Note: This item originally ran in the Scott Lewis on Politics (SLOP) blog on Wednesday.

So everyone seems to be talking about Marti Emerald as a candidate for the San Diego City Council District 7. She’s a reporter with 10News.

Local labor leaders and Democrats have been discussing, for some time, the possibility of taking District 7, which is currently represented by Republican Councilman Jim Madaffer.

It would seem that since they haven’t even mentioned any other Democrat for the post, they are banking on Emerald getting into the race.

What’s she say?

Emerald said she is undecided about running, but has been talking to campaign professionals about the possibility. She said she will make a decision closer to the end of her contract with Channel 10 in September.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she truly hasn’t made up her mind. But, the minute she does, she really can’t keep doing stories like this.

If you didn’t see it, Emerald dresses up like an elderly disabled woman who is trying to find uncaring bus drivers.

Here she is, incognito (click on the picture for the 10News link to the video):

She didn’t find any.

But that didn’t stop her from suggesting that the bus drivers really were horrible. She had asked the Metropolitan Transit Development Board for complaints about drivers. Then during her 11 bus trips as an elderly, feeble woman, she found nothing but fairness and courtesy:

Emerald said, “Makes us wonder if their management had fired out a warning memo after we requested all of those complaints.”

I don’t really think you can say that, can you?

That’s a bit beside the point. The fact is, if Emerald indeed has decided to run for City Council, it’s hard to tell whether this kind of a report is by a journalist or a political candidate.

So is she a candidate?

At a recent event hosted by the Center on Policy Initiatives, CityBeat Editor Dave Rolland made note that Emerald was there and was not just a face in the crowd. Rolland seemed to think Emerald was in campaign mode.

He reported that Emerald asked a good (and apparently long) question at the forum where Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin was speaking. Emerald was wondering why the city was going to pay real estate brokers to sell city land. It’s a question a lot of us have been thinking about.

Here’s part of Rolland’s report:

Anyway, Emerald wanted to know why the city would outsource that work to the private sector instead of doing it itself — and she asked the question in a tone that sounded an awful lot like a candidate for elected office.

…I noted that Emerald hadn’t identified herself as a reporter or a candidate when she asked her question (other people with questions mentioned their affiliations), so afterward, I asked her.

Neither, she said. “I’m here as a citizen.” In other words, she was there as a probable candidate, but she can’t say she’s running for office yet because she’s under contract with 10 News through September. Look for her to announce her candidacy then.

Rolland’s not the only one convinced Emerald will run.

But what does that mean for her journalism, like the story she did about the bus drivers?

After all, the City Council has four seats on the Metropolitan Transit Development Board. If Emerald runs for City Council and wins, she has a 50 percent chance, apparently, of serving on the board that oversees bus and transit operations.

Is it a big stretch to think she could be telling potential voters how good she might be at overseeing the bus system and other functions of government?

If she truly hasn’t decided whether to run for office, there’s really nothing to complain about. But if she is appearing at events like the one other day with a straight political motive — as Rolland appeared to take it — she should probably take off the journalist cap. Oh yeah, and, I guess, her granny wig.

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