The Downey Patriot doesn't deal in tabloid journalism. How many times before yesterday have you read in the Patriot stories of another person's extramarital affairs?
But the story surrounding Councilman Luis Marquez was too big and too important to ignore, and its reporting was necessary for a couple of different reasons:
1.) Marquez is a public figure, a two-time mayor of Downey. Details of his life that could impact his ability to serve as a City Council member are crucially important to Downey citizens.
After word of the allegations against Marquez leaked, Marquez skipped Tuesday's City Council meeting and cancelled a planned community forum. There's no doubt the story was impacting his ability to serve, and residents have a right to know that.
2.) Not only does Downey call itself a Character Counts city, council members voted to inscribe the six "pillars of character" – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship – inside council chambers. It renamed street segments after the six pillars of character and basked in the positive publicity.
When City Council members willingly boast of being people of such high moral character, shouldn't they be challenged when those values are breached? I believe the answer is yes.
3.) In his statement, Marquez specifically requested an opportunity to "publicly" apologize to his wife and children. This article gave him that opportunity.
The article written by Alex Dominguez avoided a lot of the innuendo and unfounded allegations spouted by a Cerritos tabloid last week, which has a history of throwing muck against the wall and hoping something sticks.
To be clear, we're not saying the allegations in the Los Cerritos News story are untrue, only that there is no evidence to support the claims. At its most basic level it's a story of he-said, she-said.
Like any other story published by the Patriot, it's up to Downey residents to read the article and do with the information what they will. It's the newspaper's job to inform as fairly and objectively as possible.