Friedman: Voorhees incumbent ad misleading

During this busy (and admittedly sometimes very annoying!) campaign season we see political ads of all types often involving puffery, exaggerations, and slants that may not tell the voter the whole story. In a way we have all come to reluctantly accept this as “just politics.” However, in this week’s edition of the “Voorhees Sun,” the Democratic incumbents ran an ad that unfortunately went well beyond “just politics,” and landed solidly into the realm of a clear-cut intentional misrepresentation of the truth involving my record. As such, I owe it to the residents of Voorhees to clarify that record. The incumbents should feel confident enough in their own record and accomplishments to run against the two Republican candidates directly, but for some unknown reason (perhaps due to a lack of substance in their own record), felt it necessary to evoke my name improperly as somehow being a “supporter” of their agenda.

That said, the Democratic ad in this week’s “Voorhees Sun” was, quite simply, a total joke. As opposed to an honest representation/comparison of the incumbents’ record, the ad was devious, fraudulent, and intentionally meant to deceive the voters of our town which I take specific exception to. For those of you who don’t know, the incumbent’s ad highlights and blows up a PART of my statement to the “Voorhees Sun” reporter (from a June 22 article following the township budget vote) wherein I explain my pride in some of the bi-partisan work we were able to accomplish on the budget and where I stated “I’m very proud of a lot of the work our committee has done this year to rein in spending (noting this is the first time in 10 year that there is no tax increase).” The Democratic ad then preposterously claims that because of those words, I have ENDORSED their budget!

While I am happy with a lot of the work the committee did on this budget, the Democratic incumbents know very well that I did NOT ENDORSE “their” budget and clearly voted NO because it DID NOT GO FAR ENOUGH with spending cuts for Voorhees residents because it still included over $100,000 of taxpayer funded healthcare costs for the four Committeemen (apparently the incumbents feel that a NO vote is somehow an endorsement!).

In continuing the incumbent’s ad’s misrepresentation, they then conveniently block my next statement to the Voorhees Sun reporter so no resident can read it, where I go on to state ““I cannot vote for a budget that allots approximately $100,000 to pay for the health benefits of committee members.” My next statement which is partially blocked by the ad in addition to being faded and in tiny print making it purposely hard to read goes on to state: “In this economy, where people are tightening their belts and are struggling to pay for their own health care, I think it’s totally unfair and improper for residents to be paying for health care benefits for quarter-time officials who are supposed to be giving of their time”.

This kind of political ad goes well beyond “just politics.” It was the goal of the Democratic incumbents to intentionally and purposely mislead and deceive the Voorhees taxpayer by conveniently taking words out of context while blocking the rest of my statement to the reporter, then incredulously claim that I somehow endorsed “their” budget. This type of underhanded tactic is disgraceful and every Voorhees resident, no matter what their political affiliation, should be personally offended that two of their elected officials would attempt to deceive them in such a manner. I would recommend to the incumbents that their energy would be better spent in figuring out how to give the residents of Voorhees some real tax relief and more transparent, accessible government, instead of deceiving the Voorhees taxpayer and misrepresenting their fellow committeeman’s statements and record for political gain.

Michael Friedman