Friday, September 23, 2011

Carl Lewis: Where was the due diligence?

So, it looks like this is the end of the road for the on again, off again, on again, off again, doomed-to-fail campaign of former Olympic gold medalist and Willingboro, NJ hometown hero Carl Lewis. On Thursday, 9/22, a three member panel of the the Third Circuit Court of Appeals denied Lewis' eligibility to serve in the State Senate because he does not meet the residency requirements.

I am not a political professional. I am an accountant by trade, and I specialize in auditing. In the course of my work, when about to embark on a audit, the first thing we do is a risk assessment on the area being reviewed. We start by asking, "What can go wrong?". Brainstorm the scenarios from worst case to least bad. From there, we construct our plan.

I would think that a person considering running for political office, or encouraging another to run for office, would do a similar due diligence. I would be wrong.

Apparently, the geniuses in the Democratic party of New Jersey did not bother to do this due diligence when they drafted Mr. Lewis to run for Senate. I was excited about his candidacy and hopeful to see a Democrat take a seat that had historically been Republican. However, when I learned that Lewis, although he has owned homes in Burlington County, New Jersey since 2006, had for the most part lived in California, and voted in California in 2009, my hopes sunk.

Why? Because I knew that the Republicans would do everything they could to get Lewis tossed off the ballot based on non-residency. The decision was first made by Lt Governor Kim Guadagno, in her dual role as Secretary of State. At the time, I criticized this decision as that of a partisan hack acting in the interests of her party, and not the state. I said if the decision were made by a court of law I could accept it.

After numerous appeals, Lewis' candidacy was a go, then a no-go, then (I've lost track), but now the Court has ruled and it's a done deal.

So, now what do we do?

If a dumb guy like me could see this coming, how could the Democrats who drafted Carl Lewis not have seen this coming? A simple due diligence exercise would entail asking Mr. Lewis if there was any reason he thought he would not meet the residency requirements, anticipating a Republican challenge. If Lewis cited his 2009 voting in California as a potential issue, his sponsors should have been ready to answer this legitimate concern, planned how to fight it, and have a Plan B in case the Lewis candidacy did not work out.

Instead, we now have no Democratic candidate for State Senate in the 8th Legislative District. Once again, the Democrats find themselves outmaneuvered by the Republicans. Why? Because Republicans fight, and Democrats bend over and take it.

When will we learn?

Note to Governor Christie:
When you learned about Carl Lewis' potential candidacy, you had one of your aides call Lewis and threaten to withhold funding from his youth athletic foundation. Now that Lewis is no longer a candidate and the Senate seat is safely Republican, is your funding for the program back on the table?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dear Scott's Lawn Service: Please stop calling me.

Not sure Scott's Lawn Service understands the meaning of the words "Do not call". See email trail, and the ensuing Twitter exchange:

Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 8:33 AM
To: SLS-Runnemedebranch
Subject: Runnemede Customer Service Inquiry from JeffPickens
 The following information was submitted from the Scotts LawnService customer service page:
First Name:Jeff
Last Name:Pickens
Message: I received a voice mail about an alleged service call. When I tried to call back 856-312-0480, I was put on hold, then prompted to leave a message. When I was transferred to the voicemail, I got another message that the voice mailbox was full. This is no way to run a business. My lawn is still an infestation of crabgrass and weeds, and you have the audacity to send me a bill? There is no evidence that you have done anything to my lawn, except leave some paperwork on the ground on the side of the house.

from: SLS-Runnemedebranch
date: Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 9:20 AM
subject    RE: Runnemede Customer Service Inquiry from JeffPickens

I see we came out to do a service call for weeds on 8/10 but we don’t charge for service calls and this was a weed control the balance you see is from 6/30 we didn’t charge you for the service done on 8/10 please call customer service 856-312-0480

from: Jeff Pickens
to: SLS-Runnemedebranch
date: Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 10:13 AM
subject    Re: Runnemede Customer Service Inquiry from JeffPickens

There is no evidence that any service was performed on 6/30. There is also no evidence that any service was performed on 8/10. My lawn was and remains an infestation of crab grass and weeds, and is an eyesore in my neighborhood. Any reasonable person looking at my lawn would agree there is no rationale for paying one cent for this alleged service.

When I attempted to call, I was put hold for an interminable amount of time, then directed to a voice mail and a message that the mailbox was full and I was unable to leave a message.

I consider my business relationship with you terminated and I have no intention of paying you any more than I have already paid.

 - JRP

from: SLS-Runnemedebranch
to: Jeff Pickens
date: Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 8:52 AM
subject    RE: Runnemede Customer Service Inquiry from JeffPickens

I have cancelled the account as of today any questions please call office 856-312-0480


from: Jeff Pickens
to: SLS-Runnemedebranch
date: Fri, Sep 9, 2011 at 5:46 AM
subject    Re: Runnemede Customer Service Inquiry from JeffPickens

What part of "cancelled the account" don't you understand? STOP CALLING ME!