Tammy Cummings recently launched a robocall as part of her race in the Democratic primary for the Ward 7 seat on the Akron City Council. She took aim at her opponent, Donnie Kammer, the incumbent. “In the coming weeks of this campaign,” she told listeners, “I’m going to reveal just what Donnie has been doing on council while we weren’t watching.”

Now Cummings has followed with a piece of campaign literature that appears more revealing about her candidacy. In attempting to tell voters what Kammer has been doing, she not only distorts the record to put her opponent in an unflattering light. She gets things wrong. Neither path is flattering to her.

This has been an energetic race, to put it kindly. Typically, the city benefits from competitive campaigns. They keep incumbents on their toes and open the way for bright challengers. They also can turn nasty at times, as this one has, sniping coming from both sides.

How does the Cummings campaign piece go too far in attacking Kammer? It declares: “Here’s his record on council,” and then cites four items. The first accuses Kammer of voting against “an ordinance that would’ve protected us from outrageous sewer bills.” Apparently, this has to do with a proposal of Councilman Bruce Kilby to provide relief to customers from steep increases in sewer rates, due to the expensive overhaul of the combined sewer system. Even Kilby admitted his proposal suffered from “all kinds of loopholes.”

Perhaps the most conspicuous problem was the potential for driving subsidies, in effect, to negligent landlords. The latest version of the proposal failed in the Public Utilities Committee in February, only Kilby voting yes. Actually, the city has a program for helping with high bills. It may not be strong enough. It is far better than the Kilby proposal.

On the second item, the Cummings literature is correct: Kammer did vote against broadcasting council meetings. On the third, Kammer voting “against banning assault weapons”? Here is a half-truth. The council did take up a nonbinding resolution urging Congress and state lawmakers to ban assault weapons. Kammer rarely supports such resolutions, arguing the council should keep its focus on local matters.

The fourth item asserts that Kammer has been “stripped of his leadership position by majority of Council.” Kammer did step back from a leadership contest when a stalemate resulted. In short, he hasn’t been "stripped" of any position.

The campaign piece claims most prominently that “Kammer voted himself a pay-raise, then he stuck us with the bill by voting to raise our taxes and service fees!” Kammer did join the council majority in approving a pay raise for all city workers, except the mayor. Stick us with the tab via higher taxes and fees? The pay raise costs the city roughly $3.2 million a year. Is the campaign piece referring to the voter-approved income tax increase and increased sewer rates? Those are about investing in safety forces and roads, plus covering the cost of a massive unfunded mandate from the federal government.

Arguably, Kammer was part of making the difficult choices required of elected officials.

As this editorial page noted earlier, both of these candidates are better than their jabs suggest. Kammer works hard for the ward. Cummings has an inspiring story of recovery — addicted, in trouble with the law and now, six years later, a recovery coach, helping others rebuild their lives. That’s why it is disappointing to see this campaign literature. It doesn’t reflect well on her campaign. It’s one thing to criticize the incumbent for failing to pay attention to the entire ward. It’s another to look for a boost by misrepresenting the record.