There is no doubt it is campaign season in Newport-Mesa.
The signal for its real start isn’t Labor Day or the slew of endorsements that are now coming out from various political groups. It isn’t even the many candidates forums taking place throughout the community.
It is the race’s first clear hit piece, dropped on Newport Beach City Council candidate Barbara Venezia.
Those details aren’t worth printing again, beyond saying that an examination of her ties to Rainbow Disposal shows absolutely no conflict with her being on the City Council.
What is worth looking at more is how this hit happened. At issue was information on a form Venezia had to submit to the city as part of her running for council. And as of the beginning of this week, only one person had requested a copy of that form: political consultant Dave Ellis.
Ellis, of course, has been tied to other political tricks, notably a 2002 deceptive phone message in a race between Councilman Gary Adams and Greenlight-backed Rick Taylor. Ellis at the time admitted he had created the message but said it was never authorized for use.
The evidence is circumstantial tying Ellis to this latest political ploy, and Ellis has been unavailable for comment, but he is among those helping Venezia’s opponent, Councilwoman Leslie Daigle. Daigle has denied knowledge of the attack on Venezia.
All voters should hope that is true. As we have said repeatedly, dirty tricks and negative campaigning have no place in Newport-Mesa elections. Voters here deserve to learn what candidates think on the issues and should not have to wade through what schemes political consultants can create.
Voters should expect such tricks won’t be repeated this year.