An open letter to Mike Montadon, Nevada gubernatorial ex-candidate

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Dear Mr. Montandon,

May I call you "Mike"? I'll assume that will be a "yes." Well, Mike, as the former mayor of North Las Vegas and a contender for the position of governor of Nevada you're probably wondering why I'm writing.

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If you read my column from last week (which I doubt you did seeing that you are currently director of government affairs at a construction firm) you'll know that I have begun a new and, to those I write to, probably irritating career penning "open" missives to people who are otherwise hard to reach. And you, my friend, are hard to reach.

It is ironic that you are hard to reach considering how often you write to me. Just the other day I got e-mail from you, or, perhaps more accurately, from your election committee. This surprised me because I hadn't expected to hear from you again.

You first wrote to me, by name no less, in December last year wishing me a festive whatever, enclosing a picture of you and your loved ones, and relating news of your family.

Little did I know your daughter, Whitney, was attending college (my, but they grow up fast, don't they?) and that your brother (who I otherwise know nothing about) lives in Dubai. The problem is, and I hope I sound thoroughly rude here, I really couldn't [care less] [changed the phrase you used … we have our standards. Ed.].

Apparently your campaign, for some random reason given that I live in California, added me to your mailing list. Despite following the unsubscribe link in that message, just a few weeks later I received another from your campaign manager, one Byron Geddes, asking for donations (the request was in a truly lame pitch). I hit the unsubscribe link once again (with gusto I might add) and penned a note to both you and Geddes pointing out that I don't live in Nevada and that I had already unsubscribed.

Alas, you and Geddes must have been too busy to reply or, more likely, didn't give a [fig] [as before. Ed.]. So it was that, in April, I got yet another e-mail from you pitching your stance on nuclear power, inviting me to your meetings, and asking me to sign a petition.

At this point I was busy moving to another house and I may have hit the unsubscribe link for a third time or I may not … I was a little preoccupied at the time. Whether I did or didn't, I know, given your previous behavior and subsequent events, it wouldn't have mattered either way.

Over the next few weeks I forgot all about you and your campaign but then, two days ago, you had to get in touch one more time. Yes, on the eve of the gubernatorial election you sent me a "get out and vote (for me)" plea. Well, I see today in the news that it didn't happen for you. With what looks like just over 15% of the vote it's back to the day job for you.

So, what am I writing to you about? Simply that if your campaign can't (or couldn't) manage their e-mail lists I suspect that lots of other aspects of your IT operations are (were) sub-optimal. That, consequently, makes me wonder about the expertise of your campaign strategists which, in turn, makes me wonder about your own management abilities.

Remember President Truman's desk sign, "The buck stops here"? He didn't mean the greenback, he meant responsibility, and how you are presented through the communications of your campaign (which extends to phone calls and outbound e-mail) is one more way that you are represented to the world; if you can't get the details right, how good will the big picture be?

Be that as it may, what this all comes down to is spamming. Now I know under the terms of the FTC's now more-or-less moribund 2003 CAN SPAM Act political messaging was considered exempt, essentially by declaring it to not be spam at all (rather like saying someone doesn't have a broken leg but rather has a non-functional lower limb).

Despite that unbelievably self-serving legal exemption, the reality is that unwanted e-mail of any kind is unwanted whatever you call it. Sure, you only sent me a handful of unwanted messages but failing to respond and act on multiple unsubscribe requests makes you, at least in the eyes of the public (who you are, or rather, were, trying to get on your side), essentially a spammer.

So, Mike, it appears your campaign is now history but should you run again, I'd advise you to think long and hard about how you would want to appear to your supporters and the world in general. And while you're at it, make sure that I am not on your e-mail list.

Yours sincerely,Mark Gibbs, Ventura, Calif.

PS. You can reply to backspin@gibbs.com as long as it's actually a reply from you and not from your campaign.

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This story, "An open letter to Mike Montadon, Nevada gubernatorial ex-candidate" was originally published by Network World.

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