"When government agencies withhold information, people suspect that officials are trying to cover up bad or illegal behavior. Cover-ups are often worse than the crimes committed."
Are you serious?
That might have been true before an irony-weary public became too numb over a rigged society saturated in illegal behavior and cover-ups. Despite the Bernie Sanders "movement" and $1 billion dollars of media hype for 18 months, 80% of the potential voters abstained from the 2016 presidential primaries.
Today, Americans are not effectively protected as a whistle-blower and everyone from the janitor to the CAO keeps their mouth shut. They know that no one is watching, and if they are, the story will appear once before disappearing forever. If a similar story occurs it is usually reported as another isolated incident. In the worst examples, from police shooting unarmed poor kids to nationwide complicity with top Wall Street mortgage fraud, (having wrongly foreclosed tens of millions of families and crashing the world economy), few, outside the working poor and minorities, ever go to jail. When business or government is "held to account" there is usually a confidential "no-fault" monetary settlement paid by taxpayers or shareholders and the executive keeps his job. The "bad behavior" of Deborah Wasserman Schultz, former disgraced DNC chair, eclipsed without an investigation. Where's the public clamor?
Anyone actually paying attention to the media would be driven insane from the cognitive dissonance. Media reported a grieving U.S. Muslim father, (who lost his Muslim son in the Iraq war), responding to Donald Trump's anti-Muslim bigotry, "...would you like to borrow my copy of the U.S. Constitution Mr. Trump?" If the U.S. followed its Constitution only Congress could declare war on Iraq and Mr. Khan's son would probably still be alive. Media plays a huge role in distorting the public reality.
Back when student journalists were taught how to do their jobs professionally, share in their community's outrage and encouraged to do fact-finding, investigative work without fear or favor and without being outcast to the dwindling "alternative" press, (the consequence of the Bill Clinton administration's deregulation of media ownership), government agencies used to be far more selective in withholding information BECAUSE there were courageous journalists in most communities.
If public-interest reporting returned, would subscriptions increase? Would people return from the blogs in desperate search of meaningful community information?
For example, there were no headlines, nor followup, after Eureka's Public Service Officers faced layoffs and told the press, "We're handling 700 missing person reports each year, mostly youths". This is a community where volunteers operate second-hand stores to raise funds for wayward dogs while its county supervisors fight the CA Attorney General's subpoenas to investigate Humboldt's Child Welfare Services.
Would more residents rediscovery the usefulness of a "community newspaper" if Humboldt County's shocking "Trends Report" were headlined each quarter that it is published??
Oh, never heard of it? Hmmm.
Media shares a HUGE responsibility nationally and locally for the unprecedented collapse of the economy, healthcare, public services, housing, and the environment, due to the ignorance it perpetuates in every crisis we face.
I just drove the Mattole road from Ferndale into AW Way Campground for a few days, a quick stop into Honeydew for gas and EVERY person who passed us on the road waved. The waves were enthusiastic, consistent and each came with a smile. Was it my classic Ford 4x4 that provoked the locals to be friendly? Did they know of my Portuguese decent from my grandfather and great aunt who immigrated to Ferndale in the 60's? I highly doubt it. Just the most friendly warm folks I've come across in Humboldt. Pordagees, Bulgarians, eastern European who knows. What I can confirm is I had a great experience and felt welcome! Leaving Ferndale when I was a child to return to Humboldt as an adult, all i can say is Thank you!
Great article, LOVE the bridge!
I find the Bulgarians of Humboldt County to be extremely polite and amagable. I think the reason they get a bad rap is because they are good at what they do. Their professionalism in their work is extremely apparent. They take greater risks then their neighbors. Therefore greater reward. All interactions I have had have been pleasant. They might even be willing to help you out as a neighbor if your not a bigot. America is a country of immigrants, it's a melting pot of cultures. If you don't like culture start packing.
this is a great article! thank you for sharing without prejudice!
No one is "from around here" except the Natives who were wiped out in the 1800's.
Yet again Linda, your gentle touch belies the razor sharp edge of the journalistic knife you wield with the precision of a surgeon. You have that rare ability to see the real behind the assumed truths that so many of us find easier to accept. You then present it in a manner that enlightens and educates without rancor or malice, with sensitivity and unwavering commitment to that truth. All communities have raw spots caused by a continued acceptance of assumed truths that are not valid but nonetheless commonly accepted by that community because the assumption is more comfortable and less threatening than the unvarnished truth. We guard our assumptions jealously, they provide justification for the prejudges we carry but won't acknowledge. It might be apt to note that forty some years ago, the communities and established families of the Mattole were faced with the invasion of their home ground by another group of foreigners that lived in ways that were reputed to be a threat to the established ways of the existing Mattole society. Fortunately the 'old timers' saw past the assumption of those newly arrived oddballs representing a dangerous, uncontrollable, and uncivilized threat, shook their hand, sold them some land-on an owner carry handshake-and taught them how to dig waterbars. And I've lived here ever since.
Linda, you demonstrate a maturity of perception and an unwavering commitment to fair, just and honest treatment of those uncomfortable raw spots in our communities that is so needed in today's world. But then I think I know where you learned a lot of that so it shouldn't surprise me.. Again thank you for saying what needs to be said so well, with so much compassion. You are one hell of a journalist and our Mattole community is much richer for your efforts.
You make me proud. Excellent Journalism!
you are incorrect in stating that it has only been less than 20 years since the eastern Europeans arrived in southern Humboldt mountains. its been almost twice that long that some of them have been well known. however, nice article. thank you.
Thank you for the outstanding piece. Racism doesn't belong in our community and either do the people who fuel it. It's disgusting to read the post of some and hear the hate they spread. Most of generational TRUE HUMBOLDT families deirved from immigration movements. My family came from Eastern Europe in the late 1800's worked their asses off for everything they received and still to this day own our orginial property they purchased in 1946. So... I'm very sorry to those who's choose to sell out their family land and are now bitter about it. When I travel the back roads of Humboldt I see more tweekers driving like assholes than Bulgarians.
Great article! Ain't none of us really "from" around there, unless we are part Mattole, Weott, Sinkyone, etc. When I moved to Salmon Creek in 1992 I had no idea it was pot central; just trying to live free, grow food and get water out of the ground. I feel fortunate to have happened to get an interest in the parcel through which the Stansberry road leads down from Wilder Ridge. Haven't had the pleasure of living there or meeting many of the neighbors yet. I hope to meet you someday!
Good job. "..the main problem isn't the who, but the what." Great line when referring to the industry we all love but hate at the same time.
great piece Linda, being of the Polish persuasion I appreciate the support LOL
Really nice piece Linda. Thank you.
Interesting that the late filers lucked out of the list..
Consider alcohol regulations, which require public notices on storefronts and additional notice to neighbors for on- and off-site sale applications. The argument that some growers may be placed at risk is countered by the equally compelling argument that non-growers have a right to know about commercial operations in their neighborhoods that may impact them very directly. As a recovering journalist, I'll come down on the side of the public's right to know every time.
If people are serious about wanting to come into the light ... well, guess what: Public records are public for assorted good reasons. Business licenses, CUP applications, court filings, delinquent taxes, irate emails to board members and/or county staff ... all very much public record, as will be your state licensing status. Commercial cannabis licensing and personal privacy rights are mutually exclusive concepts. You can choose one or the other, but not both.
Nice analysis ! BTW if others have been needing a a form , my family found a sample document here http://goo.gl/rGc2Bs
Unless you bother to ask yourself who benefits from a candidate needing tens of thousands of dollars to contend for a rural council seat that pays $500/month to reach citywide voters.
Compare that to the cost of a pair of shoes to canvass your ward several times.
Eureka, and Humboldt County's deepest pockets will suffer a loss of influence in a true ward system.
Good call Charles Hunter Wilson!
Seems like Estelle may suffer from a deficiency in Vitamin D and/or an overdose on TV!
After 33 years here in "the solar capital of the world" one can only wonder what kind of zombie pills and drugs and alcohol some of these capitalists immigrants are on!? If enough public pressure she may vote herself another big raise so we can pay for her solar! Then BOS will increase local taxes. Gov!
Love Laura and her sense of humor. Sometimes humor is the path. We all just gave a huge sigh of relief to see her caption read "Relax; it's photoshop."
I spent countless hours with Hank growing up and the Seemann family was very close to us as we shared ties to HSU and the Univ of Minnesota.
Howard and Ann always welcomed me into their home when we attended EHS, and Hank was a great soccer player and the ideal childhood friend. He was thoughtful, caring and brilliant.
Now at age 44, I can say for certainty that I have never in my life met a finer person than Hank Seemann. And clearly he met his match in Suzy. This is tragic beyind words, makes no sense and should never have happened.
I know Hank and Ann and the family will recover for the sake of the children, but no one should ever have to go thru this. It makes me think to cherish every day, every moment with friends and family alike, as none of us know what lies around the next corner.
In Print This Week:
Aug 25, 2016
vol XXVII issue 34
Prepare for Impact
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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