Confusion about a local endorsement requires clean up

In response to a surprising phone call to our office by a local candidate, The Paso Robles Press was forced to review a local radio show in which it was named in association with a letter of endorsement of Stephanie Shakofsky for District 1 Supervisor that was published by a local website that may or may not try to appear to be associated with The Paso Robles Press.

During the show, Al Fonzi took a call at the 57th minute from a caller who was concerned that a local news outlet was “pushing” for Stephanie Shakofsky to earn the District 1 supervisor seat, and named the “Paso Press.” Of course, it was not The Paso Robles Press but the association was cause for concern.

The response from Al Fonzi to the caller during the show was of particular concern for us, as he asked “are you surprised?” and continued on a measured tirade against newspapers and the assumption that they would support Democrats as a natural course of business as part of some larger conspiracy theory or as an adversary of conservative principles. In general, the subsequent conversation was not reflective of our company of which he is a regular contributor, and he should be better informed as he has a direct line to our editor and publishers.

We immediately called Al to discuss our disappointment in his knee-jerk response and reminded him that we are not secretive about our positions on topics, particularly because we avoid having a position on most things — defaulting instead to the presentation of the facts as plainly as possible so an informed populace can make the decisions necessary to conduct good business on behalf of our community.

Al was immediately responsible for his mistake in the direction he took with the on-air conversation and promised to call the radio station to announce his correction and make public his responsibility for the mistake. We agreed that a suitable outcome had been found, as we have not, nor do we plan to, endorse any candidates so far in the upcoming elections. We thank our local candidates for each making themselves available to us for a Q&A which we will publish in the Feb. 19 edition of the newspapers. We wish each candidate the best in the election and hope that our Q&A can help the community make an informed decision and help our community move forward with success after the election.

The Paso Robles Press and the Atascadero News endorses honesty and integrity of which accountability is paramount. We appreciate Al’s response to our disappointment because we all make mistakes and a willingness to correct mistakes is a workable attitude.

If there is ever a question about the position of The Paso Robles Press or The Atascadero News on any issue of concern to our community, it would be better to call us and ask directly than to call Al.

We can be reached at 805-237-6060 or editor@pasoroblespress.com.

Thank you,

The Paso Robles Press

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