Complainant: Cerene Roberts
The complainant references the September 8 forum held at WBAI and alleges that it violates the 5th fair campaign rule in various ways as described below.
The cited rule reads as follows:
Any listeners may organize community meetings to bring together listeners and prospective candidates for the purpose of learning about prospective candidates and collecting petition signatures. Any such events may be announced on-air provided they have been approved by the Election Supervisor, are open to all nominated candidates, are open to any listener, are in a handicap-accessible location, do not endorse any candidates, raise money for any candidates, or promote events to raise money for any candidates.
Discussion: The initial complaint is that the personalized invitations to candidates to participate in the forum were sent on September 5th with only three days notice. The complaint is based on a falsehood. The NES was copied on personalized invitations sent to all candidates on September 3rd.
We respectfully request that the complainant not file complaints related to candidate actions that she has no firsthand knowledge of and based on false assertions.
The complainant then goes on to complain that staff and listeners are not being segregated into different in-person forums. That is not a requirement stated in the rule and therefore it is not a violation of the cited rule.
The complainant then goes on to complain that the moderator of the forum is a member of the local station board. Again that is not a requirement stated in the rule and therefore it is not a violation of the cited rule.
The complainant is entitled to dislike the rules, format or moderator of any campaign event and may choose not to attend as a member of the audience or even advise candidates of her preference that they not participate, but enforcement of campaign rules cannot be extended beyond the language in the posted rules.
Ruling: The complainant fails to identify a violation of the cited fair campaign rule in her complaint and the complaint fails for lack of merit.