- See the story, “When Political Muscle for Local Candidates Goes Astray,” here.
By Luis A. Alejo
The Oct. 7 article by Joe Livernois about the Salinas Valley Democratic Club’s endorsement of Steve McShane for the District 4 Supervisor race truly failed the fact-checking test, and it was his political and racial bias that went astray. The article should have clearly been placed in the “Opinion” section rather than being disguised as news.
It’s been clear that this online publication repeatedly favors certain political candidates and bashes those it dislikes. But this latest hit piece just went too far and even dismisses the endorsements made by the Salinas Valley Democratic Club, the only and oldest Democratic club in the Salinas Valley and the only one comprised mostly of Latino Democrats in the county. The Democratic Club’s charter is renewed each year by the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee, just like all other clubs.
Despite the Salinas Valley Democratic Club holding its endorsement meeting on Sept. 3 and posting its endorsements on its Facebook page the following day, Livernois reprinted a completely misleading graphic that stated the Democratic Club’s endorsements were “fake.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Livernois, in a subtly racist way, then described the Democratic Club as “something called the Salinas Valley Democratic Club” and went outright racist when he stereotyped that “the club’s membership is mostly composed of other people named Alejo.” But such objectionable statements are nothing new.
Latino elected officials and Latino families have had to deal with such racist stereotypes plenty of times before. It’s just shameful that Livernois refused to do any fact checking and instead resorted to such racist stereotyping even during a national reckoning on racial justice. When I spoke up against his distasteful writing on Twitter, he could only pathetically resort to labeling it as “a meltdown.” But I will always speak out against such poor and offensive writing even by local reporters or pundits. They should know better.
The truth is the Salinas Valley Democratic Club overwhelmingly endorsed Steve McShane not only for the general election, but also for the primary election and posted its endorsements as far back as October 2019. It even sent out a press release about them back then. The endorsements were never an issue until McShane was given permission to reprint the Democratic Club’s general election endorsements this time around in a mailer.
Livernois goes on to outright lie stating that “Steve McShane and Luis Alejo have teamed up in an effort to deceive voters” when, in fact, I wasn’t even aware of the mailer until I was contacted by the Monterey County Weekly about it on Oct. 6. It was the Democratic Club’s executive board that approved McShane reprinting a partial list of its endorsements.
But Livernois just couldn’t help himself and went on to additionally misreport that I “poured thousands into McShane’s campaign,” when, in fact, I only donated $1,000 in the primary and $500 in the general election. That’s it. That’s a paltry amount when compared to the other major donors on both sides of that very competitive District 4 race.
I have previously written that reporters are people just like the rest of us, with their own opinions and biases. But some just do their reporting much better, without such obvious bias, personal animosity and clouded judgment. When I recently asked another local reporter if she favored the other candidate in this District 4 supervisor race, she outright admitted, “I make no secret of that, Luis.”
I just hope Voices of Monterey Bay can improve its journalistic integrity in the future, do some basic fact checking, and at least try to keep its political and racial bias in check.
Luis A. Alejo is a Monterey County Supervisor for District 1 and a member of the Salinas Valley Democratic Club.
Editor’s note: The original story has been corrected to reflect that Alejo contributed $1,500 to the McShane campaign. Otherwise, Joe Livernois and the editorial staff of Voices of Monterey Bay stand by his story. Supervisor Alejo made similar statements about Livernois, bias and racism during a rage-tweet session soon after the story first ran. At the time, Livernois offered Alejo a chance to prove him wrong by inviting him to produce an updated Salinas Valley Democratic Club membership list and minutes from a club board meeting. As of today, Alejo has not produced those materials. Pictured below are a couple of screenshots during that Twitter exchange.
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