Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cheap Shot Update

Back on December 23 I reported this bit of information that was sent my way via a phone call from a Joe Moore supporter;

Blane Roberts - has a car in the city impound lot, owes $3,900 in unpaid tickets, and his license is suspended due to the unpaid tickets. 

I emailed Blane for his side of the story and he responded;
  • He sold his car in 1997 to a buyer from Milwaukee.  He does not own a car.
  • The total fine was $975, which he has paid, and has a letter from the Department of Revenue attesting that he has no indebtedness to the city.
  • His license is in good standing.
I contacted Blane by phone.  There were two unpaid tickets from the 1990s.  They did not surface on a search using his Driver's License number.  He did not think to try an address or other search term.  If he could hit the reset button and start over he would go to the Department of Revenue and get his status checked there.

(ETA: I heard from Blane and he adds that there are two ways to search online, Driver's License and Vehicle License.  With the car sold over 10 years ago he didn't have the license number.  I suspect that he would have found the tickets if he had that number.  In my opinion he learned an expensive lesson.  Should he run again in the future, on the ballot, he will no doubt get there unopposed.)

Blane withdrew on the advice of his attorney.  While it was possible to contest the issue, the wording of the law would have made it difficult if not impossible for Blane to prevail.  Regardless of the outcome the financial cost to Blane would have exceeded paying the fine.  Thus the decision to pay the fine so he could move on and run a write-in campaign.  The write-in flyer does not say how Blane wound up off the ballot, but that is what he told me.  I checked the Board of Elections site and they have not updated their reporting about the status/decisions since December 23.

It's pretty clear that my caller was, in the words of an Aussie acquaintance, "off planet" with his allegations.  The only fact he had anywhere near correct was that Blane was being challenged on old parking tickets, which I had commented on back on December 16.  Mind you, he used present tense, and was clearly speaking about current events.  Let's recap.  My caller was;
  • Wrong about how much was owed.
  • Wrong about the car.
  • Wrong about the suspended Driver's License.
I would write this guy off as someone to be safely ignored, or at least double checked, on anything involving the campaign except; this is the same person who told me Olsen was acting independently, and Moore had nothing to do with him.  Interestingly, Blane's write-in flyer makes a reference to Olsen and his employer as surrogates for Moore.  Campaign hyperbole or something more?

If my caller was deliberately trying to blow smoke up my backside about Blane, what about the Olsen/Moore relationship?  Am I dealing with an addled fan-boy who blindly accepts and repeats outrageous stories/gossip about the competition?  Or am I dealing with an ardent supporter who, out of a sense of loyalty, is deliberately peddling hog-swallow with a milk and honey label slapped on?

My caller didn't say these were his opinions or beliefs about Blane.  He was repeating stuff that he either dreamed up on his own or heard from others.  My caller didn't source his claims, and I don't believe he ever will.  He has no credibility at this point, absent full on disclosure of his sources in the future, should he ever try to tell me what is what again.  My source is identified and can be contacted by anyone who wants to.

1 comment:

Thomas Westgard said...

I would add the ultimate wrong, namely that any of this matters. If Blane had ten cars in impound, I wouldn't consider it significant. The questions I have are more like these: What are his policies? What is his track record of working with others? What signs does he show of knowing what the ward needs or wants?

I don't give a rat's ass about whatever parking tickets he has. I just don't see that reflecting on his ability (or lack thereof) to be a good alderman. So many other things say so much more.