Redistricted! has received lots of criticism in the last couple of days about its report of the election the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust (LCWLT) held Tuesday night to choose its Board of Directors.  Thanks for reading—and writing! 

Because of the tone of most responses—disappointment, betrayal and anger; one person accused me of “using people and ruining reputations to get attention”—let’s review the journalistic rationale for the report:

1) Tom Marchese, a candidate for city council who is perhaps best known for his work with prominent environmental groups (he cites this work in his campaign literature and appearances) was lopsidedly defeated in his bid for re-election to the board of directors of one of the groups—the LCWLT—he frequently cites.

2) Don May, the esteemed founder of the LCWLT, a man who Marchese frequently cites as a mentor and an ally, wrote a letter endorsing the candidate’s opponent for the board and sharply rebuking Marchese’s behavior—going so far as to say the board cannot function with Marchese as a member.

Redistricted! contacted May in Hawaii; he embellished upon the letter, and those comments were included in the report.

Redistricted! attempted to contact Marchese. He did not return an interview request left on his answering machine; in fact, he has still not responded.

How is all of this not legitimate journalism?

Redistricted!’s style of journalism is the point-of-view essay, in which the writer is permitted to take a perspective on the news or topic—but must support that perspective through factual and logical reporting, not to mention basic relevance; indeed, without such facts, logic and relevance, the perspective doesn’t stand a chance of being taken seriously.

Additionally, Redistricted!’s approach to news journalism is to scrutinize the powerful or those aspiring to power and to give voice to other points of view that might otherwise go unheard. This can give the impression of partisanship—of opposing certain officeholders, officials and policies, and of supporting their adversaries. Sometimes that may be the case.

More often, however, that is a misinterpretation. The proof of that emerges when the one-time adversary rises to power—or attempts to—and is subjected to the same scrutiny. That’s what has happened here.

  1. Howardx
    April 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    everyone wants to see sacred cows skewered, except their own. keep it up.

  2. April 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Dave, I very much appreciate your “point of view essays!” Please continue to do what you do so very well.

  3. Janis Populi
    April 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Back off Dave, I posed the issue as a question not an accusation as you are now claiming, “Are you writing objective articles or just using people and ruining reputations to get attention?”

    The story could of been spun many ways including one that was fair to Marchese and the LCWLT. One way could of been to look at the way the LCWLT acted and evaluate if their own actions could be construed as political and impacting the outcome of an election. To say that you have a point of view does not forgive my point that Marchese reputation was harmed because of accusations of what he might do.

    If you use this as your jounalistic standard where does this leave any person trying to improve their community? Please reflect on this or I am going to have to go back to reading the press releases in the Grunnion Gazette.

    • Howardx
      April 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm

      is there some reason marchese cant speak for himself? he’s been given the chance to address this alleged “harm to his reputation” but chose not to. perhaps he doesnt think its as big a deal as you do.

    • April 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm

      LOL…who is telling who to back off?! Why don’t you back off, Janis!

  4. April 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Janis. I didn’t make the accusations, just reported them–and contacted the man who made them. Tried to report Marchese’s side, but he didn’t respond. You are right that there are other aspects of this story, too, and let’s just say the reporting isn’t over. But people must be willing to respond, be quoted and use their real names.

  5. Janis Populi
    April 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Where was your research for this comment?-“….may have cost him any realistic chance to be elected to the Long Beach City Council on April 13.” I am guessing but I doubt that more than 300 hundred people in the 3rd District out of 30,000 are even aware of this issue, so how can this determine the outcome of an election? BUT If your statement is accurate then the LCWLT should be called on the carpet for tampering with the outcome of this election.

  6. April 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    No research there, just my political math, and I supported my calculations in the paragraphs that followed.

    • Janis Populi
      April 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      You might of also mentioned the fact that on March 31 2010 the Long Beach group of the LA Chapter of the Sierra Club endorsed Marchese. This group has over 2500 members. http://www.lbreport.com/news/mar10/sierclub.htm

      Did you factor this into your “political math”? The chances of a bootstrap candidate winning over an incumbent in this town has and always been a long shot.

  7. April 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    The criticism is dumb. I read the article as an unbiased accounting of what went down at the meeting. It was pretty similar to the account I read in the PT. I think the commenters brought THEIR personal biases and hurt feelings to understanding what was written and misinterpreted and claimed Dave wrote in a biased manner. I don’t think you needed to explain yourself– Dave.

  8. Michael Gobel
    April 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Dave – Keep up the good work. The truth is that Mar-Crazy was using his affiliation with the LCWLT as a platform for his candidacy and it is worth reporting that he lost by a landslide. This tells me that the vast majority of the people are not buying what he is selling. Don’t be bothered by the people that will put blinders on and not accept the reality of the situation… your doing a fine job and I am pleased to be able to read your writings.

  9. Henry
    April 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Dave, please don’t be so defensive. You can certainly write a point-of-view essay, but your reputation proceeds you as a keen investigative reporter–the man that digs deep for facts.
    Tom Marchese has replied to Bill Pearl, the editor of the Long Beach Report, straight news- regarding the allegation-I just now read it.

    Perhaps, digging for facts you might have asked Don May:
    Do you have proof that Tom Marchese threatened to sue?
    Why did you send the propaganda letter to LCWLT just hours prior to the election?
    Did you know that they handed it out before balloting began?
    (against campaign rules)
    Do you now think you have been used by the LCWLT?

    Yes Tom lost big time–why? Most folks thought Tom won both debates– then he become dangerous as he might also win a seat on the LCWLT, and in desperation,
    Don May was called in and “the letter” was written.
    A letter by the founder of the LCWLT-handed out illegally just before one voted–and not a nice letter.

    Anyone can lose an election–but to lose your reputation and good name?
    Don’t be surprised if the election is invalidated- null and void-retractions and apologies to follow.
    The fat lady is still waiting………..

    • wrongbeachjohn
      April 1, 2010 at 8:17 pm

      May’s job on Marchese will end up backfiring on him…mahalo. Talk about biting yourself in the ass.

  10. Dwight K Snider
    April 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    All politics are local and the primary objective of political related journalism should be to seek, find and report the truth. It is ok to get the story first but the story must be accurate and true.

    Two questions: Why is Don May pulling the puppet strings from Hawaii? And, why are the puppets in Long Beach dancing?

    • April 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      –wins for best comment– WTF is Don May doing getting involved in OUR town whe he is several time zones away?

  11. Laura
    April 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    To Michael Gobel.
    The candidates name is Tom Marchese-not Tom Mar-Crazy-that is offensive.
    How would you like me to address you as Michael Go-balls? Hmmm?
    Long before Tom served on the LCWLT board he has been our watchdog for the wetlands–talk about the last 15 years!! Dave W. is well aware of all of Tom’s unpaid work now and in the past. Frankly, I wish Tom had never sought a place on the LCWLT board. He is too independent far too smart for them–so resentment sets in. Go Tom!

  12. Noel Proffitt
    April 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Dave Wielenga,

    Thank you for your reporting.

    Noel Proffitt

  13. henry
    April 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I, too have dropped my membership.
    The LCWLT hopes this will all fade away. But it won’t.
    Their actions on March 30th will impact the trust,(bogus non-political) Don Mays reputation as well as Tom Marchese’s. The LCWLT has always had blinders on-pity. The LCWLT has just said– “Welcome Developers!’

  14. Tom Marchese
    April 16, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Hey Dave, I just had a chance to finally read this and it contains false and libelous allegations which I can prove are not true. Don May drafted a letter with patently offensive falsehoods in it, outright lies. Why you failed to confirm or deny these allegations in a rush to judgment hurts. You published lies which harmed me. Why ? Purported scrutiny? How about odd animus? How about failure to verify the veracity of specious claims?
    Apparently friends of Gary on or around the Trust fed Don a series of lies which he believed, and wrote. Had you actually been at the LCWLT election you might have been able to actually do a much netter story. Person after person screamed at the LCWLT board and their attorney for publishing lies and rigging the election.
    Joe Segura witnessed it and that’s why it came out in his story.
    Why did you call me at 11 PM for an ”interview” after I wrote you weeks before to recognize how buried I was while campaigning and to simply write me some questions and schedule a time to review the responses? I truly wish that you had not assumed that Don spoke correctly, before you broke this terrible story mere hours later? But in deconstructing your errors I have a better question ? What was your source for this story and what grudge might they carry? Any bias? We also wonder how did you get this letter so quickly after the election? Hmm, did you get played too?
    The campaign had me working 7 days a week, from early in the morning until late in the evening for 6 months. I got 3 days off due to illness. I was running a 2 week backlog on emails and call backs.

    I ran to simply try to do good things for our community which I love and to fix some really messed up things. Why some advocates ended up helping Gary never made sense to us, but the net effect is that his divide and conquer tricks on the trust and with others, and with the candidates helped him knock me down and boost his vote count.

    Sad to see who did not see through this old ruse. I was not fooled. This is why Stephanie Loftin called the stunts Machiavellian

    You betrayed our friendship and trust, you published false facts that harmed my effort to try to bring honestly, transparency and wide based community service to city hall, and you damaged my good name and character.

    I can prove unequivocally that Don May spoke false facts. I can also disprove the BS that Gary’s gang put in the Press Telegram. But the election is over and I wonder when you will come to the realization that you did a lot to help re elect Gary ??

    You need to either do your homework before you write or get a copy editor. You harmed me for no good reason and at a minimum I deserve an apology. The LCWLT attorney has confirmed what I told Bill Pearl. I never threatened to sue the trust, not even remotely. I was entitled to see the list as a director? No cause needed? Maybe you and Don should read the bylaws which state this. ” Any officer or director can view the member list at any time without stating a reason”..

    They simply were secreting it to run a kangaroo court or something. I never used political reasons in connection with this list which by the way I have still never seen? How can you use a list or electioneer from a list if you have never seen the list?

    There is also no duty to resign from a 501 C merely because you are a candidate. People do it all of the time. As I told Bill Pearl who understands ethics and the law too, you merely avoid any conflicts of interest. None can be proved.

    Also I never did anything close to electioneering, however members of the board did by placing this harmful and false letter in the hands of every voter, and reading it to the audience, IE slander. By the way, I was never shown this letter despite their legal duty to review such statements with the entire board before publishing them. I would have cautioned them not to break the law, act unethically, wrongfully, in violation of the bylaws and several civil codes.

    You harmed me Dave, at a minimum I deserve an apology. The election has passed, we wonder how many percentage points you cost us? During my campaign people kept asking me; ” What happened to Dave?” ” Why is he trying to pin lies on you?” ” Why isn’t he picking on Gary, or Terry ?”. I had no answer, do you? All that I could speculate was maybe he is trying to make amens with the DeLong gang and City Hall ? What he is doing is wonderful for Dean and Gary but I think that he may be getting played. You were..

  1. June 23, 2010 at 10:17 am

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