Friday, May 25, 2007

A3: "Ellen Simon drops out of Distict One race"

Hmmm. Maybe Ellen really has a more compelling focus. Or maybe she discovered that local Dems don't much like her. It sure looks like she's a little disorganized about it, in any case.

Update, 2:31pm: Headline typo

A1: "Chino council ready to look at roundabout"

Apparently the Chino Valley Council isn't scared of roundabouts either. Maybe they're just more scared of signal-controlled T-bonings.

Talk of the Town: "Bad outweighs the good with illegal immigrants"

With this I think we might surmise that the debate has played out and there's nothing new to be said about immigration, at least on one side. The same tired arguments made in the same tired way, from people who have no credentials for special insight, makes for awfully dull reading. Why is this here?

Letters: Councilcritter toots horn

I've known Jim Lamerson for years, and I've got used to his iconoclastic style. But it's a little unseemly even for him to write something like this. That should be a job for a happy constituent, and if you're not getting that sort of help, it's a clue.

For the record, I think he's got a point -- people are always more willing to bitch than praise, and as voters we need to be more aware of what's not going wrong. I don't necessarily agree with him about what's going right, however.

Did Jim call up the Courier seeking an interview for a feature on Council's point of view about its various controversies? Might not that have been a good idea, editors?

A1: "Sheriff’s office check turned up Aryan link"

The fascination with this sensational story is understandable, but I'm getting a little uneasy about it.

The meat here is in how old Buck didn't seem to care much about who he was hiring and is getting defensive about it; that Sheriff Waugh didn't know, but now he did know and it didn't matter, but now it matters. And John K's got a good angle on how this might throw some doubt on certain cases. None of this is really at the focus of the story, though.

It's getting irritating to repeatedly read, "a usable amount of cocaine and drove to a convenience store," as if a visit to the Circle K rates a few days in the clink. But that's just a minor aggravation.

My civil-libertarian alarm is going off about the Aryan Nation (no, not "Nations," guys) focus in general. Distasteful as it is, there's nothing illegal about involvement in any such group, and the story is pulling most of its horsepower from what may be nothing in terms of reality right now. There's going to be a jury on this, and how will this information affect them? Will he receive harsher treatment because of an ugly but not unlawful political affiliation in his past? How would we feel if, rather than speaking stupidly about race, he had spoken stupidly, for example, about the rights of animals when he was in college?

I'm not saying that I know he's not an evil bastard, but I sense this could easily turn out into a railroad job, perhaps in part to cover up slack practices inside the YCSO.

I'm asking the Courier to be very careful about this.

Update, 9:15: Today's editorial throws more fuel on the fire, demanding new procedures to screen out "extremists." What's important, guys, is not really what the guy did before, but how he feels about it now and what he's likely to do now. Maybe he's still an awful racist, but maybe he's not; in America we're allowed to learn, change our minds and do things differently without permanent stains from the past. Or we should be. A hiring system should be careful enough to sort that out, rather than respond reflexively to how a past mistake might look.

'Extremist' is in the eye of the beholder, and a certain editor has thrown that word at me as well.

Wiederaenders: "Roundabouts leave a lot to be desired"

I'm sorry, I have no sympathy for this at all. Roundabouts are very simple -- you just have to understand what a 'yield' sign means. If you can't handle it, I'd suggest you should probably turn in your license. But the simple truth is that anyone who can handle a freeway merge can easily handle a roundabout, as long as you don't turn your mind off when you see something that looks new.