Political phone calls

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I am writing to defend political phone banks. I know that recently some people were upset with the phone calls and suggested that they be banned. I disagree.

I think that a few minutes discussing an election with a neighbor -- finding out why they support a candidate they are calling for and about what aspects of the candidate they may still have reservations -- is infinitely more informative than a TV ad or an ideologically leaning news source.

However, there are ways that phone bank volunteers should conduct themselves: identifying who they are and why they are calling up front. Volunteers should be knowledgeable on the issues. They should also be willing, if the person they are calling has made up his or her mind to support another candidate, to bring the call to an end. We only ask that our neighbors whom we are calling be courteous and understand we are only volunteers who care about our political process.

If you are a decided voter say so and, of course, don't give out personal information (such as bank account numbers); all callers should ask for is your support for a candidate or cause. Campaigns can also play their part by having a system in place where if they receive information that a particular voter plans on supporting your campaign or plans not to, don't call them again: Badgering does not help the cause.

In the end, politics is a reality and citizen-to-citizen discussion should be encouraged, with certain etiquette, to flourish.

TESS ZANGRILLI
Oakland


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