Above the Fold
The Desert Sun has been historically gracious to put my image as my drag persona “Arial Trampway” on the front page and above the fold on many occasions. “Above the Fold” is a much-coveted position in news article placement. For this recognition, I am very grateful. This included a headline piece when I sued the Hard Rock Hotel and when I was photographed at an Oscar Party held on El Paseo to benefit women filmmakers . There was a stunning photo of Donna Mills (Knots Landing) and myself on the runway at that event. My drag personality has made a great copy and eye-catching banners for the Desert Sun.
Now that I am running for City Council District 3 in Palm Springs, I have been treated by the Desert Sun like an anathema, or at best, a spoiler. Grabbing a headline is always a good thing, "there is no such thing as bad press,'' The Desert Sun for its part has heaped a pile on me and my campaign and has never tried to get my response to the negative spin these articles presented.
(A few of the articles and letters referred to are A Palm Springs City Council candidate paid for a front-page news story with no disclaimer. His opponents say they don't plan to seek action , Letter: Palm Springs council candidate Alan 'Alfie' Pettit needs a reality check .)
The Desert Sun has already endorsed one of my competitors, Geoff Kors and called my other competitor naive and in over his head. They quickly published headline news about me after an article about my campaign was published in CV Weekly that created some controversy. Granted the story in the Desert Sun was above the fold and a featured article. Another piece about me and my campaign ended up in the editorial section, It was submitted by Pam Genevrino, Ginny Foat’s wife. Ginny Foat is a past Palm Springs City Councilperson and defeated candidate for mayor. Mayor Moon won that election and is about to be the last elected at large mayor of Palm Springs. Foat is active in the Kors campaign.
There was no acknowledgment of Pam’s connection to the Kors campaign and when this was pointed out, there was no corrective action taken or disclaimer to highlight the conflict of interest in the editorial placement. The Desert Sun has made an attempt to interview me as a candidate for District 3, along with my competitors. The editorial board though clearly had made its decision and my absence from any interviews was not important to them and only proforma to appear impartial. I was invited to attend the panel of the editorial board. My father had had a stroke and I was back in the Northwest helping take care of him at the time of the editorial board interview at Desert Sun. I informed them of my situation and later when the article was published, the Desert Sun stated only that I had refused to be interviewed. No acknowledgment or sympathy for my father’s situation and how I was feeling at the time.
Plus shortly after I announced my candidacy I was asked for an interview with Shane Newell reporter with the Desert Sun. We met at the Ace Hotel and had a lengthy conversation about many issues. My emphasis, however, was the disgraceful elimination of the position of an elected Mayor at large for Palm Springs, with a 4 to 1 vote by the City Council late last year. Led by Kors and company and after months of bullying and badgering of Mayor Moon, Kors and Foat finally had their retribution. This was clearly calculated and directly pointed at Mayor Moon for screwing up the plans Ginny Foat and Kors had been developing for a considerable amount of time. Foat would have been an openly Lesbian Mayor and this would have given even more publicity to the all LGBTQ council in place. The vanity of this all LGBTQ board, included a taxpayer-paid trip to the State Capital for publicity photos. This has been observed with a great sense of neglect and exclusion by the other members of the community that do not identify with one of these letters (LGBTQ).
I have provided an extensively researched editorial to the Desert Sun on how Geoff Kors has a long history of bullying and mean-spiritedness to become the “King of the Hill.” Some people refer to him as “King of the Gays”. I think not so fast, many in the LGBTQ community take offense from this characterization of him. The Desert Sun Executive Editor, Julie Makinen refused this piece from me saying it did not fit into their guidelines for editorials. This article was a reflection of an L.A.Weekly article written in 2008 on Kors about his tactics at Equality California and how he almost single-handedly lost the “No on 8” campaign, the referendum on marriage equality. Incidentally, this L.A.Weekly article was “scrubbed” from the internet supposedly by the Kors campaign, but was provided to me by a disillusioned member of the Palm Springs community and former Kors supporter.
The most recent interaction with the Desert Sun I have had was with a writer Sam Metz wanting an interview. He also asked if the previously discussed article/editorial had been published in the Desert Sun, as he had been cc’d on it originally. He was informed that the editorial was never published and he was welcome to use all or part of it for his article. I also provided him exclusively a new piece I wrote called “Boulders and Babies” that he had first crack at if he wanted to use it in its entirety or to pick and choose what he liked. I had no response from him one way or another. The article delved into the F.B.I. raid on City Hall, vacation rentals and Measure C, and the repercussions of the raid on City Hall and this affected the progress in the Downtown renovation project. He was also invited to attend the “State of City” at the Plaza Theatre where I was available for photos and comments and was nowhere to be seen.
Just prior to publishing this article I was at VillageFest downtown Palm Springs. Candidates are allowed 8 evenings at VillageFest before the election to talk to the voters. Incidentally, I have been the only candidate out there meeting the public at VillageFest. Sam Metz reporter for the Desert Sun charged up to me demanding an interview. He was rude and aggressive and got right in my face in a threatening way. I excused myself a politely walked away. My first thought after gaining my composure was it’s ironic that this is “AntiBullying” month.
What a disgrace to be ambushed in a crowded street full of people when I’m there to meet and talk to my constituents. Where was Mr. Metz when I did a public forum for District 3 candidates at the public library two weeks ago? KESQ (local CBS station) news was there to cover the OnePS sponsored event. Plus all three of the candidates were present that day. The Desert Sun wonders why I won’t do interviews with them. Well ambushing and refusal to write most anything that I have provided the Desert Sun about my campaign is why I am hesitant to agree to anything. I know better than to let an overly aggressive reporter write a biased and slanted article about me and my campaign. When I’m elected let’s see how the Desert Sun approaches
me and my staff.
So, through Social Media I have been able to control my narrative. CV Weekly and the Uken report have written very fair and informative articles about my campaign and I am very thankful for there positive portrayal of my unconventional candidacy. There is less than three weeks until Election Day on November 5th, and voters have already received their Voter Guide and Vote by Mail ballots. I hope my message of change and shining light into dark corners has resonated with the voters and they choose to elect me, Alan “Alfie” Pettit for City Council, District 3 in Palm Springs.
I’m sure that winning in District 3 should once again put me “Above the Fold” in the Desert Sun.
Alan “Alfie” Pettit
Candidate for Palm Springs City Council
You can find more articles, both referenced here from the Uken Report and CV Weekly, as well as other times I have been featured in the Desert Sun, on our news page.