The Deception of the “unsolicited” letter
I Smell Another Rat… Part 2
By Susan M. Halpern
Former Addison Councilmember (1992-1999)
In Part 1, we learned that the author of the letter being circulated in the latest effort to disparage Former City Manager Ron Whitehead is actually a political consultant who lives in Frisco, Texas. He appears to know one of the three incumbent candidates, something I discovered because she is a common “link” on LinkedIn.
It speaks volumes that this critical context was omitted by the folks circulating the letter. There can be little question that this was quite by design; knowing all the facts completely changes how you view the letter. To omit the true context was shameless manipulation, and speaks volumes about the real purpose of this publication. Think about it: here they are proclaiming themselves the master of the high ground, giving you “the facts,” but then publishing propaganda and political advertising with labeling any of it. It’s deceptive.
The author’s attacks on Ron Whitehead are inexplicable. Having given 32 years of service to our community, Ron is now a private citizen with the same First Amendment rights we all enjoy. But the author nonetheless claims that when a retired city manager becomes involved in politics, “he crosses the red line.” Really? What “red line is that?” Is there some law or statute that says this? Let’s have the FACTS: Where is it written that service to the community for 32 years forfeits your First Amendment rights?
The author mentions the ICMA, and a code and creed to be “constantly professional.” Interesting. I wonder how that code and creed applies to a letter deceptively packaged as being received from an East Coast stranger, when it is actually written by a Frisco political consultant who knows an incumbent? Where is the professionalism there? Does that “cross the red line?”
And by the way, did you notice that you were never actually told how the letter came to be? Who is “we” who received the letter? And did anyone talk to the author about what he should say? At any point in time? He sure knew a whole lot more than was in the Dallas Morning News article. How did that happen?
And what of this talk of Ron’s 32 years of service? What’s to “cover up?” Look around the Town and you’ll see what 32 years of hard work brought to Addison. Addison Circle. Vitruvian. The conference and theater center. Our parks, including the extraordinary park across from the conference center that took years to come to fruition. Our legendary special events. Our Health Club. Our hiking trails. Our landscaping and appearance. Our vibrant restaurant and business community. Well buffered neighborhoods. A well-managed and regionally significant airport. We live in a spectacular place! And all of it was brought to you by many talented professionals who were fiercely loyal to Addison because their creativity and innovation were encouraged by Ron’s extraordinary brand of leadership. For 32 years. The efforts of Meier and his cadre to disparage all that came before are utterly shameful. What a sad commentary on the current administration.
And all because of a setup. An almost two-year-old recycled presentation, now with inflammatory innuendo added, arranged by a mayor orchestrating a campaign when he’s not even a candidate. You have to shake your head as you watch our own council direct destructive propaganda to harm Addison’s reputation, all because they believe it will influence the upcoming election. All while concealing management’s perspective, and never mentioning all that has occurred in the intervening two years. It’s disgraceful.
Speaking of the election, the author also directly endorses the three incumbents. Talk about injecting yourself into politics? He tells readers that they should “stay the course” and that “supporting the incumbents” is a “positive action.”
Here’s the problem: that’s “political advertising.” This is from the Texas Ethics Commission’s website: “Political advertising includes communications supporting or opposing a candidate for nomination or election to either a public office or an office of a political party.”
And here’s the thing, also from the Ethics Commission’s website: “The law provides that political advertising that contains express advocacy is required to include a disclosure statement. The person who causes the political advertising to be published, distributed, or broadcast is responsible for including the disclosure statement.” You can read about it here: https://www.ethics.state.tx.us/guides/Gpolad.pdf. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t find a disclosure statement anywhere in the publication.
Isn’t it time for these people to cease this pointless smear campaign? Shouldn’t we be embracing Addison’s great past and working to make Addison even greater in the future? And in connection with the current election, isn’t it time for voters hear from the candidates?