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A Balcony View:

Step up, Salas

May 17, 2010|By Gary Huerta

I recently got into a lively e-mail debate with a reader over my negative opinion of IHOP’s marketing and ultra-fattening pancake stackers.

During our exchange, the reader expressed his desire that I report my stories truthfully and without opinion. I reminded him that my job here doesn’t require complete impartiality. I am a columnist, not a reporter, therefore I am entitled to express an opinion either for or against my subject.

But I did agree with that reader about reporting my stories accurately. I do my very best to present my topics with facts that come from credible sources. Not doing so amounts to yellow journalism.


And so I move on to today’s topic: 22-year-old Nancy Salas, the girl who faked her own abduction because telling her parents she had dropped out of UCLA was just too much to handle. I’m not ready to let this story fade away. Especially when I know that city taxpayers could be on the hook for the thousands of dollars spent searching for her.

Am I glad she’s safe and that her family wasn’t subjected to prolonged agony or worse? Of course I am. But I’m mortified that city coffers could be drained for what would appear to be a case of someone not being accountable for their own actions.

I could rant about Salas’ behavior and be accused of not knowing all the facts. Or I could comment on the actual quotes I do have from the people who were more intimately involved in the matter. I think there’s enough there, looking at the quotes reported in the News-Press, to fortify my opinion, even if it’s unpopular.

“We’re moving forward with hope and trembling in this,” said Oscar Garcia-Johnson, regional minister for the Associated Baptist Churches-Los Angeles.

I’m wondering if the church is going to counsel Salas and tell her that the right thing to do is accept full financial accountability for her actions and pay for the costs of a needless search. If ever there was a moment for a church to teach someone a lesson in morality, this would be it.

“I love her. I am so happy that she is alive, and this will be her testimony,” said her cousin Soraya Jimenez.

Here’s a definition of testimony: a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. I for one, would like to see Salas stand up and say, “Let me pay for what I did — literally!”

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