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Not surprisingly, nastiness worsens each election cycle


April 03, 2013 - Not surprisingly, each election cycle surpasses the previous one in terms of nastiness and incivility.

Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors candidate Mike Klund and his union handlers demonstrated that in his bid to unseat incumbent Secretary Ed Ryan in Tuesday's election — which occurred after the Call went to press.

As readers may recall, Klund challenged Board of Directors Chairman Aaron Hilmer two years ago. Even with $100,000 to fund a campaign based on distortions, innuendos and half-truths, Klund still could not defeat Hilmer, though he came close.

In the campaign against Ryan, Klund's union handlers fired off mailer after mailer attacking Ryan.

Not surprisingly, the union-funded mailers spewed many erroneous allegations against Ryan, yet hardly contained any information that would place Klund in a positive light or explain why he would be the right person to serve on the fire board.

While this newspaper received more letters than it had space for in support of Ryan, we did not receive a single missive from anyone willing to sign their name on a letter to the editor in support of Klund. That speaks volumes, in our opinion.

Just as nasty are anonymous attacks on candidates seeking office. In this election cycle, perhaps the award for the most vicious anonymous letter goes to a person or persons in Grantwood Village. An anonymous letter attacking candidates in the Board of Trustees race goes beyond the pale, in our opinion.

And, quite frankly, we're not quite so sure that the identity of the so-called anonymous sender — or senders — will remain anonymous.

For all we know, postal investigators and/or ethics officials already could be working to identify the author or authors of the letter. As a matter of fact, we don't think it would be hard to find the source of the letters.

The Call's stance on anonymity is well-known. For example, we will not publish unsigned letters to the editor. We believe an inherent requirement of freedom of speech is that people take full responsibility for the statements they make.

No matter who won election on Tuesday, the Call intends to hold them accountable to their campaign pledges. Remember, seldom do we miss a meeting of a government body.

We believe that's fair warning to any candidate who is unable to deliver what he or she promised to the voters.

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