Saturday, June 12, 2010

ToMA: Historic building, free speech take hits

Merry Nebeker, speaking entirely free of critical thinking or pertinent expertise, carries water for the extremists, lamely attempting to divert attention from the nastiness of the racists in our community and the antics that made Councilman Blair internationally famous last week.

She toes the lines well grooved by many of the hipshooting commenters -- that the mural is an inappropriate political statement, that it damages an historic building, and that critics are impairing Mr Blair's right to free speech. None of this is supportable in the slightest by facts.

The mural is by the kids and for the kids, primarily their own expression of ideas to help them be healthier. Because the largest image in the mural is of a non-white kid, the reactionaries see something different. The kids don't.

While the school is old, the part with the mural -- a cafeteria added relatively recently -- is neither old nor distinguished architecturally in any way. That's a classic red herring.

And Mr Blair has not only been allowed to express whatever dumbass ideas he has, he's been encouraged to do so and paid wages to do so for years -- up until he said something so dumbass that it threatened his employer's revenue stream. Now he gets to be a dumbass on his own dime, and if the recall effort is successful, as a private citizen rather than public official. The extreme right has grown altogether too comfortable with the idea that they can say stupid, hurtful things without consequences, but that doesn't come from the Constitution, sorry.

My question, again, is why this overlong LTE was promoted to a column under the Talk of My Ass slug. The writer has no expertise or even a fresh perspective. This is a waste of time that smells of old fish -- herring, I think.

Editorial: Safe-yield action is running dry so far

Not bad!

There's a lot to like about today's editorial. Where in the past we've grown used to seeing the unnamed Courier editor take sides and hector the players on his own simplistic ideas about how to achieve a sustainable water supply -- or, more often, to protect the interests of developers -- this time he holds back on the ego and firmly advocates more serious effort to find solutions that work.

Rather than tell the players how to think, he urges them to get to the necessary thinking. His tone is deliberative, reasonable, and impatient with those who have proven more concerned about themselves and their control of power than the real needs of our communities. On the issue of exempt wells, for once he focuses on fact over ideology, but again resists the urge to prescribe. Most notably he upholds the highest principle of the free press in holding official feet to the fire on this vital issue. No pointless digressions, no silly metaphors, no empty filler. Bravo. Here's a cookie.

I hope this is an opening shot in a serious campaign to move the process forward. A lot more needs saying about the vested interests -- and here I'm talking about money -- that have been sabotaging agreement on safe yield for far too many years, and about individuals in positions of power and responsibility in thrall to preconceived ideas or failing to do their homework. Voters need much more depth of analysis on the costs, impacts and real benefits of the pipeline idea, and the practical need to follow the clear intent of law in proceeding with it. Everyone has to take this issue very seriously, and while he has some long-neglected work to do in building editorial credibility, the editor is in position to lead by example. This is a very positive start.