The contentious, prolonged and mud-marred 2016 election year is likely to be most remembered for its surprise ending to the presidential race. But it will also be remembered for the new lows reached in many negative campaigns. We at The Signal are pleased to note the most negative campaigns in the Santa Clarita Valley failed to propel their candidates into office on their barrages of name-calling, fact-twisting, false negative associations and other deceptive tactics – including outright lies and implications of wrongdoing. That mud-slinging was vomited onto our television screens, into our mailboxes and otherwise forced upon us by those unprincipled enough to stoop to such practices – or those supported by parties that would do so. The two most desperate campaigns were those of Bryan Caforio, a Democrat seeking to unseat Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, and Christy Smith, a school board member vying for outgoing Assemblyman Scott Wilk’s 38th District seat against Dante Acosta, a Santa Clarita City Councilman. Both Caforio and Smith lost. It’s encouraging to note that most local campaigns were clean ones; those who came out on top Tuesday were mostly those who shunned the practices of the Caforio and Smith camps. About five of the 11 candidates seeking two seats on the Santa Clarita City Council ran vigorous, clean campaigns, focusing on the issues and making many public appearances. We commend all of them: Mark White, Alan Ferdman and TimBen Boydston as well as winners Cameron Smyth and incumbent Bob Kellar. We congratulate all for their professional campaigns – and all 11 for their boldness in running at all. Today’s technology provides one’s political opponent with not only the tools for mass media negative campaigning through video outlets and websites, but also the opportunity to attack through sabotage and anonymity, interfering with a candidate’s campaign website and sending out anonymous and slanderous emails or posting slanderous messages on anonymous blogs. We applaud all citizens willing to venture into elective public service under these circumstances. And we applaud those during these long months of campaigning who held steadily to their commitments to run clean campaigns. Besides the City Council candidates, we specifically recognize: Kathryn Barger, who won the Los Angeles County Fifth District seat handily by focusing on issues and avoiding the party-baiting of her opponent, Darrell Park. The position is non-partisan, and Barger’s camp rightly kept it that way. Other Santa Clarita Valley winners who ran issue-based campaigns free or relatively free of mud-slinging, including state senators-elect Henry Stern and Scott Wilk; Assemblyman Tom Lackey; College of the Canyons Trustee-elect Edel Alonso; and Saugus Union School District board member-elect Julie Olsen. We congratulate all of them. We at The Signal pledge to do all we can to keep campaigns clean in future SCV elections. But ultimately it’s you, the voter, who is the only one who can make it happen. You must – as many local voters clearly did this year – examine the issues and seek out those proposing positive solutions – not manufactured reasons why you shouldn’t vote for their opponent. A politician who shows respect for differing points of view will be a politician who can negotiate the best agreement for those he or she represents. A politician who attacks others will be a politician without respect for other views or other individuals, and that certainly shouldn’t be someone you want representing you. If that politician doesn’t respect other legislators, will he or she respect constituents? We think not. We encourage everyone in the Santa Clarita Valley to stay civically engaged; local government issues are those that touch most closely on your community streets, City Hall, schools and parks. Know the issues and vote the issues in the next election – don’t get stuck by mud.