Thursday, October 22, 2009

Legal wrangling continues as city ballots reach voters

Cindy's piece today brings in information from this week's court filings, and it would have been enough to report that without the massive rehash of past events that obscures the new info. But that's no big deal.

The characterizations of the legal process as "wrangling" that "drags on," however, seem at odds with reality. The courts have been right on it in this case, responding to the short timelines left for clearing up the mess before the election deadlines. At the end of the article Judge Gemmill says the court will "try to get a decision out shortly" after Monday's hearing. That's a quick decision, in my experience.

The reader would be wise to consider that in recasting this efficient, pretty-quick court process as dragged-out wrangling, the editors are creating a subtext implying that this eminently reasonable legal issue is a waste of everyone's time. That's a standard tactic in yellow journalism.

Editorial: Park trailer plan not a good idea

The unnamed Courier editor has a problem with mobile homes, but he won't quite say why.

Go ahead and look, you won't find it. He says they're small, and that's "not the way most of us would choose to live." So what? Does the county propose to require that everyone live in mobile homes? I guess I missed that part.

No, the editor's problem is that mobile homes are less expensive, meaning they're preferred by people with less-than-princely incomes. And those people are, at least in the editor's neighborhood, undesirable.

This is where the "reduces my property value" argument tends to show up. Somebody puts Mom up in her own trailer across the back yard, and the grasping, snobbish neighbor down the road thinks that's ugly. He wouldn't like to buy in to "that sort" of neighborhood, so he infers that no one would, and from that he infers a threat to the value of his house. (For my money, if a condition keeps the snobs out, I'm all for it. They make rotten neighbors.)

Has the editor ever come across the Catch-22 wherein if you want to build your own house on your own county land, up to now you weren't allowed to live there while you did it? I wonder how the pioneers the editor pretends to so admire might react to that kind of restriction.

We all know real the dynamic at work here. So why can't the editor just say it out loud? Only because that might make him look like a grasping snob who can't abide the lesser classes. Here's a clue, editor: we already knew that.