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Bay Area’s latest political scandal: Distracted driving mayor?

Should we be looking to our elected officials to serve as role models? Certainly, Californians are familiar with politicians behaving badly, and it is not uncommon to hear the term “sex scandal” in reference to many government officials.

But the Bay Area is in the midst of a different kind of political scandal this week involving Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Earlier this month, Ms. Quan was photographed texting while driving in her Lexus SUV. She quickly apologized and noted that she had “learned her lesson.” Last weekend, however, the mayor was involved in a minor car accident with another driver in West Oakland. That driver claims that Mayor Quan was using her cellphone and had run a red light.

The mayor is denying that she was using her phone at the time of the accident. She has even invited law enforcement officers to scrutinize her call and text logs. It should be noted, however, that drivers may be distracted by their phones even if they aren’t calling or texting at the time.

Ms. Quan seemingly denies running the red light, but admits she is less sure of her innocence on this matter. In February, a traffic camera snapped a picture of her running a red light and she was later convicted for that incident.

To be sure, this incident is pretty tame as far as political scandals go. But considering how many serious car and pedestrian accidents occur in the Bay Area each year, shouldn’t we expect our elected leaders to truly lead when it comes to traffic safety? What do readers think?

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Jean Quan busted for running red light before," Will Kane and Henry K. Lee, June 9, 2014

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