Letter to the editor: Let’s focus on merits of candidates rather than tearing them down

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Editor:

Tuesday, Nov. 5 is the general election. On Wednesday, Nov. 6, we will have a good sense of what changes are on the horizon. One thing that will not change: that everyone running for mayor and council will still live here in Edmonds. We will all still be members of the community that we love to serve, have family and friends here and look forward to the next set of programs and activities to be a part of.

So, I cannot understand why there has been so many personal attacks so far in the campaign cycle. What is the point of creating division and alienation in the name of supporting your candidate of choice? It is not necessary to spend so much energy going negative against one candidate to highlight your choice of another.

In crafting this message, some advised me not to do it as it would open to the door for those same people to make personal attacks against me. Well, if that’s the case, the reality is that it was going to happen anyway and was only a matter of time.

Is it possible to run a positive race? It is, but it will take leadership from those running to speak to it. Four years ago, then-candidate Dave Teitzel and I met one on one to discuss our campaigns. We decided not to “go negative” because we saw no reason to do so, and also recognized that we’re going to be community members that would end up working together after Election Day. I will always respect the fact that he (and I) honored this agreement, and the outside rhetoric was kept to a minimum.

I won’t participate in personal and unsubstantiated attacks on anyone running for office. One obviously cannot control what others say/do/write about a candidate they are not supporting, but I am optimistically requesting that candidates take a stance against negative campaigning and encourage others around them to do the same.

Will you?

Support your campaign and/or candidate of choice by highlighting experience and merits, not by tearing down others.

Alicia Crank
Edmonds

 

30 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Let’s focus on merits of candidates rather than tearing them down”

  1. Hear, hear. I totally agree with Alicia. There are ways to make distinctions between candidates for office ~ by touting your candidate’s good qualities and skills, not by trashing-talking the other candidate.

    I’m reasonably sure the candidates themselves will adhere to this good advice. The challenge, however, will be to keep all their campaign supporters in that same frame of mind.

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  2. Thank you Alicia! I wholeheartedly agree. It is very telling when the only way someone can promote their candidate is to speak ill of the other.

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    1. I agree and would ask supporters of all candidates to adhere to this. The sad thing is, one side never thinks their side does anything wrong. But everyone has their favorite and everyone falls victim to this tendency. It happens every two years.

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  3. YES!

    I herewith pledge NOT to vote for any candidate who goes negative.

    Disagree on policies, even critique another’s policy choices – but do it constructively – “I disagree with x’s policy on y, for these reasons…”

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    1. So negative FACTS, such as being presented about Mike Nelson, must be hidden from the voters; I can’t agree with that. I do agree with your second paragraph.

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      1. You are quite right. Facts are facts. But sometimes rumors and grudges become “facts,” and that is what I mean. I refuse to vote for anyone who dwells on resentment, won’t shut up about the other person’s perceived faults, etc. I want to know what candidates ideas and proposals are, not what he dislikes about the other candidate. I refuse to vote for anyone who seizes on the least excuse to smear or attack the opponent, as we see far too often in our national politics. I want to vote for a candidate and his/her ideas, not against someone for what got exaggerated or created and repeated over and over.

        Thanks for calling me out on a statement which should have been more clear.

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  4. Respecting this opinion, its patently wrong. This whole campaign for mayor has been softball, maybe even T-Ball. Speaking as -the- person bringing up liabilities of each candidate, who else has been asking these questions? If we were hiring a dog catcher, it would be totally irresponsible -not- point out that the hypothetical candidate had a DUI. All My Edmonds News has got to do is ask Mike Nelson about the circumstances regarding the Washinton State Attourney General complaint against his electioneering activities. Make it a puff piece. It’s insane I’m the only one talking about it.

    As for Neil, gay people have the right to get married. There werent a whole lot of tradition marriage in the Bible, from King David, to Jesus, to Marry Joseph; pretty much none were examples of traditional marriage. Edmonds is a Seattle suburb, gay marriage is a big deal here. It was totally fair of Kristianna to call him on his personal bias. MEN featured Kristiannas pointed criticism. It was a public service. Because of her, voters are informed about an issue they care about. That’s why this whole process exists. They dont give you Eagle Scout just because you got a bunch of merit badges. The whole person, good and bad, is on the table.

    Just about everyone I’ve spoken to about Neil knows he favors Traditional Marriage. Just about no one I’ve spoken to knows Mike is a lobbyist who got into trouble with the AG. Neil, in my subjective opinion, did a great job explaining his feelings about gay marriage when he was forced to. Now give Mike the opportunity, even if he doesnt want it. Theres journalistic legwork to be done here, whilst MEN laments, suggesting that objective criticism is favortism somehow. :/

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    1. As I said earlier — and I will say again — there’s a reason why I’m keeping track rather than having these things repeated over and over. The question about the union complaint is on my list to pursue. If there are others, please email me.

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  5. What controversy! Politics has been described with the same vernacular as sports. Win/lose, fight for the causes, defend the goals. These general ideas are open to interpretation as is all politics. Voting is the most important concern. How many voters in Edmonds voted in this primary? There are many generic statements made to inform voters of intention, but now that it is getting down to who may lead for Mayor, the mood is impacted. It took the States of America 41 years to ratify the 19th Amendment, which finally allowed secure voting rights for Women! It speaks volumes on the focus of democracy. All of us need to take `information’ carefully from others when it comes to the character of a person. Elected office of all candidates needs clear and clean communication. I voted for a woman who rode her horse as a youth through the streets of Edmonds. A person I never met.

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  6. I’m with Mr. Brown 100%. I’m not going to vote for any candidate that goes negative against his/her opponent or does not speak up against his/her supporters who are obviously going negative to try to gain some sort of perceived advantage. The voters want to know what the candidates plan to do for the city and how the candidate will accomplish his/her plans period. The people screaming the loudest about partisan politics invading the local elections are the biggest partisans of the bunch. Hypocrisy in spades; and personally I’m sick and tired of reading them and plan to use my ignore button liberally for the next few weeks. Hang in there Teresa, they will vilify you next and are in fact already in that process.

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    1. Mr. Wright, some of your comments are probably referencing me as you believe me to be a republican. I am an independent; I am not a republican or a democrat. I have voted for, and financially supported, democrats nationally as well as locally. I cannot prove my votes, but I can prove that I have given money to Strom Peterson, Marko Liias, and Adam Cornell.

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  7. I agree, we should have none of this negative campaigning. Let’s hear talk about:”Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.Everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together.” And virtue, I want to hear how each candidate has loads of virtue. And free stuff. I especially love to hear about all the free stuff, it’s such a positive message.

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    1. Shakespeare’s Henry IV said about Richard II’s omnipresence:

      …whereof a little
      More than a little is by much too much.
      So when he had occasion to be seen,
      He was but as the cuckoo is in June,
      Heard, not regarded…

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        1. That is a lie. I said nothing of the sort, no matter how you may choose to twist it. As you appear to want nothing more than to argue, I will not respond to any future post of yours. You are now on Ignore.

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        2. Don Ackley send me a pretty embarrassing and condescending email on his part. Email me if you want a copy. Nathaniel quotes Shakespeare but makes apologies for people who stormed a federal facility, defiled American flags, later arrived with guns and malotov cocktails. He should condemn that group instead of supporting them.

          Y’all are bullies. :/

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  8. I agree in principle but the challenge is when a negative trait bears directly on the job. If someone applying for a controller position in your business could not demonstrate personally or ethically handling of finance, would you hire them? In the Mayor’s race, for example, we have a candidate who not only failed to live within their budget to the extent that he wasn’t able to pay taxes to the tune of $50k. Furthermore, instead of saying he learned something from it about money management and choices, he says instead that it reflects how much he wanted to live in Edmonds (implying he would do it again).

    In Contrast, the opponent is being charged as not having a “real job” and having the fact that it’s in a Christian church be problematic. If ever there was an organization that had to stay on a budget with a higher degree of transparency (than most), it’s a church. It is the people who are making the comments that should think about what they are saying if you want to make it about the name of civility; first determine if your critique even makes sense.

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  9. A truly politically independent person would have little and express little concern about what a candidate’s official political party connections are. They would want to know why the person is running, what the person’s qualifications for the job are, and what the person plans to do to try to implement his or her vision for implementing those plans. There are very few truly politically independent people commenting on this website or generally in the electorate at all. I am not truly independent politically. I very seldom (like I once voted for Dan Evans) vote Republican. I am really trying hard to become like the rare person I referred to in my first sentence here.

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    1. Good points, but I would posit that a candidate’s official political party connections are an indicator of that person’s general views and attitudes, and electing that candidate is adding one more bit of power/leverage to that party.

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    2. Clint, I think a candidate’s party affiliation IS relevant if investigation finds that the person is being pushed by the party to a local position for the sake of furthering their political career at a “higher” level. I look for a person who wants to be elected to truly help Edmonds. I’m concerned about a person who’s reason for running is just a step in furthering their political career. So if a person is a Republican or a Democrat, it doesn’t matter to me (I usually vote more for people who happen to be Democrats on the local level). But if a person is being pushed by either of the party offices as an up-and-comer, I run away. That ties back to your comment on “why the person is running”.

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      1. I would also encourage people to ask each candidate they are considering directly why they are running for office rather than relying on the hearsay of comment sections. I’ve seen a few accusations of political climbing that were unsubstantiated and unfounded, simply planted as a way to discredit a candidates intent.

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        1. I can substantiate. As a fact, I know that Republicans seek to plant candidates into non-partisan offices. When I was chair of the 21st LD Republican Party this was colloquially known as “Farm Team”. Both parties do it. Conversely, Erin Ornes accused Tibbot of being a Christian “plant”. Judging by Nelson’s endorsements being just the Democratic Party infrastructure from top down, and judging by emails I have of Nelson’s where he’s trying to coordinate with Seattle on national partisan wedge-issues, it’s fair to say that the Mayor race is partisan. Democrats have targeted Edmonds Mayor for their Farm Team. The City Council will get stacked too, likely thru vacancy appointments. The plan is to use Edmonds as a platform for state-wide and national influence. The reason why there are so many calls for civility in what really has been a softball game is that wind is in favor of Mike Nelson. If Tibbot were in the lead, Republicans would be calling for civility.

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  10. Matt:
    I have been closely involved with Edmonds politics since 2003. It’s possible that I missed it, but I have not seen the Republican party involved in Edmonds politics during that period of time.

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    1. We werent very good at it frankly. If there were elections for anything, Republicans would try to “get their lady or guy” in there. Locally the farm teams are known as “The Old Guard” verse the Democrats. There were candidates who werent part of either Farm League, but they both were primary’d out.

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  11. For the sake of argument, let’s say a candidate runs for local non-partisan office with the hearty endorsement of a major political party; wins the position; and goes on to have a stellar record of accomplishment and getting things done in that office; becoming very popular with most of the citizens in the process. Under those circumstances, should he/she have been excluded from the office in the first place because of prior major party support? I would submit that this party issue in our election, is little more than an attempt to portray a false good guy vs. the bad guy simpleton argument to support a given candidate. Not very useful really.

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