Originally Published: July 18, 2004 7 a.m.
Nothing brings emotions to the surface more readily than the political season.
We've seen bits of pique in reaction to our news coverage, letters to the editor and editorial recommendation policies that will apply during election season.
No, the complaints aren't changing the policies, but we will recap them briefly here and elaborate on some complaints.
On the news front, between now and when early voting opens on Aug. 5, the Courier will publish introductions and extended biographies on each candidate in each major race.
Between Aug. 5 and Aug. 27, we will run question-and-answer packages on the major candidates in which we ask their views on key issues.
On the Sunday prior to the Sept. 7 primary, we will publish recap biographies on all candidates.
On the Editorial/Opinion page, the Courier will make editorial recommendations in the races in which victory in the Sept. 7 primary is tantamount to election. It will make recommendations in other races prior to the Nov. 2 general election.
If candidates want a recommendation, they need to call the Courier before Aug. 1 to arrange an interview. The Courier will not seek them out and it will not recommend anyone who hasn't had an interview.
And now to the source of angst. The Courier will not publish letters that name a party or candidate and urge the readers either to vote for a candidate or defeat a candidate.
The reason is simple. Our readers will get plenty of exhortations to support or defeat candidates in the advertising that will seem all pervasive as the election draws near. Candidates also have a way or organizing claques of supporters to write letters. "Readers speak" is a forum for ideas – not a free billboard.
We recently published letters about the lawsuit Dawn Knight filed against Sen. Ken Bennett, because they related to a news event. We also published a letter criticizing Congressman Rick Renzi for not answering a constituent's letter. None urged the voters to vote a particular way.
Candidates, handlers and supporters get very creative at election time, so we may add or modify these rules in accordance with their innovations.
Until then, those are the rules.