If you only watch the show Fox and Friends, you get a very opinionated, biased and one-sided picture of just about everything. Unfortunately, when you read The Independent, you also get a very opinionated, biased and one-sided picture of the downtown development issues. And just like on Fox and Friends, The Independent’s news coverage and ads regarding downtown development are loaded with misinformation, misrepresentations and untruthful statements. What the paper isn’t loaded with is balanced and comprehensive news coverage detailing opposing facts, views and opinions, and recognizing support for the City’s plan from the downtown businesses, local winegrowers and housing advocates. In the news business, this is considered unprofessional and unethical and is referred to as “yellow journalism.”

To no one’s surprise, last week’s issue had an organized outpouring of support for The Independent’s owner and all the good things she has done in the past. For some reason, these supporters think criticism of her funding and directing actions against the City’s downtown development plan is also disparaging the good she has done. Please pay attention, groupies: doing good things in one area doesn’t give anyone a free pass to do bad things in another. No one!

The supporters’ letters criticize comments made by the Mayor and Council at the public meetings because they don’t like what is said. Council is simply responding to and expressing their frustration at the negative activities of the special interest group, and slanderous statements made by their signature gatherers. Given that these out-of-town paid gatherers don’t have a dog in the fight, someone had to tell them what to say. And guess who that was? The Mayor and Council don’t control a news outlet and our local weekly doesn’t tell their side of the issues, so where else can we hear the rest of the story?

Both plans are rather similar; with plenty of park/open space in each, so what’s this all about anyway? This special interest group will simply not accept any possible negative impact to their perceived entitlement to perpetual parking rights for the Bankhead Theater, regardless of the reason. The group tried every legitimate and not-so-legitimate angle to move development away from the theater, but when they didn’t get their way, they started attacking the plan, then the process and are now going after the people who approved it. The group and their funder are now reacting to failure in the last election (their financially and editorially backed candidates lost big time) and their inability to control what the Council does. They are now trying to exact retribution at the cost to our community civility, progressive development and public finances. Don’t support this so-called “Community Group’s” continuing efforts to thwart Livermore’s well-established and successful development processes and to falsely malign our elected officials. Say no to special interest groups and big money in our local politics.