The Union publisher/editor sues local family in tragic incident

Jeff Ackerman, the publisher/editor of The Union, has filed a civil lawsuit against Jim Knight of Lake Wildwood, alleging “bodily injury and emotional distress” involving an incident that occurred at the newspaper on Oct. 20, according to public documents on file in Nevada County Superior Court.

Ackerman is seeking $1 million in punitive damages, including $250,000 for “pain, suffering and inconvenience” $250,000 for “emotional distress” and $3,200 for “medical expenses,” according to the documents.

The $1 million claim “adds insult to injury,” said Brad Thomas, Knight’s lawyer, who claims “willful and wanton conduct on (Ackerman’s) own part proximately caused and contributed to the happening of the incident in question.”

Thomas said he was referring to a column Ackerman wrote on Oct. 20 about the death of Knight’s daughter. “It’s tough to keep a 17-year-old’s death by heroin overdose a secret, try as some might to put a pretty picture on it,” the column said in part. Knight is the golf pro at Lake Wildwood.

Knight’s response also claims “(Ackerman) initially attacked (Knight) and if, in fact, defendant committed any assault on plaintiff, said action was performed to protect the person and property of the defandant and was performed in self defense.”

The actual amount of damages in the case will be “according to proof,” however, said Craig Diamond, Ackerman’s lawyer.

The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 20, and Knight’s wife later was served with the complaint at their home after two previous attempts failed, according to court documents. Knight responded to the allegations on Jan. 22.

No one in the local media — The Union, KNCO, KVMR, the Nevada City Advocate or Yubanet — has reported on the case, though it is a matter of public record and civil legal cases are routinely reported in the media.

“I have no idea,” Diamond answered as to why the case had not been covered in the media. “I’m not the decider.”

Some friends of Knight family members have attempted to contact the local media, including KNCO, KVMR and Yubanet, to tell their story — but without any success, according to a Facebook page they created. (The details are on the posts).

Thomas said Knight was fully aware that the case was a matter of public record and that he might be identified.

A case management conference for the case (75539) is set for April 5 at the county courthouse.

Ackerman’s column was titled “Heroin menace lurks within our midst.”

It began: “A 17-year-old Penn Valley girl died of a heroin overdose one recent Sunday morning, and four days later Grass Valley police raided a home on Doris Drive, where they arrested 10 people for selling, using or trying to buy heroin.

“I connect the two because I think there’s a connection.

“This is a small town and you hear things. It’s tough to keep a 17-year-old’s death by heroin overdose a secret, try as some might to put a pretty picture on it.”

On The Union’s website some readers complained it was insensitive and unnecessary to include the information. Others alleged it was incorrect or inconclusive.

“How could you do this to a family that is obviously in pain?” one reader wrote on The Union’s site.

According to a Grass Valley police report on Oct. 20, there were “multiple reports advising of an employee who was just assaulted by a male subject wearing a red sweatshirt” at The Union’s offices.

“Contact was made at The Union who declined (a citizen’s arrest). Knight was admonished not to return or face trespassing,” according to the blotter item.

The Union reported the police blotter item but no more details.

“Defendant Jim Knight, intentionally and without justifiable cause struck plaintiff Jeffrey Ackerman, causing him to fall to the ground,” according to the complaint. “As a result of the conduct of the defendant, the plaintiff suffered bodily injury and emotional distress.”

Knight’s complaint said, “by reason of the doctrine of comparative negligence, plaintiff is barred from recovery, in whole and/or in part, of such portion of said damages, if any, as proximately resulted from the aforementioned conduct.”

The county district attorney has not pressed any charges over the incident.

UPDATE: I posted the legal documents here based on reader requests. This story is based on publicly available court documents, as well as interviews with the attorneys from both sides. Anybody can get copies of such documents at the county courthouse or (in the case of the police blotter item) at the Grass Valley police department. This is not “investigative journalism” — it is routine police/court reporting.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

55 thoughts on “The Union publisher/editor sues local family in tragic incident”

  1. Wow. How massively ironic that Mr. Ackerman, a man whose weekly paeans to the rugged individualist (usually the Tea Party Republican du jour) barely keep pace with his regular lampooning of whiners (read, “anyone with whom he disagrees”) is now in fact the one doing the whining.

    Hypocritical heights know no bounds, I suppose, but it bears mentioning that if this were anyone else clogging our overly litigious court dockets with more ill-considered civil lawsuits, Ackerman would be awash in ink, decrying the tomfoolery with all the condescension he could muster, bemoaning the lack of personal responsibility in our weak-minded society. It’s fairly funny, in a grimly ironic way, if it weren’t also something that was understandably very serious to Mr. Knight. I hope he pays Ackerman’s medical bills and the two can just move one without the attendant ridiculousness.

  2. What is Swift’s health insurance program like? I’d think* that the medical bills – the deductible, at least – would be considerably less than 3k.

    (*Based on little or no knowledge, though)

  3. What are Earth would you creatures have to talk about if not for me, or The Union?
    If it was OK to assault someone for something they said, or wrote, most of you would be in the hospital by now. I’ve never seen a more miserable group in my life. Good thing they have stalking laws, Jeff. Getting kind of worried about you. How about a gym membership to work off some of that frustration?

  4. Wow Jeff Ackerman, did you really write this? Did you actually respond to this blog post?

    Did you actually sue the grieving parents of a lost child?

    Even if your original column was accurate, where is your compassion? I cannot understand why someone would not just turn the other cheek in this case. I can’t imagine your bruised pride, split lip and the first amendment, are worth the continuation of this pain in another parents life. For what? A million bucks? to be reduced by any jury to a couple of thousand dollars in medical bills at a later date? You are going to put these parents through this?

    I am just thinking about the end of my life. Would I want to think—wow remember the time I sued the parents of that girl who died because her father was so tormented by grief that he did something desperate. I showed that bastard!

    You should seriously reconsider.

  5. Come on . . . you think someone should be assaulted because they exercised their First Amendment rights? You are all exercising them right here.

    What the father did here was not “desperate.” There is no excuse. Mr. Ackerman has every right to be compensated. And talking about compassion, maybe The Union showed some compassion by not reporting the suit. You have to wonder if they were trying to settle this quietly, but thanks to this blog post, it is public knowledge now.

    Mr. Pelline, what if you were sitting in the editor’s office that day? And frankly what was wrong with that column? You seem to like to expose things on this blog. Maybe it is time to cheer Mr. Ackerman in this case.

    And what was wrong with that column? Nothing at all. You have to wonder how Mr. Knight’s attorney could question Mr. Ackerman’s First Amendment rights. All of you bloggers, no matter what your political beliefs, should be supporting Mr. Ackerman. Shame on you. Be consistent for a change. Do you want to solve a community problem? Do you believe in the First Amendment? Or do you want people to be assaulted for bringing to light a problem in our community?

    Most families would understand you don’t hide this; you want to solve a community’s problem which is what Mr. Ackerman did. That can be the best legacy of a very unfortunate death.

    Maybe some of you should reconsider what you wrote above. At least Mr. Ackerman is trying to protect our First Amendment rights. Don’t all of you cherish that? I have to wonder after reading some of your responses. That is scary.

    I encourage all of you to do some serious soul searching. Do you believe in our freedoms or not? You can disagree with Mr. Ackerman on many other issues, but is this really the right one to question his judgment?

    He was exercising his First Amendment rights. If you believe differently, that is very scary.

  6. Really, Jeff Ackerman has written some columns which were in my opinion using the newspaper, our major news source in Nevada County, as his own personal soapbox to express his political agenda and values, but the one in question reached some kind of low for insensitivity and sensationalism, with the intent to sell newspapers and make a buck. This amounts simply to what is called in high school and college journalism classes “yellow journalism,” and the intent is to show aspiring young newspaper men and women what one with integrity should not and would not write.

    All I want to know about this is, where do I go to contribute to the defense fund for the father of the young girl who died?

  7. So you believe it is fine to assault someone for exercising their First Amendment rights? Scary.

    And do we just pretend we don’t have a drug problem in our community?
    Again, scary.

    You should all be supporting Mr. Ackmerman on this one.

    Mr. Pelline, don’t you believe in the First Amendment????

  8. Mr. Howard, with all due respect, take your “encouragements” and stuff ’em. There’s my free speech. Hiding behind ‘free speech’ is the tack of cowards. Shame on you Mr. Howard.

    If Ackerman had searched his soul then he wouldn’t have printed that column in the first place. “Exercise” of speech doesn’t mean “to flaunt,” but comes with the responsibility of practicing constraint when appropriate – things the big A just hasn’t demonstrated.

    By the way, I hope Mr. Knight’s attorneys troll some old Union blogs where Mr. wannabe tough-guy used to regularly invite on-line posters with whom he disagreed to come down to the office – “if they were ‘tough’ or ‘man” enough, guessing that nobody would challenge him – and when his wish comes true it’s time for a lame law suit. How original.

    I have no problem believing that Mr. Knight didn’t instigate.

    I could only buy into an ’emotional distress’ claim if Ackerman had demonstrated being more or less of a tool since this incident – but hey, he’s consistent – just as he’s consistently overseen and endorsed shoddy, slanted journalism for a newspaper that presently isn’t worthy of wrapping fish.

    Thanks Pat Wynne, I’d too be happy to contribute to the father’s defense.

  9. How about presuming guilt over innocence prior to the trial Mr. Howard?

    Isn’t the opposite, innocent until proven guilty just as sacred of a cow as precious First Amendment rights. Have you proof that an assault took place? That Ackerman didn’t instigate and then cry “help!” Until the trial, you’re just blowin’ smoke – and like most smoke it’s offensive.

  10. Chris: I strongly support first amendment rights, but lets get some perspective here. Just because Ackerman has a right to sue, as anyone does, and even if he may be right, that still does not mean it is the right thing to do. I mean come on! get a grip. Why not forgive and walk on? Yes of course Ackerman may be right–but then so what? You want to be the guy who sues a grieving parent? Its selfish, self indulgent and pointless.

    We, as individuals, need to balance our values, and make moral choices. A good example would be asking yourself the question, is this really a challenge to the 1st amendment or the angry act of a parent who just lost a child? Do I think this act to protect the 1st amendment is more important than putting the episode behind us so the family can heal?

    Unless of course you just want the money–in which case suing is disgusting. It is putting your own monetary gain ahead of the families healing.

    Screw it Ackerman—walk on and let it go. Be a man and make a moral choice!

  11. I just got home from an evening visiting with a friend who works in local school administration. This person was telling me the most frustrating thing about working in education these days is not so much the surly undisiplined students as their surly undisiplined parents. Some have drug problems of their own, which they’ve passed on to their kids. This person said some of the kids are almost “Columbine” scary. I had no idea.

    So imagine my surprise when I got home and read this latest post and the reaction to it. Let’s remember that Ackerman’s column never mentioned any names, just a sad situation that happened to a local girl and her family, or that the identidy of the girl was no secret, thanks to the girl’s friends via Facebook. There’s some citizen journalism for you.

    As for the lawsuit…maybe not a great idea, but I’m not the one who was assaulted in my own office.

    It’s interesting to watch how this little grudge match has evolved, and how some of you are so willing to jump on the mob bandwagon with so few facts.

  12. Back to basics. Drug abuse prevention for our youth begins at home.

    Taking out frustrations against a news publisher or any other person for parental shortcomings is no excuse.

    Drugs are a nasty part of our community. Parents must consistantly ask themselves “Where are my children and what are they doing”.

    I am sorry for Mr. and Mrs. Knight’s loss but I cannot condone Mr. Knight’s actions and I support The Union’s first amendment rights.

    Thanks for posting this on your blog Jeff. If the opportunity presents itself, I will offer my condolences to Jim Knight when I pass the pro shop when playing as a guest at LWW.

  13. Chris wrote: “At least Mr. Ackerman is trying to protect our First Amendment rights.”

    This isn’t a First Amendement issue in this case, not even close, partly because Ackerman has proven quite selective in exercising those rights.

    Why didn’t he exercise those free-speech rights after the incident — other than a cryptic police blotter item? Why didn’t he (apparently) try interviewing the family before writing oh-so authoritatively “I hear things”? That’s not journalism — that’s probably using some chatty dope from a cop buddy. How many grunt reporters would get away with backing up an assertion with “I hear things.” Other than at Ackerman’s paper, I mean. Google “journalists” and “compassion” — there’s plenty of 101-level instruction out there.

    Finally, why aren’t we reading about Ackerman’s lawsuit in Ackerman’s own paper? Are $1 million lawsuits such commonplace in Nevada County? How about $1 million cases involving public figures, such as Ackerman? If this was a mayor getting roughed up, you bet we’d be reading it front page. Why didn’t Ackerman report his own pounding?

    These are Ackerman-centric examples. Let’s not even get into the countless other stories — political or otherwise — he has blown off.

    Sorry, Chris, but your Ackerman version of the First Amendment comes with a very thick filter.

  14. Crabb has a point — we don’t have all the facts. How about posting the court documents here, for all to see, since the Union won’t?

    1. The basic point that ‘the facts aren’t in’ is obvious – but Mr Crabb then contradicts that very point by assuming that Mr. Knight is guilty of assaulting Ackerman – when even that incident is yet to be deemed “factual.”

      I take exception to the argument that “since no names were used then all is okay,” – hogwash or is this generic claim acceptable: “Local cartoonist alleged to be pedophile” – no names were used, right? Anecdotal crap from Facebook accounts could easily be drummed up to support the rumor.

      Ackerman blew it big time – period. There is no defense for that kind of nonsense and thanks to his moronic myopia, he served as catalyst for a whole bunch of negative energy. Weighing the pros and cons prior to printing would clearly shown this story to do vastly more harm than good – oh yeah, but Ackerman has no boss for advice or oversight.

      I hope Mr. Knight counters with a much larger suit – for his emotional suffering was unimaginable prior to Ackerman wantonly shoveling salt into the wounds.

  15. Not a 1st amendment case–just a case of really bad judgement on the part of both parties.

    First, it was not a serious news story to Mr. Ackerman, otherwise he would have sent a reporter to tell the story. HE chose to write about it as an opinion piece.

    Second, is opinion so important that we would write about it without understanding the family’s perspective? Of course they are raw, they just lost a child.

    RL is holding the public to a much higher standard than Mr. Ackerman is holding himself. By saying this is a “mob” that is not waiting for facts he ignores the point that Ackerman did not wait for facts either, thats why he wrote about it as an opinion.

    This is BAD judgement on his part.

    Of course no one should punch an editor. Very bad judgement on the other parties part. Mr guess is that there is a lot of regret about this

    So perhaps the wisest course would be to just put it behind you in order to help the issue blow over and let people heal.

    Instead this family will now be in court for the next two years or so reliving the death of their child.

    Even if I had to pay for a little dental work, I don’t think I would want that on my conscious just to prove a point about the first amendment. I would save my energy for protecting the first amendment for a case where someone was really trying to interfere with that right to deny a public good, not my bruised ego.

    I find it amazing that everyone is so concerned about Ackerman rather than the FAMILY. Just totally out of perspective in my eyes.

    1. “I find it amazing that everyone is so concerned about Ackerman rather than the FAMILY.”

      Probably because that’s the family now painted — by Ackerman, Ackerman the poor, helpless victim — as survivors of a heroin user.

      In retrospect,it’s amazing Ackerman still has a job.

      Ackerman got beat up partly because, it appears, he didn’t try to contact the family. But it seems he didn’t even learn from this tragedy — most recently he wrote about the need for teacher furloughs without even contacting teachers. All he did was say nah-nah when some teachers said they were cancelling their subscriptions. Ackerman is flunking basic journalism ethics again and again. He’s a child in an adult’s job.

      Chris and the like can lean on the 1st Amendment here, but free speech comes with some responsbility — and people who call themselves journalists need to demontrate it more than others.

    1. I posted the legal documents at the bottom of the post based on reader requests. This story is based on publicly available court documents, as well as interviews with the attorneys from both sides. Anybody can get copies of such documents at the county courthouse or (in the case of the police blotter item) at the Grass Valley police department. This is not “investigative journalism” — it is routine police/court reporting.

  16. I’m not so much defending Jeff A. (he’s a big boy and can defend himself) as I am for waiting to hear more of the story before I condemn anyone. Like the rest of you, I have heard bits and pieces of this story, but I don’t know all the facts.

    It’s one of the flaws of instant journalism. Stories come at us so fast there is little time for reasoned response. The temptation to grab the torches and pitchforks is great when the subject is someone you already don’t like.

    I learned this the hard way after years of being a professional critic (as in editorial cartoonist) and have had to take my lumps when I jumped the gun. I like to think I’m fair, but nobody bats a thousand.

    1. “Instant journalism”? Looks like there was pretty sound reporting.

      And how long must the facts marinate before Ackerman’s paper reports them? Weird.

  17. “It’s tough to keep a 17-year-old’s death by heroin overdose a secret, try as some might to put a pretty picture on it,”

    It’s tough to keep a cocky publisher’s assault by a grieving father as secret, try as the Union might to sweep it under the rug.

    I see that the publisher can get just as agitated as the man who assaulted him. The publisher, however, chooses the pen rather than the sword (or fist, or golf club, as the case may be) to sling insults at Mr. Pelline.

  18. A few question come to mind reading these documents:
    How does Ackerman prove his “emotional distress” wasn’t a pre-existing condition?
    Does he really hope to get rich off the back of a father who it seems might have been emotionally distressed? (I know, the irony might be lost on Ackerman)
    Was he really hoping to NOT report any of this?
    Was he really hoping to NOT report this even if he winds up getting rich?

    Lastly, and this isn’t rhetorical, did the cops ever release the incident report on this? It should be a public document.

  19. Thanks Mr. Crabb and Dave C for your thoughtful comments.

    It is shocking to see that some posters think or imply it is fine to assault someone for what they wrote.

    Yes, the Union should have reported this, but many of you are gong way beyond that.

    Did you all see the headline from yesterday:
    Heroin ring busted in Yuba County

    Just maybe calling attention to a community problem will get it solved. Granted, this is Yuba City, but it helps.

    1. Wow, only those who agree with you have “thoughtful” comments? Myopic. I respect the opinions of all who post, will call attention to hypocrisy, especially when argumentation takes the form of trying to excuse the inexcusable behind a veil of bill o’ rights tripe. Any journalist worth spit could have addressed the problem of community drug use in a manner as to not cause the Knight family any further pain. Ackerman didn’t care – who is just another cheap opportunist with no regard for those whom he violates in the process.

      And knock of the leap to assuming and pontificating that anyone in this thread “thinks or implies that it is fine to assault someone for what they wrote,” as that implication is subjective at best and isn’t supported by the facts written in this thread. But hey, I forgot, lies must be covered by First Amendment rights too.

      What’s truly shocking is that anybody thinks that Ackerman’s piece was of value, did anything for the common good, or was in any way a positive or accurate reflection of the community.

      He used his bully pulpit as a too to inflame, quite insensitively, a tragic situation.

      If Mr. Knight indeed is guilty, then he was wrong. Does this in anyway exonerate Ackerman? No. He was wrong from the get-go.

    2. “It is shocking to see that some posters think or imply it is fine to assault someone for what they wrote.”

      What’s more shocking is that you read someone condoning violence. Yet more shocking: That you can see people think. Enough between the lines stuff. Ackerman scewed up in his reporting, got beat up by a distressed father, then sued claiming emotional distress the daughterless father for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

      Get that, Chris? Ackerman seeks to become a millionaire off someone’s overreaction. But keep defending it, if you want, and dress it all up as some free speech debate.

  20. Mr. Howard, I’ve read the same blog entries that you have and I don’t think anyone is implicitly or explicitly stating that Mr. Knight was right to strike Jeff Ackerman. What is being stated is that Mr. Ackerman as a professional journalist made an insensitive comment that apparently triggered Mr. Knight to confront him at his office. None of us know what really happened at The Union offices. It’s possible that Mr. Knight arrived and confronted Mr. Ackerman. It’s also possible that Mr. Ackerman said something that sparked Mr.Knight further. Who knows until the facts start to arrive in court or through reporting.

    While talking about the first amendment and the physical altercation between Mr. Ackerman and Mr. Knight, you seem to give priority to those points rather than the family who suffered the loss of their daughter. In a certain sense, it doesn’t matter how they lost their daughter. She is gone and it is a tragedy when you lose someone so young. It is even more so given the circumstances. No one needs to cast a stone at the family. I assume they are living with this everyday and probably lived with the fear that this might happen even before it did. It is every loving parent’s nightmare.

    You enlist Mr. C and others who think like you as thoughtful. We’re all thoughtful in different ways here. Sometimes I wonder though if we live in the same universe and have the same moral compass.

    In my opinion, which is all I am giving here, is that the family has suffered and continues to suffer. I agree with others that Mr. Ackerman should not pursue legal action. It is unseemly and indecent for him to continue to remind this family of their loss by seeking redress in court. What purpose does it serve. I don’t think that Mr. Ackerman is trying to make himself rich but he may be trying to make a point, however weak. Better that he take the high road, act like a mature adult, and show compassion for a man who was obviously distraught.

    The fact that this litigation and tragedy is now in the public domain is important because you do have to wonder why this was not reported in the newspaper, the local radio stations, or in any other media channel. Is this a situation where a prominent person of influence in the community is treated favorably or simply something that everyone wanted to consider a private matter that they hoped would just quietly go away?

    There are all kinds of insinuations and defenses being put forth. Perhaps, the best thing is for the media to begin reporting why they didn’t report this story.

    Maybe the best thing is for Mr. Ackerman to drop his litigation, to meet with Mr. Knight and resolve their differences man to man, and let this whole issue go quietly into the night.

  21. Jeff, you wrote that “civil legal cases are routinely reported in the media.” Actually, as you know, The Union has a policy of very rarely reporting civil cases. That is why we waited for more than a year to report the Thomas Hastert fraud and, more recently, waited a year to report the Bill Campbell case – even though we knew there was a fraud to report. And that is why we have not reported the dispute between Jeff and Mr. McKnight. We have been waiting for the DA to file charges. At that time we will be covering the case.

    1. That’s good to know, Liz. Going on that criteria, can’t wait to read the story on Oct. 20, 2011. Or whenever.

  22. Liz, with all due respect, you just wrote about a civil lawsuit yourself – AtPac. v. Clerk-Recorder Greg Diaz/Nevada County, citing the “federal rules of civil procedure,” no less. Not only that, the Diaz suit hadn’t even been served when you wrote about it. (By contrast, I held off writing about this one until it was actually served). The alleged battery itself on Oct. 20 also was newsworthy (as one reader here noted), as was a civil suit involving two prominent public figures in our community (the newspaper publisher and golf pro at Lake Wildwood), as was the circumstances and claim itself of $1 million (though the actual figure will be “according to proof.”) The DA may or may not file criminal charges. Also, the defendant’s name in this suit is Knight, not McKnight.

  23. Jeff, a big thank you for getting this story out. Sad that other media has not covered this. The Union sure has covered it up.

    The Union also failed big time in their coverage of Berry Pruett for Assessor. The Union needed two more stories in a row to cover the real story, that being Pruett and Atpac, the law suit and who Pruett’s number one campaign funder is. Al lthis was missed in the first story and The Union had to do some ass covering two days in a row after the first story.

    The first Union story about Prustt was a PR story for Pruett the Tea Party organizer. The story failed to cover the real issues about Pruett, Atpac and the money. The second Union story covered the Atpac connection and the third Union story covered the Atpac-Pruett campaign funding because they failed to do the research, failed to ask questions and failed to put this information in the first Pruett fluff story.

    Then we had The Union doing a number of big PR “stories” about Meckler and the Tea Party.

    It sad to see what has happened to The Union. It’s no wonder that so many are now saying few nice things about The Union. It’s understandable that more and more folks are turning away from The Union as The Union now seems to have become The Tea Party Gazette.

    1. Hey, Steve. Put the pipe down and look out the back window. You might see Mr. Jordan Baggett selling or providing some smack to other 17 year old girls. It’s right in your neck of the woods, Steve. Happening right in your “hood” every day. If you guys could finish stroking one another long enough (is Gloria a male, or female?) you might ask a few questions…How did the 17 year old get the smack? Why didn’t her smack-dealing boyfriend get locked up the FIRST time she OD’d (January, 2009) and was hospitalized? Where is the smack dealer today (I suspect he’s another one of those wonderful Prop 36 success stories)? Was the young woman in custody at the time of her death? Whose custody? Who was the judge who ordered she be released from juvenile hall? And…how did she die within one or two days of being released from juvenile hall?
      The System failed this young girl…not me, folks. I just wondered why the cops and DA’s office were chasing 58-year-old pot growers through North San Juan while guys like Jordan Baggett were selling and providing smack to teens in downtown GV.
      In the end, I could give a rat’s ass what most of you Pelline worshipers think of anything. You mean nothing to me. As Bobby Knight would say…I can only hope they bury me upside down so my detractors can swing by and kiss my ass. Many of you have NEVER uttered a constructive word in your lives and this Pelline BLOG proves that misery loves company. And…by the way…when The Union published a page one story (Jan. 8, 2009 headlined “Teen OD’s On Heroin, boyfriend arrested”) about this young woman’s January 7, 2009 heroin OD, Pelline was its Editor. Maybe he could followup on that one, since he seems to have forgotten about it. We didn’t identify her then and I didn’t identify her in my column last October. Sadly…they were the same young woman. I wonder if she would be alive today had The System done its job when she almost died from a heroin OD in January, 2009.
      Easier to deflect the spotlight to me. I simply asked the father that morning why he was in my office and not at the smack dealer’s house. That’s where I would have been, the FIRST TIME the young Mr. Baggett gave my daughter heroin. There would not have been a second time.
      So enjoy youselves, “ladies” and gentlemen. This is one cesspool I will not be revisiting.

      1. What a class act. It is congruent with his writing style(lack of) and that cheap bridge suck in his maw.

        If he doesn’t care, then why does he need to post? Hmmmm, I wonder who needs to put down the pipe?

      2. Hey Jeff A.

        I’m a former federal drug enforcement officer and a formwer deputy sheriff. I think I know a little about drug use and sales issues.

        Can’t you address the real issue, that being what you did, just days after a 17 y/o girl died? Jeff, you a mixing two issues. I am one of the most anti drug folks around here. I do alot to help stamp out this menace in my neighborhood and community.

        Jeff, sorry to see your lates insult comment of “put the pipe down”. This from the Ed/Pub of The Union? I’ll be sending this off to Swift Media, owners of The Union and I will ask them if they really want to have the guy running The Union making such a post in public and I wil cover the possible issues of slander.

  24. I’m not sure I would call a golf pro a prominent public figure… And I do believe a suit against the county is of a different level. In any case, thanks for correcting my brain fart on Knight vs. McKnight… and I’ll be sure to let you know every time you have a typo, too.

    1. Seriously, Liz. Thanks for that glimpse inside the newsroom. Hold the door open a little longer, if you will. You seem to have this just-doing-my job tone, and you sound assured that Knight will be charged. But what is your opinion on waiting a whole year before acknowleding the existence of a lawsuit? Should we take this as a sign that the Union routinely avoids covering stuff — depending on who’s involved? And how did the decision/non-decision thing go down? Was this a directve from your publisher/editor? And did you yourself witness the fracas? That could get sticky.

      Finally, and this one is admittedly rhetorical, as a reporter are you allowed to once in a while substantiate your points by saying, “I work in a small town and I hear things”?

      Take care, Liz.

  25. Liz,
    You’re defending the indefensible from a journalistic perspective. Good hearing from you, though.

  26. Jeff A, “…What on earth would you creatures have to talk about if not for me…” “Creatures?” Aren’t you sinking to the level of your buddy, unpaid take-up-space and keep the neo-cons happy Russ “raghead” Steele? Real columnists do not have to resort to name-calling to make a point. You discourage this kind of thing on The Union’s blog. Perhaps you should take your own advice.

    “Newspapermen … would eventually get the wrong end of a duel.”


    THEN HE SAID: “You have to appreciate how they settled reader disputes back then. Today they just exchange nasty e-mails in all bold and uppercase, or post pithy blogs across the blogosphere.”



  28. Did you read Gloria Zane’s cutting remarks today? Did you see Gloria–ever? Does ANYBODY know Gloria. I think she (?) is a pipe dream. A nom de pluer.

  29. Really, Bob? Perhaps I clutched a plaque (or a certificste, or a glass of wine) as I flashd a fake grin at your lens. But that doesn’t really narrow it down, does it?

  30. Bob,

    It appears to be a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside of an enigma. The PowerShot may not have all of the answers. You might need to go Deep Throat. Use a dental dam, to be sure.


    1. “Gloria” I accept! I will even buy the wine, get the certificate and all you have to do is flash the fake smile and I will take your photograph. If you are more than vaporware I will apologize.

  31. That’s funny and quite creepy all at once.

    Why straying from the ball, Bob? What do you know about the Ackerman pounding? Your work doesn’t suggest a true photojournalist, judging by the grip-and-grins and backs of heads, which maybe explains the hostility toward probing questions. Maybe it’s just fun to be in the loop. I heard it took several guys to pry the golf pro off Ackerman. What do you hear? Where’s the story? Might explain why a public figure is suing a grieving dad for 1 million dollars.

  32. “I simply asked the father that morning why he was in my office and not at the smack dealer’s house.”


      1. Now we know when Ackerman bothered to ask the dad a question. It was a rhetorical question, aimed at grief-stricken father, but he did ask one. Bravo.

  33. Jeff,
    Please sign your full name, as readers here prefer. No, I am not Gloria Zane. Are you “Dirtmover” in The Union’s comment section? Most important, instead of sidestepping the issues at hand, why doesn’t the newspaper write a story about your lawsuit against Jim Knight, presenting both sides of the case for our community. It’s newsworthy and raises important issues.

  34. Ackerman shows his immaturity and lack of wisdom again and again! I love to get up in the morning, get my cup of coffee and read the newspaper. When is Nevada County going to get a newspaper? I enjoy the blogs but I still prefer the paper in my hands. Old habits are difficult to change?

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