Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Editorial: "Status quo preferable to immigration bill"

I have to give the unnamed Courier editor some points today for applying himself a little more than usual in terms of original writing, timing the issue properly for voter effect and avoiding any mention of cowboys or dated pop culture. Hooray. But he loses points again for trying to make voters dumber.

His use of charged buzzwords in place of thinking is obvious. Less obvious is his employment of poll numbers to support his preconceptions. A more nuanced and reliable analysis is easily available from the Pew Center, directly contradicting several of the editor's core points. The overall point that most people say they don't like the bill is true as far as it goes, but not because they have a considered understanding of the issues or the bill.

Here the editor is fulfilling only his chosen role as part of the right-wing echo chamber, where he should be getting past his personal prejudices to serve the interests of the community. A personal, bylined column is fundamentally different from an unsigned editorial in this regard, and this piece should have come with a byline.

A1: "Council cuts bed tax hike proposal by half"

Cindy Barks covers the basics pretty well, but I can't help feeling that something's missing from this story.

We have the major business players supporting a two-percent bed-tax rise to allow for more tourism promotion. We have an apparently small group of hotels resisting, and Councilcritters compromising as a result, probably in part because of ideological opposition to taxes.

What's bugging me is that if City-sponsored promotion is making the Chamber happy, why are some hotels not happy? Might there be some favoritism going on in the promotions? If investing in promotion is working, why don't the Chamber members just get together and invest the money that Council now says it won't extract in taxes? Might the tax regime be creating a market distortion that some businesses can use to advantage over others?

I'd like to see more on this.

A1: "School board member is at the heart of 9-1-1 dispute"

Anyone who's watched Tom Staley on the PUSD board will not be surprised at this story, in which his hot-headedness gets a little out of hand. This ran him straight into conflict with the ridiculous over-cautiousness of our lawnforcement policy today, in which overreaction is not just tolerated, it's required. Mirsada Buric went beyond summarizing the police report to get comments from Staley, all good. The recording of the 911 call on the free site is welcome too.