In Tuesday's H&N, the big story was, "Citizen starts recall effort". Before I begin to analyze the article, notice how the H&N makes this action in itself seem noble. It wasn't a person nor was it a resident. No, no. it was a citizen — inferring that this recall petition is an act of citizenry, an honorable act. No need to go any further and measure whether or not this action make sense or whether it is just. Nope, because a citizen has bravley brought this petition forth, it is now noble. By their headline, the H&N has declared it so and therefore set the tone for their report.
While I could spend an entire article talking about the motives of the H&N, it is more prudent to focus on the act of Chuck Collins (he's the virtuous citizen in this story).
According the H&N, Mr. Collins claims that the two commissioners have not,
Klamath News is proud to announce the publishing of Oregon State Senator Doug Whitsett’s weekly newsletter. Why are we doing this? To keep the public informed. Apparently the Herald & News has an odd policy when it comes to our public officials. According to Senator Whitsett’s office,
Senator Whitsett publishes a newsletter every Friday and it is sent to the Herald and News, the Upper Rogue Independent, the Medford Mail Tribune and the Central Oregonian newspapers (all within his district). It is published in full and on their blog every week in the Medford Mail Tribune, and in the Upper Rogue Independent newspapers, and many times in the Central Oregonian and sometimes in the Bend Bulletin, as well as the Roseburg paper and some Eastern Oregon newspapers.
The Herald and News has never printed a copy of any of Senator Whitsett's weekly newsletters to his constituents. He was told the only way he could regularly reach his constituents in Klamath County through the local newspaper was to buy "advertisements".
The Herald & News is at it again. On June 1st, their front page article titled, "Jail levy: City, yes; county, no" the paper "reports" on the break down of the jail levy failing and points the finger squarely at rural idiots.
The paper printed quotes from the Klamath Falls mayor and other city officials, but must be shy on phone numbers for comments from those who live in Chiloquin, Bonanza or Merrill. The story does nothing to explain why voters voted the way they did, just to point subtly the finger at rural residents in the county for the reason the levy failed (and at the same time assign blame). So, to do the work the H&N should've done, I'll explain why voters turned down the levy in rural areas of the county.
Sunday's Herald & News’ feature article was titled, “How Much We Pay Our Public Employees”. The paper outlined several different public employees with salaries above $50,000, $100,000 and even $200,000. With the Klamath County unemployment rate hovering well above 10%, that report ought to make a few folks a little jealous if not angry.
That said, we applaud the paper’s investigation and reporting. These are public employees that get paid by us. We ought to know what they are making. Moreover, we ought to be able to control how much they make, but sadly often can't.
The Old Lemonade Stand
As children many of us made a lemonade stand to earn a little summer money. We'd find a box, make a sign, stake out a good place on the front lawn where passers by would notice us, and of course made the best pitcher of lemonade we could.
In the May 26th edition of the Herald & News, editor Steve Miller whines about the fact that the Herald & News’ request for county documents will cost the paper more than it can afford to spend.
“Finally, after months, county officials are responding formally to our records request. And Guess what? They seem to be telling us that the records we want could be available, all we have to do is pay for them. And pay a lot, more than we feel we can afford, actually.” — Editor Steve Miller of the Herald & News, page A3, May 26, 2011