Money counts

Sheeler has a gripe about attention given to better-funded rivals
By  |  January 19, 2006

Your superior correspondents are as guilty as most for ignoring the many legitimate candidates who seek office, but are not given much chance of winning because of their reluctance (or inability) to link up with deep-pocketed contributors. Last week, Carl Sheeler, a Democrat running for US Senate, put out a press release in which he charged that the Other Paper is doing a disservice by not devoting more attention to his campaign.

Although the Urinal has “mentioned Matt Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse when reporting on current events issues or challenges to the winner of the Chafee and Laffey primary,” Sheeler said in a statement, “it has not attempted to reach our campaign for comment on many events and issues such as gouging of the public at the pump or [the] need for fair tax policies.”

The Democrat said many media outlets have covered his campaign’s releases. Yet, he says, Other Paper political columnist M. Chuckie Bakst ignores him. Further, Sheeler says, “I think history has shown the ProJo discounted first-time candidates like Claiborne Pell, Edward Beard, and Ron Machtley when they ran for federal office, too. It’s poor reporting when the public isn’t given the opportunity to decide.”

While Sheeler overreaches by suggest-ing the OP is part of the “political corruption problem,” he does have a point about how a candidate’s war chest correlates with their coverage. What about Democratic congressional candidate Jennifer Lawless, whose qualifications are far greater than her fund-raising ability? Or former state representative Rod Driver, who last week announced his run for the same Second Congressional District seat currently held by Jim Langevin? Will either of these two able and qualified contestants get anywhere near the same ink as the incumbent?

Sure, current officeholders always get more attention, for the simple reason that they are already in office. But we believer that Sheeler is right — the balance of coverage is way off. So much for this being a healthy democracy.

There goes the judge
When Bob Flanders retired from the state’s highest bench — amid much-deserved praise and great respect for the work done during his tenure — one thought he would move up in the legal world. Instead, he resurfaces as the mouthpiece for the memory-challenged health-care conference aficionado Robert Urciuoli, who faces charges in connection with Roger Williams Medical Center’s hiring of then-Senator John Celona of Nawt Prov. Urciuoli, who seems to have all the chutzpah, yet little of the élan of Buddy Cianci, is certainly entitled to the counsel of his choice. Still, he’s hardly the type of client we would envision with Flanders.

Another swiftie
Phillipe & Jorge are pleased to give an absolutely shameless plug to our favorite local theater director, Judith Swift, whose The Lonesome West opens on January 26 at the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre in P’tucket. It runs through February 26.

The play, by renowned author Martin McDonagh — part of his Leeane Trilogy — set in the remote Irish village of Connemara, is described by the Gamm as “viciously comic and darkly entertaining.” No wonder that Ms. Swift is involved, as those are her fortes (at least in real life). 

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