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It’s election time again

And with it, comes some friendly reminders about how candidates should conduct themselves

by: Vance Tong - Vance W. Tong is the publisher and editor of the Central Oregonian. He can be reached at: 
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As much as I love the Democratic process, it seems that with each election, I abhor what it brings with it just a little bit more.
   In a system that is intended to bring out the best in candidates, we often see the political system find its way to the lowest-common denominator.
   So, as the Central Oregonian prepares to begin in earnest its coverage of what you, the voters, will be seeing on the ballot, there are some things we should all keep in mind.
   First, letters to the editor should be kept as brief as possible. As it states in our Letters Policy, we like letters to be 250 words or less.
   If your letter is deemed to be libelous, it won't be printed. Period.
   If your letter adheres to these two criteria, the odds are that it will be printed just as soon as we can get it in the newspaper. I simply ask that you remember to respect the points of view of people on both sides of any issue. If someone disagrees with you, that doesn't necessarily make them wrong. It just means that they have an opinion that differs from yours. No crime in that.
   If you're a candidate running for office, we encourage you to keep your advertisements positive. When the mudslinging begins, nobody wins. What's more, if we deem your political mudslinging to be libelous, guess what? Your advertisement won't appear in this newspaper. In addition, each political advertisement placed will require payment in advance and a release form signed prior to publication.
   This next issue doesn't have anything at all to do with the newspaper, but I would encourage everyone involved in this upcoming election to remember that theft of political signs is exactly that: theft. And the last time we checked, theft is still a crime in Crook County.
   Lastly, believe me, I fully realize that we at the Central Oregonian aren't perfect. Far from it in fact. Each election season, we do our best to provide our readers with coverage of the candidates and issues that will appear on the ballot and invariably someone will disagree with something we've written. Sometimes, we leave some bit of information out of a story, but we've never done that on purpose.
   I truly hope I live to see the day when I don't have to call letter writers or candidates and explain to them why accusing their opponent of a crime is a libelous act. In the meantime, however, I'll continue to ask for your help in making the election season as civil as possible.