Plagiarize — intransitive verb : to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
A candidate forum for Council District C was held Wednesday night at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, sponsored by The Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates, along with a number of other neighborhood and civic associations.
Candidate Tom Arnold called minutes before the forum began to say he was delayed at another event on the West Bank and would be unable to attend.
The debate sputtered along with candidates Kristen Palmer and Nathanial Jones. Jones’ lack of a phone and campaign Web site have led some to believe he is not a viable candidate, but his performance at the forum added some levity to an otherwise predictable evening. Especially when Jones asserted that he “was not a leader.”
I tried to call Arnold this morning to ask a few questions about his candidacy as well as his no-show status last night.
The number on his Web site leads you to his cell phone, where a voice message directs you to call another number. There seems to be no working campaign office phone number. Just a “you have reached Tom Arnold’s cell phone” message. I left a message, but never heard back.
Figuring his Web site was as good a place as any to familiarize myself with the candidate, I quickly recognized that Arnold had an impressive command of city issues. There was a strong message about “smart growth” and urban planning, transparency as well as supporting small business.
In fact, each category within his eight-issue platform presented sharply crafted and well-phrased language, something I had not heard from this candidate before.
Thinking that perhaps Arnold had received some inspiration from another source, I took blocks of his prose and plugged it into Google.
In many cases, his site matched word for word the Web sites of two council candidates in New York City.
Brad Lander who won a seat in NYC District 39 ran a strong campaign based on his 20-year career working in community development. Arnold’s site also tracked that of Kevin Kim, another NYC council candidate.
From Kim’s site:
“We must continue to aggressively retrofit all city-owned property with energy-efficient lighting and equipment is something [sic] that cannot wait any longer. Improving air quality, providing more open green space for our residents, and reducing our carbon footprint are no longer conceptual, long-term goals”
From Arnold’s site:
“We must aggressively retrofit all city-owned property with energy-efficient lighting and equipment, this is something that cannot wait any longer. Improving air quality, providing more open green space for our residents, and reducing our carbon footprint are no longer conceptual, long-term goals.”
Much of the copy from Arnold’s site has direct cut and paste copy. The paragraph above had a little tweaking by dropping the word “continue.” which is wise since New Orleans is more likely to tear down a building than install an energy efficient lightbulb.
From Lander’s site:
In the City Council, Brad will continue to lead the fight for transparency and accountability to expand local democracy so that communities have a real voice in the decisions that matter.
From Arnold’s site:
In the City Council, Tom will continue to lead the fight for transparency and accountability to expand local democracy so that communities have a real voice in the decisions that matter.
Fortunately Arnold remembered to insert his own name into the text so as not to confuse voters.