19981027 Gruppo Mailer is Called Unfair

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Gruppo mailer is called unfair -- An ad on welfare is attacked by area NAACP official Esther Lee. Date: October 27, 1998 A Len Gruppo campaign mailer that shows a line of people - mostly black - waiting outside a welfare office has come under fire by a local NAACP leader. This is an unfair picture, said Esther Lee, vice president of the Bethlehem chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and chairwoman of the United Northampton County Council of Republican Women
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  Gruppo mailer is called unfair -- An ad on welfare is attacked byarea NAACP official Esther Lee.Date: October 27, 1998A Len Gruppo campaign mailer that shows a line of people - mostlyblack - waiting outside a welfare office has come under fire by alocal NAACP leader. This is an unfair picture, said Esther Lee, vice president of theBethlehem chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and chairwoman of the United Northampton County Councilof Republican Women.Of the 11 people in the picture, only two appear to be white, and therest appear to be black. He need not use black folks in a welfare ad, Lee said, because theproportions that appear in the ad are not the proportion that appearson welfare rolls. I don't think our people would be amused if they got this in themail, she said. Election Day will tell the tale. Lee said she still supports Gruppo, a Republican, in his campaignagainst Democrat Lisa Boscola for the 18th Senate District. But Leesaid she will call him to complain about the ad. I want him to win, but I want him to win the fair way, she said.Gruppo is a 20-year member of the state House.Boscola, who also is in the state House, said she also objects to thepicture in the ad. I can't believe he used this photo, she said. I think it's kind of racist. Not everyone on welfare is black. What do they want us to do? Use fake people? said Gruppo's campaign  director, Suzanne O'Berry.Boscola will present the ad today, along with numerous other Gruppoads, to the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, she said. Boscolasaid she will ask the league to declare Gruppo in violation of hispledge to conduct a fair and honest campaign.One section in the league's eight-part pledge, signed by bothcandidates, reads I pledge to condemn any appeals to prejudice. Boscola accused Gruppo of lying and conducting a sleazy negativecampaign that distorts her record. In a letter to Gruppo last week,she called for him to apologize for his campaign tactics. I've never seen such a sleazy campaign, Boscola said. It's allabout distortions of my record. Every single piece he's mailed out is a lie. It's just distortions of the truth or straight out lies a lot of the time....The way he'sconducting his campaign, this man should not be our next statesenator. It's an indication of his character, she said. He ought to beembarrassed that he's running this campaign, and I feel embarrassedfor him. Boscola also complained that Gruppo's campaign is stalking her withvideo cameras and tape recorders to record everything she says inpublic.Boscola blamed Gruppo's campaign tactics in part on politicalconsultant Tom Severson of Precision Marketing Inc. in Palmer Township. O'Berry confirmed that Precision Marketing is working forGruppo, but would not confirm if Severson is personally involved.  He is the ultimate sleazebag political consultant, Boscola said. Shesaid Severson recently admitted to her that they will do anything towin this race - lie, whatever. Because winning is all that matters. Severson did not return phone calls Monday. Tom Severson would never say that, O'Berry said. That's Lisa'simmaturity coming through. O'Berry denied that Gruppo is running a negative campaign, and saidBoscola started with negative ads first by airing radio ads in whichpeople hissed and booed at Gruppo's name. We didn't run our first negative ad until two weeks after she ran hernegative ad, she said. It would never have gotten to this point if she didn't launch thefirst missile, and we had to respond ....We would have loved to runthis campaign on the issues. O'Berry said she believes Boscola's radio ad violated the League of Women Voters pledge. She said she complained to the league but wastold it no longer investigates whether a candidate broke the pledge.O'Berry said other evidence that Boscola is running a negativecampaign includes an ad titled Wish you were here, which criticizesGruppo's expenses while on an official trip to New Orleans; and an adabout Gruppo's legislative expenses that says Where's the money,Lenny. Boscola objected to the substance of the ad with the welfare photo,titled Here's why we can't trust what Lisa Boscola says.  The red, white and black mailer features a large, grainy,black-and-white picture of Boscola - a picture Boscola called lousy.   Boscola said the ad distorts her voting record and uses her words outof context. The ad quotes a Boscola radio ad that says, Lisa Boscolaisn't a politician, and then quotes Boscola saying What can I say?I'm a politician. Boscola said her quote was recorded by Gruppo's campaign at acandidates forum where she joked with the audience and said, What canI say? I'm a politician. I talk a lot. O'Berry said that's not a negative ad. It tells the truth. It's LisaBoscola's own votes, her own words. If it's offensive that's LisaBoscola. On the other side of the mailer, below the welfare photograph, the adreads Boscola says she's for welfare reform. But she cast a vote tokeep giving able-bodied 18- to 25-year-olds a welfare check. Boscola responded that this is absolutely incorrect, because I votedto stop able-bodied people from getting a welfare check. It's a lie.He is totally lying here. Everyone in Harrisburg knows that I cast the deciding vote on thebill. Next to the welfare photograph is a picture of a pornography shopcovered with neon signs that read XXX Rated and Adult videobooths. Below the picture reads, Boscola says she's tough on crime. But shevoted against tougher penalties for pornographers who sell smut tochildren. Boscola responded that I'm for tougher penalties for pornographers,but using a state-wide standard. Nobody in their right mind is against
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