Montebello mayor wants questions screened

Montebello Mayor Rosie Vasquez has requested that when I interview her my questions go through a screening process. She said if I can not adhere to her “procedure” I can not interview her.

“My opinion does not matter,” Vasquez said Thursday afternoon. “I am sure you can get a story without talking to me.”

Below is a letter I received detailing her procedure:

February 19, 2009

Amanda Baumfeld
Whittier Daily News
7612 Greenleaf Avenue
Whittier, CA 90602

Re: Procedure for requests for comments

Dear Ms. Baumfeld:

Recently, there has been a series of miscommunications and incorrect reports by you and your newspaper relative to stories about the City of Montebello and attempts to obtain comment from me as the Mayor. I was extremely displeased with the report in a recent article that I was unable to provide you with an immediate response to questions you had on a certain issue due to my need to care for my grandchildren. As a former television journalist, I found that comment to be unprofessional and un-newsworthy.

In order to avoid future misunderstandings and in order that I may provide you comment on key City issues covered by you and the Whittier Daily News, I make this simple request. I would ask that any questions you may have concerning matters covered by you in which you seek a quote or comment from my office be placed in writing and forwarded to my secretary, Lillian Guzman, at her email address of: lguzman@cityofmontebello.com.

This will allow for a clear dialogue and will also prevent any misunderstandings from my comments as Mayor. It is my hope that this simple procedure will be honored. I look forward to our future cooperative efforts.

Very truly yours,

Rosemarie Vasquez
Mayor, City of Montebello

  • Anonymous

    I doesn’t sound like she is shutting you out. She simply wants an opportunity to respond to your questions in a more informed manner. Underlying your gripe seems to be some notion that a response to a reporters question can’t possibly be true or accurate unless it is asked in some sort of impromptu (some would say “ambush style”) fashion. If your goal is to extract truth and accuracy from those who govern us then I can’t honestly see why you would feel threatened or hindered by such a request.

  • Good for Rosie

    Good for Rosie!! The reporters in this area don’t truly care about the issues and news, they just want to stir the pot and try to create issues and controversy. Rosie must have been a great television journalist to have learned to be so professional. Maybe some can learn a lesson.

  • Runnin Rosie

    Wow, sad to know my mayor is so lightweight she can’t even hold her own against the hometown newspaper reporter. What a shame.

    It’s not about asking a politician a question “ambush” style, it’s about having the ability to ask relevant follow up questions when an answer is off-point or raises additional issues.

    It’s about hearing someone’s tone of voice to gauge whether they are telling the truth.

    The two commenters above who don’t recognize the fundamental communication difficulty created by the mayor’s insistence on e-mail correspondence must simply be socially-retarded.

    An elected official should be able to handle such a task without problem, even if he or she doesn’t happen to like whoever’s asking the questions.

  • Vince Perez

    And she is not part of the recall because…?

  • Anonymous

    If Tribune reporters could get their facts straight and report accurately – this wouldn’t be an issue. There is little professionalism or courtesy shown by Tribune reporters, why speak to them if they will get it wrong?

  • Anonymous

    Fact is, if Mrs. Mayor wants to improve the chance of Tribune reporters getting the story right she should talk to them more, not less.

    Yeah, maybe she runs the risk of being misquoted. So what? By hiding out from the newspaper, she may think she’s simply sticking it to the media. But she’s really sticking it to us constituents who rely on the newspaper to find out what’s happening in City Hall.

    The mayor’s actions in this case are petty and small-minded at best and corrupt at worst. I hope she recovers from this tempter tantrum and comes to her senses.

  • anonymous

    I don’t think the Mayor said anything about the reporters not getting the facts straight, instead she appears upset because she did not like how she perceives a recent article made her look.

    As a public servant, I would think she would want to be very accessible, not hide behind some ridiculous “procedure” she mandates upon reporters.

  • Here is a Clue

    If the public officials are so worried about being misquoted then audio tape the interview then there is not a doubt what is said. We all know the real reason is these so called politicians need time to politically state the answer is so they don’t say the wrong thing. If you need time to think about your answer it is most likely a lie anyway. I think she should stay home and spend time with her grand children this doesn’t take to much thought and leave the politics to the people who have time and can talk without being coached in what to say.

  • Anonymous

    Rosie did the right thing. Instead of alway flying off the cuff theres nothing wrong with getting questions in writing to respond to. This gives well thought out answers, instead of all the stupid comments some councilmembers make because they think they are so intelligent and then have to or wish they could take back. Personally I think they all just want to hear themselves talk, blah, blah, blah.

  • Juan Hernandez

    It is so obvious that Vasquez supporters are logging comments here.

    The simple, sad, and pathetic fact is Rosie Vasquez is the most uneducated, inarticulate, erratic elected official in Montebello. Her desperate attempts at reelection through parties thrown at taxpayer expense and with unreported contributions from Special Interests having business before the council is so obvious that the DA has been to City Hall to investigate.

    Rosie Vasquez will sell out anyone, especially her constituents, for the power of office. Just look at the recent city council meeting.

    Vasquez, Salazar, and Urteaga gave away $2M to Brad Perin, operator of the Quiet Cannon, so he can expand the nightclub activities. Where did this money come from? Vapor. They havent even sold the bond for the PXP property, and they are already giving it away to their contributors. Perin offered no plan and no budget at the meeting. The city clerk even listed the item incorrectly by saying they are doing repairs and renovations. Thats a lie. They are EXPANDING.

    Vasquez, Salazar, and Urteaga also gave a deal to Ostrom Chevrolet by buying the land and leasing it back for a mear $8K per month. This is after the city gave the owner millions to build a custom facility.

    Vasquez, Salazar, and Urteaga are also set to give away our Montebello Water Company. How convenient that Vasquezs planning commissioner appointee, Tom Calderon, is also the lobbyist for her husbands water agency, Central Basin Municipal Water.

  • Anonymous

    I suspect Vasquez is talking about this post:
    http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvgov/2009/01/montebello-mayor-cant-talk-cau.html
    And, yes, it does sound a little flippant. Baumfeld didn’t post it, but her story is included in the post.

  • Mayor Crybaby

    Mayor: You need to grow up before you grow old.

    Stop your whining and your appearance requesting questions to be “screened” sounds something from the communist past.

    Just answer the questions the press have for you, the more you put up the wall, it gives an appearance of that you have something to hide.

  • Oh Please

    The Mayor has nothing to hide, she just wants to be treated and quoted fairly. Grow up mayor crybaby, you seem to be the one with the problem. sounds like you just want people to be misquoted for your intertainment. The mayor will answer the questions she just wants them written down. Sounds smart to me.

  • Juan Hernandez

    Nothing to hide? How about all the free trips she takes at taxpayer expense through her husbands water board position. How about the money pocketed for her “beautification committee” that has no 501c3 status? How about all the free meals she and hubby took from the Wild Coyote over the years? How about the free rooms she gets for her events at the Quiet Cannon from Brad Perin?

    Let’s face it, Vasquez is avoiding any scrutiny (fair or unfair) from the only people who can watch over her shenanigans- the Press.

    This country is based on a free press that monitors our elected officials.

    Vasquez is violating the AMERICAN WAY because she is fearful of embarrassment.

    Trust those of us who watch her every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at city hall, she doesn’t need anyone’s help to embarrass herself.

  • Runnin Rosie

    Her move is only “smart” if she has something to hide. The smartest criminals are the ones who don’t get caught.

    Of course, that would also make her “corrupt.”

  • Anon

    Because reporters are notorious for taking things out of context. I remember the post which she is talking about and it was cruel. She probably wishes that she didn’t take the reporter’s call at all.

    Actually, it is very smart to have a reporter give the questions beforehand. You’re more likely to have an accurate and thoughtful answer and less likely to come out looking like a fool.

  • Runnin Rosie

    Hey Anon: Do you run or manage a business? If you were interviewing job applicants, would you allow them to respond to your questions only in writing?

    That way, you would only get “accurate and thoughtful” answers from them?

    Hell no. You want to see how they answer your questions. Where their eyes go. Whether they grope for answers. Whether they need to run for help, or whether they respond quickly to prove they know what the hell they’re talking about.

    The last thing in the world you would get from them in writing would be “accurate and thoughtful” responses. You’d get contrived tripe, which is exactly what our cowardly mayor wants to feed us.

  • Montebellow Fellow

    I don’t think any reporter could make this woman look like any more of a fool than she made herself look by writing this letter.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the thing, Rosie makes sense. The others that are against her just want to see the reporters make controversy and turn things into a circus. Well if you want to be truly informed let the Mayor answer the questions on her own. Otherwise it looks like you want to read stupid stuff that doesnt have any link to issues such as the reference to her not having time to talk as she’s babysitting her grand kids. Personally I congratulate her for putting her family first, but that’s not what the reporter wanted to convey.

  • Anonymous

    Runnin Rosie:

    Exactly how does a reporters INTERPRETATION or TAKE on someone’s countenance or demeanor when answer a question help me understanding the issues. I’m still receiving it through the reporters lense – one which could be tainted by personal byass or simply a poor reading of peoples behavior.

    I’ll let peoples words and policies speak for themselves and no engage in this sort of tarot card reporting technique you advocate.

    I suppose if the IRS wanted to audit your business you would simply provide them with off-the-cuff answers to their questions rather than ask for time to evaluate their questions and determine what an appropriate response should be.

  • Runnin Rosie

    Anon:

    Tarot card reporting? Do you ever socially interact with people? Are you saying that you don’t pick up on cues in their responses that are obvious indicators of their demeanor? A raised voice? An inflection at the end of a sentence? This is basic stuff. Conversation 101.

    Sure, I’d love to take all the time in the world to respond in writing to an IRS auditor’s questions, just like I’d love to be able to answer job interview questions in writing or avoid testifying in court by submitting my answers on paper.

    Fact is, that’s not how things work. It’s not allowed because it’s unreasonable, inaccurate and inefficient.

    In addition, the mayor is a public servant who has a duty to be open and accessible to citizens (yes, even the newspaper). If she doesn’t want to expose herself to that scrutiny, she should resign.

  • Anonymous

    This is nothing more than stonewalling and obfuscation thrown up by someone in power who want to avert critical eyes.

  • Anonymous

    I’m saying it’s the picking up of such cues is laregly meaningless to a reader who is merely relying upon what a report claims those cues were or are. I think that quite significant. Why should I rely on some report to tell me (a) what someone’s body langauge was; and (b) what, in the reporters opinion, that means. Again, Tarot Card reporting.

    You want spontenaity in answers, that’s fine for political debates or press conferences, but the notion that anyone by virtue of being elected must some how be on-call 24-7 to a newspaper reporter (not the public mind you…a newspaper reporter) to answer any quesiton at any time is idiotic and does not serve to inform the public at all. It glib soundbite journalism passing itslef off as thoughtful, thorough and incisive journalism.

  • Runnin Rosie

    Ahh, the old straw man argument.

    Nobody has suggested an elected official should be on-call “24-7.” That’s something you made up all on your own.

    But if the mayor can take the time to type out answers to questions, she can take the same time to field those questions in a phone call.

    Interesting, also, that you’ve created a new class of citizenship in which members of the media are now no longer members of the public. That’s pretty funny. Are they still allowed to hold passports? How about vote?

  • 42 yr North Mtb Resident

    This is the typical Montebello City Council style of restricting access to information. Can anyone find another city mayor in the US who refuses to be interviewed? Rosie’s position is ludicrous.

  • Robbie Krieger

    Hey “Good for Rosie” you said “Rosie must have been a great television journalist to have learned to be so professional. Maybe some can learn a lesson”.
    Then…why isn’t she still doing that?…..I know why it’s because she started a great business…where she learned to be a great business woman..Oh wait…she also ran that down to the ground…just like she’s doing with our city. Hah..Rosie great television journalist..I thought these were supposed to be comments on a blog not the Sunday funnies!!>:)

  • Adriana

    Rosie is my Godmother and she has done good for our city. I was born and raised in Montebello and I love my city just as much as my godmother does. You all don’t know her like I do. Another thing is that not everyone will be satisfied with her decisions. It would be impossible to satisfy everyone. Being residents of Montebello we have to be open to change and be open minded. I don’t blame her for being cautious. The media ALWAYS looks for ways to twist people’s words. She has every right to take what ever precautions she needs to. She also never said anything about not interviewing with this reporter and maybe it was better that she didn’t since this reporter already managed to twist my godmother’s words around.

  • Anonymous

    The truth of the matter is that Rosie is afraid that she may sound uninformed and stupit. She is not very bright. She is just trying to save face. Give her a break. Not everyone has what it takes to be a mayor.

  • Brad K

    I’m not necessarily a supporter of Rosie Vasquez, but in all fairness, news reporters can really screw up and misquote anything you tell them, so I can’t say I blame her.

  • Anonymous

    SHE DIDN’T WRITE THAT RESPONSE!!!