To the Editor,
I would like to take a couple of moments to respond to what I believe was a thinly veiled attack in your Mailbag section from Tamarack Little, a supporter of Rep. Andy Nichols ("Nichols For Your Thoughts," Tucson Weekly, August 15).
In her letter extolling the virtues of Nichols and the laundry list of his deeds as a legislator, Little decided to take a swipe at me. She apparently referred to my whopping six months as a junior staffer in the governor's Tucson office--not long known to be a veritable hotbed of political activity in Southern Arizona--where I worked on constituent services (you know, for the people). Does this make me a "crony"?
I served in the U.S. Army for more than six years. Does that mean I can therefore be considered a "crony" of Colin Powell? I've known state Sen. Patti Noland for four years; she is a member of my campaign committee and a strong supporter. (Noland is not widely known to harbor great love for our governor.) Am I a Patti Noland crony?
I left Symington's staff in 1993 to work on civil rights issues for the Clinton administration's education department--not as a political appointee, however. I don't think Bill and Hill will be having me over for dinner any time soon. I am still hoping for some advice on investments in cattle futures, though.
I also worked for state Rep. George Cunningham once. Does that mean we're now politically tied at the hip? I sincerely doubt it. Since I began my foray into policy and politics here in southern Arizona with Congressman Jim Kolbe--whom I would describe as a very good friend--does that make me his crony?
And--though I know I risk the response that Tamarack knew him, was a friend of his, and is certain that I am not another one of him--the late Robert Kennedy began his political career as staff counsel for Sen. Joseph McCarthy's attempt to weed out the supposed communists from the Army and state department in the 1950s. I would not characterize Bobby Kennedy as a McCarthy crony--though he does appear to come closer to the definition.
Maybe, Tamarack, I'm just me. Maybe I'm just a high school teacher trying to do something right and not anyone's crony "weaseling my way into the House."
Let's, as you say, look at the candidates for office, "vote responsibly," and also stop such petty attempts at name-calling. I have ideas that are good for District 13. If, Tamarack, you are interested in a real, thoughtful discussion of the issues and willing to cast aside your attempts at negative campaign tactics, I would love to speak to you. I can be reached at 749-6532. Please feel free to call anytime. I am certain that if we engage in meaningful discourse, you will find that there are many issues on which we can bridge the gap.
--Scott D. Kirtley
On The Sly
To the Editor,
wea-sel (we'zel). 1. A sly, cunning, or sneaky person (someone who hides their identity to harm others, hoping that the deception will not be found) -*vi.1. To use weasel words (using loose definitions to portray another in a light not factually suited to their nature or activities) 2.[Colloq.] to avoid or evade a commitment or responsibility (intentionally not living up to the responsibility of open and honest political discourse and intentionally avoiding our commitment of honesty and integrity with the voters).
In the above definition, I have added text, the purpose of which is to hopefully enhance the level of debate during this political season. Of course, it is also an attempt to give someone a lesson on the proper use of a dictionary and how to match traits with a given definition, something of which Tamarack Little apparently has no knowledge.
In a recent letter to the editor published by the Tucson Weekly ("Nichols For Your Thoughts," August 15), Tamarack extolled the virtues of incumbent Andy Nichols and also took the opportunity to engage in some nasty politics by inferring that Scott Kirtley was one of the Governor's "cronies weaseling his way into the House." As Scott's Campaign Manager, I expected this attempted linkage, though Scott only worked for the Governor for six months.
Underlying this flippant comment and thinly veiled negative attack is a deeply seated problem that plagues politics--the tendency to resort to negative and dirty politics when beaten intellectually. The point of this letter is not to besmirch the achievements or work of Andy Nichols, who has represented District 13 since 1992. He has done some good for District 13. Rather, it is an attempt to bring the debate back to where it should be, the issues.
Of course, to do so, we all must come out of the closet so to speak. If Tamarack Little is going to engage in negative campaigning, she or he should at least do so under his or her real name. You see, in an attempt to locate and discuss the issues with Tamarack, we have found that she just does not exist. Surely one would think that someone so knowledgeable about the history of Andy Nichols would at least be a registered voter. 'Fraid not; she cannot be found in the voter registration lists. Nor does she have a local address or phone number in Pima County.
This leads me to believe that this attack was done by the Andy Nichols campaign with the hope that no one would notice. In my heart of hearts, I hope this is not the case because the Kirtley Campaign fully intends to run a campaign that discusses what is important for District 13 and Arizona.
In so doing, Tamarack, or whoever you are, we invite you to come out of the shadows and join the debate. If you think Scott's short tenure with the Governor's staff makes him a crony and a weasel, I challenge you to state so publicly but honestly. Would you not agree, Tamarack, that using words in a deceptive manner and hiding your true identity are the actions of a weasel, n. A sly, cunning or sneaky person? We do not want to quibble over non-issues, but we do believe that honesty and integrity are two elements that must guide political discourse and should never be discarded, not even for Machiavellian pursuits of victory.
If, Tamarack, you should decide to discuss education, taxes, crime, the devolution of government, environmental issues or any other issues you fight for, including health care, the Kirtley Campaign will oblige you and join you in public debate.
--Bryan James Elliott
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