Hey all, I’m back for a moment, from my perch here in resplendent Reston, to weigh on on something.
The Loudoun Times-Mirror made some endorsements today in their on-line edition, one of which was endorsing Republican Ralph Buona over Valdis Ronis for Ashburn District Supervisor. Now, endorsements alone don’t amount to a whole hill of beans, but some people who don’t pay close attention may rely on them for a decision. So I just wanted to point out a bit of a conflict of interest I’m seeing here.
Back in June of 2010, the Times-Mirror and the Loudoun Independent merged. The owner of the Independent was Bill Dean, who also runs M. C. Dean, a multi-faceted business based in Sterling. They happen to operate OpenBand, which provides cable, internet, and telephone service to many residents in the Ashburn District (of which I am a former resident). As part of the merger, Mr. Dean was given a seat on the Times-Mirror Board of Directors.
Fast forward to 2011. Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Chairman Ralph Buona throws his hat into the ring for the supervisor seat being vacated by Lori Waters, opposing Valdis Ronis. Mr. Dean, either directly or through M.C. Dean, Inc. contributed $5,500 to Mr. Buona’s campaign this year (as of September 30, 2011). Interesting, because there are 2 Homeowners Associations in Ashburn District who are taking legal action against OpenBand regarding their franchise renewal. The next Board of Supervisors will undoubtedly have to make a decison on whether or not to grant OpenBand a franchise renewal, and Mr. Dean’s campaign contributions to Mr. Buona raise serious conflict of interest issues.
Now, today, we see that the Loudoun Times Mirror has endorsed Mr. Buona in the supervisor’s race. As I said before, it’s just an endorsement, and in the grand scheme of things isn’t earth-shattering, but it brings into question why the Times-Mirror would even go there. At the very least, they should have explained the connection and refrained from making an endorsement.
Integrity matters, and it is becoming apparent that Mr. Dean, Mr. Buona, and the Loudoun Times-Mirror are lacking in that regard. Valdis Ronis has shown throughout his campaign an impeccable level of integrity. Please vote of November 8th for my friend and former neighbor, Valdis Ronis, for Ashburn District Supervisor.