Thursday, May 27, 2010

Editorial: Needs, not wants should rule plans

Once again we find the unnamed Courier editor arguing against something he doesn't like by asserting that he is the best judge of what the city "needs." Yet he does not bother to build an argument for why this particular expenditure would be a luxury, other than an utterly spurious dichotomy comparing it to manhole covers.

I happen to agree that spending a quarter million clams to remodel the old clubhouse for event rentals is dumb on several fronts, not least because the City should not be in the event-rental business (any more than it should be in the golf-course or restaurant business, but that's a rant for another day). I know something about that building from when the City tried to trick my struggling nonprofit into paying for the asbestos abatement a decade ago. The location is awful, the neighbors will adamantly oppose any new traffic, and the market for rentals is already oversupplied and will be for another dozen years. The City needs to give up on that albatross -- which it made redundant by building the new clubhouse ages ago -- pull it down, clean up the site and move on. (What the City Manager and golf-course manager really want is more office space, but they have to keep that ambition sub rosa.)

The Courier isn't arguing from practicality or economic sense, instead the editor offers only sloppy thinking, propaganda techniques and uninformed personal prejudice. This is no way to inform the public or convince anyone. Do your research, editor, think through your argument, and try to spend a little more time on your editorials than I put into a blog post.

Related: City should shift money to needs

Search for fugitive leads to 3 unrelated arrests

I'm sure that there's a lot more to the story behind this transcribed police report, but what's here raises red flags.

Three Hispanic men drive by a sheriff's deputy, from all accounts minding their own business. The report says the deputy thought one of them looked like the white teenager who's accused of having sex with another teenager and is on the run from the law as a result. That's a whole 'nother level of stupid, but I'll stick with the story in front of us, as the Courier should have done, other than to say that if the deputy was profiling these guys as illegals, it's a likely cover story.

The deputy orders them out of the car, but they don't raise their hands as ordered, and I have to wonder whether they didn't understand what he said. One panics and pandemonium ensues, we're left to speculate why. Two of them are illegals.

I'll go over the cliff and predict that we won't hear a single word more about this case in the Courier. No one will question why the deputy chased these guys down, nor whether he did something that might have caused the panic and the charges. I'll also bet that there will be more stories like this, and the Courier won't ask followup questions.