A couple of weeks ago a girlFriend forwarded an e-mail she received from County Clerk candidate Chris Norby – who also happens to be our termed-out 4th District County Supervisor. The e-mail and the website to which it directed us, made a big deal about all the money Norby had accumulated in his quest to “preserve our vital records.” We wrote about it here and here and here .
Although we understand the importance of the moolah, we have to say that we were struck by the unseemliness of this pitch. Could it really backfire?
The only reason Norby can command a fundraising advantage over his competitors is because he is a sitting county supervisor, a job that permits him to exert more than a little fundraising leverage on the squadron of lobbyists and interests that normally pour money into County political campaigns. The idea that Norby would get support from lobbyists for any other purpose is ridiculous. No lobbyists care who the County Clerk is and have no incentive to invest in one. And in any case nobody believes that Norby is better qualified to be a County Clerk than some guy picked at random walking down Main Street.
Seen in this light, suddenly the money advantage starts to look a lot like a political fire sale, a sale in which the proceeds will continually diminish as Norby’s second term winds down and lobbyists perceive that their “investments” in him have passed the point of diminishing returns.
Government shouldn’t be for sale – at least not seen to be for sale. At the very least the appearances of probity should be observed.