This editorial is the opinion of Bill Coburn, publisher of Sierra Madre News Net and 15 year Sierra Madre resident. It is not intended to reflect the views of any other person or entity with whom I am associated.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t feel that a person is responsible for things that other people say. However, in this election, Candidate John Crawford has asked voters to “Send this blog to the City Council” in his request for donations to fund his campaign. As such, I think it’s fair to consider the content of the entire blog, and not just Mr. Crawford’s personal observations on the blog, when considering whether or not to vote for Mr. Crawford, thereby sending “this blog to the City Council.”
At the Kiwanis candidate forum, Mr. Crawford stated that he removes posts from the blog if they contain profanity, or personal attacks. I think perhaps it’s time for him to start paying a little closer attention to the things his readers are posting. Some of the things they write can only be described as personal attacks, yet they remain on the site. Coincidentally (?), these attacks are made against people whom Mr. Crawford has written pieces in opposition to. Perhaps Mr. Crawford should have described the blog’s policy as removing posts that are personal attacks against him or his supporters, because those whom he opposes seem to be fair game. This is just a very small, but representative, sampling of some of the thoughts posted on the blog Mr. Crawford is asking voters to consider sending to the City Council:
I don’t know who is worse, (name withheld) or (name withheld). Both are diseases in this town, actually, any town. Bad people. – Anonymous, 1/25/10, 9:24am
(Name withheld) isn’t a disease to this town, she’s a plague. – Jerome Horwitz, 1:25/10, 1:43pm
(Name withheld) is a con artist. She falsifed (sic) expense reports with a previous employer and claims law degrees that she does not posess (sic). She is a brat. If anybody is a “liar” it’s (Name withheld). (Different name withheld) is a con artist. He claims actions that are not his and then attacks those who has (sic) the audacity to question his own statements. He has been a fraud since he moved into town. (Third name withheld) is a joke. He’s a (second name withheld) clone. Anonymous, 2/24/10, 10:48am
(Name withheld) is a grifter, a dishonest con artist who preys on the elderly in this town. She is pure trash. – Anonymous, 3/10/10, 10:51am
To paraphrase a favorite play, there is an unmistakable odor of mendacity in the room: coming from lies and liars, namely council candidates Joe Mosca, Nancy Walsh, Josh Moran and all of their downtown dirt supporters. We lived through and fell for the blatant obfuscation of political leanings during Mosca’s original candidacy; I personally am not willing to do it again. Let’s call a spade a spade; Walsh, Moran and Mosca are all toadies for the development industry and they should be exposed for what they are often and mercilessly right up to voting date. What a bunch of pricks. – Anonymous, 3/15/10, 12:31pm
Joe Mosca- lobbyist/liar/sociopath. John (sic) Moron (sic) – moral and intellectual deviant. Nancy Walsh-tap dancer puppet of Bart Doyle. – Anonymous, 3/24/10, 8:39am Ironically, this post was just 16 minutes after a post from someone calling themselves Panelist (presumably a blog moderator?) that said: Posts are removed for vulgar language and offensive content, of which there have been many lately. Slanderous attacks and accusations of a felonious nature are also removed. Slurs against family members and children are not tolerated. (emphasis mine).
And while all of the above posts are directed at specific individuals, some of the bloggers are happy to be more general when disparaging their neighbors, intimating that all those who oppose them have a drinking problem: I guess it’s true that alcoholics are delusional. And considering their posts recently, also wake up in a bad mood every morning. Maybe they should have a little “hair of the dog” before they get on the internet. – Keep the Punch Lines Coming, 3/24/10, 4:03pm. But the willingness to make unfounded accusation of alcoholism isn’t limited to generalizations. Here’s one that’s specific from regular poster Old Kentucky: News flash…..11:23 dirt…..we don’t need YOUR vote. We will win anyway. Go have some coffee, you’re probably hungover….hope you feel better, have a great day.
And let’s not forget, that there is a derisive term used at the blog to describe anyone with opposing viewpoints, all of whom are called dirts. There is also a second term used, describing people with opposing viewpoints as members of the Downtown Investors Club (which creates what some would consider an offensive acronym).
I defend the right of everyone quoted above to say the things they said. But I personally don’t think it’s right to treat your neighbors in such a negative manner, nor do I think this is the kind of attitude we want our City Council to reflect. While a couple candidates have said they want to see a return of civility to the council, I have a somewhat less grandiose wish. I’d just be happy to see that the Council’s treatment of each other and others doesn’t spiral downward to the level displayed by Mr. Crawford’s supporters. To do that, I suggest that we encourage our friends and neighbors NOT to “send this blog to City Council.”