1. "Darby, who is vice president of member services for the Thurston County Chamber, is left with a dark cloud hanging over his head. It’s not likely that Darby violated any law, but his actions demonstrate — again — how public perception is everything. Perception is reality, and if the public perceives a shady deal, that image will be difficult for Darby to shake. This incident demonstrates — again — why public officials must be beyond reproach every step of the way. Any ambiguity or misstep can be interpreted as unsavory conduct."
2. "We have said it before and we’ll say it again: In the conduct of public affairs, the appearance of fairness is of upmost importance. Conflicts between official duties and private lives are a reality. What’s important is that officials declare those conflicts openly and honestly early in the process, then back completely away from any official interaction or decision."
These two quotes were extracted from The Olympian's editorial on John Darby, Lacey Councilperson, that is building a home in an area that is being considered for annexation by Lacey. If said area is annexed, then Darby wouldn't have to relinquish his seat on the council.
I'd like to take a look at these quotes from a different perspective.
First, I'm wondering what Darby's position and employer have to do with this issue. Apparently, The Olympian has a tough time keeping a person's work and their political issues seperate. I know John Darby and we are political opposites and yet, I take no delight in seeing this man's career be hung out, based on a POSSIBLE political move (there is no verifiable proof that Darby purposefully did wrong). Regardless of what Darby does politically, it has nothing to do with his execution of his full time career.
Recently, I came to a disagreement with The Olympian. Although I felt that my activities were not much different from others in the comments threads, I respected their decision to mute me (it's their website) and began to report my concerns about inflammatory comments of others (at the direction of their staff). I also wrote an email to their managing editor about an article, as I had already used up my one letter to the editor for a 30 day period (in support of an initiative) and felt strongly about the content of the story. The publisher took exception to my actions and sent me a rather stong worded email. I wrote back, apologizing for my part in our disagreement, but standing my ground on my position - requesting that we "agree to disagree" and not allow our disagreement to spill over into the public, where we both work to serve the community.
Within 48 hours, I was advised of The Olympian's withdrawal of support for two event, for which I'm in charge.
I will state for the record that their support is not "make it or break it" in terms of my success, but I, as a former newspaper employee, was stunned that a media would take such a retaliatory position because of a disagreement with a reader.
Back to Darby - I see similarities. I ask, if John Darby was an advertising salesperson for The Olympian, would that be included in the editorial? I think not.
Yes, the "appearance of fairness" is important, not only to public officials, but to the only daily newspaper in town. Maybe our friends at The Olympian need to try on a pair of "fairness" shoes to see if they fit. It's not necessary to bring a person's career into a political issue, when the career has nothing to do with the issue. That's just vengance, in my opinion.