Last Friday’s News-Register contained stories about two locally elected officials confronted with conflicts of interest. One behaved impeccably, avoiding not only the exercise of undue influence, but also the appearance. The other, not so much. There’s a lesson here, as the mere appearance of official impropriety is wreaking irreparable harm on our treasured democracy. Confidence in elected leaders is at a low ebb, because of often well-founded suspicions they are taking unfair advantage.