Small town politics can be relentlessly brutal.
One reason people don’t run for public office is because of harsh scrutiny they get from the public. People want to know everything about you. And people are smart enough to know if you’re hiding something. Ideally, it’s a good thing to be as open as possible. And even when you do, you will almost always leave yourself open for attack. That’s just the way it is. Leaders have to persevere through all of that and cut through the noise. Otherwise, they’ll drown in the minutiae.
My responsibility to Morro Bay residents, as an advocate, is to listen to their concerns and do what I can to address them. I can’t and won’t pretend to know all the answers, but the least I can do is get informed on the issues, acknowledge, respond and direct people to other people who are better equipped to address the issues they have. It’s not the most glorious responsibility to have, but it’s the right thing to do. It’s part of the values instilled in me growing up during times of political upheaval and when I served in Rotary Club.
That said, I’ve been challenged by some who have gone out of their way to tell me what to do, what not to do, what to say and what not to say. They’re neither my family, friends nor advisers. Since I announced that I was seriously considering a run for public office in Morro Bay, I’ve had some crazies coming out of the woodwork, feverishly attempting to control or dictate my actions. And when I rebuff them, they immediately pivot to twisting my words and actions to suit their self-serving narrative. I believe these actions are motivated by partisan politics. Unfortunately, this has fueled harassment and threats against me — with obscene emails and messages.
Today, I learned my Nextdoor account was suddenly disabled over a plethora of reasons that were not connected to anything I wrote recently — from “publicly shaming” people I never shamed (but have personally attacked me) to improperly listing “local commerce” when I never listed any product for sale. I’ve asked Nextdoor to investigate the source of these false and improper reports. Sadly, this is not the first time my political opponents have attempted to restrict my access to social media. To be honest, I’m not reliant on Nextdoor and don’t believe I need to be in order to be effective. But it’s clear some residents are threatened by me and the solutions I present.
This harassment is coming from people who prefer to support leadership that don’t engage with their constituents. They prefer leaders who govern with buzzwords and slogans in lieu of public policy. They prefer to blindly support leaders who provide a rubber stamp vote. They have every right to support the Morro Bay City Council for what they do, but I choose to lead differently and support leadership that leads differently. That’s my choice.
Let’s agree to disagree and move on. If people can’t do that, that’s not my problem.