I was surprised and disappointed to hear a candidate for the Planning Board make a mean-spirited accusation against his opponent in the course of the LWV/Harvard Press Candidates' Night debate.

Jim Breslauer and Bill Johnson are running for a one-year seat on the Planning Board. Since Breslauer was out of town on business and unable to attend the debate, both candidates were given the opportunity to prepare a two-minute statement to be read. Knowing that his opponent would not be at the debate because of a work commitment, Johnson proceeded to take a cheap shot at Breslauer, a respected member of the Conservation Commission. Johnson did so knowing that Breslauer would have no opportunity to respond, thus raising the question of Johnson's ability to conduct himself with the civility required for public office.

Harvard should not be the kind of community where neighbors insult each other in the course of participation in a civil dialogue. If you have solid, valid ideas and a vision for serving the town, win the public over on those merits and not on finding opportunities to score nasty political points when your opponent is not even able to respond. This is exactly the kind of divisive, disrespectful behavior that the town is fed up with from town officials.

If we want to remain a community that relies on volunteers to help chart a course for a town which we can all continue to enjoy, this kind of behavior needs to stop. I hope that we will not see more of this unfortunate attitude as we work together for the betterment of the town.