JG Excerpt:This article was published on March 6th, just a couple of weeks after KellyO collected huge primary vote numbers as reported in this February 20th newspaper article.
Convicted of disorderly conduct in 1999 after an incident at the Dart Inn. -- Convicted of disorderly conduct in 1996 after a confrontation with her ex-boyfriend in Traxler Park. -- Convicted of battery in 1994 after a fight with a woman in Beloit.
At least two points should be considered here. One: After debating well and gaining heavy voter support, it turns out two popular candidates, KevinB and KellyO, literally fell out of the sky. In the grand scheme of who's who inside Janesville politics, they were virtually unknowns, at least to the Janesville Gazette.
Two: After the newspaper received some public criticism about the criminal report article, the Gazette claimed they investigated KellyO only after receiving a tip about her background from a reader, and to be fair and balanced, they proceeded to check public open records of all the remaining candidates. The Gazette later published that the others apparently were “clean.” Fair enough.
Soon afterwards, another resident tipped off the paper in a letter about his concerns of political partisanship entering the city council election, a valid concern. The writer claimed KevinB, one of the top three vote getters in the primary, had ties to union labor and the Democratic party and that full disclosure was necessary. So be it.
Some residents in Janesville want supporters to disclose their associations, but not the candidates to disclose their associations. Very bizarre. Personally I believe all candidates should disclose their guiding political principles and philosophy including association with any politically active groups. This is a huge step forward in Janesville elections. Disclosing their community volunteerism, church attendance or education may work for some, but it doesn't cut it for me.
But something strange happened after this one. Instead of publishing the results of an inquiry of all the candidates ties or membership to local quasi-political groups, like the KellyO investigation, they chose to target KevinB alone. After thoroughly dismantling election chances for KellyO to stand on her own appeal, the Gazette proceeded to throw KevinB and his openly public supporters under a bus. At no time after the watershed article “When politics comes home” or during their endorsement editorial of council candidates did the Gazette claim to investigate or question the other five candidates as they claimed to have done with the tip they received previously about KellyO’s record. Of course after the lopsided negative publicity targeting KevinB and KellyO, the two favored primary candidates failed to make the final cut.
Instead, the people blindly elected three candidates without any record disclosing their connections to quasi-political groups published in the Janesville Gazette. For reasons of their own, the Gazette deliberately failed to inform their readers.
Afterwards, during the three weeks following the April election, the Gazette brazenly integrated the political views and opinion commentary from members of the political action group Forward Janesville in a variety of articles and editorials dealing with important city government issues. No connection?
Although it's too late for the election, residents should request that the three newly elected council members disclose all their community memberships to the Gazette, and demand the Gazette to publish the information. Not because an open democracy demands it, but because a “fair and balanced” newspaper neglected to.
I missed this aspect of the newspaper hit job at the time primarily because I wanted to keep blogging support to a minimum for my council picks as an experiment of sorts. Never again.
I also want to thank Anonymous 8:39PM from April 30th with the "skate right in" comment for helping me connect the dots.
Note: As a courtesy to the two candidates in this posting, abbreviated names were used to avoid search engine robots.