COMMENTARY: Oh, my. What a month we have had!

February 18, 2008



We knew when we first posted that would attract readers. We worried whether just two of us would be able to generate enough solid reporting to keep those readers.

That, happily to report, is no longer a concern. The flood of real, and really important, news tips being directed our way regarding an assortment of odd and illegal goings-on around San Luis Obispo County has been – and continues to be – a daily source of satisfaction. That’s because we know beyond a doubt that much genuine news goes unreported in SLO County, due to the incestuous intertwining of the county’s political, governmental, business, and media hierarchy.

That in turn creates a need, and leaves open the door for, whose only special interest is in surviving to keep reporting. has tapped into a wellspring of knowledgeable people with important information of vital community concern to share, and who, until now, might as well have flushed that important information down the toilet.

Our first 30 days on the Web included a variety of articles we thought were both interesting and noteworthy, including Atascadero’s faulty FEMA application, which appears to have attracted the attention of the FBI; the county’s Probation Department turmoil; state pension fund problems; Cal Poly’s Engineering College deal with the Saudis that excludes women, gays, and Jewish people; hi-jinks and sex discrimination at Atascadero’s police headquarters; and the arrival in this county of the Minutemen. You didn’t read any of this anywhere else.

We already have some readers who love us, some who really, really hate us, and a lot who just read and make their own judgments about our credibility and our own transparency. To our critics, we appreciate your taking the time to criticize; we do what we can. To all of our readers, our goal is the same as yours – an informed and involved public.

Our start-up month was gratifying. Now, watch us this month.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Member Opinions:

By: Anonymous on 3/4/08 [Delete]

Just because a person is guilty of a heinous crime does not negate the wrongs perpetrated on him. It was a good thing to testify against the guards and he should have been protected while at ASH. He should also never be released. What a bunch of neanderthals.

By: Anonymous on 2/24/08 [Delete]

He should be back in Pelican Bay, but since he took down a couple guards, he got transfered to ASH and put in a program that can release him.

Believe me when I tell you, this is a done deal. He made the deal for his testimony. He will be released and will re-offend.

2 dead and raped in exchage 2 guards fired. Not worth the trade off. Keep an eye on this one

By: Anonymous on 2/24/08 [Delete]

Smith has been transfered out of ASH to another hospital. I think this would be a good story for this paper to pursue. He should never be back on the streets. Just ask the mother of the two boys he attacked. They are both dead. One he murdered and the other committed suicide.

By: Anonymous on 2/24/08 [Delete]

I read the story about “the boy in the chimney”. It would appear that Smith will get out of ASH because while he raped a young man and ran him over with his car the youth lived. That was 22 years ago. But what Smith did that he got away with was to rape and kill the brother of his victim 8 years earlier. He won’t admit it but he told the victim who lived that he would kill him just like he killed his brother (and then raped and ran him over). Also Smith was a house guest at the time the “Boy in the Chimney ” went missing. He should never get out of ASH. I wonder if people can take up a cause to stop his release? Is there any release date on the horizon?

By: Anonymous on 2/21/08 [Delete]

I recognized Theodric

Van Smith’s name from a story printed in the L.A. Times called “The Boy in The Chimney” about one of his purported victims: a mentally-retarded 14 yr. old African American he supposedly kidnapped, raped and murdered. Why doesn’t anyone do a story about why he isn’t prosecuted for this 1977 murder? Readers: Google ‘Boy in the Chimney’ and be prepared for a gruesome story. This is the guy the judge believed?

By: Anonymous on 2/21/08 [Delete]

They need to post ASH with the shark attack signs that they put up at the beach. What they really need to do is put a bounty on these sicko’s who file these cases. Actions like these that are permitted by our society are the worst. The judge should probably have put the attorney’s in ASH for the weekend and then see what kind of cases they go after they were able to walk again.

By: Anonymous on 2/20/08 [Delete]

Glad to hear that, thanks for explaining. I will repeat. This guy will end up back on the streets. is it worth it?

By: Anonymous on 2/20/08 [Delete]

I wasn’t being facious. I meant exactly what I said. The judge sent a message and I agree. The guy had a case but the two beatings and his life wasn’t worth more than 1K. Hey the judge had to give him something too bad it wasn’t $1.00

By: Anonymous on 2/20/08 [Delete]

So you believe violent sex offenders deserve rights?

Do you have any idea how many victims it takes to be labeled Sexually Violent Predator (SVP)?

He was in Pelican Bay. This is where we house the worst of the worst. Ususlly they end up there because they committed violent crimes while in prison.

He is likely at ASH and in a program that will eventuall get him released (cured of his disease) that makes him commit violent sexual crimes, because he got a deal to testify against the guards. Maybe he can move in next door to you!

Educate youself before posting ignorant statements.

By: Anonymous on 2/20/08 [Delete]

$1,000! I guess the judge sent a message about the value of sex offenders lives & rights. I think he has always been in far more danger from his inmates over his crimes rather than for his testimony against prison guards.

By: Anonymous on 2/20/08 [Delete]

As I recall, Blackburn wrote all those ASH stories for NT.

By: Anonymous on 2/19/08 [Delete]

Wasn’t this story originally in New Times? I mean, the original feature story about the ASH employee doing provocative poses. How come they haven’t followed up on this? Asleep at the wheel once more. Too much roller derby, I guess. I’m bad!

By: Anonymous on 2/19/08 [Delete]

I just saved the taxpayers multiple thousands of dollars. The real crime is the lawyers who brought this lawsuit. Don’t you all think that it is funny that those lawyers banking on a big settlement just got screwed. A thousand dollars! Maybe in 1826 that was a huge sum. Today, I can’t drive to the east coast on that amount

By: Anonymous on 2/19/08 [Delete]

Ya got a loons at ASH who should be inside and not on the other side of the fence! All those loon tax trough feeders. They even have a member of hezbulla working at ASH! Run with that story if you dare!

It’s sad…In many cases these whacks need to outright fired! Including that rerrorist sympathiser.

Privatize all Gov’t services and this crap won’t happen!

By: Anonymous on 2/19/08 [Delete]

Is this a typo? $1,000, 1k, one thousand dollars?

That comes to less than two cents per person. I am sure it cost more to have the case looked at.

By: Anonymous on 2/19/08 [Delete]

I love it. Government workers misbehave and we end up paying the bill. Next time I get sued I’m going ask my company if they’ll pay for me.