In the Feb. 16 wednesday journal viewpoints section, my dear friend, Ethel Cotovsky, offered a cleverly crafted and thinly disguised negative campaign piece ("Milstein's not the same Bob she remembers") for her preferred slate of candidates for village offices in the April election?#34;the first negative swing of this 2005 campaign season. Ethel's campaign piece is both wrong and unacceptable, on two counts: Responsibility for its abrasively negative message will be denied by Ethel's slate's campaign ("deniability"); and, its negativity is brazenly intended to damage the popular, positive, open and upbeat campaign of the New Leadership Party's openly selected slate: Bob Milstein for president, Greg Marsey, Geoff Baker and Martha Brock for trustees and Sharon Patchak-Layman for clerk ("positivity").
Ethel's candidates need expend no further precious campaign effort "looking" for Bob Milstein through the deniable device of campaign workers' negative campaign letters. Stop the mixing of VMA campaign mud. As soon as Ethel and her candidates rinse away the mud, they will be able to see that the truth is simple and unassailable: Bob has not been "lost" at all, since his decision several years ago to exit the fading VMA camp. Instead, he was born again, by the experience of a successful and positive campaign for election as a trustee. Not "lost"; he won! And all who have watched Bob's performance know what Ethel's candidates' campaign pretends not to know: Bob is a sincere and consistent and eloquent advocate for honesty, integrity, transparency, respect and accountability in the conduct of the business of Oak Park's Village government. Has he been vocal, determined, unwavering? Yes. And? His reward? Vilification. Not constructive criticism. Vilification.
Does Ethel's campaign's tactic of deniable negativity feel familiar? You bet it does. I have been there; experienced that, and I am impelled to step forward in opposition to that campaign's strategy of deniable negativity. Oak Park needs, indeed deserves, a campaign anchored by issues. Honestly debated by a diverse array of openly selected candidates; widely disseminated; accurately reported. The deniable negativity will stop when large numbers of us reject that strategy. The most effective expression of that rejection is your support of and vote for positivity. Elect the New Leadership Party's slate.