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COMMUNITY COMMENTARY:Newspaper lacks ethics in election

March 31, 2007|By Brett Loutensock

I am writing to you regarding the Burbank municipal election currently underway and your editorial decisions about how your newspaper has chosen to cover this election, or should I say, participate in this election. Your decisions strike me as ethically bereft. Let me explain why.

Four years ago, your newspaper had a columnist named Will Rogers who interviewed City Council candidate Gary Bric. I am told he divulged his past legal issues.

Four years ago, Bric also informed the Burbank Police Offices Assn. of his legal issues from his past during their endorsement process.

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While they are not a part of your newspaper, what I am trying to bring to light is that Bric and his past legal issues have been openly old news for at least four years in the community.

I was stunned and angered by the report in your paper that divulged all of Bric's legal issues as though they were new and late-breaking news ("Candidate coping with record," March 21). I am equally outraged by the timing in which you reported this information, which you have been in receipt of for more than four years. Your article was in the news rack the very day I received my ballot.

It also coincided with a mailer hit piece against candidates Anja Reinke and Bric. One wonders if it came from the Berlins' camp of support.

The overall balance of your paper's editorial and letters to the editor, in my opinion, has been overwhelmingly biased for the Berlins.

The Burbank Leader has the appearance of actively electioneering, rather than reporting.

I find it outrageous that the Los Angeles Times would turn a blind eye to the lack of judgment and unethical behavior of the Burbank Leader.

The Berlins, Carolyn and Phil, have been more than adequately spreading their brand of politics all over this election. I have lived in Burbank all my life and through all the incarnations of the local papers. We used to have a paper called the Green Sheet. I delivered it as a child on my bicycle before I went to school. The Daily Review was the good route to have, but they were hard to come by.

In all my years of reading the press, from the time I was 12 years old, folding the Green Sheet for delivery, to this very date, I have never seen a more blatant marriage of the press to a candidate, or candidates in this case.

I hope you take to heart that a very large part of Burbank is angry and sick and tired of your selective and calculated reporting. Why did you not talk about Bric until the day the ballots were delivered and the Berlins' hit piece was in the mail? You have had months to report on this issue. It appears you made a decision to work in concert with the Berlin campaign rather than ethically report the news.

The Green Sheet is what we read years ago, now we just read the Burbank Leader's brand of yellow journalism. Perhaps a name change is in order, the Berlins' Leader.


  • BRETT LOUTENSOCK is a Burbank resident.

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