Monday, June 13, 2011

Blogging

There is an interesting article that has been up on a national CBS News site since yesterday morning, and it deals with the huge impact that blogs and bloggers are having in this country. Which, coming as it does from what many would regard as a traditional mainstream medium for news, might seem surprising.

But perhaps that isn't quite the correct viewpoint. Maybe it really is the recognition by a corporate news organization that blogs are doing something that many traditional venues no longer do, which is break stories seen as either too risky or threatening to the interests that they are aligned with.

This being a practice that the actual news people within such large organizations as CBS News might not be very comfortable with. I'm all for giving them the benefit of the doubt. And after all, they do have a website to publish on as well.

The article is called "Welcome to the blogosphere," and it was written by CBS News mainstay Rita Braver. Here is a part of what she has to say:

The whole nation may be talking about Congressman Anthony Weiner's sexually suggestive Internet massages ("To be clear, the picture was of me, and I sent it," Weiner admitted at a press conference Monday). But it was ONE MAN - Andrew Breitbart - who posted the story on his blog, and forced the New York Democrat to finally own up to his actions.

"I apologize to Andrew Breitbart," Weiner said. "I apologize to the many other members of the media that I misled."

"I think we were vindicated at first after a three-day frenzy of trying to attack my journalism," Breitbart said.

No matter how you feel about the Weiner Affair, and there are those who see it as being an absurd distraction from vastly more important issues such as the financial debacle our government has borrowed and spent us into, it is important to remember that it all started with a blog. And had Breitbart not broken this story Congressman Anthony Weiner would likely still be twittering pictures of his shame to women all over the country. Some of them apparently quite young.

Locally we have similar problems with our traditional news coverage, with one notable exception. The Pasadena Star News, thanks to a fortunate change in management, now covers news on its own merit, rather than viewing it through the prism of how it may appear to those an editor wishes to be friends with. The PSN's coverage of the growing corruption scandal at the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments being a good example of some good old school down and dirty journalism in action. But like I said, around here they are an exception.

In Sierra Madre there are many stories the weekly print media won't even think of covering. Including the SGVCOG corruption story. As one poster here recently put it, they won't print anything "that City Hall hasn't told them to." Another poster later lamenting that what our two weeklies publish is nothing more than "dumbed down propaganda."

One story that The Tattler broke is the Sierra Madre water rate increase corruption story. Originally peddled by the City to a credulous citizenry as necessary because of the sorry state of the ancient water infrastructure in this town, careful research later revealed that the actual reason the City needed more of our money was for something entirely different.

Had the Water Rate Corruption Scandal been taken to the Mountain Views News or the Sierra Madre Weekly, would either of those publications have revealed any of that to their readers? Likely not. Their economic and personal ties to certain members of the City Council and Staff would have led them to either smother the story entirely, or launch printed attacks on the story's messengers.

To suggest that 80% of Sierra Madre's City Council, along with many members of a City Staff that we support with our taxes but do not work for us, deliberately ginned up the rusty pipes canard so that they could get their hands on more ratepayer money, is quite a charge. And that they did so to further an agenda at odds with what most people living in this town want for themselves and their children, is also a rather bold thing to suggest. But it had to be told, and it took a blog to do it.

Whenever I get tired of writing this blog (and believe me, I occasionally do), I remind myself of the responsibility I took on when starting this. Who else is going to cover the real news of Sierra Madre if not this blog? Who will get out the stories that the many people who contribute information here want their friends and neighbors to know about? To allow "the message" of the Mountain Views News or Sierra Madre Weekly to once again be all that is available to the people of this town is frankly unthinkable.

So we press on. And let me tell you something, over the next few months it could get wild. There are people holding positions of authority in this city who know that they could be in significant trouble, and will strike back in the only ways they know how. If you thought the G4's 2010 election strategies were special, strap yourself in. Things could get very strange.

California's Green Jihad

Speaking of bloggers who say the things others only think about (if that), our hats are off to Joel Kotkin and his New Geography blog. We have happily linked to it for a couple of years now, and our admiration for his efforts continues to grow.

While Kotkin's observations will likely never get the kind of exposure that Andrew Breitbart's revelations about Congressman Weiner have been getting, his latest article, California's Green Jihad, has been getting around a bit. In Forbes Magazine for one, but also on internet planner and government policy sites. A few of which have been unkind.

How you will view this article depends on where you stand on things like SB 375, the "force inner city high density concrete sprawl on the suburbs" law. Or, if you prefer, the "lower California's standard of living" law. The one that enforces Sacramento's desire that you move out of your home, relocate to a high density rat's warren someplace, lose the car and take the bus to get there. All in the name of saving the world, of course.

Freedom of choice, or just your freedom in general, be damned.

Rather than rewriting Joel Kotkin's points here, I am going to transcribe the first several paragraphs for you to read. Kotkin can flat-out write, so his own words are plenty good enough. Then if you like what you have read, you can link to the actual article and check out the rest.

California's Green Jihad: Ideas matter, particularly when colored by religious fanaticism, wreaking havoc even in the most favored of places. Take, for instance, Iran, a country blessed with a rich heritage and enormous physical and human resources, but which, thanks to its theocratic regime, is largely an economic basket case and rogue state.

Then there's California, rich in everything from oil and food to international trade and technology, but still skimming along the bottom of the national economy. The state's unemployment rate is now worse than Michigan's and ahead of only neighboring Nevada. Among the nation's 20 largest metropolitan regions, four of the six with the highest unemployment numbers are located in the Golden State: Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. In a recent Forbes survey, California was home to six of the ten regions where the economy is poised to get worse.

One would think, given these gory details, California officials would be focused on reversing the state's performance. But here, as in Iran, officialdom focuses more on theology than on actuality. Of course, California's religion rests not on conventional divinity but on a secular environmental faith that nevertheless exhibits the intrusive and unbending character of radical religion.

As with its Iranian counterpart, California's green theology often leads to illogical economic and political decisions. California has decided, for example, to impose a rigid regime of state-directed planning related to global warming, making a difficult approval process for new development even more onerous. It has doubled-down on climate change as other surrounding western states - such as Nevada, Utah and Arizona - have opted out of regional greenhouse gas agreements.

The notion that a state economy - particularly one that has lost over 1.5 million jobs in the last decade - can impose draconian regulations beyond those of their more affluent neighbors, or the country, would seem almost absurd.

The shame here being that those concerned about real environmental causes now find themselves lumped in with Sacramento's cockamamie notions about trying to build California out of its contribution to global warming. One 1,500 acre mixed used condominium complex at a time.

You can link to the rest of Kotkin's article by clicking here. And while you're at it you might want to print out a few copies and pass them on to any members of the Green Committee you might know. Or to it's High Priest, the current Mayor of Sierra Madre.

But should you choose do so, prepare yourself for a possible (and very wordy) excommunication.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

55 comments:

  1. I got my "subscription" pamphlet from the city last week, and I have been wondering why, all of a sudden, this has started up as a "city drive".
    Remember in the next year, our UUT tax will be expiring. I think this is a precurser to those elected officials and employees to sustain itself in a year where increased taxes are not popular.
    As required, this must go back to a popular vote,
    or it goes away.
    I am curious as to what the general opinion is??

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  2. The local press only covers the stories that City Manager Elaine Aguilar and the little council of four wants covered. The prime example is the Hildreths. Never hear anything from the local press about them or their story. Bill Coburn even knows Jeff, but no story. Why?

    They have been working on their approved project for 12 years. Only now to be taken to court and no press coverage. Why?

    Again thank you Tattle for breaking another story.

    Please keep us informed.

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  3. In a democracy people need to be informed. And the role of the press is to bring that information to the people so that the right decisions can be made. Here in Sierra Madre we have 2 papers, both which do everything they can to suppress news while giving the opinion of city government almost exclusively. We're hardly the only city with this problem. Which is why those who really care about what is going on look to blogs. There really isn't much else to do.

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  4. of course Susan Henderson wouldn't expose the fact that John Buchanan and Joe Mosca lied to us repeatedly about the water pipes and the underlying reason

    Henderson sees nothing wrong with lying

    or a little embellzment for that matter

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  5. A corrupt local press fits in perfectly with a corrupt local government. They need each other.

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  6. I wish that Nancy, Joe, John, and Josh each had their own blog to blog about all of their social activities. That would make the City Council meetings go faster since they would not talk about their dancing weekends and inane trivia.

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  7. Did Josh go to the firehouse to hang with Cee Lo? That would make a good topic for his blog.

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  8. Patch has a hard hitting news piece up right now about the big Father's Day sale going on at Best Buy. I didn't know we had a Best Buy in Sierra Madre.

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  9. Josh's blog would include his reviews on local bars and strip clubs

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  10. Without the corrupt local press Elaine Aguliar and the rest of her over inflated office staff would not have a job.

    A true press would reveal the truth of the corruption like the Tattle.

    The truth is coming! All the cities in California seem to be in the forced cut back mod, EXCEPT Sierra Madre. Why?

    How many more police officers do we need? Is 36 enough? That is over 3.6 cop per every 1000 citizens.

    There must be some serious, dangerous people around here, besides the gang of four.

    Watch your back, you just might not know who is actually living next door.

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  11. The brilliant Paddy Chayefsky saw the demise of the American news organizations coming and wrote about it in Network. The movement away from intelligent anchors into good looking ones, from factual presentation into generating excitement for its own sake, has been a terrible loss for the body politic.

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  12. Joel Kotkin wants a less difficult approval process for new development?

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  13. The G4's 2010 election strategy was a well planned smear campaign backed up with some effective neighborhood organization, person to person, with smiling faces out front.
    Slow growth advocates are more serious, and unless there is dedicated outreach, also person to person, not just written, the lack of smiling hurts us.

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  14. Tattler, as well as the Pasadena Star News, you should give some credit to the LA Times. They've come up with some good investigative reporting too.

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  15. I'm still trying to get my head around the All American City's Volunteer Fire Department doing a commercial with a recording artist who is by anyone's measure arguably not interested in living in the village. I wonder if Father Bamberger read the lyrics to Mr. Green's recordings to his congregation on Sunday... Perhaps Mayor Buchanan could croon a few bars before the City Council tomorrow night...

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  16. Let's set up a bet - I say that we'll hear no more of Mr. Green's visit. That the city government didn't realize what his most famous song was exactly. That the Fire Dept. got a modeling fee - and they'll just pocket the bucks and not mention it again.
    At least I hope so.

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  17. I think what Kotkin means is local control over development and not having to run everything through the central planners in Sacramento.

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  18. 10:36, to make the approval process easier on developers for any reason is to be blind to the modus operandi of the development community. We need strong anti-rape and pillage laws with that crowd.

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  19. Slow growth people discuss serious issues, whereas the G4 bunch pat fannies and kiss babies. When it comes to politics, unctuous phonies usually carry the day.

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  20. Local and slightly hyperJune 13, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Those sleazy election strategies were in evidence before the 2010 election. How about the first time that Lyin' Joe got elected?
    How about the second time that John Bonds hillside developer supporter got elected?
    How about the $170,000 from the realtors and builders to defeat Measure V?
    And who is conducting that damn pro development phone poll that's going on right now?

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  21. Who was in charge of making the decision to associate our fire department with a famous song built around F*** Y**

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  22. I hope the play FU during the CC meeting tomorrow night. Maybe someone would like to bring in a boom box?

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  23. At the time of the Measure V election Sierra Madre did have a real local paper that covered the measure, pro and con, and that showed the backers and their money. The residents were able to educate themselves about both sides, and made their decisions. Since the hijacking of that paper, it hasn't been worth the ink used to print it, and the majority of the residents went back to the illusions about Sierra Madre rather than the reality, and didn't bother to vote.

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  24. Is this the fine work of Bonds Buchanan again???

    Remember him as Mayor Smut for his endorsing the obscene websites?

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  25. Blogging actually is an old American tradition, but in the early days, sans computers, it was called pamphleteering.

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  26. The newspaper that Katina Dunn created did an excellent job of combining the rigorous exposure of hidden agendas and being a friendly source of information about community events. It also had all voices in the town make appearances, in letters to the editor as well as articles. I really miss it.

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  27. Yes I remember Mayor Smut 10:58. One of Faye Angus' best speeches ever, and Buchanan had the gall to criticize her. Mayor Juvenile Jerk is more like it.

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  28. Don't everybody jump on this at once, but I am convinced that climate change is a real problem, and that burning fossil fuels is a practice we have to stop.
    That does not equate to building high density condos in transportation corridors, and it's one of the hustles of our times that anybody would make that connection.
    How about the connection being made to revolutionizing power sources?

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  29. Blogging is akin to the community meetings of yesteryear....it is opportunity for folks to engage in thought and debate over what is happening in their area. As in the case of the Tattler, it also shines a very bright light upon the goings on with local government which results in a more informed and engaged citizenry. Kudos to the Tattler....

    By the way, what is up with the pending "assessments" on the Council Agenda...are these new assessments, increased assessments or just yearly actions to implement existing assessments? Of course, can't find any information on the City website.

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  30. Whether climate change is true or not, the solutions that Sacramento has come up with are destroying the economy while enriching only a few. It could be that the only real solution in the end will be moving inland.

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  31. If you can stand to see what we've lost, the Mount Wilson Observer has archives online:

    http://katinadunn-mtwilsonobserver.net/archive.htm

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  32. Gilman - tomorrow night the City Council will put on a big show about being concerned about money, and act like they are analyzing everything so they can save the taxpayers money. But it's all a show. All you have to do is look at the CRA spends to see where they are at. They are just setting us up for more bonds. It is all very obvious. They are hellbent on infrastructure for development.

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  33. Excellent question Gilman. I can't figure out most of what the agenda says, because the language is such jargon. What I can figure out is that the city council and city staff are hell bent on spending everything they can.

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  34. I agree with 1:29.If the research and political will had been put into wind power (with its problems) and solar power (with its problems) forty years ago when the public started calling for it, we'd be in much better shape now.In the sun belt its crazy not to have solar power.

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  35. After the 4 Phools get done spending every dime we've given them, then they will proclaim a financial crisis is taking place because the money is all gone. Then they will say that they have no choice but to sell bonds.

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  36. Is the staff report online? That should have the information on the assessment districts.
    Or is it online through Patch, their one token gesture to cover politics in SM?

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  37. I get a kick out of the Patch coverage of city meetings. Quite like 80% of the council member reports."There was a meeting. I was there" Though our representatives are always trying to polish their own apples, and the Patch recruits are more likely bored out of their minds. Literally. Mindless.

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  38. No staff reports on Patch yet. I think they are too excited about the big Father's Day sale at Best Buy. The big box electronics store in Pasadena, not our friendly neighborhood drug store. Which goes to show that their dedication to Sierra Madre's businesses is suspect at best.

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  39. I'd say Patch's CC reporters have that deer in the headlights thing going on. But the lights they're looking at just aren't all that bright.

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  40. Hey man its a sweet deal. $50, 2 minutes of listening and a couple of hours to play games.

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  41. I heard that all Patch reporters were recently promoted to "bloggers." Which means they are really cool and independent. They also shouldn't expect money anymore because they're now fighting for a cause.

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  42. I brought in Ce Lo because I am committed to fighting climate change. He is Green. And I am not going to comment on his lyrics. I'm not going down that road. Some folks say FU, some say good morning. I was born to lead, not to judge. Let's stay friends while I destroy this town.

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  43. I say FU. But not in the morning. I don't get up until well after noon.

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  44. Don't hold your breathJune 13, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Making staff reports available online will probably be the last task on the new site, if it's done at all.

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  45. 2:59, exactly what I'd expect from the Mayor who talks about "civility"

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  46. Y'all have got to understand how this will be played.
    The Tattler will be accused of obscenity because it reported on the singer and his sorry excuse for lyrics.
    The focus will not be on who initiated this, or how the Fire Department was made to participate in this embarrassing connection.
    Nah, it'll be the Tattler that's the problem.

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  47. Ever notice that the more The Tattler gets attacked in the papers, the more people come to read it? And where is Rich Johnson? We commenters haven't been scolded lately for bad behavior.

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  48. No way the city will put staff reports on the new website. That would be a little too transparent. 1 copy at the Library for people to fight over is transparency enough.

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  49. Don't forget 3:45, you can also go into the welcoming city hall and read staff reports, making everyone who works there visibly uncomfortable until you leave. But there is one perk - if Henderson managed to get out her 'paper' there will be a copy there.

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  50. Staff is not interested in encouraging citizen participation.
    Residents who do ask questions are marginalized as conspiracy nuts.

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  51. If you order a pigs knuckle at the Buc it comes wrapped in the Mountain Views News.

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  52. 3:48, is a copy of the Henderson's City Hall News a per, or a punishment?

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  53. Last time I got called a conspiracy nut at City Hall they charged me a $25 fee for the honor.

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  54. Not leading any cheersJune 13, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    From the city hall point of view you are either some kind of zero growth paranoid wacko or an All America City cheerleader.Guess who they like better.

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  55. I've often wondered if an unfortunate side effect of anti-depressants might be a belief that politicians care about you and do the right things.

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