Friday, June 15, 2007

Arnaiz sends wrong message to the children?

According to today's Potomac news, Desi Arnaiz has filed to run for the Brentsville School Board seat being vacated by Milt Johns.

From the article Candidates to Run as Independents:
Julie Lucas and Desi R. Arnaiz filed to run for seats on the Prince William County School Board.

Arnaiz, 59, filed last week for the Brentsville District seat. He is the founder and president of Virginia Systems Inc. an Internet technology company.

Arnaiz's wife and campaign spokeswoman, Cheri Arnaiz, said her husband is running because "He thinks he can make a difference for the schools, for the kids and for the teachers."
What difference will he make for the schools, the kids, and the teachers? What message will his candidacy send? Unfortunately, the wrong message.

Desi Arnaiz earlier this year decided to ask for the endorsement of the Prince William Republican committee. School Board members do not run with party affiliation, but the parties often endorse candidates.

The Republican committee set a simple qualification to request an endorsement -- the candidate had to sign a pledge to NOT run for the seat if they did not receive the endorsement.

Desi was not forced to seek the endorsement and sign the pledge. But he did sign the pledge. He requested the Republican endorsement. However, the Republican endorsement went to another fine Republican, Gil Trenum, who is now the Republican-endorsed candidate for the seat.

But Desi Arnaiz has decided his word is meaningless. By filing to run for the seat, he sends the message that it's OK to lie to get what you want, to break your promises if keeping them is inconvenient, to mislead your friends in order to get ahead, to sign an oath and then disregard it when it suits your fancy.

Those are NOT lessons I want my kids to learn. And frankly, those are not things I would have expected from Desi, who is a fine man, a good Republican, and someone I respected.

He has not lost my respect, but he has severely damaged it. I hope this is not a true measure of his character, but just an uncharacteristic mistake made in the heat of the moment.

There is still time to do the right thing. Desi can, and should, drop out of the race. Doing so would demonstrate to the children of our county that they should honor their pledges, they should act with honesty and integrity, they should keep their word, and follow the rules they agree to follow.

Or more importantly, that you should do all those things even when there is a cost to do so (after all, anybody can behave well when it doesn't cost them anything do do so).

It would be a hard lesson for Desi to teach, as it would require him to give up something he really wanted (so badly that he would give up his honor for it). But it would be a valuable lesson, and would be what I would expect from a man of Desi's previous character.

Everybody makes mistakes, it's how you deal with them that shows the true measure of a man. Maybe Desi is convinced it was a mistake to ask for our endorsement, to commit to supporting Gil Trenum (our nominee). But he should not compound that mistake by destroying his reputation for honesty and integrity.

I very much want to be able to point with pride to Desi for the way he handles this. I hope he will see the damage he is doing to his reputation.

Update: Citizen Tom has some other thoughts about this, along with the details on the pledge Dezi took when he asked for the republican nomination.

1 comment:

Citizen Tom said...

I did a post on this too. Kind of sad actually. Because of his long membership, I think Desi Arnaiz was quite disappointed when the PWC GOP did not endorse him. I don't blame him for that.

Arnaiz also invested a lot of effort in running. Nonetheless, the PWC GOP did not pick him; they chose Gil Trenum instead. That possibility was apparent up front, and that is the risk Arnaiz accepted. Now he needs to accept the results.


The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

Verse LXXI
Omar Khayyam: The Rubaiyat, c. 1120 CE
Translated by Edward Fitzgerald. See here.