, May 7, 2005). This is more than some organizations, such as the AARP, are willing to acknowledge. Elaboration below.
* Michael Diven denies that a mailer's front-page photograph of his fiancee and nephews is misleading? Please. Then he further justifies this deceit by comparing this photo of his unidentified "family" to seniors with whom he has posed and brings in his deceased grandparents? What am I missing here?
Mr. Diven's denial of deceit should ring alarm bells as to his representation.
*The Post-Gazette's endorsement of Mr. Fontana (Fontana for Senate, May 1, 2005) notes that "In this case, picking between two dedicated public officials, and one quixotic candidate, almost demands a judgment on which party will best serve the district.."
Really? Does it demand that? Based on the publications, advertising and attitudes of the "two dedicated public officials" who are "trading punches," and by your own admission that, "two things are certain about the state Senate race featuring Republican Michael Diven and Democrat Wayne Fontana -- it's expensive and it's nasty" - I would feel compelled to demand an alternate candidate, not a "judgement" on which *party* will serve the district. That simply serves to continue a broken system.
But that's right, we *DO* have a third candidate - Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian.
Would that the voters had the opportunity to know this. But the money stream does not drip into any non-celebrity, third tributary. And money drives recognition. Unless the public has the opportunity to see all of the candidates. Such as in public debates.
But organizations sponsoring these debates, such as the AARP noted above, rely on out-of-date, discriminatory rules which define participation in electoral debates by the past performance of party affiliation.
Perhaps that makes sense in a 16-horse race. By why impose it on a three-horse race if not to perpetuate a two-party system?
The voters of the Western PA region need to accept the fact that our electoral system is broken ... and that campaign finance reform is simply the first step.
Why should third party candidates (a definition in-and-unto itself) be penalized by past performance of affiliated party members?