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Published: Thursday, 4/7/2005

Political hate at work

SANCTIONS on the installment plan are the latest indication of Lucas County Democratic chairman Jack Wilson's "hate's a good thing" philosophy for achieving political victory. It's also the latest shot in a long battle within a political party that somehow wins elections in spite of itself.

If we have this straight, Lucas County Treasurer-elect Wade Kapszukiewicz will not receive an endorsement or any party funds when, presumably, he runs for re-election in 2008.

Seven other sitting Democratic council members who supported candidates other than those who ran with the party endorsement also will be "sanctioned" in municipal elections this fall, two school board members will be non-endorsed in the fall election, and two other school board members will be non-endorsed in 2007.

The punishment is for one election cycle, so presumably any of them who survive the election will be welcomed back, if that is the term to use, into the party fold.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz remarked that, as a result of the disciplinary action, "there are now more Democrats on the outside of this organization looking in than are on the inside looking out."

He has, in effect, been doubly punished inasmuch as the gang controlling the party decided not to appoint him to the remainder of the term of the egregious Ray Kest, and chose a representative of organized labor, Dennis Duffey, to serve until Mr. Kapszukiewicz assumes control later this year of the office to which he was elected last November. Got it?

The appointment of Mr. Duffey was made to enable John Irish, a Ray Kest crony, to complete his 30 years for pension purposes. Many Lucas County voters would be happy if they could get a retirement based on 29 years. If the party were interested in good government rather than rewarding its hangers-on, it would have appointed Mr. Kapszukiewicz to a job the voters gave him.

The Democratic Party remains divided between a so-called A Team, which enjoyed control for many years, and a B Team, which staged a coup and now runs the show.

It's too complicated to go into the history of this Hatfield vs. McCoy feud, and not worth doing so. But rest assured: The feelings run deep.

So deep that former mayor Carty Finkbeiner, himself a proud B-teamer, would likely get the party's official endorsement if he runs again this fall, while the man who already has the job, Jack Ford, most likely would not.

Though there is undeniably some entertainment value in all this, one could hardly blame voters if they are fed up with the Democrats' intraparty strife and decide to vote Republican for a couple of elections in order to end the civil war in the long-dominant party organization.

That would be a high price for the Democrats to pay for the hate that Mr. Wilson, who works for the building trades council, seems to prize so highly.

But then, as humorist Will Rogers once observed, "I do not belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat."



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