By Marcel Rodarte
We don’t tolerate bullying from children anymore these days so why should we tolerate it from the people who hope to represent us at the local, state and federal levels? The short answer is we shouldn’t.
Our kids are given lessons at school on why bullying isn’t tolerated so why is it that we have seen such a significant increase in bullying in the political arena?
We witnessed unprecedented levels of bullying from Donald Trump in the nearly two years leading up to his election last November.
Never before have we witnessed a man that would eventually become Commander-in-Chief display such overt bullying.
Trump taunted the disabled, immigrants and anyone he could think of to bully his way to the presidency.
Many of our leaders in congress still choose not to stand up to the ridiculousness Trump has displayed since 2015. They empower the perpetuation of this bullying by staying quiet.
Unfortunately, this type of political bullying has permeated local politics as well. We don’t have to look further than our own Norwalk City Council race this year. We have 12 candidates vying for 3 open seats on March 7.
There is one two-year term (the seat I vacated last year) and two four-year terms.
Until this week, I had intended to watch the race from the sidelines. That was until I received a phone call from one of Enrique Aranda’s political operatives at my office for the second time in less than six months.
Sylvia Ortiz has received more than $10k from the campaigns of Enrique Aranda and Sandra Salazar over the past four years.
Ms. Ortiz called my office then proceeded to call several members of my board in an effort to discredit me and in the process, attempt to threaten my livelihood. It was then that I had enough. I could no longer stay quiet about my experiences with Aranda. I could no longer allow him to attempt to bully his way into a leadership position at city hall.
This may sound cheesy to some but Norwalk City Hall is a sacred place for me.
I worked hard and spent a lot of my own money to earn my place at the dais. I did it all without ever threatening or intimidating anyone in the process. I never spoke to our staff or residents in a disrespectful manner and I was always honest with my intentions.
We teach our kids to respect others and to never bully anyone at any time. I teach my daughter to always be respectful to everyone she encounters no matter what.
It’s what we do for our children to make the world a place where all can live harmoniously, even when we disagree. This is a lesson Mr. Aranda seems to have forgotten in his quest for power.
We do not tolerate bullying from our children so why would we tolerate it from someone who wants to represent us as a city council member? The short answer is we shouldn’t.
Marcel Rodarte is the executive director for the California Contract Cities Association and a former mayor and councilman of Norwalk.