Rector raises important questions about Guam’s economy, the impact of the build-up on wages and cost-of-living, and brings an important perspective at a critical time to the political process. He’s passionate, idealistic and recognizes that the military build-up will bring new hardships to many on Guam who will be hit with a higher cost of living and not necessarily better paychecks.
Rector is hard-charging, somewhat confrontational and appears to have doubts about the fairness of mainstream media. No surprise here. Rector is a longtime union leader, and union leaders tend to suspect that news outlets are inclined to favor management.
Rector has alienated local media and that means that his explanation for not citing a 25-year-old misdemeanor burglary case on the election form is unlikely to get anything close to a fair analysis. Some of the reporting is beginning to appear a little heavy handed. Kuam seems to relish pointing out that “the senator continues to refuse to answer calls or do interviews with Kuam News…” There’s a difference between refusing to give an interview to Kuam and not having to give an interview and I’ll explain why in a bit.
Rector's political viewpoints have ticked some people off, but his defense of this long-ago charge deserves dispassionate consideration. He may have had every reason to believe that the case had been sealed. If he was deliberately hiding a past conviction why then apply for a weapons permit, which involves a background check and fingerprinting? Why risk exposure?
The idea that Rector deliberately misled the electorate isn’t supported by his actions. It just isn’t. It would have made zero sense for him to have applied for gun permit if he was consciously trying to hide his past.
Moreover, the Guam Election Commission also required a “police clearance” as one of the necessary documents, along with a financial disclosure statement, from candidates seeking office. If a candidate had believed that a prior record had been sealed or expunged wouldn’t a “police clearance” have given added peace of mind that any police record had been erased?
The Guam Election Commission can’t remove Rector from office so the real test of this will likely rest with the legislature. Hopefully lawmakers will separate any political grievances they may have with Rector and look at this for what it is, a misunderstanding about the status of a long ago record and of no consequence to the job the voters have awarded him.
But the political leadership is already hanging Rector. The Pacific Daily News reports:
Sen. Adolpho Palacios said he believed burglary is considered a crime of moral turpitude, even if it is a misdemeanor. Sen. Frank Blas Jr. said he believed any acts of burglary committed under California law is a felony.In Washington, my wonderful home, whenever a politician uses the term “moral turpitude” (which is rarely because they know better) the usual response is a snicker. And why did Sen. Blas see the need to up this to a felony? Can you feel the love?
While Rector can expect little support from local media, his defense may get fairer consideration on the social networks.
Rector has more than 1,800 friends on Facebook and has one of Guam’s larger Twitter networks, with over 500 followers, the 6th largest on Guam according to Twitterholic. Rector is arguably emerging as the media’s counter insurgency, and I have to suspect that some of this bitter media angst stems from his natural social networking ability and the growth of his networks. He has a knack for it.
In or out of office, Rector is certain to remain an influential voice as social networks expand, which is something for everyone to think about.
Rector is responding via his social networks and he is clearly in his right to pick and choose his forums. If Rector "refuses" to speak to the local press, what of it? That’s got to bother the heck out of the local media outlets, who ought to be asking themselves whether Rector has more influence and means to connect than they do.