It turns out that we now belong to a rather well populated little society here in Sierra Madre.
The information we received from having made that request was reasonably stunning. During the first 10 months of this year alone there were 46 break-in robberies in the City of Sierra Madre. 27 of them were residential burglaries, with the other 19 involving autos.
If you figure there are around 4,000 residences here in our little city, that puts your chances of finding either your home or car ransacked at a little over 1% within a 10 month period. Which are actually fairly strong odds, and indicate that someday you too could be the victim of such a crime.
Why we are such a destination point for thieves is something that needs to be looked into.
Unethical Journalism ... In Sierra Madre?
Yesterday I received a complaint about a story that appeared on the Sierra Madre Patch website. It wasn't so much about what was said, or the way the event in question was portrayed. Rather it was about how the information for that particular piece had been obtained.
Apparently the Patch reporter in question had attended the General Plan Town Hall Forum with the intent of covering the shindig for his site. This reporter wandered from person to person asking questions of many of the attendees, gathering the information necessary to file a report on this event.
The only problem being that this individual did not identify himself as a news reporter to at least some of the folks he spoke with. Rather he acted as if he was just another attendee interested in finding out what was going on in the community. It was only later when his report appeared on the Sierra Madre Patch site did the concerned parties realize they had been interviewed for an article. Something that happened both without their knowledge or permission.
The San Jose Mercury News supplies its reporters with an Ethics Policy sheet that is designed to make certain those who represent their paper are both above board and honest in their dealings. And under the rubric of "Misrepresentation" the paper's ethics policy has this to say:
"Under ordinary circumstances, reporters or photographers ought to identify themselves to news sources. There might be times, however, when circumstances will dictate not identifying ourselves. Only the Executive Editor or Managing Editor may approve such exceptions."
It would be understandable for a reporter to not let their identity be known if they were talking to an organized crime overlord, or someone from a dangerous drug cartel. Certainly those would be circumstances where you'd want your true purpose to remain a closely guarded secret. But doing so when interviewing people from town who have gathered to discuss community planning concerns?
Doesn't seem at all ethical to me.
People Just Don't Want To Pay Their Way
Everyone is quick to blame government when it spends itself into absurd amounts of debt. Politicians are routinely excoriated for their free spending ways in America these days. The successful Republican strategy to take over control of the United States House of Representatives was based on just that, throwing out the big spenders.
But is it completely the fault of politicians that they spend as much as they do? Could it be that at least some of the blame should fall upon their constituents as well?
On the Orange County Register's "Total Buzz" website (dated 11/12) there is the following report:
A new Associated Press-GFK Poll shows 53 percent of Americans want to preserve Republicans' tax cuts for all taxpayers - and 58 percent want to keep Democrats' health care reform.
So I need to ask you, how can a country afford to provide health care for all while at the same time cutting everyone's taxes? Especially at a time when we're running a trillion dollar a year deficit? According to this poll we have apparently become a free lunch society.
People need to begin realizing that their addiction to government services doesn't come without a cost. And if they are not willing to pay their fair share of the burden that cost will quickly become a destructive one.
Better to do without unfunded services altogether than force our various governments to provide things people don't feel they should have to pay for.
A Brief Follow-Up To A Story From Yesterday
In yesterday's mishegoss we talked a bit about an appeal letter recently sent out by the Sierra Madre Police Association for charitable donations. Or at least donations, the charitable part being a bit unclear.
We'd suggested that this missive had a certain generic feel to it, and that perhaps it was some sort of form letter provided by folks far beyond the ken of the local luminary whose name graced it. And it turns out that is exactly the case.
A particularly sharp-eyed reader found two other strikingly similar "Police Association" letters on the internet. One such cash appeal, which comes from Arcadia, can be accessed by clicking here. Another letter, coming all the way from fabulous Escondido, can be found here. Feel free to compare those two with the Sierra Madre version by clicking here.
The same reader also supplied an insightful Orange County Register article on the phenomena. Click here to access a very interesting story on the nature of Police Association soliciting.