Smith: Daigle should be more accessible

The print headline for this column last week read, "Mansoor can confront his critics."

That was two days before Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) participated in a League of Women Voters of Orange Coast debate ("Mansoor, Rush debate issues," May 27).

The headline was prescient because Mansoor, a Republican, showed up to debate Democrat Bob Rush in Laguna Beach, which, politically, is the closest city Orange County has to San Francisco.

The third candidate, Newport Beach City Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, sent word that she would not attend but did not say why.

At least the League had the benefit of a reply. I made two attempts to interview Daigle and got only bupkis — not even a "no thanks."

It is interesting, however, that when I emailed her about 10 days ago to request a quote about a statement that Rush had made about her, she replied in minutes ("Talking the issues with candidate Bob Rush," May 16)

This was to have been the third in a series of interviews with each 74th District candidate, but Daigle apparently doesn't want to meet before Tuesday's primary.

There is nothing forcing Daigle to meet with me, or even to respond, but she should have at least replied regardless of whether she wanted to meet, if only to avoid the possibility of having Daily Pilot readers learn that she was unresponsive.

As a result, I am left to form my opinion of her qualifications based on her website, her campaign mailings and the impression left by her decision not to discuss her candidacy with me.

I'm not big on forming opinions based on websites and mailings, mostly because the content of both consists of half-truths, misleading "facts" about opponents and positions so watered down that in many cases you can swap the name at the top of the piece and it would still apply.

There are some blatant omissions too. Of the three candidates, Rush is the only one who has clearly articulated specific positions on a wide range of challenges facing the state.

Mansoor has four general position bullets on his website, including "Balance the budget." I like it when a candidate puts a stake in the ground with a bold statement like that.

But Daigle does not have a single articulated position listed on her website. You will not find out where she stands on crime, the environment, education or abortion. Instead, she has created a website full of her version of her tenure as a councilwoman, a list of endorsements and a lot of Mansoor bashing.

Well, so much for President Reagan's 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

Daigle probably missed the debate because it was a no-win situation: a room full of left-leaning Laguna Beach residents and an aggressive Republican opponent sharing the dais. And I can't say I blame her, except that the perception now is that she can't take a punch.

STEVE SMITH is a Costa Mesa resident and a freelance writer. Send story ideas to

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