Dec 15, 2006

Newspaper Editorial Board needs to practice what it preaches


I find it a little disingenuous to for the Daily Press & Argus to editorialize that the Livingston County Democratic Party should begin early recruiting “creditable candidates” for the next election. The obvious question is will the newspaper’s editorial board treat them like credible candidates?

One way to accomplish that is to start building capable candidates early rather than scrambling for them at the last minute. It's hard to win an election as a Democrat in this county but there are plenty of nonpartisan venues — planning commissions, school boards, city councils — in which individuals can build a record of accomplishment.

During the last election cycle, Green Oak Township Democrat Mike McGonegal ran for the state House for the 66th District. He knocked on doors every evening, went to many events and spent what little money he had on advertising. Sounds like a creditable candidate to me. However, in October the newspaper endorsed the Republican candidate without the benefit of the traditional endorsement interview.

Now, you may say this is nothing but sour grapes on my part because I volunteered for McGonegal, and you would be partially correct; it is sour grapes on my part. But it’s much more than that. Anyone I see treated unfairly it bothers me. Executive Editor Rich Perlberg gave me a lame song and dance about how he knew enough about Mike through the blog I maintained, press releases and the lone debate Mike participate in. He apparently knew enough about our opponent because of his record, but if you truly went by that you would never have endorsed him.

The problem was Mike was the only Legislative candidate not interviewed. That included both candidates for 22nd Senate District and the 47th House District. That’s makes zero sense because the Senate incumbent, Valde Garcia, has been a lawmaker for more than seven years compared to Mike’s opponent who has only been in office for four years. Seven years wasn’t enough that you had to interview Garcia?

The answer is no. You should have interviewed all of the candidates.

It’s hard to recruit quality candidates who know the odds are long they will win, and even when they do put up the good fight and try and make the incumbent accountable to the voters again they get that kind of shabby treatment from the newspaper.

The Press & Argus editorial board simply needs to practice what it preaches. If it wants to be creditable on endorsements it needs to do the homework.