Councilwoman Annette Smith accused Mayor Luis Molina of bragging in a San Diego bar that he already had the endorsement before interviews began; she also took pot shots at the two other council candidates the union endorsed, Shereee Lustgarten and Tony Camacho.
It’s impossible to prove or disprove Smith’s accusation, which is literally a he-said, she-said matter. Regardless, there was no need to publicly blast the firefighters union without first approaching firefighters about the vote in person. It’s fair to ask the union why using the same endorsement process as in 2010 yielded drastically different results this year, as all those who were endorsed two years ago were Republicans, while this year’s endorsements all went to Democrats. At the same time, this matter could have been handled in a far more professional manner.
The Facebook diatribe continues a disturbing trend of nastiness during the previous two City Council elections. In 2008, campaign signs for former Mayor Becky Campo were defaced during her campaign against Molina. In 2010, an anonymous mailer was sent from a Ceres post office box to residents throughout Patterson, taking aim at former City Council candidate James Leonard for his atheism and Molina for past brushes with the law.
There is absolutely no reason a local election race should take on such a negative tone.
Griping over the firefighters union endorsement is silly, anyway. At the end of the day, political party support and endorsements from special interests do not necessarily demonstrate leadership potential, particularly at the municipal level.
We need independent, wise leaders who are willing to voice their opinions and vote their consciences after careful study of the issues, even when the vote might be unpopular. At the same time, we need council members who can work well with those who have differing points without demonizing political opponents.
In short, we need leaders of character. Those are far more important qualities to voters than the special interests and party affiliations to which candidates are beholden.
Many people in this community are weary of the negativity that has plagued the council during the past few years and are ready for a different tone. As a community, we can do better, and we should.