Dirty pool in Damascus
Three days before the recent election, an oversized postcard appeared in my mailbox. Titled “Damascus Town Supervisor Joe Canfield,” it advertised things he has done for the community, his long experience in the logging business, and his philosophy of “strong support for property rights.”
In an opposite column it listed the accomplishments of his Democrat opponent Dolores Keesler (who taught school in Damascus Township for over 25 years) as: “ ? – promises.” I assume the writer means that her promises are questionable. Her campaign material did promise support for clean water and clean air.
Clearly this giant postcard was political advertising. But the signature line said only: “This ad did not originate with the candidate, nor was it paid for by him.” Republican Joe Canfield denied knowledge of the piece. He did win the election—no surprise, since Damascus is roughly two-thirds Republican to one-third Democratic.
The surprise followed a few days later, when it was disclosed that the writer and distributor of the ad was Damascus resident Mike Uretsky. Now, Uretsky is an educated man who should have known that anonymous political ads are “dirty pool” even if effective, as this one was. And he is hardly a disinterested letter writer. He is a known spokesperson for the Northern Wayne Property Owners Association (NWPOA) and speaks often to support its gas extraction goals and the “gifts” that will come to Wayne County when gas drilling really gets going.
All this makes me wonder. Why does the NWPOA seek anonymity in supporting Joe Canfield? He is one of their own. And exactly how realistic are the benefits promised to Wayne County from gas extraction? Will promises of many new jobs, improved roads, and (especially welcome for economically deprived Wayne County) enormous cash inflows actually materialize?
I know now for sure that we can add “dirty pool” politics to this list of “benefits.”