I can’t really say it was inevitable and it does surprise me a bit to see the race card being used in the ethics allegations pending against Battle Ground city council member Paul Zandamela, but it has surfaced in an article appearing in the Reflector.
Joanna Michaud, staff reporter for the Reflector has penned her report, Two ethics complaints spur tension in BG where Zandamela makes the claim of Battle Ground Mayor Mike Ciraulo being behind the ethics violation complaints. Curiously, for reasons not quite understood, the accusation of Mayor Ciraulo being behind the allegations includes prominent mention of fellow council member Alex Reinhold’s teenage son being convicted 2 years ago of sending some very unsavory emails to Paul Zandamela.
I don’t know of a single person that excused what Chris did back then, but he had his day in court and pled guilty to the charges, an act that raised the eyebrows of at least two out of state law professors, especially after seeing that the U.S. Attorney’s Office undermined his Defense Attorney’s case on First Amendment grounds with threats of taking it to federal court, should the teen not change his plea to that of guilty of “cyberstalking.”
He has completed his 8-day jail sentence and all other aspects of the sentence, save completing the probation period and hopefully learned a valuable life lesson.
Regardless, what it has to do with allegations of Mayor Ciraulo engineering the ethics complaints against Paul Zandamela escapes me, as does why Ms. Michaud would include mention of it in her article, given that the newspaper of record for Clark County, the Columbian chose to make no mention whatsoever of the 2 year-old case in two articles on the ethics violation charges they published.
I find it unlikely that Mr. Zandamela would not also mention the past to the Columbian since they too quote him claiming that the mayor and other councilors are ‘after’ him. Quite frankly, I see absolutely no relevance to the 2 year-old case with current ethics violation allegations and can only imagine the reason behind running with them is a variant of playing the ‘race card’ on Mr. Zandamela’s behalf, since he is an African originally from Mozambique.
Alex Reinhold, father of Chris said to me, “They attacked my kid, that’s over the line. Had what he had done 2 years go been relevant to a story I could see putting it in there. But just to create a stir because they are too lazy to do real reporting is way below average,” when I asked him about a comment he made, “that the Reflectors need to sensationalize stories, to sell ads at others personal expense is a crap way to do business or exist as a human being.”
I have no idea just which one decided that playing the race card with the ethics violations pending would be a viable defense, just as I have no idea whether Paul Zandamela is deserving of any condemnation over the allegations.
Hell, I’m not even particularly a fan of Mayor Ciraulo.
I have been willing to give Mr. Zandamela the benefit of doubt and wait to see what comes out in the December 20, 2010 Public Special Meeting at 6 PM.
Seeing this race card play, be it by the Reflectors Joanna Michaud, Paul Zandamela or both hurts his defense in my eyes.
I see Mayor Ciraulo recusing himself from the process to remove suspension of a “witch hunt” against Zandamela. I see another council member leveling a verbal allegation of Mr. Zandamela misleading the city council on a tax matter which has anything to do with his race.
The inclusion of a settled matter from 2 years ago and completely unrelated to current allegations has me agreeing with Alex Reinhold when he said, “That’s lazy journalism, when you can’t be bothered to put together a story you just throw together some random stories from other times and call it good. The news is no longer about getting a story it’s all about how much ad time you can sell.”
We citizens of Clark County, regardless of political leanings, deserve unbiased facts in the news reported. An editorial is another matter, but still subject to criticism.
Paul Zandamela is entitled to a fair and just hearing on the ethics violations alleged against him, even though not much can be done should he be found guilty, other than wrist slaps.
Dragging an unrelated story from 2 years ago, no matter how wrong what happened back then was, has no place in this matter and should not have been included.
“Here’s hoping someone there develops some journalism skills, morality and integrity” is another statement by Alex Reinhold I agree with.
Be they to fill space or just taint allegations pending against a public official, unrelated issues from years ago has neither relevance nor does Mr. Zandamela’s race matter.
Dragging out the race card will not help anything at all.