Here’s a vote for public comment

July 24, 2014
Daniel Blackburn

Daniel Blackburn

OPINION By DANIEL BLACKBURN

As a general rule, there’s nothing in New Times’ Shredder column that’s worth reading, much less commenting on. Also, as a general rule, I don’t resort to name-calling in my writing.

But to outlaws like me, those rules are made to be broken.

This week, the newspaper’s Bible-toting editor, Ryan Miller, who hides behind a skirt of anonymity to pen the column, launched a diatribe about two local people who — gasp! — take the time to go to public meetings and comment on the goings-on.

He used adolescent pseudonyms, “Schmulie Schmacker” and “Schmeff Schmedwards” to describe Julie Tacker and Jeff Edwards, a pair of citizens who make the effort to question authority at every turn.

Truth be known, if there were more people like Tacker and Edwards, there would be one heck of a lot less corruption in this county. Yes, folks, it’s true — there are way too many crooks, embezzlers, thieves, and authoritarians running this county, and if you don’t believe me, just ask anyone in non-county law enforcement.

If Shredder would use his potentially-powerful clout to do something other than belittle folks who try to make a difference in the quality of governance, it might help make a dent in the culture of malfeasance that permeates local government.

Fat chance.

Too many public officials show disdain and impatience for speakers during public comment periods, mistakenly thinking, perhaps, that their own brand of hot air has more intrinsic value than that of members of the public.

But one would think that the media — no shortage of hot air there — would pull in the claws and be supportive of taxpayers who want to discuss their business with their elected officials.

Not petty putz Miller, who apparently gets his gospel from the likes of supes Bruce Gibson and Adam Hill, each of whom would gladly submarine public comment completely. (I use these terms to describe Miller not because I want to, but because in the interest of full disclosure, I must.)

It’s part of the climate around this county, helped to fester by the likes of Miller and The Other Paper, that citizens are excoriated for speaking out, while elected officials are tolerated, often praised, for crapping on public comment.

I doubt that Ryan Miller has ever spent a moment or two listening to Tacker or Edwards at the microphone doing their public duty. He’s more mouth than ear.

But I’ll go on the record here and say that I’ll take an hour of Tacker and Edwards before I’ll sit still for a minute of Supervisor Hill’s bumbling, bleary-eyed monologues — or read another word of Shredder’s silly efforts.

Ah, Steve Moss, why did you leave us?

Feel free to anonymously criticize the author at blackburn.danielj@gmail.com.


72 Comments

  1. rogerfreberg says:

    Does anybody still read the New Times anymore… I know its free…. but really?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  2. Karen Velie says:

    At the requests of New Times editor Ashley Schwellenbach, CCN has removed two comments about her relationships.

    Schwellenbach stated in a letter that the only New Times employee she has had an intimate relationship with is staff writer Collin Rigley, who she said she is currently in a relationship with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 14

  3. fishing village says:

    It was a slow week for the Shredder, just joshin’ with you. Honestly, lighten up, everyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

  4. pismo20 says:

    In 2007, it became illegal in California to take more than 25 copies of a free newspaper for the purpose “to sell or barter the papers, to recycle the papers for cash or other payment, to harm a competitor or to prevent others from reading the paper.”

    This happened shortly after multiple people cleared out SLO New Times racks following a story some thought promoted meth. And while the new law makes the destruction of more than 25 copies of a paper a crime if done to harm, it does nor impact those who stay at campgrounds such as Avilia Hot Springs where stacks of papers are used every week to start campfires or those who use the papers to line rodent and bird cages.

    The law, though, was a step in the right direction in stopping those who attempt to squelch the press by destroying papers. If you do not like something that is written, speak out and give your view, do not attempt to trash the messenger’s reputation or destroy their papers.

    Maybe the New Times should start supporting the rights of others to promote their views even if their views are different from its staff, it is called free speech.

    And if these New Times reporters and editors actually listened to public meetings, they may not agree with Julie Tacker but they would know she speaks on subjects usually relevant at the time, and rarely the same subject twice.

    However, the New Times just parrots Hill and Gibson’s claims that the speakers at the county board meetings say the same thing each week and as such should be silenced. And then the New Times staff attempts to trash reputation, while showing outrage if anyone calls their behaviors into question. They appear childish and full-of-themselves.

    We need to grow as a society and be more tolerant of other’s views. We need to be intolerant of bullies, those who destroy newspapers and those who spread lies to demean the reputations of those they do not agree with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

  5. falconbh says:

    I will be Voting for Michael Ebinger for the Oceano Community Services Board in November. Come on Jennifer, either you or Mike has to run for the Four Year Term so a lot of us can Vote for “both’ of you !

    Bill…we are waiting for you to submit so we can vote for you as well. We are drafting You and you are a First Round Pick with your experience and knowledge.

    Mike Ebinger
    Jennifer
    Bill

    A winning trio we can Trust for new hope in the Oceano Community Services District.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  6. fishing village says:

    Everyone , including Julie, needs to follow the rules at Public Comment at the Sup’s meetings! Simple. The Sheriff’s office always has people there!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 18

    • Kevin Rice says:

      INCLUDING BRUCE GIBSON TOO. RIGHT????? Julie didn’t violate any “rules”, by the way.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 20 Thumb down 15

      • Kevin Rice says:

        It seems several “thumbs down” people don’t think the rules apply to Gibson. Maybe Bruce read this? That’s why people like Tacker are important.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 19

        • kayaknut says:

          The “thumbs down” are more likely because, Mr. Gibson, Mr. Hill, Ms. Ray, and Ms. Marx already check the CCN website where as the rest of the real working taxpaying people are too busy to check thumbs up.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 13

          • Ishmael09p says:

            I’m guessing that most people press dislike before they read the post, but after they read the poster’s name.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

  7. falconbh says:

    August 8th Deadline To Submit Applications To Run For Office In November-

    We need Tax Relief Citizens to run for office in November.

    Nothing is going to change unless we have some individuals who will run for office and then we support and Vote for Change.

    The Unions, Directors, Boards, Consultants, City Managers, Lawyers, Supervisors, are all counting on Apathy to maintain control over the people.

    SLO…..Pismo…Oceano Community Services District….. You Can Make A Difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    • Mr. Holly says:

      Don’t forget Atascadero. The incumbets who are up for re-election, O’Mally and Stutervant and Moreno for election have recently voted fonr significant fee increases and a proposed sales tax initiative advertised for road repair but in reality is just a general fund tax increase.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  8. Perspicacious says:

    What I find amusing about this “feud” is that it demonstrates the utter irrelevance of the Tribune.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 7

  9. TacomaRose says:

    I see that Blackburn is maligned by spiritpens post, which suggests Blackburn is attacking peoples religion.

    Ive read the article several times and see it for what it is. It is apparent that Blackburn is painting the target on the New Times for its hypocricy which has bloomed under Ryan Miller’s ownership.

    Matthew (23:27) said it best

    “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.”

    Ryan Miller has damaged the New Times and that is so sad.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 23 Thumb down 15

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