In recent weeks, if you've picked up the Payson Roundup, listened to local radio or turned on cable television, you've been bombarded by negative campaigning in our local mayoral race.
If you have a bad taste in your mouth right now, you're not alone.
It's disappointing that in such a beautiful town full of usually warm, caring people that the political environment has turned sour.
This negativity is upstaging much of the good that is going on in our community right now.
This week, the newspaper spent too much time acting as a referee in this mayoral race as we dealt with several issues surrounding political advertising.
Our patience has reached its limit during this election season and it's time for candidates and their supporters to stop acting like children.
Two of the biggest issues that came to the table this week could have been easily avoided, we believe, if the people involved were playing fair and, frankly, acting like adults.
We are not sure when the rule book was thrown out in this race, but we would like to see it reopened and these three simple rules followed for the duration of the election in ads and Letters to the Editor.
1. Stop the negative campaigning. It doesn't work anyway. In a small community, your comments will be more effective if you focus on the accomplishments of your candidate or what he or she is capable of achieving. Stick to the issues.
2. Examine your remarks for slanted or misleading information. It's human nature, when you are passionate about something, to use words that carry a conspiratorial undertone.
3. Remember to separate the person from the politics. This election will end in two weeks, yet we will be living and working together for years to come. Wounds turn to scars. Let's not create an environment where we can't look each other in the eye at the grocery store or won't stop to help a neighbor in need.
The first political advertisement that got the pot boiling this week was a one-page insert submitted by Citizens for Payson's Economic Future that ran with the Tuesday paper. (See clarification on page 2A)
This advertisement inadvertently ran with misleading information. We have run a clarification of the material and would now like the players involved to stop bean-counting and return to the real issues on the political table.
The second political boiler we dealt with this week had been heating up over several weeks.
It involved the same political action committee. Based on the statement of organization filed with the town by this committee, there has been a perception that this group was being secretive about its member list. There were also several other requirements involving paperwork that were brought into question, which are now being addressed by an outside law firm to determine compliance.
This committee has now published a complete list of its membership on page 5A (of the Roundup print edition), and the matter should soon be closed.
Emotions are high and judgment is low in this election.
There are unneeded smoke and mirrors in these campaigns and there is too much vitriol.
With two weeks left in this election, there is still time to change its direction.