If you read nothing else in this issue, make it the story about the state Ethics Commission. This state office is in charge of filing the reports of campaign contributions but it is not its business to watch for violations of the ethics laws. That, it seems, is nobody's job. So we made it ours.
It's a tedious effort to wade through the stacks of paperwork legislators file with the Commission. It would be in the public's best interest to automate the records keeping, but of course funding that sort of effort runs contrary to the interests of politicians.
For the past three years the Commission has requested funding -- $45,000 this year -- to hire a second investigator to handle its case load. The governor vetoed all three requests, in spite of the clamour for campaign accountability. The Commission got 38 complaints last year, and has a backlog of 40 cases. A new complaint will likely languish a year before being processed.
This is the sort of systemic problem that a group of activists will address at a progressive strategy conference on Nov. 15_16 at Penn Center near Beaufort. The POINT staff is helping organize the event, along with the state AFL-CIO, and we are excited by the enthusiasm the weekend is generating. The Conference is a chance for activists of all sorts to get to know each other, recharge their batteries and to chart a course back to a more democratic reality. For details on the conference see page 12.
If you've never been to a Halloween party at the GROW Cafe, you're culturally deprived. The motto of these gatherings has long been: when the going gets weird the weird turn pro." Billed for years as the Mutant Be In, this party is not to be missed. Leave the baby at home.