On Factual Accuracy and Other Quaint Values

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When I talk about needing a tone shift in our city, I’m referencing commentaries like the one written by Jean Ardell this past week.

The author compares a political consultant to “anti-Semitic, pro-fascist” forces. She then moves from that (remarkably false) assumption to another assumption: if you are associated with that consultant, then you are also evil.

She then defends this second assumption by comparing candidates Brad Avery and Shelley Henderson.

The author mocks Ms. Henderson for three full paragraphs all because the author assumes Ms. Henderson hired a consultant named Dave Ellis. The author then praises Brad Avery for his views and service in the city.

Here’s the thing. Brad Avery hired Dave Ellis. Shelley did not. Oops.

But let’s get to the author’s core mistake.

Council candidates Jeff Herdman and Fred Ameri aren’t evil for hiring the consultant who led the failed Yes On Measure Y campaign (Dennis DeSnoo). Phil Greer isn’t evil for hiring a Sacramento-area consultant (Chris Jones). Nor are Mr. Greer’s clients evil for hiring him as a lobbyist. Shelley isn’t evil for hiring a consultant in Inglewood. Mike Glenn isn’t evil for having no consultant. Nor are Lee Lowrey, Brad Avery, or I for hiring Mr. Ellis. We are all neighbors without need for the kinds of histrionics shown in this Indy commentary.

So let’s actually have productive conversations about the issues going forward. And let’s try to at least get the facts straight, even when they challenge false assumptions.

Will O’Neill / Newport Beach

Will O’Neill is a Newport Beach City Council candidate for District 7.

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