By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Hindsight is 20/20
There are any number of clichés I could start with, in addition to the one I used for the title of this week’s column. There’s one about a certain road to a certain place being paved with good intentions. Maybe that one is appropriate.
But all that is to say that sometimes the decisions we make, even when made with good intentions, are not always the wisest, as I’ve learned over the last week.
As you may have seen, last week the Press published a letter to the editor from Port Isabel Mayor Joe E. Vega in response to an advertisement that ran the week prior. In the letter, the mayor describes several projects he has been instrumental in seeing to fruition, as well as several statements about the state of the City.
I chose to publish an editor’s note following the mayor’s letter to provide clarity on some of the facts about the City which have been discussed in various city commission meetings over the last year. My intent was to provide accuracy — a responsibility I take seriously — but the method I employed caused a negative reaction I didn’t, but should have foreseen.
Are the topics discussed by Mr. Vega and the advertisement worthy of discussion? Absolutely. The City and its issues, both good and bad, are complex things which require a deliberate analysis, yet one that employs finesse, as well.
But by publishing an editor’s note immediately following the mayor’s letter, I effectively stifled the potential for future conversation. Worse yet, my comments seemed as though they were an indictment of the mayor himself, which was not the intent.
The community response was swift. Our office received several phone calls this past week, and soon accusations of bias were made. Incidentally, some who oppose the mayor have made similar accusations, as well.
I stand by the factual clarifications I published in last week’s issue. They are facts which are supported by discussions made during city commission meetings, as well by the City’s own financial reports. Where I erred was in allowing for the appearance of a personal interest to exist at all. It does not.
Though we are all human, I strive to maintain the impartiality of my reporting. I hope that, moving forward, the conversation can be re-opened. Port Isabel deserves that much.
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