Kudos to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and the excellent moderator Lucy Dunn for putting on the forum for eight candidates vying for four City Council seats in the Nov. 4 election.

Great candidates, excellent debate and a packed audience for this early-morning event. I was thoroughly impressed and in awe of the talent pool for the citizens to choose from.

However, what left me totally stupefied was the unanimity shown by the candidates on the issue of global warming. Not one of them was willing to categorically state that climate change is a fact. Some of them grudgingly admitted to the phenomenon of rising ocean levels, but none could bring themselves to connect this to global warming. These are all successful, intelligent and well-informed people. I had to ask myself - WHY?

A cynical explanation would be that they did not truthfully address the issue since that would challenge the current conservative orthodoxy of climate-change denial and would doom their chances of being elected in this, the reddest of red segments of our nation.

But I would not presume to question the intellectual honesty of my fellow citizens. Which leads me to a more disturbing conclusion – that they truly believe what they are saying. If so, it means the lies and deceit concocted by those whose livelihood depends on willfully ignoring the evidence are having their intended effect.

As we enjoy the benefits of instant access to vast amounts of information, there is currently no mechanism to stop the deliberate pollution of reality with mischievous misinformation. In this information age, a nation that seems to celebrate misinformation does so at its own peril.

Jamshed Dastur

Newport Beach