Commentary: Political signs don’t speak to this Newport-Mesa parent

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District offices in Costa Mesa.
(Daily Pilot)

Perhaps I’m just a cynic. But I believe political campaigns are breeding grounds for exaggeration and distortions of the truth, not to mention other unsavory practices of candidates.

I’m not saying all candidates engage in such behavior, but we all know it happens. I found myself insulted enough by one local candidate for Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s school board whose signs urge readers to “Re-elect the Parents’ Choice,” that I had to share my outrage in this letter.

As a parent with elementary-aged children in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, I keep getting disappointed by the decisions the current board has been making during the pandemic. Whenever I see signs for the incumbent for Zone 1, Vicki Snell, my blood boils at her bold declaration that voters should “Re-elect the parents’ choice.”

I am a parent who lives in the Zone 1 area, and she is not my choice. And while she is a parent, she isn’t one with any children currently in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. I wouldn’t be so heated over this if she had stated something more like, “four out of five parents approve.”

But her overbroad, misleading statement that she is the choice of parents offends me. I understand that candidates have to do what they can to get the votes, but misleading voters is unacceptable to me.

I can recall the last election cycle when the position for Zone 1 school board trustee was up for grabs. I was new to all things school board-related, so I had the mindset that if they were in office, and had been reelected once, they must be doing an OK job, so I checked the box, making a random and uninformed decision.

With no personal knowledge of the candidates, I really only had their bios in the voting guide to use in making my decisions. Well, that and advertising fliers and signs that are similar to Snell’s current signs.

Back then, I took them at face value, with a grain of salt. I don’t fault anyone for not researching a candidate when there’s little or no vested interest in that particular office. I know in the past I just went with it and believed the candidate’s campaigning statements.

I know better now. Having had first-hand experience with the current school board for years now, I am confident that I can make an informed decision when I cast my ballot and not rely simply on the campaign ads, posters and banners displayed around the neighborhoods or the belief that an incumbent is the best candidate for the job simply because he or she is already holding that post.

That said, I’d also like to add that there are not enough readily available opportunities to learn about the candidates we are electing, people who will be making decisions that directly affect our children. But I guess that’s a letter for another day.

The writer lives in Costa Mesa.

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