Guest Reviews | Let the (dirty) games begin!
There are three weeks left until Election Day and the ballots are already out.
By Melissa Michelson
As we get closer, the candidates start to feel the pressure. More and more lawn signs begin to appear, the cash-strapped candidates push a few brighter and brighter senders, and the negative campaign tactics begin.
Take for example a generally benign run for the Pasadena City College board of trustees. In District 5, which largely encompasses South Pasadena, San Marino and parts of Temple City, the race between incumbent Linda Wah and challenger Kristine Kwong is heating up.
To oust a longtime incumbent, there must be a reason to do so. In this case, Kwong cites Wah’s lack of strong leadership on the board. Featured prominently on Kwong’s website: “We cannot allow apathy, dysfunction or mismanagement to keep students from succeeding. That’s why Kristine Kwong is a candidate for the CCP board.
As a result, her campaign materials convey the same consistent message: the incumbent must go.
A mailer lists a series of facts:
- PCC was put on academic probation from accreditation
- A judge has struck down college board severance pay for former CCP president, referring to Mark Rocha whom the board itself hired and who was one of the worst CCP presidents
- The CCP has seen six presidents come and go in the past ten years
- There was recently a vote of no confidence in the current leadership (see here and here).
Another of Kwong’s flyers highlights Wah’s exorbitant travel expenses of $52,000 since 2015 and declining CCP student enrollment.
It is in the public’s right to know the record of their elected representative, especially when such a record is not regularly reported or when typical voters do not know where to get reliable information.
In response to Kwong’s documents, Linda Wah emailed her followers, first baselessly claiming she was the “unanimous choice” of community leaders and students, not saying which ones, then she was victimized. review of his file by Kwong. calling it a “smear”, when in fact, she’s the one engaging in libel tactics.
“…despite being the unanimous choice of our community leaders and students, my opponent continues to smear my campaign. The race that Krsitine Kwong has started against me is getting uglier day by day. Lies. False declarations. Untruths. This must stop. -Linda Wah
Then, rather than refute any alleged “untruth” in his record, Wah obscures his participatory role in the issues plaguing the CCP, and in his email to his followers, attempts to incite moral outrage at past failings. of Kwong in his personal voting record in the local elections.
These tactics are meant to distract voters from college issues and pit them against a candidate who wants to elevate the ethics of the board — after all, in 2015, CCP was placed on probation with the governing body. statewide accreditation who cited a reason as the board of directors (Wah et.al) were not following their own ethics policies.
It’s getting worse
If all that wasn’t enough, the email then led his followers on a mass fishing expedition to bring back any dirt they could supply Wah about his opponent vis-a-vis. an intake form on a new website paid for by Linda Wah’s campaign. , using Kwong’s name as the domain.
At the time of this publication, the inbox is now gone, but the page is still live. You can see the admission form before it was taken down in this screenshot.
It is precisely smear tactics such as those of Linda Wah that make voters weary of politicians and indifferent to participating in the democratic process.
Let’s not confuse backgrounds with character attacks. Let’s stick to the stakes, stop feigning moral outrage over petty insignificances, and let virtue signal* at the door. It’s time to end the dirty politics.
* Virtue signalling: the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or feelings intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.
Melissa Michelson is a resident of SGV. It is his opinion.
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