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Is this really that big of a deal? So a campaign aide for Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla gets “caught” taking a few photographs of the rival campaign’s fundraising get-together? That’s all. He got into a scuffle with one of the attendees – including Scott Alevy, vice president of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Apparently an arm was grabbed. The aide/spy, Jason Moore, was reportedly trying to get a photo of Padilla’s rival Cheryl Cox hanging out with David “I’m-no-longer-a-felon” Malcolm.

Why do we care about this again?

We’re supposed to, apparently, according to the Union-Tribune editorial board because it shows Padilla has a “character issue.”

Padilla himself has no problem with Moore’s antics. Opposing sides, the mayor said, often document each other’s events. Moore, however, had a different explanation: Getting caught on film with Malcolm, he said, “would speak volumes about (Cox’s) character and who she chooses to socialize with.”

Well, whom Mayor Padilla chooses to hire and the actions he chooses to defend speak volumes about his character, which is already in question.

If the U-T’s editors are upset about campaigns sending moles into each others’ events and photographing their rivals, then we better send over some Tums.

Psst … it’s a pretty common thing. I’ve covered a few campaigns now and there’s always some guy from the opposing camp at an event – sometimes holding up a camera and always making a bit of an ass out of him or herself.

Granted, I wasn’t there. Maybe Padilla’s man was extra obnoxious. But the U-T most likely just wanted to nail Padilla on something.

There are a lot better ways to criticize the troubled mayor.

SCOTT LEWIS

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