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E. Aurora board kills campaign ordinance

A proposed campaign fairness ordinance in East Aurora isn't going anywhere after getting shot down this week.

The Village Board narrowly defeated the idea pushed by Deputy Mayor Libby Weberg, who had described the measure as a way to discourage anonymous political attacks in village elections.

The board voted, 4-3, with Mayor Clark Crook casting the tie-breaking vote, to oppose it. Had it passed, the ordinance would have required candidates or political committees to fully identify themselves on mass campaign literature, whether printed or electronic.

From the moment it was first talked up, some had reservations about its constitutionality and how well it could be enforced. Also voting against the measure were Trustees Patrick McDonnell, Kevin Biggs and Ernest Scheer.

In discussion about it earlier this month, Police Chief Ronald Krowka acknowledged that such a measure could be difficult to enforce, though he said that e-mails could be traced.

Crook, elected earlier this year, said he finds negative campaigning to be ineffective. "I'm willing to give the community the benefit of the doubt to make its own mind up," he said recently.

When asked Tuesday why he voted against the proposal, Crook said: "If we're going to err, err on the side of free speech."

Before the board voted on the proposal, Weberg appealed to her colleagues by noting that she offered the ordinance at the earlier suggestion of the board.

"It was just an effort to make the election process more transparent," she said.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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