Friday, 29 September 2023

Crandell: A person of good character tells the truth

I was offered the opportunity to respond to a letter to the editor regarding an incident from 21 years ago. For my part in the incident I received a misdemeanor conviction. I paid the consequences and have since had no charges of any kind.

The incident involved the mother of my children. At the time, we were both very young, rudderless and we drank to extreme excess. We married after the incident and continued to struggle as a couple. We have three beautiful children, they are the light of my life.

Drinking brought out the worst in us both. But I make no excuses, then or now. It was a terrible incident I deeply regret. Since then I use the incident as an example in men’s groups and as a counseling tool to help young people struggling with difficult life circumstances and choices. Out of respect for the privacy of my now ex-wife and our children, I omit some of the details.

It took some digging to find 21 year old records, now the details have become fodder for the news and grist for the opposing campaign. These are familiar tactics designed to derail my campaign for county supervisor in District 3. Sadly, my children and family are the innocents who will be hurt the most.

For me drinking provided an escape from childhood trauma; after the service, it was a way to cope with some aspects of war. I am proud to say that one of the best decisions of my life was to stop drinking and turn my life into a positive.

From that time 21 years ago I joined the army, serving for 8 years, 6 in active deployment and 2 in reserves. I earned an AA degree in business and am now a few units short of a BA degree. Like so many in our community, I’ve known poverty, as a child and as an adult. I can relate to the struggles of my neighbors and I do my best to help, to give back to a community that has been there for me. I am not who I was 21 years ago. Thanks to my fellow vets and friends, I have sorted through and conquered my bad start. Thanks to my greater power I was chosen to lead my tribe. I am truly blessed.

Back to the matter of the letter to the editor, it is an aspect of politics I’ve seen repeated too many times in Lake County. It’s a win at any cost mentality that is apparently legal but nonetheless, a reckless act that ignores the pain and harm it does to families, especially children. It speaks volumes about a dark underbelly that lurks in politics.

In my case dark politics made its way at a very sad time in my life. I received word while attending to my grandfather’s passing, actually on the day of his funeral.

My grandfather was the bright light for me, the closest thing I had to a dad. Ironically, it is his guidance that is driving me now, just as it did 21 years ago. He said, “tell the truth, pay the consequences, and work to be a better man on a higher path.”

The woman who submitted the letter challenged my character. That hurt. But a friend reminded me that a person of good character tells the truth. I did that 21 years ago and do so now.

I want to close with an invitation to my supporters and anyone who is bothered by this to call me at 707-485-4157 or to drop in on Monday at the Happy Garden in Clearlake Oaks from 2 to 4:30 p.m. where I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

EJ Crandell lives in Lucerne, Calif. He is a candidate for the District 3 seat on the Lake County Board of Supervisors in the June 5 primary.

Upcoming Calendar

09.30.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Kelseyville Pear Festival
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.01.2023 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Ron Green Memorial Benefit Concert
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
10.06.2023 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
David Arkenstone & Friends in concert
10.07.2023 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship Breast Cancer Run & Walk
10.07.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
Columbus Day
10.12.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

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