Identity crisis

Matt Simmons, a candidate for [Signal Hill] City Council, claims in his well advertised blog that his website is a place for Signal Hill residents to “sound off.” Unfortunately, he decides which comments will be published as is evidenced by the intentional suppression of several of my comments over the last couple of weeks.
The first one to be censored alerted him and other readers that the debate footage advertised via his ad in the [Signal] Tribune amounted to 9 minutes and 12 seconds of video shot by his father, instead of the 1 hour and 28 minutes of footage shown on The City of Signal Hill’s website. Of course, his three videos only highlighted his remarks and completely avoided the incumbents’ comments, but Matt finally relented after he saw my to-be-approved blog entry where I noted that he had promised in an earlier entry to provide a link to the debate. He consequently posted a small link below his three YouTube videos, using a caption of “Entire Video.”
My second suppressed comment concerned the interview he conducted with our Signal Hill police chief and captain, where he asked them what they needed. I suggested that all city departments would answer “money,” like interim Chief Campos did, when questioned about what they need, given their reduced budgets during the last few years. I suggested that better questions for a city council candidate would revolve around the relationship between the council and the department and how well they work together.
In addition, I brought up the recent remarks made by Chief Campos to The Downey Patriot, a local newspaper in the city where he retired as police chief in late 2009. In the article, the paper quoted Campos as saying: “I also found out later that Signal Hill is indeed well run, has a good city manager and provides excellent services. It’s a solid, very service-oriented city like Downey. This is the kind of city I enjoy working for.”
I commended Chief Campos for these very astute remarks, given that he has only spent three months on the job with the city. Since Chief Campos has 30-plus years of public service, and his opinions of the city manager and council appear to be 180 degrees from those of Mr. Simmons, I left it up to the voters to decide who has more credibility.
My third comment to be quashed concerned the omission of a link to the Signal Tribune’s coverage of the candidate forum/debate that was held on Feb. 7. In his blog, Mr. Simmons only provided a link to the Press-Telegram’s coverage of the event and called it a “great article.”
I opined that the article from the Signal Tribune (1,427 words) provided a much better synopsis of the forum, while the Press-Telegram’s item (506 words) was a poorly written summary that certainly did not do justice to all of the important points which were brought up during the debate, only providing a short single-sentence answer for each candidate’s response.
I, therefore, caution voters to consider the source of comments on Mr. Simmons’ blog, as well as the reliability of any material that he presents there. You will see many anonymous entries by people using fictitious monikers, and then you will see entries from people like “Bob Smith” and “Bill Jones,” all extolling the virtues of Matt Simmons. 
All of these names remind me of the phrase “sock puppet,” a commonly used Internet expression that describes a false identity through which a member of a blog or forum can speak with or about himself, pretending to be a different person.
 
Lee Eismann
Signal Hill

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