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In the aftermath of unpleasantness in the past, the Canby Herald and Molalla Pioneer have some rules in place this time of year

PMG FILE PHOTO - Editor John Baker.Ah, can you smell that? It's election season in full bloom as the May primary looms like a beacon of hope and continued constituent frustration just off the horizon.

And with that, it's a good time to rehash some of the election season quirks that the paper has in place to not only keep things civil and calm, but also address the sudden need for candidates to get the attention and platform they so lust after this time of year.

So, here goes.

Letters to the editor that even hint or give a whiff of support for a candidate or measure are strictly limited to 200 words. That's plenty of length to state your case quickly and concisely as to why your candidate is a good-doer and better than his/her opponent. And remember, you're limited to one letter per month, which I interpret to be every four weeks (hence, putting the kibosh on the one at the end of the month and another a week letter at the first of the month). And my interpretation is final.

So, to sum up, an endorsement letter is limited to 200 words and if you can't whittle it down to that limit, you can be sure that I can – and I will. There is no deviation from this formula, so mark it well. Next, the issue of candidates and measures seeking the attention of the masses. It's always funny to me that people bad-mouth the local paper so freely and ignorantly until this time of year – then they want our help and cooperation in letting people know how worthy they are.

It's hypocrisy, I know, but I find it amusing on many levels.

But, we're simply not going to be the conduit for that attention-getting desire anymore. So, if a candidate is having an open house, workshop, bake sale or some other such thing that is an obvious desire to get before the public and take questions and espouse their worthiness for office, we will provide an outlet for that. It's called an advertisement.

That's right, we won't run those types of things as briefs or stories anymore. If you want the attention, you need to pay for it. If this seems overly harsh, you simply have no idea of the amount of cries for pushing candidates' agendas I see flow across my desk or phone during the election cycle. Everyone wants, no one seems inclined to give.

Hence, we're going to help with that very uneven trade. Candidates and ballot measures that want to espouse their goodness and saintly qualities can get in the paper, but only as a paid advertisement. And before the cries of poverty rain down – save it. I'm not buying it. And I know that, except for a scant few instances, it's simply not true.

To all politicians seeking office, I say this – it's time to pay to play in the newspaper. Yes, yes, in seeking to save a few dollars there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth and a feeling that you can do it "someway else." God speed and good luck on that. The real secret here is that the local newspaper is still the best, most effective way to reach the masses. It's because of that that Facebook groups, podcasts, websites and all these other entities take shots at us.

So, you want to reach far and wide in your bid for election, your local newspaper is here for you. Now, you need to decide to be here for us.

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