Cruel and unusual?

Feb 21, 2006 at 10:08 pm

It’s hard to say who in their right mind would actually want to read every column LEO founder John Yarmuth has written since 1990, but the LEO office has recently had at least one potentially sadomasochistic visitor asking for them.

A little background: Yarmuth, who is running in the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary against Andrew Horne, has been asked whether he’s worried that incumbent Rep. Anne Northup might use things he’s written in LEO against him. Yarmuth said he’d happily stand by anything he’s written if the good congresswoman would stand by all of the votes she’s cast in her 10-year tenure.

That assertion apparently piqued the Northup team’s interest; political director Joe Burgan has twice visited LEO recently to ask for back issues. The problem is that LEO has, unfortunately, a woefully thin archiving system. To LEO’s knowledge, the only place all of Yarmuth’s columns exist in one place is in several volumes of bound back issues. Those are stored at LEO, but they’re difficult to photocopy because of the spine. Some LEO content is archived on the Internet, but because the newspaper only recently began hosting its own site, those are sporadic.

LEO publisher Pam Brooks said this week that LEO is trying to find a way to get the columns scanned and put onto the Internet. She isn’t comfortable loaning the bound editions, she said, because they’re the only permanent record of the newspaper. Brooks and Yarmuth said they don’t feel compelled to provide the columns, because they’re part of the public realm, but they would still like to help in the interest of fairness. Brooks said LEO is exploring other ways to make them available in a timely manner, without disrupting normal business.

In a phone interview yesterday, Burgan said the Northup campaign would be willing to send a person to LEO, with a copier, to make copies. Brooks said LEO is weighing that offer.