For the past several weeks, I've been watching from the sidelines as the West Hollywood Council race continues to unravel.
As someone who contemplated running for the seat, but decided not to because of my commitment to Senator (David A.) Roberti and the Senate leadership, I still maintain a keen interest in the outcome of the elections. I had hoped to be able to remain a bystander but now feel I must speak out because of an ongoing attitude by one of the candidates.
In a press release dated Aug. 12, 1986, the (Gene) La Pietra campaign listed me as one of his supporters. Imagine my surprise to read a story in a local paper and find, "Well known leaders who were considering running for the seat, such as Ruth Williams, former candidate for City Council, and J. J. Kaplan, staff member for Sen. Roberti, have all thrown their support to La Pietra and joined his campaign team." Until that point, I had not endorsed either of the candidates.
I immediately contacted La Pietra's campaign and expressed my anger to David Carlat, his campaign manager, for the unauthorized use of my name. Several hours later, I received a call from his campaign press person, Hope Boonshaft Lewis, apologizing for the error. Thinking the matter was cleared up, I dropped it.
On Sept. 12, the La Pietra campaign again issued a release, in fact, the very same one (with only a new date), listing me once again as one of his supporters.
I can no longer sit still. I have to let my friends and supporters know that I have not, nor will I, endorse Gene La Pietra for any office. With my credibility and reputation at stake, I have to say that I think the citizens of West Hollywood deserve a representative who will respect the wishes of others.
Am I to interpret this whole episode as a reflection of the future? When I cast my vote on Election Day, I will be looking for a candidate who has proven to me that they are of integrity and honesty!
J. J. KAPLAN