By John Earl
Surf City Voice
It’s an election year. You need information to help you vote and most of the local election news you get will come from local newspapers.
So, why are the OC Register (publisher of the weekly Huntington Beach Wave) and the Los Angeles Times (publisher of the weekly Huntington Beach Independent) giving their readers (you) pabulum instead of real reporting on local issues? Why is a small news blog with a budget of under $1,000 a year kicking the pants off of corporate media giants with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars and huge staffs?
We understand that the editors of the Times and Register are embarrassed about being consistently out reported by the Surf City Voice since we started it last April as the online successor to the former print edition of the OC Voice.
So we don’t expect local corporate news media editors to link to or mention our stories about misuse of public funds and lying by public officials, or how city council candidates can parlay shady past business experience into “pro business” resumes that qualify them to hold public office and manage your tax dollars, or how a candidate for the office of City Attorney is arguably legally unqualified to run for office, or how your city council has been voting to help a water profiteer suck up hundreds of millions of tax dollars for a white-elephant project you don’t need while telling you, falsely, that it is a “privately funded project that poses no risk to the taxpayers.”
But, come on, with their huge budgets and supposed news-gathering expertise, can’t the (not) Independent and Wave even do some basic, well-researched, not to mention investigative, reporting for the benefit of their subscribers and the consumers who keep them profitable despite the ineptitude of their corporate parents?
How much more circulation and advertising will the “mainstream” media have to lose before their CEOs realize that “dumbed down” or “advertorial” journalism will not save them from themselves?
Can’t their reporters be encouraged to ask a few thoughtful questions of our elected representatives or the people who want to become our elected representatives?
Before the Independent reported that council candidate Fred Speaker wanted to use his business experience of balancing budgets to help the city through its financial crisis, did its editors bother to look into his known record of bankruptcy or a court case in which he was found responsible for passing fraudulent car loans to a bank? The answer is no. Only the Surf City Voice reported thoroughly on Speaker’s actual business background.
And, so far, not a peep in the Independent or the Register about the arguably ineligible city attorney opposition candidate or incumbent council candidate Joe Carchio’s misuse of taxpayers’ money (and his failure to pay it back until months later and only after he knew the Voice was on to him) or his history of huge tax liens levied against him by county, state and federal agencies.
The Voice has reported on lots of 2010 election related issues that have been totally ignored by the Wave and the Independent. You can click the links provided below to review all of those stories.
Apparently the Independent and Wave can’t keep up.
Maybe their owners think that they are the only games in town, so who cares what the readers think?
Well, if anybody thinks that you don’t have other choices, they’re wrong.
You do have another choice and it has been offering you the kind of local news reporting that is vital to maintaining effective, democratic government. That choice is the Surf City Voice at www.surfcityvoice.com . It offers real reporting—that requires hours, days, weeks or even months of research and hard work to produce—instead of stories that are little more than rewritten corporate or government press releases.
If you share our concerns about local journalism and democracy, we ask you to support the Surf City Voice as an alternative source for vital news of our community left unreported by the competition. We ask you to give that support in any way you can; first, by reading our articles and by linking your neighbors and friends to us; second, by donating what you can by clicking the PayPal link at the end of each article or on the side column on every page of our web site. You can find that link at the end of this editorial.
But we’re not selfishly telling readers to abandon the Independent or the Register. In fact, we would welcome the competition—if only it existed. Competition is good for journalism and good for democracy—there are plenty of potential scoops for us all and the Voice, even with its tiny but enterprising staff of under or never paid volunteers can’t do it all.
So far, we aren’t the least bit worried about being “scooped” by our main competitors because they really aren’t trying to do the job that their readers would like to expect from them.
Maybe those editors just need a little free-market incentive from their neglected readers, perhaps in the form of phone calls and e-mails to the editors of the Wave and the Independent. So, why don’t you, as readers, contact them yourselves and ask them to do their fair share of the work.
Here’s the contact info that you need:
Michael Miller – Editor: (714) 966-4616; e-mail – Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Potter – Editor: (714) 796-2254; e-mail – email@example.com
In the meantime, here are some, but not all, of the stories exclusively published by the Surf City Voice on important topics that have been ignored by the Register/Wave and the Times/Independent.
Joe Carchio, incumbent city council candidate:
Fred Speaker, planning commissioner and city council candidate:
City Attorney race:
Poseidon Resources, Inc. (desalination plant proposal for Huntington Beach):