Grandchildren of CCN publisher spend holidays in county hands

December 2, 2013
Gwen' shoes are so small she is forced to walk on the heels.

Gwen’s shoes are so small she is forced to walk on the heels tucked down.

By JOSH FRIEDMAN and DANIEL BLACKBURN

In the midst of a CalCoastNews investigation into alleged abuses of power by a county agency, three grandchildren of the news agency’s co-founder and publisher have been removed from their family and forced to spend Thanksgiving in foster homes.

Karen Velie’s grandchildren, 10-year-old Gwen, 8-year-old Brenden, and 7-year-old Kaleb, were seized July 18 by child protective services. The youngsters have been kept by San Luis Obispo County Child Welfare Services in foster care ever since. All three of the children have suffered varied states of depression since being taken from their family, Child Welfare officials have reported.

Efforts by the family to recover the children have been thus far unsuccessful.

The county’s involvement stems from an incident that started when Velie’s middle child, Cristin Powers, mother of Gwen, Brenden and Kaleb, returned home to find her roommates having an argument. Police were called. Though no report was filed because no crime was committed, Child Welfare removed the three grandchildren because the house was “dirty,” according to Child Welfare.

Powers and Velie hoped to work through the system to regain custody of the children. Initially, Velie’s attorney, Gerald Carrasco, suggested not pointing out inaccuracies in the CWS workers’ report, because resisting, he said, could result in the children being in foster care for months. Velie said the attorney believed the children would be reunited with their family in a few weeks.

At a hearing shortly after the children were taken, a judge said Velie’s was a family in crisis because of the death of another daughter, and ordered CWS to work on reunification.

Since then, CWS Case Worker Heather Zickuhr has arbitrarily cited a series of issues to justify continuing the children’s custody.

Though CWS workers claim they are working on reuniting Powers with her children, they assert it will take time because of a diagnosis made by an outside agency that Powers is “bipolar.” That diagnosis was made without any in-person evaluation by employees of the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo (CAPSLO), a county nonprofit which works closely with Child Welfare.

The children at the SLO Children's Museum in June, after building their rendition of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The children at the SLO Children’s Museum in June, after building their rendition of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Because of the “diagnosis,” Powers has been prohibited from seeing her children for more than one hour a week.

A private counselor subsequently concluded that Powers is not bipolar.

Nevertheless, Child Welfare continues to prohibit more visitations, because Powers admitted that she is “depressed” following recent family deaths of her grandmother, uncle and her sister, and the loss of her children.

Child Welfare now has banned Velie, who was acting as a temporary guardian for her grandchildren, from seeing or speaking with the children following a DUI arrest.

At the time Child Welfare took custody of Velie’s grandchildren, CalCoastNews also was investigating alleged misconduct by Child Welfare workers on behalf of CAPSLO.

Former CAPSLO employee Estella Bonds said the agency’s homeless services director, Dee Torres, often contacted Child Welfare to report child abuse, sometimes doing so in a retaliatory manner. Some of those contacts resulted in permanent separations of families and eventual adoptions, Bonds said.

A November 2012 letter signed by “Concerned Employees” of the county’s Department of Social Services to County Administrator Dan Buckshi asked him to investigate the job performances of Assistant Director Tracey Schiro and Department Administrator Natalie Walter. The letter alleged Child Welfare workers were not acting in the best interest of children, instead motivated in its practices by an agency with which it works — CAPSLO.

“Social workers are trained to assess families, be objective and ethical,” the letter reads. “These skills and training are disregarded by the assistant director as she believes her personal assessments or information received by a partner agency [CAPSLO] take precedence to the social worker assessment and opinion.”

Social Services Department Director Lee Collins told CalCoastNews last week he does not condone illegal acts against families “for any reason.”

“We do not do anything illegal to protect CAPSLO,” Collins said.

Earlier this year, CalCoastNews published a series of reports on financial misconduct and alleged theft of donations by CAPSLO Homeless Services Director Dee Torres. Torres is engaged to San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill. Hill has told numerous people that he intends to put CalCoastNews out of business. Hill has also threatened individuals and businesses that advertise on the news site.

Velie’s problems started in July when her 24-year-old daughter suffered a seizure in a bathroom and inhaled water. She was discovered and taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where she lay in a coma.

Velie, Powers and the three children stayed in a hotel near the hospital for nearly a week. On July 18, an organ-donor network dispatched a jet to transport Velie’s youngest daughter to be pronounced brain-dead at a hospital in the Bay Area, and her organs were then donated.

Powers returned home, and that was when Child Welfare took her children.

“Yes, I agree the house was dirty,” Powers said. “We had been out of town. But my children need to be returned. They need their family. They need love.”

Velie was named as the appropriate person to care for the children after they were removed from their home. But Child Welfare officials decided that a DUI arrest would preclude Velie from caring for, or having any contact with, her grandchildren.

Over the last four and a half months, Child Welfare and foster parents have denied Velie’s grandchildren proper health care and daily necessities, according to Child Welfare workers, the foster parents, and the children themselves.

bshirt

Kaleb in a shirt several sizes too small that he wore to school.

More than a year ago, Kaleb was discovered to have brain pressure because bone plates in his head fused too early. He underwent skull reconstruction surgery prior to entering foster care and frequently suffers from headaches. For 10 days upon entering foster care, Child Welfare refused to allow Kaleb access to his headache medicine. Kaleb suffered intense headaches.

Child Welfare workers did not provide Kaleb his medication until he was taken to his physician and had the prescription refilled, said Child Welfare’s Zickuhr.

Brenden is lactose intolerant, but his foster parents regularly serve him cow’s milk, Brenden said. Photos and videos show Brenden has developed dark circles under his eyes and blotches on his face since entry into foster care.

Brenden cried during his last visit with his mother. That day, the children had not eaten between early morning and 5:30 p.m. The children told their mother that the foster parents took them to the dentist during the lunch hour and did not provide them food.

Videos and photos of the children taken over the past month show the children with matted dirty hair and filthy, poorly-fitting clothes. Powers said the children are bullied at school because they are unkempt.

Gwen wears shoes so small she walks on the heels tucked down. Other children tease her with a new version of “cooties” they call “Gwen’s touch.”

Shortly after the children entered foster care, it was agreed they would be placed with Velie until reunited with their mother. In early August, Child Welfare released Gwen to Velie’s custody, with plans to place the other two children with Velie within days.

The following night, Velie taught a bridge class and Gwen stayed with a babysitter. Velie left the bridge class and en route home was arrested by a San Luis Obispo police officer despite the fact that her blood alcohol was under .08.

The next morning, and even before the police department posted a report of the arrest, Child Welfare’s Zickuhr demanded that Velie bring Gwen back to social services, suggesting Velie would lose her driver’s license. That has not happened. California law does not restrict driving privileges unless blood alcohol levels are over .08.

Nevertheless, Child Welfare reclaimed custody of Gwen, and maintained custody of Brenden and Kaleb.

Gwen cried when forced to re-enter foster care, Velie said. “She begged me to run with her.”

Since Velie’s arrest, both Zickuhr and Case Worker Denise Waters have prohibited her from visiting the children. They have cited the DUI arrest, her occupation as a journalist, and her “personality” as reasons for barring her from visiting her grandchildren. Zickhur and Waters also said that Velie could not see her grandchildren because she told one of them that she was “getting an attorney” to bring the three home, according to reporters who listened into phone calls with CWS employees.

The case workers have also prohibited Powers from explaining to her children why they cannot see their grandmother. The children have come to believe that their grandmother does not want to see them, and they question why their family does not want them anymore, Powers said.

Brenden with dark circles under his eyes ratted hair and stained pants, shortly after leaving school.

Brenden with dark circles under his eyes matted hair and stained pants, shortly after leaving school.

The Child Welfare employee also chastised Velie for telling the children she had moved into a three-bedroom house where she wanted them to live along with their mother. The supervisor said Velie should have told the children she did not have a place to live, and that the Child Welfare workers were “doing what is best for them.”

Child Welfare policy requires children to be reunited with family if they are not in danger, and the agency is required to allow phone calls. The children are usually only permitted one monthly call and, even then, the brief calls are monitored.

Shortly after they entered foster care, Child Welfare workers noted that Velie’s grandchildren “behaved unusually well” for foster kids. Now, after more than four months in foster care, one of the boys has reverted to infant behavior after begging to be reunited with his family, Waters said in a phone message to Powers.

Waters blamed the children’s deteriorating mental health on the one-hour-a-week visit with their mother, and said that was a reason to extend their time in foster care.

At one hearing, Powers’ attorney Mary Ann Foster told the court that Child Welfare workers were not letting Powers visit with the children more than one hour a week. The judge asked Zickuhr why this was occurring. She said the foster parents were too busy to drive.

The judge said that Velie could pick the children up to increase visitation while they work to reunify the children with their family.

The following day, Waters said the judge did not enter the change in writing in his ruling and she was not going to comply.

 







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SanSimeonSam

Well i attempted to attend the ralley and well perhaps i went to the wrong place. I got to the court house across from the Fremont theatre about 5 minutes to 9 am and well there was no one outside. I am not the sort that would go inside to the reception desk and ask for directions to the the protest march because that is just not my style. I would like some one to give me the email address for the scum at the board of supervisors so i can at least voice my opposition by letter. It is obvious to the most casual observer that this is a planned punitive action aimed at threatening Karen into submission. While it is very alarmist and too extreme to draw parallels to the 1930’s in Germany and Russia there are some striking similarities in attitude and action. Be afraid citizens…be very afraid…..

Cindy

At or just about 9 am, everybody went across the street to the County Building and went into the Board of Supervisors meeting. Many people spoke at public comment. Everyone walked in with their signs and held them up and placed them around the room.

Jorge Estrada

In the past the bad guys were all about personal ego and killing your flesh. Today, the payback is all about group money and killing your spirit. I say don’t be afraid just hang on to your spirit, that which you can save.

hturt

I reluctantly reply to your article about the children being taken away. The reason is CPS, CWS has demonstrated to me their uncontrolled ability to punish the child or children and the family. The juvenile court system is adjudicated by self professed adulterers ,alcohol abusers, and sexual deviants. Within their apparent click, they supports CWS , CPS’s outrageous dealings. Attempting to hire an attorney, outside of this closed group, is near impossible as the majority of attorneys who are familiar with this group, but not included, will not accept a retainer. I would have participated in todays demonstration, but I know photos , of the participants, will be taken and distributed to the unbridled CWS,CPS personnel in charge of retribution and punishment. Control of the children and family is simply done by manufacturing or remanufacturing the truth to suit their wants. There are cases of child abuse, where the child needs protection. But, when they manufacture the evidence to support their abductions, it leads one to believe that they also involve themselves in the lucrative child adoption market. I truly hope this comment is not traceable.

OnTheOtherHand

There are a couple of things in this article that don’t seem to fit with the whole theme. The article is rather rambling and it is hard to put the events from different sections in proper sequence so maybe there is a better explanation for my questions than is evident to me. Is there someone out there who can answer these questions?

Early in the article, Friedman and Blackburn state,

“At a hearing shortly after the children were taken, a judge said Velie’s was a family in crisis because of the death of another daughter, and ordered CWS to work on reunification.

Since then, CWS Case Worker Heather Zickuhr has arbitrarily cited a series of issues to justify continuing the children’s custody.”

Could she not have gotten a lawyer and gone back to force the issue with the judge? Or did she do so and the judge denied their appeal?

At the end of the article, they state a somewhat similar complaint;

“At one hearing, Powers’ attorney Mary Ann Foster told the court that Child Welfare workers were not letting Powers visit with the children more than one hour a week. The judge asked Zickuhr why this was occurring. She said the foster parents were too busy to drive.

The judge said that Velie could pick the children up to increase visitation while they work to reunify the children with their family.

The following day, Waters said the judge did not enter the change in writing in his ruling and she was not going to comply.”

Again, why hasn’t she gone back to fight this failure to respond to the judge’s instructions? Or did she do so and fail to get support from the judge?

bobfromsanluis

Perhaps there is some reader fatigue concerning this thread, but let me give your points a stab; after her arrest for DUI, Karen probably realized that she didn’t have much of a legal leg to stand on in trying to force the issue in a court of law; as I understand it, there is more legal wrangling going on concerning the DUI arrest, and when Karen clears the charges by receiving a “not guilty” ruling, she would then be free to pursue further legal action against CPS and or CWS for not complying with the judge’s ruling that the family be re-unified as soon as possible. Of course, I could be reading into the situation completely wrong as well, and it is my understanding that no one at CCN is going to comment until the DUI situation is resolved, so we all will just have to wait for this drama to unfold, hopefully before CWS attempts to place the 3 children in a permanent adoption resolution.

Homer

Your comment touches on the crux of the journalistic problems in their coverage (besides naming the children and posting their photos, which is inexcusable.) Once a publication decides something is newsworthy (i.e., the dui arrest), future coverage should be dictated by whether or not new information is available that has some bearing on the story. The concept that “no one at CCN is going to comment until the DUI situation is resolved” is completely at odds with how editorial decisions should be made. In other words, if a reporter at a newspaper was arrested for a DUI and, for some reason, that paper ran a story about it, then new information would likely also be published, whether that information was favorable or not to the reporter. This scenario sums up exactly why CCN is a blog, rather than a news outlet.

Word

So because there is no new information to report you are slighting and insulting CCN because they did not report that there is no new info?

Further if the reporters lawyer requested no more overage due to pending court date, that makes them a blog?

Both bobfromsanluis or homer are now just making up shite to have a opportunity to be condescending know-it-all’s without any facts between them.

This scenario sums up exactly why homer is a fake name rather than a real person.

What ass#0!!s.

bobfromsanluis

Um, like, wow; project much?

Of course, I could be reading into the situation completely wrong as well, and it is my understanding that no one at CCN is going to comment until the DUI situation is resolved, ….

So, in your opinion, then, my expressing my opinion makes me a “condescending know-it-all” who is making up shit?

Thanks for your opinion, and a prime example of what condescending looks like.

zaphod

CCN is Not a Blog,
let me show you why: First the fellow who coined the word,
Barger crossed over from Usenet to the Web in 1997 and set up his own site, which he dubbed the Robot Wisdom Weblog. He began logging his online discoveries as he stumbled on them – hence “weblog.” I barely understood what he was talking about, and still I read him giddily. Barger gave a name to the fledgling phenomenon and set the tone for a million blogs to come.

Second a popular dictionary:
bläg/Submit
noun
noun: blog;plural noun: blogs
1.
a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.
verb
verb: blog;3rd person present: blogs;past tense: blogged;past participle: blogged;gerund or present participle: blogging
1.
add new material to or regularly update a blog.

1990s: shortening of weblog.

zaphod

Coined the term ‘weblog,’ never made a dime.

Sickandtired

That’s a very cruel thing to say Bob. To hope that the children to be adopted. You clearly have not suffered any kind of loss or a situation that has happened to you that has turned your life upside down. Hey everyone, look here at Bob…he doesn’t need any attention to his comment here cuz it is not a comment worth listening to…

Sickandtired

oops read comment wrong..my apologies to Bob…

heaven

GOOGLE this!!!!!

Report of Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer on CPS Corruption …

fightcps.com/2008/02/29/report-of-georgia-senator-nancy-schaefer…

Report of Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer on Corruption in Child Protective Services

Keep in mind it is dangerous when you are right and the Government is wrong.

FEAR not+

JB Bronson

The whole thing from start, to the scrambling and damage control, is bullshit Lee.

clemente

Not nearly as damaging in leaving them in a home living with strangers in filth.

bobfromsanluis

And you know that this home is filthy all of the time? Perhaps it was dirty at the time it was inspected, but do you not remember that the mother of the children had not been at the home for awhile, and maybe that is why the home wasn’t clean?
Isn’t is also possible that CPS perhaps may have had an agenda concerning these children when it was discovered whose grandchildren they were?

Cindy

I gave you clemente, a thumbs up because you mentioned strangers so I thought you were talking about the foster home. Which are you talking about? The roommates in the Powers home were not strangers.

achillesheal

A government big enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take everything you have – including your children!

oa anon

This article, as well as the comments, was a strange read. I don’t know any of these parties involved whatsoever, but everything I have seen in the news (nationwide) about Child Welfare/Protective Services is that they don’t do enough to protect children. This is the first thing I have ever read about the department OVERdoing their job. They are usually overwhelmed with the workload, have very strict guidelines and can’t use just “gut feelings” and don’t have enough case workers. What I get from this article is that there may be more to the story than any of us know. As far as naming the children, I think that is unforgiveable. If you look closely at the children’s clothing, to me the shoes look like they are being worn by a kid who likes to slip them on and off easily and not bother with tying the shoes – so bends the heels down. I knew a kid like that. The shirt does NOT look “several sizes too small.” The shirt has a normal fit in the torso and neck. The shirt looks like a 3/4 sleeve to me.

oa anon

Knowing nothing about CWS/CPS rules, if the relatives are allowed to visit the children, are they not allowed to provide their clothing from home? Or bring new stuff?

clemente

Yeah, they forget about that small issue. The kids are being used as props. Wouldnt surprise me if they were dressed in their old clothes by Mom and Grandma to exploit them further for Grandma’s purposes.

Word

So you are saying the grandmother at a CPS Supervised visit brought bad clothes and dirt, to take a photo’s used to get them home? In front of CPS?

So you are basicly casting aspersions of fraud against someone without anything to back up the big words.

R.Hodin

I just heard on Dave’s show that Velie has had her home approved for the children. Still remaining is clearance for her to get custody. That’s good. It’s what right and due her & her family.

However . . .

I think this illustrates my earlier quandary: by running this article, has CCN pressured CWS to do its job, to the particular benefit of its publisher & her family? Has the natural sympathy of the regular readership been played for selfish ends?

I don’t think CCN can refute either effect. It’s what they aim to do, on other issues, and few complain about it unless they’re the target.

It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

south

Hodin. You are a tool and another reason to only pick up the NT for use as kindling. But I will give you this: You are consistent.

KatieEvans

Having a right to see ones family is selfish?

Sad that our local media does not help keep watch over government but instead is obsessed with ethical journalistic controversies. These debates on what journalists should do have been debated in journalism classes for decades.

What I think journalists should do is not just rewrite press releases and say whatever government says is correct. Hodin, you chastised Velie saying the officer’s report had to be true, he said at under an .08 BAC she was swaying back and forth, eyes dripping and hair standing on end while having to grab a pole not to fall down.

And because the officer said that it has to be true, Velie is lying about not being trashed at under an .08. The reason the law says .08 is drunk is because the only people that are seriously impaired at under an .08 are usually underage new drinkers. And because they have used this to bar her from her grandchildren, she should stay silent while the children suffer for your view of journalism ethics. These government employees can twist the law while harming a family as long as it involves a reporter who should keep quiet?

The New Times is so obsessed with supporting Adam Hill because they like his politics they are not doing their job and reporting on his threats and intimidation, which has occurred to many more people and business then CCN and its reporters. What a disgrace!

south

I’ll say it again. The New Times is kindling. But just this morning I tried to start my fireplace with a copy and it failed there too. Surely there has to be a purpose for picking up a copy?

R.Hodin

KatieEvans, I don’t think you understand my point. I’m speaking about the selfish use of power, the power we as a society have given to the media, have even encoded it into our Constitution, such that the media will first and foremost serve the interests of society—even when it puts the safety and security of journalists and their publishers at physical and financial risk. We expect them to work hard to discern the truth and to present it—to speak truth to power.

When a media outlet does that not to serve the public, but to rather serve themselves, which is what CCN (NOT Karen Velie specifically, but Dan Blackburn & Josh Friedman) is doing in this instance, it in my opinion, cheapens that trust we place in the media.

I will say it again—Karen has had a very rough year, like many others. She has resources available to her just like anyone else in the public, but not more because of her role as journalist.

As to the DUI arrest, you’re talking about someone else’s comments, not mine (In a perfect world, there would be zero tolerance for drunk driving, as there is in Sweden, IMO). You can rag on NEW TIMES all you want, but as I’ve been a contributor for 20+years there doesn’t mean I’m answerable for the editorial choices made at the paper. They don’t tell me what to draw, and I don’t tell them which stories to cover.

Word

No you are using a high cartoon horse “such that the media will first and foremost serve the interests of society” to belittle someone else’s publication, with your newtimes money in your pocket.
As the newtimes, trib and others work every week with special interests and advertisers for the most selfish cause of all $$$.

SloHeadInTheSand

The constitution says the media is protected from government interference Hodin. You might try reading the protection given to the media.

The protection is so government cannot use resources to impact reporting.

This is exactly what is happening here, but nice attempt at twisting the First Amendment. Wow.

Adam Hill threatens reporters and publishers that if they cover his girlfriend’s non-profit he will destroy them. Then he sends emails claiming the reporters are felons to multiple advertisers. He asks biz owners who need assistance to not work with CCN or lose his help as supervisor. I know another women who donated to his political rival. Then her customers, mostly non-profits, were order by Adam Hill to stop working with her biz or lose funding from the county. She lost a quarter of a million in revenue.

CAPSLO, which is funded by government monies, served letters on CCN sources threatening to sue them if they continued to talk to the media. CAPSLO also served presidents of radio stations that have CCN reporters on claiming they would be sued if they did not stop letting CCN re[porters on the shows to discuss CAPSLO.

Then Adam Hill sends witnesses in a trial threats that if they do not agree to change their testimony and say they were asked by CCN to lie they will be financially destroyed.

PR companies advertise for workers who will blog about the reporters to change public opinion. The posts include many that claim Karen Velie killed her child and is running from the law.

This is an abuse of power the constitution is supposed to protect against. The shame here is that you want CCN to shut up and allow the abuse as if that is the protected right.

And you made comments on CCN that CCN reporters were paranoid in regards to the DUI. The officer, currently on desk duty, has multiple complaints against him for abuse of power and fabricating evidence. Most of which predate his arrest of the reporter. But as long as he bullies people who do not bow down to Adam Hill, it appears it is ok in your book. I used to only pick up the New Times to look at your work. I have not picked it up in months and I will not pick it up again.

Sickandtired

An unknown fact is that the future Geraldine Hill…Dee Torres, was previously employed by the telegram tribune. Perhaps this is why she is not getting any honest press from them…Just a little detail that some may find interesting…

bobfromsanluis

Russ: Your pointed question about CCN pressuring the CWS to do its job in this particular case to the particular benefit of its publisher & her family is a valid concern; I would ask you how you would act if this particular shoe where on your own foot though- wouldn’t you attempt to move heaven and earth if you were in Karen’s shoes? In listening to the first interview Dave did on on-air with Karen and Josh, do you not remember the conversation that Josh brought up where Karen was very conflicted and only after she was convinced by the others at CCN did she go ahead and allow Josh to do the article. As to playing up to the sympathy of the regular readership for selfish ends, again, what comes up for me as a regular reader here is that the facts of the case were presented and Karen’s commentary on those facts did color the effects of the facts towards creating sympathy for her situation; why would anyone else in her position have done anything differently? Your observation in this case is correct; what you have attempted to do with that valid concern though is troubling when you paint the entire operation of CCN as trying to sway opinion via their reporting on every single story, which I think is a means to try and diminish the veracity, truthiness (to borrow from Stephen Colbert) and legitimacy of all of CCN’s reporting. While I can respect your opinion, it seems like perhaps you have an agenda here to degrade the reputation of CCN when it is readily apparent to most readers that CCN is doing the job that no other media in San Luis Obispo is even trying to do, hold government agencies, government leaders, and public figures accountable for their actions and report on stories that are otherwise neglected.

IronHub

So, Hodin, just so I understand: Even as a government agency unabashedly, uncompromisingly and publicly abuses its authority, Velie is supposed to adhere to your oddly-shaped journalistic principles on her own website… which you regularly read for free? Your comments are cartoonlsh. And by the way… what have you done with the real Russ Hodin?

R.Hodin

I’ve consistently directed my criticism at Cal Coast News, not Karen Velie specifically, on this story. Open your eyes.

Word

Considering the entire staff probably fits in 1 car it’s no different.

You are just coaching it that way ” your cafe food sucks and does not meet the standard of a chef, but I am not a chef and it not really about you 3 behind the counter because I directed my criticism at your cafe.

R.Hodin

The journalist (and by extension, the publisher, etc.) places themselves at risk by the nature of their profession: unlike most other professions, they cannot ethically use their professional work for self-serving means. They’re not supposed to “be the story.” They’re supposed to be dispassionate, removed, objective.

I have a sense that Karen felt it was wrong to run the story, that’s why, from the first, my comments were directed at CCN, not Karen specifically. There are at least 4 persons responsible for the content @ CCN. 3 reporters, and a part-time editor.

As to the general quality of CCN’s reportage & writing, all along I’ve posted criticism where it seemed appropriate. Occasionally, perhaps it sounded overly harsh. Much of that was deleted by whatever dwarf reviews the comments (there I go again!). I realize they run a shoe-string operation, and a good copy editor just isn’t in the budget. When you’re in that situation, you do your own editing.

I admire Karen’s passion and want her to succeed. Perhaps CCN is not the best place for her. I hear and agree with your comment about CCN filling a role neglected by other local media, but the fact remains that the role brings along a heavy burden of responsibility, both in ethics and quality, if CNN truly wants to earn the respect of the community, and not just a handful of readers.

R.Hodin

Bob, if I were in Karen’s shoes, I would not use my weekly spot at NEW TIMES for selfish benefit. It’s simply not something I’d be comfortable doing.

But I’m not a journalist. I’m an opinion writer. If I were to tackle something akin to Karen’s dilemma which I was involved with, I could comment on it—and hopefully with a good dose of humor, it would have some effect on the CWS machine.

But for journalists it’s different, or at least it has been in the past, and it’s still supposed to be.

Word

Right, because the goverment brought down the towers http://russellhodin.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/911-truth-billboard-lands/ but our county goverment doesn’t have anything to with this situation?

“It’s simply not something I’d be comfortable doing.” yet you are doing it here to someone, a person, not a scrap of paper.

R.Hodin

So you’re saying I should just keep my trap shut when I’m not cartooning, but when I’m cartooning I’m still full of sh*t, all because I don’t have popular opinions, or haven’t consulted with you before expressing them?

Glad I don’t live in your hostile world, or believe in your perfect “Word.”

pasodowny

Consider the alternative: Ignorance and SLO Tribune stories about new-born pandas.

How can you smell when you choose to keep your head in the sand?