We are writing this letter not because we previously endorsed Joy Langley for City Council but because, as your current and former elected representatives, we are very concerned with the level of rancor and vitriol against Joy and her opponent, Tom Acker, that we are hearing throughout the community and seeing on social media.
Most recently, there have been a seemingly unending series of posts, many by the same people, claiming that Joy misrepresented her academic background — specifically, her having received a degree from Cornell University. Before that, others were attacking Tom for statements he made on his website as to his personal success in raising money for MICA. Let us all make clear from the outset that integrity matters and that misrepresentations by any candidate are wrong. We also believe that if people misrepresent themselves, it is appropriate for them to be publicly challenged on their statements. Finally, people should not remain in office in the case of a serious misrepresentation that goes beyond the normal political hyperbole.
What we take issue with is the unrelenting personal attacks on either candidate. These two Islanders have young families, spouses and good friends in our community. They had the guts to run for public office but now are seeing that the price for doing so is to be pilloried by a vocal few who seem to take delight in doing so. They will not be satisfied until their victim is destroyed — the politics of personal destruction. Is it any wonder that people are reluctant to run for office?
We are aware of the statement from Cornell as to Joy and acknowledge that it is her responsibility to clear up this matter. What we find so perplexing about that statement is that while it says there is no record of her attending Cornell, her name does show up in the Cornell alumni database. There is also other information out there which is relevant to the issue. We should allow Joy the time needed to clear up this matter.
At this point, enough is enough. We have only a day left before the election. We implore everyone to put down their poison pens, to consider carefully candidates’ experience and positions when voting and remember that we have a wonderful community that ultimately depends on civility and respect. Stop tearing people down — these are your neighbors and/or the friends of your neighbors. We are all better than this.