Archive for Saturday, April 2, 2005

Schauner postcards prompt probe

April 2, 2005


Lawrence postal officials have launched an investigation into possible federal violations related to an anonymous, spurious postcard attempting to link City Commissioner David Schauner to domestic abuse.

Schauner, who is in the middle of a tight re-election battle, has denied all allegations of domestic abuse and denounced the postcards as a political cheap shot. No one has taken responsibility for mailing the cards, which were received by registered women voters across the city.

Judy Raney, Lawrence postmaster, confirmed Friday she had no record of the postcards being appropriately registered with the Lawrence Post Office. Because of the type of stamp that was used on the mailing, Raney said postal regulations required that a report be filed with the post office's bulk mail department.

Raney said she has turned the matter over to postal investigators to determine whether violations were committed.

"The content of the postcard is not our problem right now," Raney said. "The incorrect use of a pre-sorted stamp is the issue."

Raney said she was not certain of exact fines or penalties that an individual could face for improperly mailing the postcard.

"What I can tell you is that we're absolutely taking it seriously," Raney said.

Meanwhile Lawrence voters on Friday received another contentious political mailer. This time Mike Capra, a Lawrence plumber and frequent critic of Schauner, said he was behind a mailing that asked which candidates were "taking care" of Lawrence's kids.

The mailer, which was listed as being paid for by an organization called Teachers for a Better Lawrence, gave grades to each of the candidates.

Capra said he was an organizer of the group and said it had about 100 members, some of whom are teachers. He declined to be more specific about the organization's membership. He said the mailer was sent to 10,000 registered voters in the city.

Capra said he was not responsible for Thursday's mailing.

"There is nothing distasteful about this," Capra said of Friday's mailing. "I just wanted to expose candidates for who they are."

Schauner, who was the most heavily criticized candidate in Friday's mailing, said he was disappointed in the negative turn the campaign had taken, but was undeterred.

"The bottom line for me is I'm going to win on Tuesday," Schauner said. "These folks can spend thousands of dollars, but I think Lawrence voters are smarter than this."

The other four candidates in the race have all said they were not involved in either of the two mailings.

Voters will go to the polls on April 5 to fill three at-large seats on the City Commission.

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