Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Forgetting the focus

Monday’s press conference regarding the suspicious deletion of all but 18 of Mayor Thomas Menino’s emails sent between October 2008 and March 2009 instigated a flurry of backlash from Menino’s competitors in the current mayoral race. Representatives of Menino wrote the incident off as a ‘flaw in the system,’ while the mayor’s opponents City Councilors-at-Large Sam Yoon and Mike Flaherty, and businessman Kevin McCrea are on the attack, further fueling the fire between themselves and the current mayor.

While the episode has questionable undertones, calling for the Secretary of State’s involvement, it certainly isn’t notable enough for Menino’s opponents to build their campaigns around. Truly, neither the Mayor and his staff nor the opposing group of mayoral candidates is handling this issue professionally, especially not at this crucial time in the race, just days before the primary election. If one of the biggest problems with this country’s electoral system is a lack of citizen involvement, the competitors in the election need to maintain care in keeping the race serious and professional, both within their own campaigns and within the race.

In blaming the discrepancy on a ‘flaw in the system,’ Menino’s camp echoes the mistake made by Harvard Crimson President Maxwell Child when he tried to justify the Holocaust denial ad that appeared in the school’s newspaper by calling it a ‘logistical error.’ Unfortunately for these defendants, blaming some obscure error in technology isn’t enough to satisfy the public they offend when they act unprofessionally in positions of leadership. On the other hand, Menino’s opponents ‘- who have been too focused on attacking the mayor ever since the first debate ‘- are taking a cheap shot by taking advantage of this slip-up, and are not doing themselves justice as intelligent, fair players. Instead they are inflating a minor, unexplained incident with hot air, and they come out looking just as foolish as they accuse the current mayor of looking.

The 2009 Boston mayoral race is going to go to whichever candidate has the most trustworthiness and integrity, the best plans for city public schools, the most reasonable solution for the Biosafety Level-4 Laboratory and the most sensible budget forecast. The candidates who do not win the mayoral seat will not not have won it because one of their aides misplaced a series of emails. That being true, if the participants in the race cannot clear the clutter off the mayoral stage and focus on the real issues at hand, the race may prove to have been just as corrupt as the politicians they claim they aren’t.’ ‘ ‘

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