Letter to the Editor: Press has unique role in exposing wrongdoing

Letter to the Editor: Press has unique role in exposing wrongdoing
(Photo: Missy Schrott)

To the editor:

Your Aug. 16 editorial, “Serial promise-breaking erodes trust” does more to counter the “fake news” hyperbole than the Boston Globe-led editorializing campaign because it illustrates how the free press has a unique capacity to focus the public’s attention on official wrong-doing by investigating and publicizing egregious examples of it.

While your editorial calls out city hall’s abuses, it fails to probe beneath the surface to discover what causes these abuses. It would be one thing had challengers won office by running campaigns calling for these promises, made by current incumbents, to be reversed. But it is quite another when long-standing incumbents give some flim-flam excuse to undo the promises they themselves made when they voted for the promises in the first place. How can the public trust such incumbents: did they show bad judgment by voting for these promises in the first place or by voting to reverse their own promises – or both?

What secret deals, which were not part of their campaign platforms, truly motivate long-standing incumbents’ changes of heart hidden behind their lame excuses for reneging on the promises they made? This spring at T.C. Williams High School, a non-partisan voter registration drive enrolled several hundred T.C. students who were at or would reach voting age by Election Day in November.

Was a “Lights at T.C.” campaign behind or built into this exercise? And if so, were administrators, students or boosters behind it? Did folks favoring street parking permits at developments which gave them up in exchange for zoning concessions receive quiet commitments from candidates before the June primary? Did those candidates neglect to disclose to the rest of the electorate those quiet commitments? The free press exists to ask these questions and investigate these potentialities because all too often electoral outcomes in Alexandria seem to reward promise-breaking.

When the head rots, the body politic dies, but in this instance, have instead the body politic’s appendages rotted, and we only noticed when the rot reached the head?

-Dino Drudi, Alexandria