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Mailbag: Vote on facts and ignore dirty tactics

November 02, 2012

Some people generally accept dirty tactics as part of the political process. Others even believe the most unscrupulous candidate wins. They engage in ugliness because they enjoy the game. Others use the process to lash out for personal reasons, and a few do both.

What most dirty tricksters and their supporters have failed to realize is that when they toss ugly accusations around, the reputations of good people are tarnished forever. We can all think of cases where this has happened.

However, here in Laguna Beach where we see each other at church, in the supermarkets, at local plays, music and art events, it is hard to believe anyone draped in a veil of lies they disseminated to pollute an election would ever want to face other members of our community once the election is over.

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Usually, I just let things go and hope the intelligence of Lagunatics will prevail, but some of the recent defamatory remarks about Bob Whalen's character are so outrageous they cannot be ignored.

Whalen was not just a good school board member, he was a great one. He was instrumental in restoring the school district's finances and programs after a near collapse and leading the campaign to modernizing all four schools. When he got the basics in order, he urged the district to strive to match national best practices in each of our schools.

Moreover, he was absolutely not responsible for the MTV program based in Laguna nor was he responsible for changing the high school mascot from Artists to Breakers. These kinds of accusations were not true several years ago and they are still not true.

Those who worked with Whalen when he was on the school board will tell you that he was committed to public service. He took his responsibilities very seriously. He was never frivolous or self-serving; he listened to his public. He carefully read the backup materials for his meetings and made each decision based on the best interest of our schools.

This diligence and integrity has characterized Whalen's actions as a planning commissioner, as head of the Boys & Girls Club, and as head of School Power. We are exceeding lucky someone with his credentials has agreed to serve on our City Council.

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