My morning show is the KTLA Morning News, and not just because they've allowed me to be on their show twice. I think I've seen reporter Rachel Calderon on, or maybe it was their 10 o'clock news. The point of this post? Apparently, Calderon tried to get a Fullerton resident arrested for refusing to answer her questions.
This assertion was made by Sandy Stiassni, a Fullerton apartment owner and face at various O.C. progressive events. He was the man who allowed us to publish in full his fascinating background account about a recent encounter between a pastor and the city's notorious Tokers Town gang, one that sparked many comments. Stiassni was back at it over the weekend, firing off a letter to KTLA news director Dianne Mejia about his encounter with Calderon. Rather than print that in full, we'll only paraphrase and excerpt in the hopes that that Stiassni starts a blog.
Apparently, Calderon went to Majesty Christian Fellowship to try and interview Pastor Willie Holmes, whose family and church was subject to the attack but whom also was recently arrested for violating probation stemming from him cruising the city's Hillcrest Park (all together: ewwwww). She was invited to step inside the small church by another pastor. "Despite this generous invocation to join his tiny parish and intimate worship celebration, Ms. Calderon and her camera girl comported themselves in what I saw as an undignified, disrespectful manner," Stiassni wrote. "Once finding they wouldn't get a tape on Willie Holmes--in the congregation, but not speaking--they abruptly pulled out."
"As I left church, I was literally assaulted by Rachel Calderon, who aggressively pressed me to make a statement," Stiassni continued. "I gently pushed aside her microphone from my face, firmly held the tip so I couldn't be heard, and politely asked Ms. Calderon if we might speak off record. She angrily grabbed back her mike and pushed me away! I laughed, simply said, 'I guess that means No!' and immediately departed."
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Then, it got fun.
Calderon tried to call Stiassni, to no avail, while waiting outside the industrial park church to interview Holmes. Stiassni watched from his car, when he noticed Calderon had spotted him. She used her cell phone. A couple of minutes later, three Fullerton PD squad cars showed up. According to one officer, Calderon wanted to file a police report against Stiassni. Eventually, Holmes' son came out and vouched for Stiassni's side of the story, and the cops declined to file charges.
"Rachel Calderon was given this apparently bad news; she and her camera girl angrily stomped out of the parking lot, and took off in their news vehicle," Stiassni wrote.
"I bring this incident to your valued attention, not to simply mimic Ms. Calderon; to file a negative report on a disagreeable person, but to ask you to take a hard look at your news reporting," Stiassni concluded in his letter to Mejia. "Angelinos today are in the midst of unprecedented, wrenching political, economic, societal change. Many rely on KTLA as their most vital news portal...its primary obligation must be to its viewers, who hunger for insightful reporting, new perspectives; for hope and encouragement in these troubling times. I found a conspicuous lack of those fundamental journalistic qualities in your reporter's abrasive, self-advancing behavior yesterday."