How do island owners in the north country feel about Rep. Bill Owens' recent ad called "Four Islands"?
At least one is comfortable with the ad, which assailed Mr. Owens' Nov. 6 opponent, Republican Matt Doheny, for buying "his own two islands."
His name is Marty Yenawine, a Democrat who lives on an island off of Wellesley Island.
Mr. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, actually attended a fundraiser on that same island! (Islands: You can hobnob on them, just don't own them.)
"People have a right to spend money any way they want to," said Mr. Yenawine. "But (if) the message they're trying to get across is that Matt is a standard bearer for the Republican Party in this congressional seat, then I think anything's fair game in terms of illustration. ... The intent of the ad is to clearly say whether Matt cares or not and whether his party cares or not about the poor and the less advantaged. There's a symbol here. That symbol may or may not have been poorly chosen."
(The ad that Mr. Yenawine was referring to was a piece of direct mail that was much along the same lines as the Owens TV ad, which Mr. Yenawine said he hasn't seen.)
The Owens campaign will say that the message isn't about whether Mr. Doheny owns an island, but about whether ill-gotten gains on Wall Street helped him purchase it. But clearly, the suggestion here is that he's out of touch in some manner with regular folks. An island is actually a perfect metaphor for that: It doesn't even touch land.
"We're not criticizing the fact that Doheny is able to purchase two islands," Owens campaign manager James Hannaway said in an email. "We're criticizing what he did for those millions he made on Wall Street. He worked for companies that sheltered money in the Caymans. He laid off workers while giving CEOs bonuses. You put the pieces together and it's pretty clear- Matt Doheny's Wall Street values are not North Country Main Street values."
But let's get real for a second here: This is no tropical paradise, as the state Democratic Party has tried to insinuate with its discolored blue herons.
Mr. Doheny bought Caprice Island in 2007 for $335,000 and Shamrock Island in 2003 for $360,000. Shamrock Island is now worth $792,447, according to the Jefferson County property tax records. Caprice Island is now worth $1,304,574.
In 2006, he bought a home on Paddock Street for $365,000.
Property tax records in Clinton County show that Mr. Owens' home is worth $790,000, and he also has ownership in a law office building worth $825,000.
If those happened to be located on an island, would it be a bigger deal?
Here's the ad: