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Norb Garrett

By Norb Garrett

We’ve received some criticism and questions in the past few days about this week’s issue featuring a story about San Clemente City Council candidate Gene James, and given the fact that elections are next week, I wanted to address some of those questions.

First and foremost, the SC Times has no political affiliation and has never endorsed a political candidate. Our goal is to inform the community in a fair, unbiased and balanced way so that our readers can make independent, informed decisions. Our news reporting does not have an agenda. Our goal is simply to inform our community so that it can be engaged, which only makes our town a better place to live.

We do a thorough job with pre-election coverage and information sharing. Each and every candidate has been included in pre-election articles sharing their views on issues and items important to them. For weeks we’ve gathered and reported this information for the benefit of both the readers and the candidates.

It’s also important to note that each and every candidate also understands that a run for public office means that his or her past and present will be open for analysis and interpretation. In the past weeks, the SC Times has reported on numerous allegations about some of the candidate’s actions, including issues facing Jackson Hinkle and Dee Coleman. We went directly to each candidate to get their reactions to those situations and reported those responses in kind. As a reader you can determine what you think about those allegations and responses.

The story this week about old allegations against Gene James is no different. When we learned of those allegations, we investigated the root of them and then, once the information had been gathered, sought out Mr. James for his direct responses to each allegation—which he provided.

Some supporters of Mr. James have taken to social media and others have come directly to us to express concerns that this is a “hit piece” and are part of a conspiracy. This is unfortunate and patently untrue. Admittedly the timing is unfortunate, but it certainly is not deliberate. The story took time to research as many of the allegations are quite old, but rather than have these rumors and allegations spin out of control in the uncontrolled social media world, the SC Times did its job to bring forward the allegations then have Mr. James directly respond to them.

As a reader of the SC Times, you now know what the allegations were and what Mr. James said about them. Unfortunate timing aside, this is what our responsibility to this community entails.

I stand 100% behind our editor, Shawn Raymundo, and his reporting. He has been tasked with researching and reporting on a number of allegations in recent weeks about numerous candidates and has done so in a fair and balanced way. As journalists, like public officials, we understand that our reporting and efforts are open for public scrutiny, and we accept that.
I wish all of the city council candidates good luck on election day and thank each and every one of them for coming forward to offer their services to our community.

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comments (6)

  • First off, they went a decade back or further and waited a week before to release it. The articles they did on Hinkle and Dee were current affairs, recent & related to the election. Not smear campaigns. Digging into a man’s past relationship with his bitter ex and former employer without allowed time to investigate. who was also ill prepared to speak about something so old and irrelevant is irresponsible reporting. Period the end and completely stinks of old guard nasty tactics.

    • I The article by Mr. James was fair. Well the allegations go back a ways they are so disturbing and so consistent over time that one sees a continuous course of conduct. When you add to it, the notorious photographs that clearly show James, his personalized plates, and himself in his truck backed up to a homeless tent gassing them out, it tells every voter all they need to know about him as a human being.

      I know that is hard for some people to hear, but it is the truth. Sometimes the truth is disillusioning. But if you’ve been disillusioned, all you’re losing is the illusion you were laboring under. Jean James has a long sordid bazaar history, we have no use for him on our city Council. I feel very sorry for people that naïvely endorsed him without learning all of the facts.

  • Historically the SC Times has (rightfully) prohibited candidates from publishing Letters to the Editor for a couple of weeks before Election Day. It is (was) a good policy to avoid showing bias. So why does the current issue include a letter from candidate Mickey McLane? Even Mr. McLane boasts this is an “almost” endorsement. What has become of the SC Times?

  • These days it is very hard to believe that media is not biased. SC Time needs to prove it, not just say it’s so.

    It does seem from reading the SC Times for the last decade that it leans to accepting current political establishment in SC’s positions. That is, we mostly see statements from City Government regurgitated and not much investigation into the subject. Seeing investigation into a subject just before an election seems inconsistent. So there is concern.

    For a small publication I doubt that much investigation can be done and so small pubs tend to lean to reporting (aka repeating) what it is told by parties questioned. This means its articles need input from the main influencers and that is mostly the city government. This tends to have small publicans lean toward the current establishment.

    I do feel that city positions, aka current political establishment, are reported with little, definitely not enough questioning…like it is gospel.

    So perhaps it could just be that with a small staff it can do only what it can do and try to do its best. But then outliers at critical times that tend toward current establishment positions are problematic.

    If citizens had a better picture of all candidates,and current council members, then SC Times would have done an outstanding job. Perhaps this is something it can work on, make it more clear the ‘interwoven-ness’ of the current and future council members and their decisions so citizens can make better decisions. There is too much questionable conduct by city council that SC Times has not been able to provide any enlightenment or hints to any for my preference. For example, why the law suite and zoning games regarding the emergency hospital, why the major discard for votes on the Poche Beach project and surtax (why council so insistent on contracting with this), why city used city funds to support private security for private land (Rancho Mission Viejo), how did it miss the illegal use of money collected for North Beach parking that was never used, what did the previous city manager have over the council members, etc….

  • What a crock. Do you think we really believe this? Unless you do a special issue to deliver this to every home in SC, BEFORE the election, we can all see you for what you are. If only I could get them to stop delivering your paper to my door. I no longer want to read it since you outed yourself as having an agenda. Shame on you.

    • What you believe is your choice. I can say from experience that decisions aren’t made in the SC Times offices based on politics, or timed for political effect. In this case, you had an email going around town and social media alleging a number of issues. The article gave Mr. James a chance to respond. The email was the dirty trick, not the article.

comments (6)

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