The recent Town Council election in Moraga demonstrated a basic democratic principle. The electorate will not tolerate being misled.
This principle is nearly impossible to engage on a State or National level as corporate influence via lobbyists have, to a frightening degree, diluted our 'representative' form of governance.
But on the local front, failure to adhere to campaign promises can cost you an election. In an astonishing display of undignified 'Sour Grapes', Karen Mendonca, a recent incumbent loser in the Moraga Town Council race was reported to have said:
"I believe that this negative smear campaign had a powerful impact on the outcome of this election," Mendonca wrote in an e-mail. "I had hoped that citizens would not be influenced by these visual and written assaults, but I was wrong. Research confirms that these negative and targeted campaigns can be very effective in destroying the candidacy of an honorable and proven public servant as I have sadly experienced in this election."
I assume she is referring to the legal "Defeat Mendonca" signage that proliferated in the area. While I agreed with the sentiment, I disagreed with the tactic, but only because of the adage, "There is no such thing as bad publicity". Historically, these efforts are met by a backlash that nullifies their effectiveness or even may aid the targeted candidate.
As for the 'written' assaults, well, this is politics and if your skin is that thin perhaps you are in the wrong game. Town Council decisions directly affect quality of life issues and protect honored traditional practices and behavior contrary to constituent beliefs will elicit direct pointed reaction. We are not sheep.
She mistakenly had honed her campaign in on against a small, pristine park's off-lead dog policy and completely ignored the fact that her base of support had fled in significant numbers based on her reversal of position on the 'open space/ridgeline protection' issue.
I felt she had to be removed, but it had nothing to do with dogs. It had to do with her politics. She behaved badly in the park debate, as well, treating the park supporters with a rare level of public disdain. But this only added to the Town's growing disfavor with her. And she was, and is apparently, oblivious to that fact. The issuance of such a statement stands as testimony of her utter lack of self-awareness. And it is undignified to make disparaging, inaccurate remarks when things do not go as planned.
Ms. Mendonca has had a long career in the public sector and that experience can skew one's perception of "real world" reality. The private sector, with its 'dog eat dog' (no pun intended) reality is markedly different from the comfort afforded by public sector empolyment. This may have been a contributing factor as she is likely an otherwise fine, upstanding citizen. It would be a shame to end a long career of public service on that note.