Government & Politics
 

That’s what he said

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.

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.
  • nathan

    Thank you and very well done. We need some better representation and governance. Authenticity and honesty would be two great starting points for any candidate in today’s mucked up world!!

  • I did the same thing in middle school with my Alexander Hamilton report.

  • Kevin

    Great catch. You’re right; much of the Arnold and Lander campaign websites track, page after page.

  • Roberta Gratz

    Good old fashioned investigative reporting. Congratulations.

  • not a fan of Arnold

    You should check out the polling locations on his page, you don’t actually think he did all that work did you of typing in each location and mapping it on google? It’s from his opponent, Kristin Palmer’s website.

  • Pingback: uberVU - social comments()

  • Good work. Any chance they all used the same political consultant, who supplied them with boilerplate language?

  • Matt

    It’s impossible to tell who he used, because it does not appear he has filed ANY campaign finance reports for this election.

    http://www.ethics.state.la.us/EthicsViewReports.aspx?Reports=CampaignFinance

    I searched every way I could there. I found him through the “scanned reports,” but the latest stuff he filed was at the beginning of 2009. It looks like he’s likely in violation.

  • Justin

    excellent sleuthing – probably would have gotten away with it without Google

  • Karen

    has this been sent to either Kevin Kim or Brad Lander yet? I know I would want to know if someone was copying my work. What a sleeze!

  • Even more annoying is the flippant “justification” given by Chip Quaglino: “Sue me for not being overly creative or having time to sit down and do this.” He’s PAID to do just that–sit his ass down and take the time to be, if not creative, not so derivative you’re getting paid for next to nothing.

    It’s worse than plagiarism–it’s laziness and pseudofraud from someone who got paid to do better by someone who wants to be on the City Council. Ugh.