Thursday, May 13, 2010

As Endorsements Come Out, Here's The Inside Story

The June 8 primary election is less than a month away and local newspapers are coming out with their endorsements.

On Sunday, the Santa Barbara News-Press endorsed challenger Dan Secord over incumbent Janet Wolf for Second District County Supervisor.

For a paper that has been without an editorial page editor since the departure of Travis Armstrong last October, one has to wonder, just what is the process at the News-Press for deciding who gets the paper's endorsement?

In an attempt to figure it out, I e-mailed Secord earlier this week to ask if he had been interviewed by the paper as part of the process leading up to its endorsement. I'm still waiting to hear back from him.

On the other hand, Janet Wolf got back to me right away and told me that she was not interviewed by the News-Press.

So, with no apparent process for interviewing candidates and making a recommendation, can the endorsement of the News-Press represent anything other than owner Wendy McCaw's personal choice?

Of course the fact that the News-Press has endorsed Secord is hardly something that should have Wolf quaking in her sensible shoes. Nearly four years ago she defeated Secord despite the fact that he had the News-Press' endorsement. And in the June primary that preceded that November run-off election the News-Press recommended both her opponents, Secord and Joe Guzzardi, over Wolf.

Perhaps the News-Press is trying to extend its streak in the Second District to 0 for 3?

The Independent comes out today with endorsements in two of the three big races that are on the June ballot. In the Second District Supervisorial race they are endorsing Wolf over Secord and in the Democratic side of the 35th District Assembly Race they are endorsing Das Williams over Susan Jordan.

Prior to making the endorsement the Independent interviewed Wolf but did not interview Secord. That's not because they didn't try. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, they extended an invitation to Secord but he responded that coming in for an interview would probably be a waste of his time. Well, at least he got back to them.

Both Williams and Jordan did come in for interviews with the Indy.

Expect to see the Indy's endorsement in the race for District Attorney next week. According to my source, the paper has interviewed both Joyce Dudley and Joshua Lynn not once but twice as part of their endorsement process and neither one has emerged as the clear choice.

It's no secret that the ultimate decision maker when it comes to endorsements at the Indy is Editor-In-Chief Marianne Partridge. You would think that endorsing Democrat Dudley over Republican Lynn would be the obvious choice for the ├╝ber liberal Partridge so the fact that she is evidently struggling with making a decision on who gets the paper's seal of approval tells you something about this election, although I couldn't tell you what that something might be.

The Daily Sound has already weighed in on the DA's race and has endorsed Dudley.

Still waiting to check in with its endorsement in the DA's race is the Santa Maria Times. My source there tells me they have interviewed both candidates and will likely endorse one of them.

Although not making any endorsements, Noozhawk has published extensive Q&As with all of the candidates in the local primary races.

Yesterday's edition of the Daily Sound had a good article written by Colby Frazier examining the handling of a case that is causing controversy in the DA's race between Dudley and Lynn.

Last week's edition of the Independent had an article written by Chris Meagher that takes an exhaustive look at that same contentious DA's race and the Santa Maria Times had profiles on the DA candidates this week. Lynn's profile ran Tuesday while Dudley's profile appeared yesterday.

This week's edition of the Independent, available at all of the usual places, has Meagher's article on the Second District Supervisor's race.

While the other print and online outlets are running lots of local election related stories, what did the News-Press go with on its front page yesterday? A report on a debate held in Camarillo and sponsored by the Ventura County Tea Party between the Republican contenders for the 23rd Congressional District seat.

If the local Republican party is looking for a way to save a few bucks (and Republicans are always looking to cut costs aren't they?) they could probably do so by eliminating their newsletter. I'd say the News-Press is ready to step in and fill that gap.

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