The Austin Chronicle

Naked City

WorldPeace at War

By Michael King, October 5, 2001, News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate John WorldPeace called "Naked City" last week to denounce the League City Neighborhood Democrats, charging they had forcibly prevented him and his associates from attending a Sept. 28 public fundraiser at League City's South Shore Harbor Resort and Hotel. Candidate Tony Sanchez was scheduled to speak at the fundraiser, and WorldPeace wanted to confront Sanchez and charge him with "dodging" debate and hiding out from the democratic process.

According to WorldPeace, he and his associates were refused admission by the Democrats and asked to leave the premises by hotel personnel who eventually called League City police. "Tony Sanchez is a poor candidate and a bad public speaker," said WorldPeace, "and the Neighborhood Democrats -- who say they do not endorse any particular candidate -- were obviously trying to protect him from me." WorldPeace said he had expected some "dirty tricks" because he had previously been warned by the organization's chair, Karl Silverman, to stop running negative telephone ads about Sanchez or he'd "be sorry."

Silverman essentially confirmed WorldPeace's version of the hotel confrontation, but points out that WorldPeace omitted crucial information: WorldPeace himself -- by invitation -- had addressed the same group in July. "I don't understand why he's behaving this way," Silverman says. "After we broke bread with him in our house, he addressed our meeting, and he was treated with every courtesy. He seemed like a nice guy -- then he starts running these telephone ads claiming that Sanchez won't show up. We don't endorse primary candidates, and I told him he wasn't hurting Sanchez, he was hurting our Democratic organization and its fundraising. He told me, 'It's just politics.'" By telling WorldPeace "You'll be sorry," all Silverman says he meant is that he's considering reporting WorldPeace to the state Ethics Commission for unethical campaign tactics. (WorldPeace confirmed to "Naked City" that because he makes a legal solicitation to anyone who answers the phone, he considers his voice-mail campaign messages a business-related tax write-off.)

Silverman says WorldPeace claimed in his phone message that he intended to be "disruptive and confrontational" at the Sanchez speech, so Silverman asked the hotel to refuse entrance. "The hotel decided to call the police," Silverman says. "And now [WorldPeace] is denouncing us on his Web site as a 'Nazi' and 'fascist' organization."

Indeed, those are only a couple of the tasteless epithets WorldPeace attaches to the Neighborhood Democrats, in a hysterical screed accompanied by an equally scurrilous denunciation of Sanchez as a "Mafia" candidate. WorldPeace -- who appears determined to demonstrate he doesn't deserve his adopted name -- links the Democratic front-runner in a desperately hyperbolic chain of guilt-by-association, eventually leading to New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello.

Tony Sanchez may indeed not want to debate him -- but WorldPeace has now delivered a perfectly legitimate reason to refuse to do so.

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