In a rant this morning, The Union publisher/editor goes off on another tirade about government spending — this time targeting the Rood Center, supervisors and government workers.
But here’s what he forget to tell you: He’s supping at the trough too! With no competition.
In a column titled, “the great and powerful board may just have it backward,” the Oracle of Burger Basin turns to the usual hyperbole to make a point, citing grossly inaccurate figures, because the reality doesn’t suit his political agenda. The rant is here.
He writes: “The folks we are electing to turn that mess around are staggering around drunk from their own power and in need of a serving of Humble Pie. Until then, maybe it’s time they took a seat on a metal folding chair planted right in the middle of ‘We The People.’”
“Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, and Ray Bolger as The Scarecrow, as they stand before the Wizard in Emerald City. Nevada County citizens may face a similar experience when standing before the Board of Supervisors,” a caption reads.
It’s a timely rant since the editor/publisher is going to a county tea party patriot “meetup” this week, where the same simplistic message plays like a broken record. The details are here — oh, and a $5 donation is requested.
He and the Mecklers, Barry Pruett, Russ Steele and George Rebane will all “break bread” together and trash government — and maybe The Union will sell a few print newspaper subscriptions to what it thinks is a demographic “sweet spot.”
This morning’s unsupported rant sounds to me like an attempt to bully the standing board of supervisors — all but one are conservatives, no less — in an upcoming election year. A tea party candidate is running against Nate Beason, a moderate conservative, for example.
I wonder if The Union publisher is still “drunk on power,” to use his employer’s newspaper as a bully pulpit to get a board that is more to his political liking.
Trouble is, we’re more “purple” politically now, and social media and blogs provide more independent voices. It’s harder to bully “We the people” when you can’t hog the microphone all to yourself.
Worst of all, the hypocrisy is that The Union and its publisher also is supping at the trough of local government spending — and with no competition.
Last November, taxpayers spent $45,000 to satisfy the county’s obligation to publish legal notices in The Union — an ongoing expense footed by “We the People.” That’s more than money than a county supervisor earns in an entire year!
And get this: The average rate per column in the proposed contract was increased nearly 8 from the previous year. Yup, a nearly 8 percent price hike in this miserable economy.
There was no RFP (“request for proposal”) or competitive bidding on publishing the legal notices. Why not? Because the California newspapers have worked hard to protect their legal ad monopoly by lobbying lawmakers in a very “un-tea party-like” fashion.
As I’ve written before, state legislation was introduced for governments to handle more of their own legal advertising — saving taxpayers money.
Technology and increased competition is prompting a call for changes in outdated regulations that govern the posting of legal ads.
Many government websites are becoming more robust and feature oriented. There are other outlets to publish the notices besides “adjudicated” newspapers, an anachronism. And unlike the increasing number of newspapers in The Union’s Nevada-based chain, they are free.
But the legislation died, thanks to vigilant lobbying efforts by the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association. See “Newspapers guard legal ad monopoly” here.
So it seems the blame for higher government spending is a two-way street, between private and public industry.
The Union should soon be lining up for another automatic handout of many tens of thousands of dollars from the Rood Center.
People should show up at the meeting and ask what “We the People” could do with that $45,000 other than to pad The Union’s coffers: to build a bus shelter for our less fortunate residents, to help draw more tourists to the area to help our merchants — or buy a lot of library books.
Get off your bully pulpit Mr. Union publisher! It reminds me what a former colleague of mine (at The Union) said about our county: “The politics are so nasty because the stakes are so low.”
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