Madison May Share Wieder’s Fate



Back in 1978, the Laguna Beach Citizens Alliance asked me to interview all the candidates running for city council. Kelly Boyd was among those who appeared on the local cable TV program.

Today, we are in the throws of another city council race. This one seems to have veered off course, what with the stories about Jon Madison’s background (“Candidate Denies Fabricating His Resume,” Sept. 12).  To recap: Mr. Madison has not been able to prove he graduated from Cornell University and UCLA School of Law.  After more than 10 days of answering questions, neither school nor the State Bar of California has been able to corroborate his claims. Which begs the question, why not?

This is like deja vu all over again for me. In 1988, Harriett Wieder, then a very experienced, powerful Orange County supervisor, was running for Congress.  Similar to Mr. Madison’s situation, the media reported she lied about her college degree.

Here’s how Ms. Wieder responded to the Los Angeles Times: “This is typical dirty politics. They’re out to destroy me, not to win an election, and I’m not going to let them do it. I made a mistake. I’m running on 14 years of a good record of service to this community. I’ve made a contribution.”

She then went on to challenge her opponents to compare their records to hers. They did and she lost.

There is no denying that Mr. Madison has made significant contributions to life here in Laguna; unfortunately, there is more to running for office than that. There is that little something called trust.

Harriett Wieder discovered the lie about her college degree meant more to voters than she realized.  If John Madison can’t prove the news reports about his background are false, then he very well could end up discovering the same truth in November.

Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach

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