Letter: Independence Needed

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The duty of City Clerk, a non-partisan office, is to be neutral. To show no preference or favoritism in elections…to be the guardian of the sanctity of local elections.

Laguna Beach’s City Clerk, Lisette Chel Walker chose to forfeit those responsibilities, and is using the full weight of her office to place her friend, the City Manager’s secretary, in this vital elected position.

The importance of this office offering complete and accurate information cannot be overstated.

While reviewing the financial campaign reports filed by the candidates, I noticed that Mariann Tracy listed some questionable contributions.

The limit is $440 per calendar year, yet one individual gave her two separate contributions, one for $250 and another for $440. This, clearly violates that election rule limit.

Richard Tracy, her spouse, reported contributing $5,000 to her campaign. Assuming this comes from a joint account with her name on it, it’s a glaring lack of attention to detail that she did not include her name as part of that donation on her report.

And yet another contributor’s occupation was not provided, which is required information. Math errors and stunning oversights from someone running for an office we depend on for precision? She also lists herself as City Clerk on the report? Why didn’t Walker catch these errors committed by her friend’s campaign? Why didn’t either one of them catch the errors? Not very detailed, are they? Walker claimed in her editorial that the position “requires a specialized knowledge of election laws, and conflict of interest laws”…When exactly were those exercised when reviewing her friend’s financial reports?

It’s time for that office to be represented by someone who has served our country, and our city, with transparency. Someone who doesn’t owe their office to the City Hall cronies. Someone who wouldn’t behave as the current City Clerk is behaving… as a partisan in the city’s most important NON-partisan office. Ms. Walker has always been a pleasant person, but this really stinks.

Walker should have retired with the dignity of her office intact. An office bound by the oath of non-partisanship. But she chose a different path. It’s time for the City Clerk to be technically skilled, detail-oriented, and truly non-partisan.

It’s time for the City Clerk to be Ann Marie McKay.

Ed Steinfeld, Laguna Beach

EDITOR’S NOTE: Steinfeld is McKay’s long-time boyfriend. 

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  1. Having known Mariann Tracy and worked alongside her, I can state without reservation that she is a woman of honor and integrity. But here’s a tip: if you want to attack someone’s character in a nonpartisan political contest, you might want to disclose that you have been in a relationship with her opponent for 16 years.


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