Sat, July 20

Editorial: Local voters stood firm against politics of hate and deceit

The political process has never been known as a showcase for humanity’s best qualities.

Instead, it’s typically an exercise in prideful grandstanding, pettiness and deceit.

At its worst, people can be just plain mean and honesty can be in very short supply.

While we are not above the ugly side of politics here in the Verde Valley, there were some key races in which mean-spirited politics were soundly rejected by obviously well-informed and level-headed voters Tuesday.

The best example of this was the Cottonwood City Council race in which incumbent Kyla Allen was the top vote-getter, still as of Thursday morning, with 1,114 votes.

That’s especially noteworthy given that it is hard to remember an instance in local election history where a city/town council candidate was the victim of such character assassination as was Mrs. Allen. In the gutter realms of social media, Allen took a beating. Thankfully, the voters saw through such baseless nonsense.

Similarly in Sedona, the Home Rule ballot measure saw Chamber of Commerce CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff horribly maligned to the degree that the ballot question became as much an issue of her integrity as it did with the financial harm the city faced had the measure been rejected by voters.

Seldom do you see election issues manipulated to such bizarre extremes as was Sedona’s Home Rule ballot measure. Opponents peddled the concept that a rejection of home rule would cripple Sedona City Hall to the degree that the chamber of commerce would be cut off from any future municipal subsidies. That, in turn, would prevent the chamber from any statewide and national tourism marketing, which, ultimately, would solve Sedona’s traffic problems. Wessellhoff became the centerpiece of this attack-and-smear political campaign that, if successful, would have reduced the city’s budget capacity by 51 percent.

As was the case with the gutter politics to which Allen was subjected, Sedona voters saw through the fraud and did the right thing.

Aside from these two instances, the rest of the Verde Valley’s political players were well behaved and were not subjected to the politics of hate that often surface in social media.

While Camp Verde politics traditionally have been known to be testy, candidates and their supporters alike took the high road this election cycle. Across the Verde Valley, Clarkdale voters had to choose from four respectful and thoughtful candidates who all conducted themselves with dignity. Finally, up the hill in Jerome, the lone political forum saw Jerome’s slate of candidates treat one another with the kind of respect that should be the model for politics at every level.

In the end, the biggest winners in Tuesday’s primary were the voters in the Verde Valley and Sedona. They elected good solid candidates. In Camp Verde, the voters paved the way to what should be a most interesting race for the town’s mayor in the November general election.

And in Cottonwood and Sedona, the voters were the real winners for seeing through and standing firm against the politics of hate and deceit.