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Slanted Reporting on Choice for Pasadena City Manager

May 06, 1990

I greatly admire The Times, which generally seems to report objectively. However, the April 29 report with the biased--clearly non-neutral--heading "Doubts Cloud Pasadena Choice," on the question of installing Philip Hawkey as the Pasadena city manager, was quite noticeably slanted.

"Doubts Cloud" sounds decidedly damning. And, about Hawkey's "career hopes," the staff writer, Vicki Torres, asserted that they "have plummeted." This is not reportage. This is an expression of the personal view of the writer.

On April 26 the Pasadena City Directors dutifully met to reconsider Hawkey after being prevailed upon to do so by a storm of protest that had erupted at their April 24 meeting.

But this was old "news" when the April 29 story was printed. The latest news was that on April 27 Bernard Culp, the black former Toledo, Ohio, city official controversially fired by Hawkey, defended the man who fired him, saying, "It is time to let City Manager Hawkey find a job" (as Pasadena city manager).

Because of this development and other reasons, Hawkey's prospects had begun to look much brighter. And your writer wrote that Hispanics in Toledo had not been "hired in numbers equal to their representation in the work force," giving the impression--without giving specifics--that Hawkey had mistreated them. The evidence was so thin that this subject should not even have been mentioned. Torres failed to say that the percentage of Hispanic residents in Toledo is a mere 3%--not nearly enough for statistical reliability in pinning down culpability by Hawkey--who has hired blacks in excess of their representation in the work force.

Seemingly, your staff writer just doesn't want to see Philip Hawkey hired as Pasadena city manager.



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