PALM DESERT – During a heated campaign it’s easy for opponents of one party or the other to throw out half-truths as bait, even an isolated photo, to disparage the candidate they oppose. During those times, it is critical to pull back the curtain and find the truth.”
Such is the case with Jan Harnik, a member of the Palm Desert City Council, who is challenging Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel “Manny” Perez for a four-year term on the board. Perez was appointed last year to fill a vacancy.
In a move designed to discredit Harnik, some Democrats have posted on Facebook a photo of Harnik armed with an M203 Grenade launcher attached to an M16 service rifle. On its face, it can seem unsetting, even alarming.
What’s grossy missing from the photo is the all-important context.
Harnik, now-Mayor Sabby Jonathan and some city staff toured the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms. The city of Palm Desert adopted the 7th Marine Regiment through the Adopt-a-Unit program in order to support Marines and sailors of 7th Marine Regiment, who are forward deployed and stationed locally. They intend to help the regiment coordinate events, such as family days, with support from city leadership, various organizations and individuals throughout the community.
“Jan was on the City Council when the city adopted the 7th regiment,” Jim Nygren,, Harnik’s political consultant told Uken Report. “That meant the city and councilmembers, including Jan, lent support to those who locally serve in the armed forces. To return the favor, the 7th regime showed members of the City Council how they trained. The photo was part of a simulator drill. … Jan is proud of her support for those in uniform and will continue to open her home and share experiences with them and learn about the difficult challenges they face in the field.”
At the time of the tour, Harnik said in an article written by Lance Cpl. Julio McGraw, “We want to create a strong relationship with the Marines [and sailors] of the regiment. We want to serve the ones that serve us.”
The council members toured facilities and viewed equipment used to train aboard the Combat Center like: The Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer, convoy simulator, static display of weapons used by U.S. forces and their advisories, along with a live-fire demonstration using M4 service rifles.
There were at least eight photos taken that day, but only the one of Harnik was publicly isolated and released. There was a photo taken of a senior management analyst from the city of Palm Desert manning a simulated M240B Medium machine gun. There’s also a photo of the Palm Desert visitors being shown the different types of weapons used by Marines during a tour of the Combat Center.
You may view all the photos and the entire article here.