Superior Mayor Jayme Valenzuela read a statement critical of the Superior Sun’s coverage of the town clean up during the Dec. 19 Superior Town Council meeting. He referenced a photo with of an old campaign sign from his 2008 election bid for Pinal County Sheriff which was published in the Dec. 11 issue of the Superior Sun.
Fellow council members Mila Besich-Lira and Steve Estatico responded to the Mayor’s statement. The comments are provided below.
Mayor Valenzuela’s Statement
“I felt that something that was published in the Superior Sun was in bad taste. I have no problem with people having different view than me, however I think there is a time and place to make your political viewpoints known.
“I volunteered a few hours of my time on the trash pick-up day and the vehicle to haul to hold the tires that were dropped off, before attending a funeral that day.
“I found that the picture that was selected along with the article that was written by Mila Besich Lira, a town council member, portraying Mr. Estatico, a town council member, holding a sign as my previous run for sheriff as a picture of choice was in the worst taste possible. Photos selected for these articles are selected to give further weight and meaning to the article that was written. There is no confusion to what Ms. Besich-Lira, Mr. Estatico or even Sue Anderson who took the picture are trying to say.
“In my eyes this shameless attempt by my fellow council members and Sue Anderson to push their political viewpoints was just shameless to me. The biggest problem I have with that picture is the lack of respect it had for me and the lack of respect for the residents of the town of Superior who elected me as the Mayor.
“Right now the Town of Superior is making progress, we are moving forward. I hope that incidents like this do not occur in the future if you have a problem or issue please address it with me, don’t use the paper to put out your political agenda. I thought we had put some of those issues to rest, but I guess not.
“Superior is my home along with many others with long time friends and wonderful memories in this town. I along with many others have put forth countless hours to improve and take care of it. I want this community to strive forward for bigger and better things. I just thought the picture used for the trash pick-up article would have reflected the deep care and respect of our residents including myself. In the future if anyone has any issues please address them to me.”
Besich Lira Response
“Shameless is a really tough word, when I am sure we all have things in our behaviors that may be just as shameless. But I am not going to go there with you. I’m glad that you feel I have that much pull at the newspaper, but I don’t. I do not select the pictures that are in the paper. Yes, I wrote the story, but I wasn’t at that event that day, because I was preparing for the Main Street event.
“Your attack towards me is completely out of line. I am trying to work with you and this doesn’t help the situation. I hope people know to stop pitting us against each other as I am trying to work with you. So before you attack my employer I have no special powers whatsoever. You are quite wrong making accusations at me.”
“Mr. Mayor, if I offended you I publicly apologize to you. That wasn’t the intent at all. I was just having a little fun. I didn’t even know if was going to be in the paper. It was just there. In no way, shape or form was I trying to offend you. It was late and it was just there. I am sorry.”
General Manager’s note: The Superior Sun regrets that the photo caused any irritation to Mayor Valenzuela. It was not published with any ill intent. Old campaign signs are common parts of any clean up effort regardless of the election outcome. That the clean up was successful and was the only intent in publishing the photo.
It must be noted Ms. Besich Lira does not have any editorial control of the Superior Sun.