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Three City Council candidates remark about two others going over 400-word limit

By: Patty McAlpin Lincoln News Messenger Reporter
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Two City Council candidates exceeded the 400-word limit total for eight questions in the “Candidates address the issues” story on The News Messenger Sept. 27 front page. Candidates Dan Cross submitted 841 words and Christine Colvin submitted 585 words. Word counts for other candidates were Peter Gilbert at 396, David Kawas at 253, Paul Joiner at 370, Candi Schipper at 389 and Spencer Short at 395 words. Candidates Allen Cuenca and Scott Glaser missed the Sept. 17 deadline for submitting their answers to the questions about city financial issues. Three candidates complained this week about the two candidates going over the word limit. They were Kawas, Schipper and Cuenca. Although Cuenca did not make the September “Candidates address the issues” deadline, he asked to submit his answers Monday. “Four-hundred words total was the rule to answer eight questions but one candidate submitted 837 words and all were printed in the Messenger. In response to this, I am submitting my 400-word answers to the questions and ask that you consider printing it this week,” Cuenca said. Schipper commented on the extra words after the online story “Candidates address the issues” on lincolnnewsmessenger.com: “I do have one question to the editor on this? Why was I told only 400 words or less as clearly I am the only one given that restriction? I was not able to provide more details on many questions to keep within the constraints. I apologize to the citizens and if you would like me to give more details please feel free to contact me directly and I will provide that for you. Thanks!” Kawas also commented on lincolnnewsmessenger.com about Cross going over the word count. Kawas wrote, “Yes, we were told only 400 words. Dan Cross got 837, probably didn’t even ask if he could go over by 437. But if he did, it would have been ‘wrong on several levels.’ I wonder if (Editor) Carol (Feineman) will write a whiny column about Dan Cross not following the rules?” The News Messenger asked Cross and Colvin this week why they went over the word limit. Cross said he was “trying to answer the questions as clearly, concisely and completely as possible.” “I apologize for going over the limit,” Cross said. Christine Colvin said she e-mailed The News Messenger to shorten her answers. The newspaper did receive that e-mail on Sept. 13. “I just tried to say what I can in detail. I was aware that I did and, when I e-mailed it to you, I wrote that note in my e-mail back, stating I did. I am aware you will have to shorten it so do what has to be done,” Colvin said. “I am entrusting that your skills are better then mine as this is not my forte, and knowing myself, I would shorten it to a point, which doesn’t make any sense. I took out what I can. I apologize for any inconvenience this has brought to you.”