By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor

The Leader and its editor are perplexed that Councilmember John Gordon and Mayor Billy Siegel continue to refuse to answer questions posed by this newspaper. The mayor has gone so far as to politely hang up on me after recent attempts to call him. Neither does he respond to emails, instead issuing a terse “I received your email. Thank you.”

Frankly, I cannot understand why any elected member of the city council would opt not to speak with a member of press, particularly one who publishes an online newspaper devoted to the happenings and causes of the greater Lemoore community? If he won’t speak to a credentialed member of the press, will he respond to a constituent? Is not that what The Leader is in fact?

Initially Councilmember Gordon did respond and was gracious and honest when contacted by phone. But as of late, he has declined to speak with The Leader as well, which I cannot comprehend.

I can only assume they view The Leader as some clandestine attempt to sabotage or undermine their certainly controversial tenure as members of the Lemoore City Council.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. I also suspect they see The Leader as nothing more than a “blog,” criticizing actions taken by them and the council at large in order to incite a recall. Again, if that’s the case, I have a golf course in Lemoore I’d like to sell them cheap.

They need to answer my questions, not only because I represent a newspaper, but also because I’m a citizen of this community and our elected officials have a duty to respond to the public and not hide behind the cloak of perceived power, which sometimes I think they believe they possess in abnormal abundance.

One quick glance at my little newspaper and one would easily determine that it’s devoted to the community at large, not simply designed to subvert, undermine or question the antics or decisions of Mr. Gordon and Mr. Siegel. They’ve been doing a fine job of that by themselves. My little newspaper garners about 1,000 views a week and I’ve covered everything in it from freshman volleyball to “Evening under the Stars” and everything in between.

There is much more in The Leader than Lemoore City Council stories, and the articles that have made it into print were all based on facts. And like a good newspaper The Leader hopefully offers insightful opinions and engaging blogs. 

Let me remind my friends on the council that I have spent much of my adult life trying to make Lemoore a better place in which to live and work, and I think that I, with the help of many good people, have for the most part succeeded.

I also want to remind the councilmembers that I did in fact earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and did for several years serve as the editor of The Lemoore Leader and The Lemoore Advance. Let me further remind the councilmembers that I was the founding president of the Lemoore Recreation Commission and served as a member of the Lemoore City Council for 18 years, eight of those as mayor. So I think I can certainly legitimately comment on the actions of local government from a unique perspective.

Together, during my tenure, with the help of fellow councilmembers, the public and a committed staff, we created thousands of jobs, built three new parks, helped to revitalize downtown, brought a major movie theater to Lemoore, and in our spare time created a safe and comfortable climate for our citizens. And I always found time to answer questions from the public.

It seems that during my career as a citizen of Lemoore, I have indeed earned that right to have my phone calls returned and my emails responded to by Mr. Gordon and Mr. Siegel, and it’s the same right that any other citizen of Lemoore has.

Once again, I offer a forum, as I would to any citizen to have any councilmember state his or her case through a letter or perhaps even a blog. At least I’m willing to listen and answer a question if called upon.