Falsehoods Undermine Democracy

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Editor,

Democracy, particularly its election process, is endangered in the ongoing City Council campaign. Betrayal of the public trust and fairness are also at issue. All three of these matters are intertwined and emblazoned in the council candidacy of a man known as Jon Madison. The Orange County Register checked into these matters and recently published its troubling revelations­­­­.

First, there’s the threatened undermining of local democracy presented by Mr. “Madison’s” candidacy. (Unsure of his legal name, I’ll enclose his presumptive last name in quotation marks.) If our votes are influenced by a candidate’s public profile that is flagrantly false, then our voting is thereby compromised. Were he to win, the legitimacy of his victory would be problematic.

Second, Mr. “Madison’s” candidacy raises the question of public trust. I assume the biographical information a candidate provides the public is true and verifiable. If the resumé they offer cannot be validated, then it’s likely we’re being duped and citizens’ trust has been betrayed from the instant Mr. “Madison” became a candidate. Were he elected, how confident could the citizenry be that the officeholder would not be lying when in the future he provides us with information on the city budget, public safety, environmental concerns, the village entrance project, etc.

Third, for the presumed owner of Madison Square and Garden Café to claim stellar educational credentials that he has not documented is unfair to the other candidates. They may be disadvantaged by not being able to match such (bogus) attainments. If he gets away with this, think about the example it sets for school-age Lagunans, especially when they run for student body offices and later enter the electorate. Related to this issue of honesty in self-reporting, on the boilerplate application for commissions and committees appear the words: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the information is true and correct.” Did Mr. “Madison” perjure himself? If there are no exonerating answers to these questions, this candidate, who professedly “means business,” has no business running for office.

Finally, two former Laguna Beach mayors and other notables continue to endorse Mr. “Madison.” This means the problem is broader, deeper, and more corrosive of democratic principles than the deception of one candidate. Clearly, his campaign puts at risk what Lagunans of all parties and political persuasions hold dear: honest, meaningful, self-governance.

Mr. “Madison” should end his campaign now.

 

Tom Osborne, Laguna Beach

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