Ed Albanesi: Election ‘news’ and other thoughts

Community Columnist Ed Albanesi was the volunteer press secretary for Jeb Smith’s county commission campaign. Photo by Ed Albanesi

Community Columnist Ed Albanesi was the volunteer press secretary for Jeb Smith’s county commission campaign. Photo by Ed Albanesi


I woke up this morning and read a totally outrageous lead in an online “news” story and then decided to make Tuesday’s primary the subject of this column. More about the online story in a minute.

I actively supported one candidate in this election and he won. Barring a major write-in upset come this November, Jeb Smith will make an excellent county commissioner.

This campaign was marred in its final days by the existence of what some described as “offensive mailers.” Several individuals, including me, speculated on the origin of these mailers. I do not believe any of the candidates themselves had prior knowledge of their existence, nor do I believe they condoned them. I still haven’t seen one of these mailers but I know enough about their content to state whoever circulated them should be ashamed. The saving grace of the situation is the mailers seemed to have had very little effect on the outcome of the election.

In an earlier column I gave a masked description of whom I voted for and made some veiled predictions. My success rate in both areas was underwhelming.

Of the eight individuals I voted for, five were victorious. I voted for losing candidates in one county commission race and two judgeships. I had predicted that I would have six winners, one loser and one candidate making a runoff. At the time I thought Jeb Smith would be in a runoff because I incorrectly assumed there would be a runoff if no candidate claimed a majority. That happened but the result didn’t generate a runoff.

A commission candidate whom I voted for and I thought would lose, did lose. And two judicial candidates whom I voted for and I thought would win, did not. The turnout was poor but it’s likely that a larger number of voting electorate would not have changed any of the outcomes. Still it’s disappointing to see so many potential voters fail to exercise their proxy.

I’ve had previous issues with the online “news” service referenced at the beginning of this column. I won’t rehash them here. But the “news” lead I read this morning awakened the sleeping journalist in me.

Let me state that I don’t have a horse in the race for St. Augustine mayor. I’ve met Mayor Joe Boles and am appreciative of his strong support for the St. Augustine Ballet. I have not met his runoff opponent, Nancy Shaver. I am not a resident of the city.

Here’s the lead from this morning’s story: “In a race that could have been decided between the two candidates last night, had the field not been corrupted with a spoiler, political newcomer Nancy Shaver of Lincolnville shows St. Augustinians that there is hope for a more fiscally sound, resident-oriented, customer service driven community when she drew all but 29 votes as the man who has held the reigns at the City Commission table for the past six years.”

I’m not sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if even Nancy Shaver was embarrassed by this editorial commentary masquerading as news.

No doubt the line between news and commentary has been blurred in recent years with the advocacy roles played by MSNBC, Fox News and others. But most of what these operations present as news is just that, news, albeit sometimes slanted. What I read online this morning was about as far from news as you can get.

Congratulations to the winners in this week’s primary. And thank you to all those who were brave enough to put their names on the ballot in pursuit of public service.





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