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Were the tactics of a local Republican activist underhanded?

BY DI EDITORIAL STAFF | DECEMBER 08, 2009 7:30 AM

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YES

Solon resident Lori Cardella has the right to run for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors seat left open by the death of Larry Meyers. The Johnson County Republicans’ nomination of Cardella was within the boundaries of legal procedure. However, her methods were highly suspect.

The Editorial Board was, and still is, in favor of the special election. Nonetheless, Cardella’s entrance into this race borders on a conflict of interest.

Cardella canvassed for student signatures on the UI campus, garnering half the 7,299 signatures needed for the special election. She spoke about the need to “maintain our right to vote” against this infringement of our rights. Instead, she collected these signatures and ran herself.

Did she tell the students that she was running? Did she make it clear that their signatures would be indirectly promoting her agenda and nomination?

Students are smart enough to decide whether to sign a petition, but questions remain about whether they would have signed the petition had they known what the end result would be. I am not insinuating that Cardella intentionally deceived students, but the lack of transparency on her part makes me a bit concerned.

Cardella is a strong candidate for the position. Her background in community affairs would make her a suitable supervisor. She has devoted her time to this county and could provide solid leadership.

If only that were the whole story.



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Protecting voter rights is extremely important to the fabric of democracy, even in a town dominated by one political party. I commend Cardella for her outspoken support of this American process.

I just question whether the process was handled in the right way. If the roles were reversed and Cardella was a Democrat, would Republicans be upset?

My guess is they would be.

— by Michael Davis

NO

Dishonest. Underhanded. Conflict of interest. These are some of the words critics are using to describe Lori Cardella’s petition for Johnson County Board of Supervisors’ special election. So what if she stood outside crowded student centers? So what if she secured the Republican nomination to run in that election? These facts don’t imply some ulterior motive. The local activist worked hard to secure signatures for the special election, and the people of Johnson County should give her the benefit of the doubt.

Cardella recently received the GOP nomination to run in the election she helped instigate. In hindsight that might appear shady. But in order for that to have any air of impropriety, critics must establish the end result was her intention all along.

The facts tell a different story. Cardella did not try to interview for the position, as did Janelle Rettig, who was initially appointed to fill the vacancy. The special election was not even Cardella’s idea. The Johnson County Republicans approached Cardella to start the petition campaign and, after it was successful, to run for the position. If Cardella had been interested in pursuing the seat, she would have at the very least tried to be appointed.

The course of events regarding this special election show Cardella to be a dedicated activist with more commitment to the democratic process than her critics at this point. Regardless of her emotions at the time, Cardella achieved what many thought to be an unlikely task: calling a special election.

Rettig would have a considerable advantage as an incumbent going into a regular election, but it’s hard to count out Cardella now. She has drummed up enough attention that she might be able run against Rettig and win. Dishonest? Underhanded? I’d say dedicated and hardworking are better words to describe Cardella.

— by Justin Sugg


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