Yesterday we received the following statement from the Tyron Hampton campaign:
Some background in case you are not aware. André Coleman writes the government and politics affairs column for a not entirely influential "alternative media" publication called the Pasadena Weekly. Though in some circles in Pasadena he is regarded as something of an authority on these matters.
You shouldn't describe the publication as marginal however, or at least in front of them. They do have a high opinion of their political importance. This ironically in a city where only about 15% of the eligible residents even bother to vote in local elections. And it is during elections such as the current District 1 Pasadena City Council runoff race that the Pasadena Weekly tries its hardest to show how significant a force they can be.
But the question that needs to be asked now is to what purpose?
André Coleman has been accused in the past of being strictly a partisan player, and that in his Pasadena Weekly writings he heavily privileges candidates he supports. Long time PUSD Board of Education stalwarts such as Renatta Cooper, Tom Selinske and Ed Honowitz being examples of people who, while in office, could do no wrong in André Coleman's eyes.
But can it be that André has been selling his journalistic influence? Asking for cash payoffs in exchange for favorable mentions? Can it be that the editorial opinions of Pasadena's "alternative" weekly newspaper are for sale, and if you don't pay up you will be attacked?
The runoff in the District 1 Pasadena City Council fight between former Fire Chief Calvin Wells and current Board of Education member Tyron Hampton has turned increasingly ugly. With Coleman's column being a launching pad for much of that unpleasantness. The dirt in this instance being aimed exclusively at Hampton.
The Coleman column referred to by the Hampton campaign is currently up on the Pasadena Weekly website (link). The major accusation in this case being, believe it or not, campaign yard sign theft. Pretty much a garden variety gripe in any local political race. What candidate has ever not suspected his opponent of stealing yard signs? After all, there never does seem to be enough of them.
All pretty silly stuff.
But that isn't all of it. Where Coleman gets especially deep is in the following attack on Hampton over his lifelong struggle with the disability known as dyslexia:
This is not the first time Hampton has found himself at the center of controversy. Last year, he requested the Pasadena Unified School District pay someone to help him perform his duties. Hampton suffers from learning disabilities that limit his ability to read and write and needs someone to help him read reports and issue written statements.
You would hope that in the year 2015 those suffering from dyslexia or any other similar disability would not be subjected to this level of lightly veiled bigotry. Especially in an alternative paper that fancies itself as being the epitome of inclusiveness.
Courtesy of a website called "Famous People with the Gift of Dyslexia" (link), here is a portion of their list of famous and highly accomplished people who despite their dyslexia achieved remarkable success in their lives:
This list of folks on the "Famous People with the Gift of Dyslexia" website is far longer than what I've shared here. You should go and check out the whole thing. And seriously, when you're a part of something that includes Albert Einstein and Leonardo DaVinci (not to mention Cher), you're in rather solid company.
So is that what your money allegedly buys you at the Pasadena Weekly? Stigmatizing people with disabilities?