The El Centro City Council elections are finally over … at least the voting part. With only 62 votes separating Jason Jackson and Jon Edney, the incumbent, for the third and final seat, Monday should give a more clear view.
Still, in the past few weeks it got ugly with enough dirt flying that even Herman Cain would be ducking for cover.
This unfortunately is the new reality of politics even in small-town USA. People have a right to fight furiously for their chosen candidate and even throw mud at their candidate’s opponents. We as a news organization choose to stay out of the fray.
The accusations that came our way were baseless, and when we went to investigate them, and yes we investigated each one, they fell apart due to lack of substance. They make great headlines, sell papers and automatically make the accused seem guilty, but we did not want to be manipulated to help steer an election.
However, there were organizations which we feel did not take such a high road in this election, one being the newly formed Imperial Valley Independent Business Alliance.
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Let’s be clear: Paul McManus, one of the founders of the IVIBA, says there is a direct distinction between his views and that of the alliance, but initially, he used the alliance’s Facebook page to introduce locals to the video in which Edney is seen chastising some kids for defacing property. McManus also was very aggressive in posting insinuations of corruption of another candidate not only on his personal Facebook page but that of the city of El Centro and the Imperial Valley Press among many, many others.
Like it or not, McManus is the public and private face of the IVIBA, so where he goes, so does the intent of the IVIBA. The posting of the video and his last-minute accusations of corruption of another candidate reflected poorly on the group he helped to found. Likewise, if a member of the I.V. Press editorial board was as public in his or her support or disdain for a candidate, it very well be would construed as the opinion of the paper. Fair? Perhaps not, but it is reality.
The Imperial Valley Independent Business Alliance claimed the reason for its existence was to work to stay above the politics the IVIBA felt had become the mainstay of the local chambers of commerce. This election was the Alliance’s first test of that way of doing business, and it failed.
While we believe there is room and need in the Valley for an organization with the stated mission, “to help the Imperial Valley prevent the displacement of local independent businesses, ensure ongoing opportunities for entrepreneurs,” we do not need another organization trying to play kingmaker.There is an attempt to form a steering committee for this organization. This is a great opportunity to decide what will be the organization’s true mission. The one it has stated or the one it has shown and intimated. The steering committee needs to direct this organization to be truly “independent” and beneficial to the community and not a tool of a few.
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
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