Claremont Insider: Ringing Endorsements

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ringing Endorsements

The response to yesterday's Daily Bulletin article has been great. Foothill Cities, which has been the focus of much attention since the Pomona City Attorney threatened them with a defamation suit, had some good coverage.

And a Sierra Madre blogger at Sierra Madre: A View from the Canyon also chipped in with some words of support in an email.

San Gabriel Valley Tribune City Editor Edward Barrera at Inside SoCal: Editor's Corner also noted the Bulletin piece and had some brief commentary on this issue (see his post "You have got to be kidding?").

As we pointed out yesterday, former Claremont Mayor Diann Ring in the Bulletin article accused us of having "malicious intent" and said "some of it is downright lies." However, we've had no response from Ms. Ring to our request that she provide us with a list of the lies she alluded to.

Like responsible bloggers everywhere, we take pains to correct any wrong information we publish (see the "Corrections" link under our index), and we also try to document with links to newspaper articles, official City of Claremont documents, videos, radio news, and other sources wherever possible.

For too long, Ms. Ring and the Claremont 400 have enjoyed the luxury of not having to document their statements and have been free for years to spread untruths through gossip and whispering campaigns. We're simply changing that equation, and that seems to be what irks them the most. They have effectively controlled information and have meted it out in dribs and drabs without examining what are often the most important points--those things that contradict their worldview.

As we've commented in the past, we believe the problems and crises our fair city has faced in the past have emerged from the social structure the Ms. Ring, et. al., have erected--one that ignores and punishes dissent, one in which errors are compounded by the constant, stubborn refusal to look hard and honestly at their own shortcomings.

We've simply decided, "Enough, already!" We just found an alternate way to collect and disseminate that other equally important information. We're just sending out little e-messages in bottles to the wider world in the hopes that people with unbiased views can weigh all of the information and decide for themselves.

Perhaps Ms. Ring's reaction is the best indicator of the truth of our arguments. Rather than address the substance of critical commentary, Ms. Ring seeks to quash speech she disagrees with and to say that only a few viewpoints ought to be tolerated. She and her friends can't be content to just ignore dissenters, they must silence them.

They and the persons they have supported for City Council, city commissions, city staff, and numerous social and service organizations in town speak constantly of "inclusiveness," but when push comes to shove, their words betray them. They seek exclusivity. Our way or the highway, they say.

To which we respond, it's our town too. It's a town we think can be better than it has been and one that can live up to words that up to now have been too often empty. Democracy can't be dominated by one voice. To live it must include all voices, even if it becomes at times discordant.

We seek a community for everyone, not just a few. If that means facing down SLAPP suits from the Diann Rings in town, then so be it. We're up to the challenge and embrace it.

No single quote from the Claremont 400 captures Diann Ring's attitude as well as the one from another former mayor, Al Leiga, who in 2000 in response to widespread protests over the shooting of 18-year-old African-American motorist Irvin Landrum by Claremont police, said, "although it is (their right) to protest, I wonder sometimes how valuable that right is."

Time will tell, Mr. Leiga.