W■ News Staff / Editorial
henever public servants in city hall are censured for their actions, their immediate reply is to denounce the messenger instead of addressing the message, only because it’s much easier to be manipulative, erect smoke screens, and attack the emissary than it is to muster a reasonable and truthful argument against the information being reported. Without exception, the cited officials know that what is being said about them is true so they resort to tactics designed to deflect attention from the facts at hand.
A case in point is a letter sent to the editor of The Valley Chronicle in which the author praised all the people who have written letters critical of “Hemet’s governmental authorities such as the mayor, city council members, chief and deputy chief of the police department, chief of the fire department, city attorney, city manager, city clerk, etc.” The author stated that “the arguments set forth in these writings, to the uninitiated, appear to be factual when talking about the lack transparency, conflict of interest and unethical behavior on the part of the people occupying these various positions.”
The author wrote that “it’s very hard to argue in favor of Deputy Police Chief Rob Webb, soon to be Chief of Police, in the death of Murrieta resident Anthony Norman, and all the ensuing dishonest and unethical behavior that followed in the wake of this tragedy” and that “it is equally difficult to defend the city’s contract attorney Eric Vail, a partner in the Los Angeles law firm that defended Rob Webb in the Norman case and [then] was handsomely paid with taxes contributed by residents of Hemet.”
Additionally, it was stated that “defending the mayor and City Council for their part in this tragedy is also extremely challenging when they secretly authorized payment to Vail’s attorney partners with Hemet taxpayers’ money when the incident occurred off-duty in Murrieta” and that “these assertions are not rumor but fact and the documents to prove it are readily available.”
Furthermore, the letter read that “the City Council is still under the powerful lens of the State Auditor and has not been able to shed the masthead [of being] the second-worst managed city in California,” and that “according to the recent FBI/UCR report, Hemet ranks No. 16 in crime throughout the state of California.”
Moreover, it was stated that “it would appear then that only those persons with vested interests, like suppliers of automobiles, real estate developers, cannabis producers and vendors, and the like are standing up for the individuals employed by city government. However, unlike the courageous individuals that the author praised, who put forth valid arguments for their discontent, the chorus line in favor does so with insults and threats.
This brings us back to the first paragraph of the submitted letter. In the Hemet Politics Facebook page—whoever is responsible for the posting—said that the author doesn’t exist because he doesn’t “appear on the Voter Registrar for the city of Hemet or anywhere else in the sphere of the valley” and therefore the article constituted “fake news.” Our answer is that many people who live in Hemet don’t appear on the Voter Registrar or anywhere else simply because, among other reasons, they do not wish to divulge their personal and private information thus becoming a target of the police department and its band of public (Code Enforcement) and private thugs.
In our collective opinion, attempting to discredit the messenger by ignoring the message is without fail an admission of guilt.