Drivers cards not race issue

East Oregonian

On May 16, 2014 the East Oregonian newspaper’s editorial titled “A critical look at a race gone mean” pushed journalism’s ethical boundaries by using the deplorable political tactic of race-baiting against Greg Barreto, Republican candidate for House District 58, a man with a Mexican-German family heritage, to try and influence the outcome of the May 20th primary election.

May 2nd the newspaper’s editorial board endorsed Barreto’s opponent.

Marion-Webster Dictionary defines race-baiting as “the unfair use of statements about race to try to influence the actions or attitudes of a particular group of people.”

What apparently inspired the newspaper’s editorial was a Barreto campaign newspaper ad contrasting the two Republican primary candidates positions on whether or not those illegally present in the country should be granted “driver cards” by the state.

Where the editorial board lost any objectivity in their analysis of the Barreto campaign’s ad was when they made the connotation of killers names mentioned in the ad being connected to the issue of race.

The ad listed the names of 14 victims of various ages in Oregon who were killed by foreign nationals illegally present in the country; eleven victims’ deaths (78 percent) were directly related to aliens who had entered the country illegally and were operating motor vehicles.

A fact check by the editorial board into the backgrounds of the 13 killers through prior media reporting, jail, court, driving and prison records would have helped the editors understand why Barreto is concerned about the public safety threat illegal aliens would pose by being allowed to operate motor vehicles in this state.

The issue of “driver cards” was a relevant campaign issue to be debated by the two primary candidates because Oregon’s registered voters in the fall general election will make the decision in Referendum 301 on whether or not Senate Bill 833 will become a state law granting undocumented foreign nationals illegally in the country “driver cards.”

Barreto for public safety reasons opposes “driver cards” for those who can’t prove legal presence in the United States just like a super majority of Oregon’s nonpartisan county sheriffs.

Fortunately opponent’s unethical political tactic of race-baiting didn’t work against Greg Barreto, a man whose family heritage represents the melting pot that has made America great.

Mr. Barreto won the spring primary election with almost 71 percent of the vote and will be the Republican HD 58 candidate on the November ballot.