Congressional candidate takes Viewpoints article out of context

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Viewpoints Staff Editorial

John Tavaglione, a Republican candidate, who is running for the 41st Congressional District, used an article from Riverside City College’s Viewpoints to attack his opponent, Mark Takano, the Democratic candidate, while taking the article out of context.

The article is titled “Discrimination pervades RCC,” which ran in Viewpoints’ print edition on May 26, 2005 and it was written by former staff writers Vanessa D. Overbeck and Michael Diggin.

The Discrimination article is reporting an issue during 2005 in which an RCC instructor was investigated for harassment of RCC students and the Board of Trustees discussing the matter.

In Tavaglione’s flier it uses clips from the article, including a quote from Takano, who was the president of the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees in 2005.

“The problem is a vigilante spirit that circumvents the established process,” Takano said at a Board of Trustees meeting on May 17, 2005, and is the quote Tavaglione’s flier uses from the discrimination article.

Takano was addressing the matter of harassment and allegations that were coming down on the administration from faculty and students on how the District was dealing with the issue.

First off, Viewpoints is excited to be sourced in a political flier for an U.S. Senate candidate but Viewpoints also feels the Tavaglione campaign is attempting to take advantage of it because Viewpoints is a student newspaper.

Viewpoints is not endorsing either candidate in this editorial but the main point of this editorial is: Viewpoints feels the quote was taken out of context.

Takano is not mentioned until the last few paragraphs of the Discrimination article and the main purpose of the article was how the faculty felt nothing was being done by the administration, but Grace Slocum, trustee at RCCD in 2005, said the Board attempted to take action, only to be given limited documents of the harassment case and blaming Chancellor Salvatore Rotella, the acting chancellor at the time, for not taking the proper actions.

Viewpoints believes this is an issue of ethics on the behalf of Tavaglione.

On another flier from Tavaglione, it states, “Mark Takano let Discrimination run rampant-and then punished those who tried to fight it.”

This is also incorrect, because Takano was the member of a five board panel and it is very hard to say he had a sole position on anything that happened during those investigations and it is also not a position the Viewpoints staff members highlighted in the article.

Also in that same issue directly next to the article, a second article was written by the same students titled “Discrimination policy revision,” in which the opening of the article states “Riverside Community College is one step closer to adopting a new discrimination policy.”

Viewpoints staff would like to clear any confusion on our end.

The paper copy of Tavaglione brochure inaccurately claims that the story was published in 2009, when in fact it was written in 2005.

Viewpoints has no open affiliation with Tavaglione or Takano nor were we contacted for permission to use the article.

It is merely a political attack, in which RCCD has now been placed in the cross hairs.

A college that has benefited from the presence of Takano, otherwise he would not still be an active member after all this time.

The college is aware and has always been aware that the majority of the blame laid on Chancellor Rotella.

In a recent interview with Viewpoints News Editor, Jeremy Fuerte, Takano responded to questions about the allegations made by the Tavaglione camp.

“Once the board was presented with the allegations and evidence, we took immediate action to correct the situation and make sure that it wouldn’t happen again,” Takano said.

Fuerte attempted to contact Tavaglione for comment on the flier but Viewpoints has yet to hear from him as this article is going to print.

Tavaglione is trying to take an angle in a political situation, which is fine because he is only trying to gain ground against Takano, but it is inappropriate.

Distortion seems to be the new normal in this political climate, but Viewpoints will not allow itself to be part of such tactics.

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