Tribune has the elections covered

The editorial board will begin interviewing candidates this week for endorsements

March 21, 2010 

Now that the candidates for local races are set, election season will certainly rev up.

Looking ahead to the statewide primary June 8, we will begin offering more in-depth coverage, including local stories on key races such as the run for sheriff, two county supervisor races and the 33rd Assembly District, as well as wire stories on statewide races such as governor.

“Our goal will be to have the candidates explain why their ideas matter and how they will achieve them,” Managing Editor Tad Weber said. “The point is to offer voters useful information that will assist them as they make their choices.”

In addition, The Tribune Editorial Board (Publisher Bruce G. Ray, Opinion Editor Stephanie Finucane and me) will offer endorsements in several local races where we can provide background and insight.

Toward that end, we will begin interviewing candidates in selected races this week. So far, we have set up six sessions, where we plan to meet with each race’s candidates together instead of one-on-one.

We have learned through the years that the most successful elected officials have strong leadership and consensus-building skills, as well as innovative yet practical solutions to local problems. It also helps to have previous public policy-making experience. So we’ll be looking at these qualities carefully as we make our decisions.

When the primary is over, we’ll continue to provide in-depth coverage of races on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

Now for a few election-related reminders.

• Local candidates’ campaign information: Usually under the headline “Political Notebook,” we will publicize political forums, debates and events where a candidate speaks if the events are open to the public. We will scrutinize candidates’ campaign spending reports and, as we have in the past, report what we find. We will limit our endorsement announcements to organizations and elected officials who support a candidate.

• Letters to the Editor guidelines: We try to publish as many letters as possible as soon as possible. We don’t hold letters just because they don’t allow us to balance readers’ comments. We prefer letters be 150 words, 200 words maximum.

• Policy on candidate letters: Candidates are welcome to write about issues, clear up misconceptions that may have surfaced in the campaign or simply ask voters for their support. Letters not meeting these conditions, or letters that include personal attacks on opponents, will not be published. Letters also should not exceed 200 words. As with other letter writers, we ask that candidates limit their submissions to a maximum of one a month.

• To best ensure publication, all letter writers should e-mail their submissions to letters@thetribunenews.com or make sure we’ve received them by mail or fax no later than June 1. The last day we’ll publish all election-related letters is Friday, June 4. That gives us time to publish any rebuttals or corrections, if necessary.

• Look for a host of background information, timely news and analysis on local and statewide races on our Web site, www.sanluisobispo.com.

Do you have a question about the newspaper, our Web site or our coverage? If so, please write me c/o The Tribune, P.O. Box 112, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93406-0112, or e-mail me at sduerr@thetribunenews.com.

Sandra Duerr is the executive editor of The Tribune.

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