Generally, one of the advantages an incumbent has in a political race is to have an established information network. In the case of city councilmen and women, they have email newsletters they send out to their constituents. Most of these newsletters aren't anything terribly exciting: a note from the elected official, information about projects going on, events happening in the ward, etc. I see quite a few of these newsletters and I don't think these are generally distinctly political enterprises. These emails give the councilperson the advantage of seeing productive and useful, but that's about it and only among people actually reading the things.
So, maybe it makes some sense that Tyler Vogt wanted access to Shirley Scott's email list [UPDATE: According to Jim Nintzel, Vogt actually commandeered all ward email lists] via a Freedom of Information act request. It seems like a little bit of a waste of time to me, barking a little up the wrong tree, but I also would have purchased my own name as a domain, so what do I know?
However, it's a terrible idea to take that list, and send out a email with the subject "Tucson City Council" with request for donations. It's doubly terrible to send out an unsolicited email that doesn't make it easy to get off the list that wasn't yours to begin with (several people who received the email complained online about how difficult or impossible it was to unsubscribe)...and that's what Tyler Vogt did with the email he sent out Friday. Let's ignore the generally snotty tone of the email itself, but it would have been a lot smoother if he just made the contention for his election and then given interested voters a place to get more information (and maybe even a place to donate, if they feel like it).
But instead, even if Tyler Vogt didn't legally "spam" Tucsonans, he did so in spirit. That general lack of 21st century common sense and decorum isn't a great sign for what he would do as an officeholder. Bad form, Tyler Vogt. Bad form.
The text of his email is below the cut.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this email. I'm Tyler Vogt and I am running for the Tucson City Council, Ward 4.
Our city government is out of touch with our community's needs and that's just not acceptable. Tucson needs a "new generation" Council member loyal to the people and not beholden to the entitled few.
I've been all over the world helping the underprivileged, hungry and the homeless. I never thought I would see this in our own backyard. Our unemployment rate is in the double digits, businesses are closing, people are struggling and our homeless population has increased 20% in the last 3 years. At any given time there are more than 6,000 homeless people in Tucson.
Shirley Scott has spent 16 years on the Tucson City Council approving Rio Nuevo waste, sweetheart deals, free rent, and pet projects. Her fiscal irresponsibility and lack of oversight has resulted in core service reductions and higher taxes. Tucson cannot afford to fund their waste in these hard times. Tucson needs new leadership.
My number one priority is to create jobs, sustainable high paying jobs. As your City Council representative I will fight to end the wasteful spending and back-room deals that cost taxpayers dearly. I will bring skills and integrity to this seat for the good of all the citizens of Tucson, not just the chosen few. The city council has failed to provide an executable plan that heads Tucson in the right direction; currently, there is no direction. I'm eager to make a difference in Tucson. This council has failed our community and it's time for change.
Please, don't let Shirley off Scott free.
Vote for change — Vogt for Ward 4, Tucson City Council.
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