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Dishing with Dee: If you want to run for office, do research on consultants

How did you manage to survive this past week’s heat wave? Everyone not only suffered a physical meltdown, but due to the unrelenting scorchers many also complained of a mental meltdown as well. Yours truly fell into the latter category.

Thank goodness nothing outstanding was scheduled for the past week. The few events I was aware of and had considered attending were either canceled or postponed. I am a strong proponent of “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun,” to which I would like to add “and 100-degree temperatures.”

The heat doesn’t seem to have put a damper on all our politicians, political wannabes and other political types who are required to put a campaign together. They are charging around scouting for campaigners, campaign teams, volunteers and contributors.

Fat cats, put a zipper on your wallet! You’re the No. 1 target in the crosshairs of the candidates, consultants and campaign managers. If you let them, by the time they get through with you, you’ll be one step away from public assistance. Make sure you check the credentials and qualifications of all who request your donation or vote. In the process, you will be able to determine if that is the person you wish to support.

Unfortunately, there are no licensing requirements or regulations concerning either consulting or campaign management and it is only lately that some schools have offered actual professional training. According to a professor at a college that offers full-time political training, he said, “Consulting is one of the last, true free market enterprises with open admissions to the rank-and-file army of consultants.”

If you’re a candidate or considering becoming one, ask anyone who approaches you and asks for your business for their references. Take the time to verify the information and see if they were satisfied with the professional services rendered. Be sure to ask the consultant offering his or her services the results in the past election cycle.

Am I trying to discourage anyone from running for public office, donating to an individual or joining the fraternity of political consultants, campaign managers, etc.? I am not! I’m just warning you to be prudent and check everything out. If people sound too good to be true, they probably are. This business has more than its share of carpetbagging conmen and flim-flam artists. You have to be circumspect and spend the time, effort, and energy to select a competent, qualified operative. I hope this naysaying will not discourage you from getting involved in one of my favorite occupations. If you get involved, don’t forget to invite me to your events.

I had a phone call from John Watch, who is running with Sheila Peralta for the Republican district leadership in the 25th state Assembly District in Fresh Meadows. That position was filled for years by the Queens GOP’s choice, Stephen Graves, along with Sheila. No one has yet to come forth with an explanation as to why Graves dropped out. Watch and Peralta were endorsed by the Haggerty brothers, which then left the Ragusa-Tabone camp without a candidate. Not to worry, as they came up with Dan Halloran and Jean Leavey to run as their candidates. Well, I’m still scratching my head on that one.

I have always considered Dan a fiend, but he never mentioned that he was running for the district leadership and why he suddenly withdrew from that race.

According to the “gotcha guys” who haunt the halls of the city Board of Elections validating or disqualifying signatures, it’s a good thing Halloran decided to drop out, as the signatures the Queens GOP acquired for him were that bad. Watch and Peralta’s signatures were also challenged, but they had considerably more than they needed, which makes that race a plus-one for the Haggertys and a minus-one for the Queens GOP. Things are starting to get serious, so let the games begin!

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip. I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at deerrichard@aol.com.

Till next week, Dee.

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