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Transparency and accountability 

I took responsibility for my actions and they've never been a secret

Thank you so much for the opportunity you provided last week ("OCSD candidate addresses 1999 felony embezzlement conviction," Oct. 8) in allowing me to address head-on all the whisper campaign activity surrounding my name and my two-decades-old crime.

I have never not been accountable for the poor decision I made 21 years ago. I accepted my punishment and followed every restriction, responsibility, and expectation put upon me. I have been transparent to friends, family, clients, employers, a (then) future husband, everyone that needed to know or that had a peripheral reason to be aware. I never hid my past, and I never denied it—transparency and accountability.

Those are the very things I run for, on behalf of the residents and ratepayers of Oceano and Halcyon. In the 10 years I have advocated on behalf of Oceano (and the Five Cities), I've been the same person who committed a crime years ago. The only difference is that as those opposed to my advocacy started running background checks on me (via their local law enforcement relationships), they became aware of my past, and they feel entitled to their own pound of flesh out of me. If they're doing it to me, over such an obscure little elected position, I shudder to think how bad it is in this county overall, because of the rabid desire to "win" instead of "serve" the constituents. Running for public office was certainly not the way to keep some secret ... because I was never keeping a secret. This was the shot to publicly "out" me, for the sole reason of shaming me and winning an election, not on their own merit, but using smear tactics.

If you believe that everyone "deserves a second chance," when is that second chance allowed to begin? Who gets to decide that? It has been 21 extremely productive, humbling, and, yes, also interesting years since I made a very bad, completely unjustifiable decision. It is called the corrections system for a reason. Either we believe in rehabilitation and the corrections system is an integral part of that process, or we don't believe in second chances and we should change legislation to make every offense a one strike offense, with no possibility of parole.

I take full accountability for all consequences of my actions. I have done all within my power to atone, learn, and grow from my past and live a life of transparency and accountability, and if that's not good enough for some stranger, 20 years after the fact, nothing would redeem me in their eyes anyway. Transparency and accountability. It should not be so difficult to get that from the elected officials of the Oceano Community Services District. Oceano deserves better. Δ

April Dury is running for a seat on the Oceano Community Services District Board. Send a response for publication to [email protected].

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