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Small Town Editor Makes Personal Plea to Voters

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

Editorial boards in every major newspaper in the State of California have encouraged readers to vote no on Proposition 8. They have sat and listened to presentations from both sides, weighed their arguments, checked their facts, and without fail came to the same conclusion: Proposition 8 should not pass.

The Editor of the Desert Dispatch in the small town of Barstow has taken a different approach. Most know Barstow, if they know it at all, as a small city on the road between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. But Scott Shackford knows it as his home. And he knows his readers as his neighbors, an independent, but often powerless, bunch who respect individuality.

Today I’m shedding the more impersonal “authoritative” voice of one of my typical editorials: Proposition 8 means something more personal to me. It directly affects my rights. As such, I want to make a more direct appeal to try to convince Barstow residents to vote against Proposition 8.

Scott finds common cause with the frustration that Barstow residents have – no local representation, a state districting plan that leaves them powerless to the whims of a city 200 miles away. And he acknowledges their fear of government interfering in their religious rights and recognizes the seriousness of their concerns.

But then Scott takes a very brave and very touching step, an approach that may be pointless in an urban center. He admits his vulnerability and asks for support.

You have the power to control an important part of my future. You can control my independence. Is that something you’re truly comfortable with?

I ask you to vote in favor of our tradition of independence. Vote no on Proposition 8.

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