Explain how and why Sentinel makes electoral recommendations – Santa Cruz Sentinel

We debate each year the proposition of whether a daily newspaper should enter the political fray by making recommendations that encourage voting for a particular candidate or measure.
Some publications have decided that the business is tough enough without upsetting readers by taking positions often contrary to what they believe to be the correct position.

Others believe that making recommendations to voters hurts the credibility of the publication in an age of advocacy journalism where, in the past, unbiased news providers have blatantly taken a left or right turn that obscures coverage – though our picks are presented via the clearly labeled Opinion section.

The Sentinel, however, will continue to endorse most local races, including ballot measures, and, in many cases, on key state issues and, during presidential election years, for this office as well. .
This is partly because we believe that voting is crucial to our democracy and that if our readers have more information about voting choices, it will encourage their participation. This is partly because we take seriously our role as an independent “fourth estate” who, in carrying out our duties, provide citizens with information that is not entirely influenced by the branches of our government.

And that’s partly because relinquishing that role will leave the election forum at the mercy of social media – where too often people only read opinions they already agree with – or biased websites, often obscure.

So here’s how we plan to handle our recommendations for the June 7 primary:
For this primary only, we are refraining from endorsing candidates for statewide office, many of which lack credible candidates opposed to the incumbents. Many of those races are also likely to go to the second round of the November 8 general election. Instead, we’ll focus on local candidates and issues for the June primary.

Local voters will face a number of complex issues in the June 7 ballot, including the highly controversial and often divisive countywide Measure D, which would prioritize the construction of a bike lane and pedestrian on the unused 32-mile Coastal Rail Corridor. On this issue, and perhaps others, the Sentinel editorial board has met with supporters and opponents in the past and is debating our position, yes or no. A preview of this: the decision we make will certainly not be unanimous, and our Editorial approval is likely to reflect our divided support.

On other important measures, the council plans to meet with supporters and opponents of Measure B, which would increase the existing transitional occupancy tax paid by tourists and other people staying overnight in accommodation establishments in areas unincorporated county; and Measure C, which aims to raise about $700,000 a year by allowing the county to collect 12.5 cents of an already approved 25-cent single-use cup charge in unincorporated areas.

We also plan to meet with supporters and opponents of two measures in the city of Santa Cruz: Measure E, which will determine the shape of the city council once district elections are in place; and Measure F, which increases the municipal sales tax bite.

There will be two upcoming local forums that will provide venues for candidates to the two contested county supervisory seats (where the two incumbents are standing: May 12, 6-8 p.m., at the Paradox Hotel in Santa Cruz, where candidates from the Third District will make presentations and field questions, as well as candidates in the new 28th Assembly District; and May 17, 6-8 p.m., in the Community Hall at the city ​​of Watsonville, with candidates from the Fourth Supervisory District and the 30th Assembly District attending both.

One other note: Ballots will be mailed to voters beginning May 9. We’ll wait for forums and editorial board interviews before making our recommendations, which means most are likely to be made after the send date, though many voters may wait weeks before submitting. ballot papers. Nonetheless, we support the growing trend of mail-in ballots, which increase voter turnout and give voters time to really learn about candidates and issues.

About Jean R. Manzer

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