Rancho Mirage mayor Dana Hobart appears to have been the victim of a deliberate intent to defame his character by a Desert Sun reporter. In today’s $100M CV Link project faces funding questions story in the newspaper by Jessee Marx, the reporter includes selective portions of his interview with Mayor Hobart. The result is the appearance of questionable integrity on the part of the mayor. Mayor Hobart authored an email to the community protesting and documenting the misrepresentation. He requested that all forward copies to their friends.
A copy of that email proving the misrepresentation appears below. Click here to download a copy of the email.
If intended for posting online here please include FOR PUBLICATION in the message.
Desert Sun Reporter Misrepresents Interview With Mayor Hobart
The following is a copy of an email to the community from Rancho Mirage Mayor Dana Hobart.
Date: Sun, 17 May 2015 01:01:15 -0400
Subject: Fwd: Correcting a Flagrant Desert Sun Misrepresentation
This email has to do with an article that will appear tomorrow in the Desert Sun, but which appeared online tonight. I was aghast to read a very nasty sentence in that article. A comment that has been severely distorted because the context was omitted. What appears below is evidence that the implication drawn from the comment is false.
On May 3, 2015, on behalf of the City I sent an email notifying Tom Kirk, Executive Director of CVAG, of a list of Motions we anticipated placing on the June 1, 2015, Executive Committee Agenda for discussion and vote. During the week that followed we decided not to present one listed item and to change another for the June 1st agenda. (Our slightly modified Motions will be filed this coming week.) I told the reporter he could destroy the earlier list as it has been superceded. He reported that I told him to flatly destroy the list, but without putting the statement in the appropriate context. He intentionally made it sound like I was telling him to hide something by destroying it, during our meeting a week or so ago.
A few days after the reporter and I had met at city hall, the he telephoned me and said he had a copy of the email I had sent to Mr. Kirk regarding the intended Motions I was intending to file so they could be discussed by the Executive Committee. I told him that was the original list we had submitted. I told him we had changed our minds about a couple of the motions and that his document was an old, outdated sheet at this time. I told him to ignore the old list. He says I said to destroy the old list; I may have; I really don’t recall using the word but certainly may have. If I did, it was in the context of that list now being out of date and unreliable concerning the motions we were then intending to file.
The way he wrote that part of the article made it sound like I was trying to persuade him to destroy something relevant and important. People who know me would never believe I would do such a thing for any reason. But the newspaper is read by many who do not know me, so I have to detail exactly what the context was for the comment in the hope that word gets around.
Fortunately, there is proof the reporter is misleading the reader, and not accidentally.
The document in question is presented in its entirety below. As any fool can see, it is copied to many people, including the CVAG Executive Director and the CVAG Attorney, Toni Eggebraaten. Therefore, if I had any interest in “destroying” the document, I had a lot of others to persuade, including Tom Kirk, the CVAG Executive Director as well as his
Attorney, not to mention the Rancho Mirage attorney, our finance director and our city manager.
Sometimes reporters cannot resist taking cheap shots with no substance to support them. It brings more attention to their writings, I suppose. This is one such example. This is what the article states:
The Desert Sun obtained Hobart’s email request through California’s public records law. However, thinking that he might have accidentally given the document to a reporter, Hobart said, “Please destroy it.” He would go on to say that he no longer intended to reopen the matching air quality mitigation funds at the June 1 meeting.
I wanted you all to see the context of this deceptive and misleading journalistic exhibition. You should read the entire article because our arguments are persuasive regarding the CV Link. As you may discern from the content of the email, there would be no reason whatsoever for me to ask some stranger cub reporter to join me in a scheme to destroy meaningful data. It was just an outdated document that half a dozen people had received.
Here is a copy of the email in question.
From: Gdanahobart@aol.com To: email@example.com CC: randyb@RanchoMirageCA.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, isaiahh@RanchoMirageCA.gov, email@example.com, Toni@EggebraatenLaw.com BCC: GDanaHobart@aol.com Sent: 5/3/2015 3:13:28 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: Re: Request for Items on June Exec. Comm. Agenda
Sent a second time within one minute because first attempt did not properly identify Tom Kirk’s email address. Corrected with this email. Sorry for the error. Relevant message follows:
The City of Rancho Mirage formally requests the following Action Items be placed on the Agenda for our June 2015 meeting. Please inform me of the latest date to provide you with the equivalent of a staff report (which we can entitle City’s Report or whatever you suggest).
The request to have these matters placed on the June Agenda is pursuant to the CONDUCT OF CVAG MEETINGS manual, Section VII C (page 11).
- Motion to Retain a Major Los Angeles Law Firm to provide the Executive Committee and interested others with a Legal Opinion concerning whether Measure A funds may legally be expended to assist in the payment of future Operations and Maintenance expenses related to the CV Link.
- Motion to Appoint a Committee of Three Executive Committee members, including the member from Rancho Mirage, to select the law firm to be retained and to provide such law firm with such relevant data that may be needed to form such an opinion.
- Motion to Forthwith Commence the Process of Convening an all-day Joint Meeting in June or Julyof all CVAG cities for the purpose of having an open discussion of all issues relevant to the issue of CV Link’s Operations and Maintenance expenses, projected expenses in the future, and how such expenses are to be paid and by whom. Invited to such meeting from each city will be at least two council members, the City Manager, the Finance Director, and the Public Works Director.
In addition to the foregoing issues and motions, the City of Rancho Mirage asks to be on the June Agenda regarding the following:
Motion to Reconsider the Decision at the February 27, 2012, Executive Meeting at which permission was given for CVAG to use “CVAG Transportation Funds to be used as a potential match as long as such funding does not delay construction of any currently obligated project or delay any other pending high priority project.” Rancho Mirage will provide the equivalent of a staff report concerning the reasons and justification for this motion. (This motion is made pursuant to the CONDUCT OF CVAG MEETINGS manual, section XI, p. 16.)
Please advise me of the last day to submit the equivalent of a staff report, other data and/or any exhibits.
Thank you for your cooperation in achieving the foregoing.
City of Rancho Mirage
Please excuse my bothering you but integrity must be defended when challenged. Those of us in public life who have little or no integrity can accomplish little or nothing. I consider my integrity and willingness to fight the hard battles worth fighting to preserve.
Best personal regards to you all.
Please forward this email to your friends who may be interested.