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Our Opinion: Thanks for the inspiration

January 24, 2002

Despite what many may think, it is not easy being in the limelight.

Ask Gilbert Otero. And by that we mean ask Gilbert Otero, the district attorney, not Gilbert Otero (no relation), the local singer.

Gilbert G. Otero, the DA, is a big target in many ways. He is in a position of tremendous power, he has many demands and he isn't exactly shy. So he takes his fair share of shots, and, frankly, we think some are deserved. He might even admit that.

He didn't deserve the shots he took recently from a letter-writer to this newspaper. The writer, who identified himself as Benjamin Reyes, a writer for the New York Times, said he had come across this newspaper online and had seen that we had run a small item stating Jennifer Otero had made the honor roll at her university. This, Reyes wrote, was an obvious case by this newspaper of "brown-nosing" Gilbert Otero, who was listed as Jennifer's father and is, according to his research, the local DA.

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Sorry, buddy, wrong Gilbert Otero. We would think such a top-flight journalist would do the research to find out there are two Gilbert Oteros in the Valley and both are out in public often. Alas, no. (And the whole idea that we kiss up to Otero was funny to both Otero and us here at the newspaper. One only needs to check our files online to see how much kissing up we do to the DA.)

The truth is we run the names of countless people who make the honor rolls at their schools in this publication. As a mid-size community newspaper, we can still do that. Actually, we are happy and proud to do that. And if Jennifer had been the daughter of the DA, it wouldn't have made any difference. In fact, Gilbert Otero does have kids in college, and we encourage him, and anyone else who has people in their family who are doing notable things, to let us know about it so we can put it in the paper.

We thank those in the community who came to our defense in subsequent letters to the editor, saying the Press was doing something good by printing commendable things about the people in our community, not doing anything dishonorable. We were even defended by those who didn't know the difference between the Gilbert Oteros.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are a community newspaper and that such acknowledgments of accomplishments are important to our community. Thanks, Benjamin Reyes, for the reminder.

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