This op-ed letter is authored by Brad Toft, Snoqualmie resident, past President of the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary and former State Senate Candidate. The views expressed are those of the author.
Rudy Edwards has been a long-time public servant in our community. He acted as a director on the Snoqualmie Valley School board for many years and continued to advocate on education issues ever since his retirement.
Last week he inserted himself into this year’s school board race when, during a public meeting, he presented the board with filings regarding candidate David Spring’s divorce from 7 years ago. It’s no surprise that Mr. Spring’s ex-wife said awful things about him to gain leverage in negotiating the parenting plan. And this is what Edwards sought to highlight. But he left out the fact that the judge in the case ruled her claims were made in bad faith (false), forcing her to pay Spring’s attorney’s fees of $8,400 and maintained his joint custody of his daughter.
The board rejected Edward’s submission, directing him to meet with the Superintendent.
There are a couple of things worth pointing out. First, I won’t advance Edward’s cause in re-stating the claims made during Spring’s divorce. Second, in his attempt to smear Spring, Edwards hoped to boost the candidate he supports, Marci Busby. Now, you might hold the quaint notion that if he wanted to support her candidacy for office, he might extol the experience and positions of Ms. Busby. But Edwards found it more expedient to simply trash her opponent. When you think about that, it seems he doesn’t hold Busby in particularly high regard, as he can’t put forward one good thing to say about her.
To Edwards, his desired end justifies the severest of means. In this essential manner, he has distanced himself from our community and the values we hold. It seems he never considered that the misleading manner in which he portrays Spring’s divorce might impact Spring’s daughter, a student in our public schools. Edwards loses credibility, when in one breath he says he cares about kids, but in the next thrusts a painful chapter in a child’s family life into a political campaign.
Edwards’s kind of antics poison our politics, alienates voters and keeps good people from running for office. As a community, we cannot capitulate to these kinds of tactics. There are enough challenges before the school board today, and a former director and elder statesman should choose to improve the environment rather than worsen it.
Marci Busby can salvage credibility by denouncing Mr. Edward’s actions and distancing herself from his tactics. As of the writing of this letter, she has chosen not to respond to emails or phone calls for comment.
Politics can be a nasty business. But it doesn’t have to be, if we as a community decide to reject candidates who sit quietly by while their activists mislead voters. We can take the oxygen out of the room for these types by demanding answers from our candidates on the policy challenges we face.
Message from the writer, Brad Toft:
In reading the responses to my Op Ed, I thought it would be helpful to explain steps I took before submitting the letter.
I had never met Rudy Edwards or Marci Busby before. In fairness, it was appropriate to give them the opportunity to respond to my questions and share their opinions. When contacted, Mr. Edwards immediately returned my email, and agreed to join me for a cup of coffee. During the meeting he voiced his support several times for Marci Busby, and his disdain for David Spring. I shared my opinion that he had acted carelessly by presenting partial facts, but that I would be willing to stand by him if he cleared the air, and acknowledged a mistake had been made. He said that he believed no harm had been done, and refused my support.
Mr. Edwards supports Marci Busby, and he attempted to submit out-of-context information about a candidate he opposes in a public school board meeting. Mr. Edward’s intentions are not in question—where there’s smoke, there’s fire. His intent matters, and raises the question if he has shared the information with anyone else, and whether he intends to offer a partial copy of Spring’s divorce to anyone else in the future.
I reached out to Marci Busby via email and phone (her voicemail was full, and unable to accept messages) She has not, to this date responded to my email message. Prior to my letter being submitted, she was afforded a chance to speak on Mr. Edwards actions, and has not done so. Because Edwards has attempted to create a controversy around this election to boost her candidacy, she must answer the question whether she supports these kinds of tactics. It is a question that will give us insight into her leadership style as a public servant and is certainly a question of public concern.