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In what looks to be another obvious attempt to discredit community newspapers, Whittier Daily News reporter Mike Sprague, in an email sent to Hews Media Group-Community News, blatantly threatened HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews for filing a complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission about corruption in the March 2017 La Mirada City Council elections.
“Well imagine that,” said Hews, “I expose potential corruption in La Mirada which ends up with a FPPC investigation, and the Whittier Daily News goes after me for filing the complaint.”
The FPPC complaint was centered around Andrew Serega and possible collaboration with an independent expenditure committee called Residents for a Better La Mirada.
In a series of articles, Hews laid out a case for collaboration, culminating in the complaint and FPPC investigation.
Sprague unashamedly lifted one story, without giving Hews attribution.
“I let them have it about copying my story,” said Hews, “this is obvious payback by Sprague and his bosses.”
Sprague indicated in his email that, “I’ve talked to a journalism professor who says it’s unethical to file a complaint and then write a story about it, how do you respond.”
Simple research by Sprague on HMG-CN’s website loscerritosnews.net would have shown the last article in the series was March 6, Hews sent his complaint to the FPPC on March 10.
“Interesting,” said Hews, “and he is the investigative reporter for the Whittier Daily News.”
Sprague, in other parts of the email, showed his obvious disdain for Hews stating, “That’s not a response to my questions. You filed a complaint with the FPPC and I want to ask you why you filed it. Also, what are the allegations you’re making against Andrew Sarega? Also, I’ve talked to a journalism professor who says it’s unethical to file a complaint and then write a story about it. How do your respond?
“I just don’t get the motivation of the Whittier Daily News or the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, ” said Hews. “Both newspapers ignore corrupt politicians like Leticia Vasquez, Bob Apodaca, and James Roybal at Central Basin Water, while also ignoring Ben Cardenas, Lani Cupchoy, and Edgar Cisneros at Montebello Unified School District. They don’t go after the real questionable politicians, those are their sources, and obviously very questionable sources.”
HMG-CN asked for a quote from Sprague and Editor Brian Harr after laying out the email from Sprague.
“It is clear that you are going after HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews trying to discredit him for turning in corrupt politicians, how do you respond to that?
As of the time of publication of this article both had not responded.
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