|Prior to publishing this editorial, LBREPORT.com extended another invitation at 2:47 p.m. Sat.
(March 23, 2019, 8:15 p.m.) -- LBREPORT.com has said before and reiterates now: when Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez unwisely tried to cover our video camera lens in August 2016 when we politely asked her if she supported restoring more police officers for taxpayers than Mayor Garcia had recommended [at that time 8 out of 208 erased], she didn't snub us, she snubbed you.
What Councilwoman Gonzalez did then (for which she received no criticism from other media outlets) invited her do what she's doing now: snubbing you by avoiding questions from us and perhaps others in seeking to become CA's next state Senator. On Feb. 28, 2019, we asked candidate Gonzalez by email whether she supports or opposes SB 246 (proposes to create an oil severance tax that could bring CA billions in new revenue). opposed by major oil companies who've funded a committee that spent over $1,000,000 since late February in an independent campaign (legally separate from Gonzalez's campaign) to send Gonzalez to Sacramento. (We asked her about SB 246 in late February and didn't wait until near the end of the election cycle to report the issue to our readers.)
We also believe an incumbent's voting record in their current office is always relevant when they seek higher office, so we'd like to ask state Senate candidate Gonzalez about some of her City Council votes in which she:
Long Beach Councilmembers don't have to answer questions posed from the public speaker's podium during Council meetings. They don't routinely hold open press conferences where questions can be posed. Many prefer communications they control via emailed "newsletters" or Tweets or Facebook dispatches, responses to which they can sometimes ignore or block.
If press outlets flinch at asking questions when incumbents seek higher office, incumbents never have to answer. So if not now, when?
Regardless of one's opinions on the items we cited above, there should be agreement that it's unhealthy for any incumbent to expect that given sufficient campaign contributions and endorsements, they'll be rewarded with higher office by evading press questions and avoiding responsive answers.
None of this is personal. It's entirely about policy. LBREPORT.com believes checks and balances matter. The 1st Amendment explicitly protects the press to ensure an independent, non-governmental brake on those in power. Trying to cover our camera lens when we asked a fair question was a momentary clumsy action that Councilwoman Gonzalez may or may not regret now. But what's taking place now is in our opinion worse because it's a calculated and deliberate campaign strategy. It's designed to obstruct media outlets from getting answers and reporting them on matters that involve the consent of the governed.
We'll learn if that strategy succeeds in this election shortly after 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday March 26. LBREPORT.com will report the results live.
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