Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A look at the red card

If you don't live in the village, or you weren't on the special mailing list, you might be curious what the "red card" is all about.  I've scanned in what arrived in our mailbox on Saturday. Click on the image to see a larger version:

Red card front:  The use of ALL CAPS immediately drew my attention to the amateurish design

Red card back:  note the spelling errors ("in block" and "Dugan")
The permit is owned by Cornerstone Services, a New Paltz-based mailing business, which employs local people.  The owners will not release client information due to confidentiality concerns, which I support.  What I don't support is Cornerstone's policy of accepting political mailings without a valid return address, regardless of legal requirements.  I would like to see the company publicly apologize for doing so, and agree to review that policy.  Just because you're allowed to do something doesn't mean you should.  I have fired clients, and refused to take others on, because of ethics concerns; I for one prefer the companies I do business with to do the same.

I would feel this way no matter who the candidate named on the red card had been.  It's the anonymity of the mailer which annoys me, and I am very interested in exposing the culprit.  There are a number of opinions floating about, implicating every single mayoral candidate (yep, I meant all four) and a number of non-candidates as well.

I didn't allow the red card to affect my vote, although I have it good hearsay that other people decided to vote for West after receiving it.  The hearsay did not tell me if these alleged enraged were changing their votes, or were polarized to vote when they otherwise would not have done so.

Please, do not accuse any specific individual of mailing the red card unless you are willing to provide your name and your evidence.  Libelous comments won't be permitted.


Martin McPhillips said...

"I would like to see the company publicly apologize for doing so, and agree to review that policy. Just because you're allowed to do something doesn't mean you should."

I'm not sure that this rises to the level of an apologizable event. Perhaps if the card had accused West of being a practicing Satanist I would agree with you.

Terence said...

I think the company holds a certain responsibility to its neighbors, even if they do that sort of chicanery in other locales where I can't see it.

gadfly3 said...

Is it your belief that you should be able to tell other businesses how to operate, and those that do not use your standards are bad and should apologize every time they do something you do not like. If the sender of the Red card gave a phoney address would you be insisting that businesses get two forms of I.D before doing business with anyone Is the Red card any different then those people who went around the day before the election and removed every candidates signs except those of the one they supported? How do you know that Jason did not send out that card to anger people to vote for him. Remember the last time he ran, his party got the college paper to print support for a dog write in to detract from other write in candidates. New Paltz politics has always been this way, and right or wrong it is over.

Terence said...

Underhanded tactics should be resisted every step of the way, 3. It is my belief that every citizen should use his or her dollars to vote to support businesses that support ethical behavior. Cornerstone works with political candidates all the time, and if they decide to be a little more responsible, we all benefit.

Your slippery slope argument will not be satisfied no matter what I say, unless I agree that doing nothing is the only acceptable alternative.

I guess I wasn't clear how I feel about this incident, so I will go ahead and try again. No matter who sent the red card, I plan on exposing them if I can. If it was a candidate, or the new mayor himself, or a trustee candidate, or even an out-of-towner, I want to know, and I want everyone else to know. I don't play favorites when it comes to underhanded tactics.

As for the sign thieves, they are no better. I suppose they're smarter, in that they leave less of a trail of slime to follow, but they are probably worse than the red carder, because they (usually) skulk about in the night rather than being upfront and honest.

If you have a suggestion how to track down the sign thieves, I am all for it.

kt tobin said...

actually, it is a violation of section 602.1.5.3(d) of the Domestic Mail Manual(DMM) to fail to print a valid return address on any mail piece that bears a postage permit imprint

Stephen Hillier said...

I'm glad KT found this, since I was pretty sure it's illegal. And, of course, it's plain stupid since it undermined any legitimate claims in the piece. So, instead of asking, is it true that Jason was irresponsible with village finances, we're instead focused on who sent the hit piece. If I were cynical, I might think Jason and his supporters put this out. But I'm not cynical. So I don't.

Brittany Turner said...

Well, you can take One Community off the list of suspects. We received the postcard via a PO Box on Saturday, and at our home on Monday. At 9:00am Monday morning, I contacted the Newburgh sorting facility to determine who owned permit number 473. Upon finding out it was Cornerstone, I contacted them directly to get contact information for the sender and was told to "Google it." After researching bulk mail on the USPS website, I found that this is illegal, however it appears that it is the responsibility of USPS to accept or reject improperly prepared bulk mail. I sent the message below to a number of Cornerstone employees, and CC:ed Jason West on the message. I have yet to receive any response.

May 2, 2011 - 9:04PM

Good evening,

I was very disappointed to receive a mailing under Cornerstone's permit number with no return address. This mailing, a red postcard attacking a political candidate (who I do not support), purported to be sent from the "Concerned Tax-Paying Citizens of the Village of New Paltz." I called to obtain contact information, and Bernadette informed me that I should Google the organization to find out their address. She would not give me any other information about the sender. I did Google this group, and also checked with the NYS Attorney General, and the organization does not exist.

According to the USPS, "There are some instances where mailers MUST use a return address." This included, "Company permit imprint." (from

As such, I would like an explanation as to why Cornerstone sent this mailing, which clearly did not meet the requirements of the USPS, as well as contact information for the individual or group responsible for the mail piece.


Brittany Turner

kt tobin said...

Jason's campaign had nothing to do with the mailing. We chose to ignore it, and to stay focused on our positive campaign. Most of us even got it delivered to our own homes, not a very clean list...

Anonymous said...

This is all very interesting. To me, the real issue is why did this get sent out the last minute without opportunity for discussion. It seems that most, if not all, of the allegations are true! I think we have been cheated by not having a public discussion over these items to determine whether West really is a good leader for the Village. Instead, we are focusing on whether Cornerstone should have mailed it out and who is behind it. All of the allegations are easy to verify. Has anyone taken the time to check it out? What about you Terrence? You have always been the fact checker in the past. Are these allegations true or just election time smearing?

Denice J.

Terence said...

Denise - I'm focused on the ethical implications. The fact-checking could have been done by many hands working for all the campaigns if this information had been put out in a timely manner (including the information released by Terry Dungan; I like Terry, but he's not a very good political operative). I don't have the time, but please let us know if you find anything out.