Choice opportunities: After Mary DeGroot's surprisingly strong showing in the May 2 election, some early supporters complained they could no longer get through to the busy--and suddenly much more popular--candidate. That wouldn't surprise Sue Bollman, immediate past president of NARAL, who says she was "appalled" by DeGroot's response when incumbent Wellington Webb received the group's endorsement. "She said, `It's not ethical for you to do this to me,'" Bollman reports, sounding perplexed. "Then she said, `You'll be sorry you did this.'" DeGroot's attitude inspired an office joke at the political action committee: DeGroot on a broomstick, muttering, "I'll get you for this, my pretty."
Not all is hunky-dory on the other side of the abortion issue. At the Republican presidential candidate forum in Denver on May 13, workers for Alan Keyes got into a dustup with Republicans for Choice staffers when the Keyesians tried to tape pictures of dead fetuses to their booth. Missing entirely from the action were any representatives of the Republican Caucus for Life. And why didn't that group have a booth? "That's a very good question," says Mary Rita Urbish, the caucus's chairwoman. "I know that the state Republican Party knows who we are; we had a booth at the state convention. But no one called us about this one. And you'd think they would. I'll have to call Mike Hesse and ask the same question."
An independent contractor rather than state party headquarters handled the booth-rental details, according to Hesse, the party director who just resigned to work for Bob Dole. But Hesse adds that everyone who was at the state assembly was supposed to have been mailed a notice about the forum; that Urbish's group didn't get one must have been an oversight. "I'd better call Mary Rita," he says, chuckling, "or I'll have a drive-by shooting on my hands..."
Maybe not. Diane Dillingham, head of Republicans for Choice, said she didn't get a notice, either, but her group managed to have a booth at the forum. "The event was well-publicized," she explains.
Perhaps Urbish should start reading the paper.
Read alert: After Denver Post marketing veep Ken Calhoun got caught in a Miami TV station's sweeps-week sting about how minors cruising the Internet could be easy prey for adults looking for a little illicit activity, the paper issued this "phone script" for employees fielding calls from the public who might have read about Calhoun's resignation in the Post--or seen the far more colorful piece on "Ken4Boys" (Calhoun's computer ID) that aired on Channel 9: "Mr. Calhoun does not work in this department. Our personnel department is handling the situation. We are receiving a great many phone calls on this issue. If you want to express your opinion to the publisher, please call..." To which newsroom wags appended the following: "Press 1 for hot-oil rubdown. Press 2 for walk on the beach. Press 3 to see my mouse."
Compared to the Miami station's elaborate Internet project, Paula Woodward's "Keep on Truckin'" series for last year's May sweeps was a classic exercise in old-time reporting: Follow public workers and find out what they do on public time. In the case of the employees caught by Woodward, they spent a lot of time loafing and eating. Now one of the workers photographed mid-bite has filed suit against the station, claiming that "plaintiff had been given medication for a bone spur...and was instructed by his physician to take the medication with some food...Plaintiff followed his doctor's orders at the time that KUSA-TV had filmed him eating his sandwich." Among the trials the plaintiff suffered after his picture was shown on TV, the suit claims, was "loss of appetite.
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