Our View | Fed Up with Bullies, We Endorse Steve Knight

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By The Signal Editorial Board

We have encouraged and supported peaceful debate about the issues in all political races in our valley during this election season. We have covered all the races fairly and without bias in our news stories. The only place where you will find our opinions in The Signal is on the opinion pages, and they are clearly marked as our opinions.

We have covered the Steve Knight/Katie Hill campaign for the 25th Congressional District as fairly and in the most straightforward manner possible.

We covered Hill when she opened her new campaign headquarters, we covered her when celebrities from out of town came to visit her or endorse her. We covered her campaign by running three stories and a live Facebook stream of gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom coming to town to speak on her behalf. We have quoted her right along with Knight and given her fair and equal treatment in our news coverage.

We even held off on running two stories that would have been embarrassing to Hill and her campaign. We felt those stories would not inform the voters on the issues and would amount to little more than attack pieces.

However, a Democratic political agitator associated with the Hill campaign, masquerading as a concerned citizen, has done everything he could to try to unfairly discredit The Signal. He has lied, misrepresented and conflated facts in order to relentlessly attack this paper, the publisher, his family and the editor. This is such a hotly contested race that Hill’s advocates contacted left-leaning publications to attack us with unfounded accusations and material intentionally taken out of context. 

Such agitators will attack anyone who does not 100 percent agree with them. This is happening in politics all around the country. It’s a coordinated effort to create distrust and pit neighbor against neighbor. These agitators take to social media to create a cybermob. They post something that is not true or is taken out of context and keep reposting it so people will read it and believe it’s true, creating an echo chamber for their own propaganda. The same four or five people repeat the same thing over and over, distorting facts and creating doubt and distrust. The tactic fires up their base and in this case helps get national attention and money for the campaign.

Forget about the issues. Forget about who’s the best candidate for the job. They don’t care about the damage they are doing to the community. They don’t care about sowing strife. They don’t care that they are pitting neighbor against neighbor. Their goal is to discredit anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

The name calling, the personal attacks, the smearing, the bullying on social media — it’s all part of the plan.

Anyone who has actually read The Signal knows our news coverage has been fair. In fact, Hill campaign staffers have even told us that privately.

Even on the opinion page, we’ve been biting our tongue, until now.

Enough is enough.

While we are not saying Katie Hill or her campaign personally did these things, they were done by her supporters in her name and for her benefit and by one political agitator in particular.

Hill’s campaign knew it was happening. They knew the accusations were not true or fair. They knew it was a smear campaign based on lies and misleading statements. They could have stopped it, but chose not to, for political gain.

Is this someone you want in Congress? Is this someone you want to represent you? Someone who does not care what is happening as long as she benefits? Someone who will divide a community just to win?

We’ve invited Hill, more than once, to meet with us to discuss the issues before we make an endorsement in the campaign. She has ignored the invitation and left phone messages unreturned. So much for creating positive dialogue.

Hill did agree to participate in a debate with Knight, hosted by The Signal last week. In the debate, both candidates did a good job of explaining their positions on the issues.

But Hill also demonstrated that she is out of touch with this community.

In the debate, Hill said the CEMEX sand and gravel mine was not the No. 1 issue for Santa Clarita. In fact, she had not even heard about it until recently. It has been a major issue for this community for over 20 years.

Hill also supports a gas tax hike, a view that seems out of tune with the majority of Santa Clarita residents.

Further, she wants to increase health care spending by creating a single-payer system, which would increase federal health care costs by approximately $32 trillion. Where will those funds come from? Hold onto your wallets, taxpayers. This is going to sting a little…

If elected, expect Hill to go to Washington and vote with Nancy Pelosi and the national Democratic agenda, regardless of what the 25th District needs.

Steve Knight has served the community well as the valley’s congressman since 2015. Before that he served in the state Legislature, on the Palmdale City Council and as a law enforcement officer.

Contrary to accusations from the Hill campaign and left-leaning political analysts, Knight has proven himself as an independent thinker. He has voted with his party on tax cuts, Obamacare and border security, but he also has broken with the party on immigration reform, child protection and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He has openly criticized President Trump on issues including Trump’s proposed “space force” and the president’s downplaying of the death toll in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

According to the bipartisan index created by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, Knight ranked 73rd for bipartisanship out of the 438 individuals who served in the House in 2017.

That puts him in the top 17 percent for bipartisanship overall. Further, he ranks sixth out of the 53-member California congressional delegation, and only one California Democrat ranks higher than Knight.

Knight has proven himself as someone who can successfully work across the aisle. Where would Hill rank?

We would rather not take that chance. We choose to re-elect Steve Knight to the 25th Congressional District. We hope you will also.

We hope you will send a message that we must stop this vitriol and rancor in our politics — that people have a right to their opinion, to disagree and debate peacefully without being smeared just in the name of winning and politics.

We need to send a message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable both locally and nationally, and it starts here and now. 

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