Archive for October, 2006

Was the scooper scooped?

October 31, 2006

Today’s print edition of the Alameda Journal ran an article (timestamped 3:01AM) about the city settling a law suit with a former AP&T employee who sustained major injuries on the job. At 9:15 AM, a paragraph describing this settlement magically appears on ADN without any acknowledgement of the source — thus making it appear that Don was somehow privy to this information. In reality, it was the Alameda Journal that had a legitimate scoop, but evidently acknowledging it as such is not part of the “award winning” ethics at ADN!

Cherry picking letters to be published, lack of any objectivity (read extreme partisanship) in the news coverage and now failing to credit news sources … ADN is looking like a shoo-in for the Razzies in journalism (should there ever be such an award!) :-)

Fair and Balanced?

October 31, 2006

We now return to our favorite local newspaper (er, blog) — Alameda Daily News. Despite Don’s assertions to the contrary, there is new evidence to indicate that he does cherry pick the letters to publish or, alternatively, bury the “troublesome” letters over the weekend. Additionally, an informal analysis of the letters published on ADN during the past month indicate:

  • approximately 60 letters/comments were favorable to the Slate
  • approximately 20 letters/comments were unfavorable to the Slate

I hadn’t realized that Fox News was also available on Channel 31!

With the increasingly partisan coverage, Don’s suggestion that ADN is the “source for the best informed Alamedans” is an affront to our collective intelligence.  Looks like objectivity is a quaint relic from a bygone era!

Ubuntu

October 24, 2006

What’s ubuntu you ask? I will get to it in a little while, but set your minds at ease: I am not referring to anything even remotely geeky (like Linux, for instance) :-)

Barbara has a good point about sustaining the momentum generated by the active participation on the various blogs. It is quite refreshing to see a counter viewpoint to the erstwhile vocal minority that almost bordered on being a clique. As latent prejudices surface during this election runup, it is perhaps worth recalling what Clinton said recently during his address to the Labor Party:

Society is important because of Ubuntu. If we were the most beautiful, the most intelligent, the most wealthy, the most powerful person – and then found all of a sudden that we were alone on the planet, it wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans.

In proving as to why there’s nobody quite like good ol’ Bill, he was simply referring to the African ideology of “ubuntu” which simply states “I am because you are” i.e: individuals need other people to be fulfilled.

Alameda will still be around after November 7th, but it will take more than an election cycle to eliminate the prejudices that are slowly percolating to the surface.

Jean Sweeney: Is it apology time yet?

October 23, 2006

It looks like Jean Sweeney has veered slightly off-track on a few occasions after her commendable efforts in securing the Alameda Beltline property. The first was when she raised unsubstantiated accusations that the City intended to sell the Beltline property to the highest bidder, only to retract the accusations later in a public apology. Good for you, Jean!

Evidently, that didn’t deter Jean from going off the deep end again! In “Unsubstantiated Accusations, Part Deux”, she states:

Recently at the car show on Park Street, I stopped in an eatery with my campaign shirt on and was told by the proprietor that his business is being audited by the City of Alameda because he had a Doug de Haan sign in his window.

Evidently that is not the only business that is being audited for the same reason.

I protest my tax money being spent to carry out dirty politics.

Unfortunately (for Jean), Lauren quickly relegated this accusation to a storm in a tea cup and another addition to a long list of “we must be in an election cycle to have these half baked conspiracy theories sprout like wild-flowers” (wow, did that sentence have one metaphor too many or what? ;-)

Jean, merci beaucoup, muchas gracias, grazie for your pioneering work on the Beltine property dispute. We can only hope that you will continue to undertake such meticulous fact checking even when you have a vested interest in the outcome!

Scoop! Council candidates in developer’s pockets

October 18, 2006

Or as Herb Caen would say, “item item hoozgotta item”.

Continuing one of the “finest” Alameda traditions set forth by the venerable Don Roberts, Alameda Musings has scooped all the other “award winning” newspapers to report that City Council candidates Matarrese and Tam are beholden to developer’s special interests. In what is thought to be the first such occurrence of its kind, this information was disclosed voluntarily by the developer.

Faux News in our midst?

October 18, 2006

Might we have our own version of Faux News? Don Roberts recently proclaimed:

We do not “cherry pick” letters for publication which contain opinions with which we agree. Our readership does not consist “only of people who are opposed to Mayor Johnson”, however the majority of our readers who write letters on that topic, seem to be opposed to Mayor Johnson …

… In fact, we publish virtually all of the letters we receive and those small numbers that have not been published are predominantly redundant from anti-Johnson, anti-megaplex, anti-growth, and anti-traffic readers.

It didn’t take long to dispel the myth about Don publishing virtually all of the letters he receives. Here’s one letter I received from a reader that wasn’t published. And there’s also the small matter of Don rewording a letter (so as to actually change the intent of the original!) without prior consent from the writer!

If there are more such letters, please add them to the comments.

(more…)

What’s a picture worth?

October 16, 2006

A recent cartoon in the Alameda Sun succinctly captures what might happen if the anti-development folks have their way.

Alameda Free Library

October 12, 2006

library.jpg

Key Facts:

  • Seating for 590 people
  • 75 public computers, and wireless Internet access throughout the building
  • Children’s Story Time Room
  • Spacious community meeting room and smaller group study rooms
  • Cafe, Outdoor Patio

Opening day is almost here! The grand opening of the new library is on November 2nd, followed by an open house on November 4th. Additional details are available at the events calendar. Preceeding all this, is the Library Gala being hosted by the Alameda Library Foundation on October 28th.

The library also has a wishlist on Amazon.

Pinocchio to Slate: I want my nose back!

October 11, 2006

pinocchio.jpg

Thanks to John Knox White, we can now confirm that Beverly Johnson’s total expenditure during the 2002 elections was approx $36k. This is a far cry from the unsubstantiated rumor being peddled by David Howard that Johnson raised over $100k. To put this in further context, Pat Bail spent more than $100k of her own money during the 2004 elections. As Michael Krueger points out, this was nearly 10x (that’s right: 10 times!) many, many more than ten times the size of the average campaign donation to Johnson. That Pat Bail went on to join the long list of people (anybody remember Michael Huffington?) who failed in their attempt to buy an election is another story.

Now, you have to ask yourself why are Slate supporters spreading these unsubstantiated rumors? Could this be a sign of desperation that their doomsday scenarios are not reasonating with the public at large?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(Update: Added link to Alameda Journal article documenting Pat Bail’s 2004 campaign finances. Thanks to Michael K.)

Yes on Proposition 89

October 11, 2006

We’ve all seen the corrosive impact of Jack Abramoff. Proposition 89 seeks to reduce the power of lobbyists and special interests by imposing strict contribution limits coupled with stringent disclosure and enforcement regulations.

The “Yes on Prop 89″ folks have a catchy video. I might actually start watching campaign ads, if they had more of these … :-)

Featuring: California Nurses, “About time for 89″

It’s about time for Prop. 89
What’s goin’ on in Sac Town is blowin’ my mind
“Big Boys Club” by grand design
Are leaving Californians far behind
Cause in Sac Town – you have to pay to play
Thanks for your vote but you just can’t stay
All you big money boys with all the big green
Take a message: it’s time to come clean

Politicians and big money power
Are tucked away in an ivory tower
Called the Capitol – they got it up for sale
But they’re breakin’ the law and goin’ to jail
Political corruption is on the rise
Donations are comin’ in super-size
Californians need a little bit of love
But we can’t get in to the “Big Boys Club”
Can’t get health if you don’t have wealth
Can’t fix schools if we don’t have tools
Can’t afford the gas, to fill up the tank
Big Boys are takin’ us to the bank
Proposition 89 is real reform
The corporations hate it like a lover’s scorn
They want freedom – to buy politicians
Of course they would rather keep with tradition


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