Letter: Dirty campaign for Blackberry assessor election

By on April 2, 2009

The previous two issues of the Elburn Herald contained letters that prove that dirty politics aren’t confined to state or national elections.

In my 40 years as a voter, this election for Blackberry Township assessor is the most nasty campaign for a local government office that I have yet seen. The incumbent has run a clean campaign, but the same can’t be said for the supporters of his opponent.

It’s the oldest campaign trick in the book: The candidate stands aside while her partisans, themselves immune from retaliation, hurl insults and accusations at her opponent.

In the March 19 Elburn Herald, a politician who does not live in this township—who doesn’t even live in Kane County—attacks Mr. Rotter on ethics grounds, but fails to explain how he received the brochure in question when he doesn’t live anywhere near here. The brochure is an annual one prepared by the assessor to inform residents of this township of their rights to appeal and of how the process works. Every taxpayer wants transparency, and Mr. Rotter is one of the few assessors who have gone to great extent to provide it. Apparently, Mr. Friedrich of Kendall County doesn’t have enough to do in his own assessor re-election campaign, so he had decided to interfere in one here.

The March 26 Elburn Herald contained the letter that disgusted me enough to write this one. That letter, from a Blackberry Township resident, slanders Mr. Rotter’s service as a fireman, calling it a “conflict of interest” with his office as assessor. It is that letter which angered me and has caused me to write this one.

As a former firefighter of seven years’ service and an ambulance attendant for two, I take personal offense to this unfounded attack on the reputation of a fellow fireman, and consider it an attack on all firemen and public safety personnel. The duty of firefighters is the protection of lives and property, and in the heat of an emergency there is time for nothing else. A firefighter risks his life and health in the service of his community, yet Ms. Snow of Elburn claims an assessor being a firefighter is a “conflict of interest;” shame, shame.

Something dark and dirty is behind all of this. I think the machinery of Ms. Wilcox’s campaign is being operated by someone we do not see, for motives we do not know. This is an ugly campaign, and as I write this, I cannot know what additional slanders and accusations will be thrown at candidate Rotter in this issue of the Elburn Herald, but a pattern has been established in the past two Elburn Heralds that there will be more.

The best way to discourage ugly campaigns like this is not to reward them. Mr. Rotter, the foul campaign tactics used by the accomplices of your opponent have convinced me that you are the right person for the job.

Mr. Rotter, you have my vote.

Dennis C. Ryan