Respect and civility are ideals in our American democracy. This last month of the campaign is sometimes called the “silly season,” because those ideals can sometimes become consumed by baser motives.
This week I was inspired by the tone of the latest Candidates Forum, sponsored by the Olivenhain Town Council and ably moderated by its president, Bob Hines. The seven people running for local office made their positions known during 90 minutes of questions and answers.
Appearing at the Olivenhain Candidate Forum last Wednesday night were (l. to r.) Mayoral candidates Catherine Blakespear and Paul Gaspar, and City Council candidates Tasha Boerner Horvath, Phil Graham, Tony Brandenburg, incumbent Tony Kranz and incumbent Mark Muir.
Topics included the purchase of the Pacific View school 2.5 years ago and its rehabilitation, traffic problems in Olivenhain and elsewhere, and Measure T, the housing element proposal that will be on this election’s ballot.
What was noteworthy was the civil tone of the discourse.
Unlike last week’s KPBS radio interview, during which my opponent threw several baseless accusations at me while dodging questions about his own positions, this forum showcased a generally polite discussion of candidates’ opinions and ideas, giving the packed house a clearer picture of where each of us stands.
Surrounded by the hall’s wooden walls and modest lighting, it was easy to imagine being part of a spirited town meeting 120 years ago.
Given the lowbrow nature of the national presidential race, our local forum gave me hope that reason and respect may still win out as we grapple with our civic challenges. I congratulate each of my fellow candidates, and truly hope that the remainder of the campaign stays on this more elevated and productive path.
Join us this Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Encinitas Library for the only forum that will feature exclusively the two candidates for Mayor. The five candidates running for three City Council seats will have a City Council-only forum on Tuesday, Oct. 18th at 6:30 p.m. at the Encinitas Library.
The case of the stolen campaign signs
While we’re on the subject of civility and integrity, several candidates in this race have recently noted that their yard signs (including ours) are disappearing or being defaced, usually at night. The easy response is to blame opponents’ campaigns for the skulduggery. Our campaign has a great group of volunteers who understand that sabotaging others’ free speech rights is wrong. No one should snatch or damage the signs of other candidates and groups, no matter how opposed you might feel.
In hopes of curbing this problem overall, I encourage all other candidates and groups in this election to make the same public statement to their supporters.
In ongoing service,
P.S. We’re excited about the newly released Mayoral campaign video. See below…
“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”
– Eric Hoffer