Miles cries foul over ad on voting record
Political action groupís chairman calls incorrect info Ďan honest mistake.í
By Noah Brenner, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Date: October 22, 2008
Greg Miles, a candidate for Jackson Town Council, said his campaign has been damaged by a political advertisement incorrectly saying he voted to approve a development requiring a tunnel underneath Snow King Mountain.
The ad, which ran in the Jackson Hole News&Guide, Planet Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Daily, said Miles voted in favor of the Pine Glades development when, in fact, he voted against the development’s master plan as a member of the Jackson Planning Commission and was out of the country when the final development plan came before the commission. The master plan that Miles opposed included the tunnel.
Citizens for Responsive Government, the group that placed the ads, ran a retraction when it learned of its mistake, said chairman Don Harger.
But Miles said the retraction was too little too late.
“I was satisfied with the fact they ran a retraction in the next paper, but the damage has been done,” he said. “A lot of people saw that first ad, and the tunnel had been a contentious issue this election. They ran an attack ad and didn’t do their homework and put out false information.”
Harger said he moved quickly to correct the mistake.
“I don’t know what else I could do except stand on the street corner with a sign,” Harger said. “I did everything I could. That was an honest mistake.”
The ad documents the votes of county commissioners Leland Christensen and Andy Schwartz, Mayor Mark Barron, Councilor Mark Obringer and Miles on development issues.
Citizens for Responsible Government had two people researching voting records to ensure the ads were accurate, but they saw articles in the Jackson Hole News&Guide saying the Planning Commission unanimously approved the final development plan for Pine Glades and did not check the minutes of the meeting to see who was present.
Miles said the ads were negative attacks that didn’t further the dialogue on key issues in the election.
“They don’t seem to want to talk about solutions; they just want to try to divide the community,” he said. “Instead of spending all this money being negative, let’s talk about corrective changes so all of us can have a sense of community rather than just stick our heads in the sand and hope it goes away.”
Harger denied that the ads were attacking any candidate or in any way negative.
“These are actually voting records,” he said. “People with pro-development voting records might not like that, but we are showing how they voted.”
The ads were meant to educate voters about the actual voting records of certain candidates, something Harger said voters need to make good decisions on Election Day.
“These are nice people, they just have a different idea of how town should look rather than the community priorities,” he said. “There is nothing in it that says something nasty — it is just how they voted. Our group reflects the priorities of the community.”
Citizens for Responsible Government is a political action committee that has waded into town and county races. It endorsed Leland Christensen and Claire Fuller for the Teton County Board of Commissioners, Louise Lasley for Jackson Town Council and Mike Lance for mayor.
Citizens for Responsive Government, which has amassed at least 40 members in its short life, is made up of residents “united by our concern for the rate of growth and development and its affects [sic] on our wildlife, open space, workforce housing, costs of government, traffic, crime and small town character,” according to documents provided by Harger.
Other issues addressed in the ad include approval of the Snake River Associates Development and Grand Targhee Resort expansion for the county, and approval of the Painted Buffalo Inn redevelopment master plan and a proposed moratorium on planned mixed-use developments.