Longtime Orange County Republican consultant and pollster Adam Probolsky should comment on local elections, including what's shaping up to be a November showdown between Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine) and the Democrat who wants to take his seat away, Beth Krom, an Irvine city councilwoman.
And the Orange County Register should quote Probolsky as part of its election coverage. But when including his punditry in stories on campaigns--or anything else, frankly--the Register should identify Probolsky as a Register columnist.
A Register story about Campbell's stand against a federal earmark possibly jeopardizing his re-election bid includes a scene from a KOCE-TV roundtable where Krom and Probolsky debate the issue. Probolsky writes a column for the Register's local Irvine insert, links to which have appeared on the home page of the Santa Ana mothership's home page. But in Jeff Overley's piece, Probolsky is only identified as a pollster.
It certainly would not have hurt the story, or diminished Probolsky's credibility, if the Register had practiced full disclosure.
Especially considering how strong his argument was.
At the center of the debate was federal funding of the constantly required dredging of Newport Beach's Back Bay.
Crappy water from throughout the region washes into the Back Bay, causing sediment to form on the bay floor that can choke ecologically sensitive plants and wildlife. To right this chronic condition, multi-million dollar dredging must be done to scrape away the sediment.
The district's previous congressman, GOP die-hard Christopher Cox, often brought federal dollars to the Back Bay for dredging--even though you don't have to be a conservative of conscience to wonder how in the hell this is a federal responsibility.
But Campbell's principled stand is not rooted in the federal responsibility issue, but GOP congressional members' stand against earmarks. The Newport Beach district's congressman is essentially voting against federal pork for Back Bay dredging.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) are being hailed by Newport Beach officials and residents--even, gulp, some Republicans who outnumber Democrats in the district 3-1--for backing the Back Bay dredging earmark.
It's just another example of predominantly Republican Newport Beachers being pro-environment--as long as one is solely talking about the environment in Newport Beach. The rest of us can pound dirty sand.
Speaking of dirty sand pounders, Krom is obviously trying to be associated with Obama and Sanchez when it comes to the Back Bay earmark, seeing as how it may be the only issue that gets her any traction at all with Republican and independent voters in the district.
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Which led to the KOCE appearance, her debate with pollster/Register columnist Probolsky and Overley's wrap-up that failed to out Probolsky's full resume.
From the Reg piece:
"The problem with Beth's candidacy is that she considers doing something for the district bringing earmark money home, and that's not what this district is looking for," Probolsky said. "In other places people might want pork-barrel spending to be spent on projects in their back yard, but that's not what Newport Beach and Irvine and Aliso Viejo care about."
Krom, who joined Probolsky on the program, had this reply: "I find that fascinating because when Newport Beach needed money to dredge out the Back Bay, they could have used the help of their congressman to get federal funding for that project, and they didn't have somebody there working for them. When you define every appropriation as an earmark, then what you're basically doing is allowing billions of dollars a year to go to Washington and working every day to make sure not one penny comes back."