The other day, I received a mailer sent out by the Steve Zimmer for School Board supporters which was one of the most underhanded, despicable political mailers I've gotten. I can't say it's the worst, because I wrote a series about some pretty heinous political mailers in a California State Assembly race put out by Big Oil and banking interests to defeat Betsy Butler, which backfired. But this is up there, and arguably worse because it was more sickeningly smarmy -- and knowingly so. May it backfire just as badly.
I will admit to having a bias for the candidate who was smeared, Nick Melvoin, who I personally know, the son of my good friends Jeff and Martha Melvoin. But the gross, pathetic smear by the Zimmer forces would be just as repulsive whoever the candidate was.
The mailer says, in huge letters, "Say No to Trump. VOTE AGAINST NICK MELVOIN." If that wasn't clear enough, on the reverse side, it covers the page with "STOP the TRUMP Education Agenda by VOTING AGAINST NICK MELVOIN for School Board."
Then there are individual paragraphs throughout, each trying to tie Nick Melvoin to Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, like "Bringing the Extreme Trump Agenda to L.A." And at the end, the final word at the bottom of the page is, "There's too much at stake to let the Trump agenda win."
Pretty awful charges against that Nick Melvoin fellow.
Here's the reality.
Nick Melvoin actually worked in the Obama Administration.
He is endorsed by Arne Duncan -- the Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama
And just this week, he was endorsed by former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. (D-CA)
Nick Melvoin was also endorsed by the Los Angeles Times which just a few weeks ago published an epic six-part scathing series of editorial against Donald Trump.
And he was endorsed by the Los Angeles Daily News. As well as endorsed by the two most-recent Los Angeles mayors. on both sides of the aisle -- Democrat Anthony Villaraigosa and Republican Richard Reardon. That's how even-handed and fair-minded he is..
That's who the Steve Zimmer campaign is trying to make voters think is an evil surrogate for Donald Trump. It's shameless. Despicable. Low-life. And most obvious of all -- desperate.
If someone doesn't like Nick Melvoin's issues, fine, fair enough, that's all personal preference. I happen to think he's great. I think he has well-rounded, thoughtful positions that encompass a lot of education options to give families and students choices. And is a wonderful person on top of it all, with great, even noble experience making him terrifically suited for the School Board. But if someone prefers different options, swell. Your choice.
But to try and make people think that he is someone who in any way is tied to Donald Trump and the Trump administration -- that's Nixonian. That's right out of the Tricky Dick playbook of false innuendo painting his opponents pink and red-baiting them. The Zimmer mailer even has Nick Melvoin's picture in red.
There are specific "statements" in the mailer which are disingenuous, misleading and deceitful -- but I'm not going to even deign refuting them here because a) I've done so elsewhere, and b) they aren't the point. They pale in comparison to the overall lying smear, which is the point of the mailer. And to deal into them would completely distract attention from the despicable issue.
And the issue is the scurrilous attempt to tie someone with strong ties to the Obama Administration -- endorsed even by Barack Obama's Secretary of Education -- to Donald Trump and the Trump administration.
Apparently, this is who Steve Zimmer is. Skulking around the shadowy hallways, mean-spirited and nasty. Standing behind his surrogates without refutation or reprimand. Accepting the smear and so ultimately tarnished by it himself. And personally, my feeling is that even if one prefers the agenda he is proposing, this stain on his being, on his character is enough to disqualify him from consideration. And yes, I'm biased about that. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong. Someone like this is a person I personally don't want even remotely near teaching children and sharing his lack of values.
The shame covering him is vast.
For the record, this is who Nick Melvoin is.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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