Originally created 10/15/02

It's your information

Candidates don't like learning about them. Readers eat them up. Voters need to know them.

They're the past criminal, traffic, business and financial foibles of those running for office.

And they're a matter of public record.

Election campaign teams are infamous for trying to use such things in order to sling mud. In contrast, The Chronicle Sunday published an extensive account of those records in order to objectively inform. The facts speak for themselves. Conclusions are left to the reader.

Some items, such as speeding tickets, may seem petty and irrelevant. Perhaps they are - unless there is a pattern of them.

Other things, such as criminal convictions and patterns of financial problems, on the other hand, give most of us serious pause. It is interesting, for instance, that anyone running for public office would have a record of late payments on taxes, of all things.

In the broader picture, you have to wonder: Do you really want someone who can't handle his or her own finances to be given the reins of government? It's a valid concern.

The public trust is a weighty matter indeed, and should not be given over lightly. Once in office, it is difficult for voters to remove a scoundrel or merely an irresponsible official. Election time presents the best opportunity to police our government.

You cannot reasonably be expected to do so without the kind of information presented in Sunday's package.

We urge voters to avail themselves of this information and to use it as they see fit on Nov. 5.

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