Earlier today I received an email consisting simply of a graphic card wishing me a happy holiday. What a nice thought… with one problem. I had no idea who this couple was! I racked my brain, asked my husband, and looked through various school and other membership directories to see where I might know them from. Since we’re new to the area, I thought maybe they were people I’d met somewhere and forgotten. I felt awful that these nice people went through the trouble of including us in their holiday wishes and I had no clue who they were. I even considered sending them an apologetic email asking them to remind me where we knew each other from.
Then my husband noticed that the graphic image was hosted on an eponymous website for our apparent friend Stuart. We went to the website and it all became clear. The headline “Stuart Waldman Democrat for Assembly” revealed that this dose of holiday cheer was simply a cynical attempt to con potential voters into thinking friendly thoughts toward the candidate.
If the card had added a line at the bottom with something like “Stuart Waldman, Democrat for Assembly” or even just the URL of his website, it would have made it easy to find out who he was. But as it was, it pretended to be a card from people I know. I am certain that I never gave him my email, and if other incumbent politicians are harvesting my email address from letters I have sent regarding legislation and giving it to him, that’s just sleazy. Spam by any other name would still taste gross.
I don’t appear to be in his district, but I certainly wouldn’t vote for someone who doesn’t mind being deceptive — or even who is just clueless about the niceties of using digital media. The holidays are not a time for spam. And full disclosure of who you are is always in season.
Unlike this guy, I genuinely wish you a happy and peaceful holiday. Thanks to all my readers for giving me your precious time and attention, for leaving great comments, and — in many cases — for your real and virtual friendship.
UPDATE: Stuart kindly sent me an email responding to this post explaining what had happened, which I am publishing here with his permission:
My name is Stuart Waldman, and, now as you know, I am a candidate for State Assembly. I noticed the posting on your blog regarding my holiday greeting, and I apologize for any inconvenience my holiday card may have caused.
I am sorry that you were offended by my email. You are a registered Democrat in West Hills, and your email address came up on a list of registered voters. My election is in June and I thought that I would send out the card, simply to wish you a happy holiday season. You are correct that I should have added a disclaimer that the card was from me. I can assure you that there was nothing sleazy or devious in my intention; it was really just a lack of computer skills and an error on my part. I was having trouble with the computer program and the graphic holiday card, and the footer didn’t show up. I have removed your email address from my list, however, you will still likely be receiving postal mail from my campaign.
If you had replied to the email I sent you, I would have happily told you who I am and why I sent the card, and I’m sorry you felt you couldn’t do that. I am accessible and available to you and this community, and always respond to emails and calls. Please feel free to give me a call [Ed.: cell number deleted] or shoot me an email should you have any more questions.
I hope that you will consider voting for me in spite of my email faux pas. I have been active in the non-profit world for more than a decade, having served on numerous boards. I would be glad to have your support.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Good for Stuart for being on top of what people are saying about him online and responding so quickly to this issue (I received his email the same day, but permission to print it a few days later).