San Juan Capistrano City Council candidates Jim Reardon and Clint Worthington opted out of signing a fair campaign practices pledge, saying they are skeptical about the way the pledge reads and would rather not sign a voluntary statement.

The pledge, known as the Code of Fair Campaign Practices, is a form cities give to candidates when they file their campaign papers, as stipulated under the California Elections Code. By signing the form, candidates essentially pledge to conduct an ethical campaign, promising not to use tactics like character defamation and appeals to racism.

But Reardon and Worthington don’t like the way the pledge reads and have taken stances of principle against it. They were the only council candidates in the city not to sign the pledge.

Worthington says “it bothers” him that someone would say “from now on I’m going to be honest.”

And Reardon was even harsher on the pledge.

“It reads like a pledge that you’re going to stop beating your wife,” Reardon said. “I look at the thing as being meaningless, frankly.”

Both argue that, despite their rejections of the pledge, they will be conducting ethical campaigns.

“Does it mean I’m going to slam somebody or say something about someone’s family? No,” Worthington said. “That’s not the way I do business.”

Reardon went so far as to question the voluntary nature of the pledge.

“If something that is voluntary becomes mandatory, what are we really talking about?” Reardon asked.


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