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Another election to write home about

November 07, 2002

First thing's first.

We would like to extend hearty congratulations to those candidates

who came out on the winning side of a long, hard election campaign.

In some cases, the candidates were not our picks for the job. But

endorsement or not, we want to make it clear that we believe it's

time for all parties to set aside differences and get to work.

While the winners are clear cut, we need also to pay homage to the

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losers -- the anti-growth Greenlight movement in Newport Beach, Mayor

Linda Dixon in Costa Mesa, Wendy Leece in Newport-Mesa Unified and,

last but not least, voters who want and deserve a clean campaign free

of dirty politics.

Many believed that Allan Beek, the son of the Balboa Ferry

pioneer, would ride the popularity of the anti-growth Greenlight

movement and finally win a seat on the council.

Not only did that not happen, but with the exception of Dick

Nichols in District 6, the Greenlight candidates did not fare well at

all in Tuesday's election.

The next major defeat comes in Costa Mesa, where incumbent Linda

Dixon lost to newcomer Allan Mansoor. Mansoor, an Orange County

sheriff's deputy, hammered on the same Westside issues that carried

Councilman Chris Steel to victory two years ago -- crime, charities,

illegal immigration and the Job Center.

The other major loss came for Wendy Leece. The firebrand school

board trustee has never been afraid to go out on a limb and risk

criticism to fight for her convictions and beliefs. For that, we are

sure, she became a target, and newly elected trustee Tom Egan was the

beneficiary of those who successfully orchestrated her demise.

Finally, to the voters, who were treated to the now-typical name

calling, charges of sign stealing and character assassination that

would be far more fitting in an elementary school playground than in

elections:

We acknowledge that sometimes we become convenient vehicles for

these sometimes nasty messages, but, as we like to point out, we are

only the messenger.

And as that messenger, we at least do our best to balance out the

charges and bring some middle ground.

But for those who don't want to play fair, they have learned they

can inundate mailboxes with hit pieces, call voters with last-minute,

unfair allegations or use television or even the Internet to sling

their mud.

It's unbecoming and cowardly to resort to such tactics, but we

guess the candidates believe the results are worth it.

Still, we have to believe that clear discussions of the issues

will always be better because voters will know where a candidate

stands and the candidates can still look themselves in the mirror.

In the end, though, the ballots have been cast and the results are

in. The winners deserve their day in the sun because, as those who

were on the losing side can attest, the clouds can gather on the

horizon very fast.

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