Letters Fail to Illuminate

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Editor,

I think it is time for the local newspapers to stop publishing candidate-related political letters during election campaigns, with a possible exception for letters about truly newsworthy topics, subject to the same criteria editors use for news articles.

Candidate letters add nothing to either the debate or voters’ actual knowledge of the candidate. The friends and supporters of one candidate write gushing encomiums extolling the purported virtues of their candidates, and/or “hit pieces” attacking the knowledge, intentions, history or morals of their candidates’ opponents.

Martha Lydick, of the Laguna Beach Republicans, supports the two Republican candidates. Surprise!

Village Laguna members support Toni Iseman. Another surprise!

Such letters are all meaningless expressions of one person’s political biases, and merely a form of free advertising for candidates – and are also subject to letter writing campaigns to create the impression of broad support, whether or not true: a candidate with a hundred supporters can easily generate a dozen letters, while a candidate with thousands of supporters might not.

Candidates for office have many means of communicating with the public; letters should be limited to actual public issues – and while, of course, local elections are the most important political issue of all, their particular nature makes newspaper letters ineffective.

Gene Gratz, Laguna Beach

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