The Union rips off our scoop on CABPRO — too proud to give credit

Emperor wears no clothes
Emperor wears no clothes
Editor’s note: It was gratifying to see The Union chase down our scoop on CABPRO facing its own major internal strife from February 7. But it was journalistically unethical and showed no class or integrity for The Union not to credit this blog. Shame on Editor Brian Hamilton and City Editor Liz Kellar. The internet is changing how we communicate. False pride reigns supreme in our small town. Among the big-league newspapers, credit is regularly given; for example, the Wall Street Journal would say “as first reported in the New York Times” or visa versa. Still, I’m glad the word is out.

“Who’s in charge of CABPRO?

“A judge is scheduled to decide who is in charge of the California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners, more commonly known as CABPRO.

“The high-profile conservative political organization has been wracked by acrimony to the point that a lawsuit was filed in Nevada County Superior Court on behalf of CABPRO Executive Director Chuck Shea against three of the corporation’s board members.

“The plaintiff’s party also includes the two other board members, Dick and Tina Marshall, who help make up the five-person board.

“The suit alleges three CABPRO board members — Kirk Pharis, Kim Janousek and Melinda Monighan — resigned from the organization last September, then subsequently retracted their resignations before illegally seizing accounting records, email accounts, website access passwords and other CABPRO property in an attempt to oust Shea.

‘”We just have a few rogue board directors that quit and then came back and took control of the checkbook and the email with the help of an insider,” said Shea, who added he has been arguing with the three board members for some time regarding the direction of the organization.

“The suit identifies the insider as CABPRO volunteer Donna Flores.

“In a letter dated Jan. 18, Pharis et al confirmed disagreements with Shea about his stewardship of CABPRO had been ongoing.

“There were major issues between the board and Mr. Shea relative to the forward movement of our organization,” the letter states.”

The rest of the article is here (behind a paywall).

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.

13 thoughts on “The Union rips off our scoop on CABPRO — too proud to give credit”

  1. In fairness, Jeff, you did report on this a week ago, and it may beyond crediting your scoop at this point, and I don’t see how you can expect The Union to cite a blog article that is so inflammatory toward them and others. I think The Union would link to your blog if it weren’t so inflammatory.

    I have my criticisms of The Union, like I think they should unlock the comments, particularly in the opinion section. I try to make my case, though, privately and in a manner that doesn’t make them feel bad as an opener. We are all humans who need to be approached tactfully. Me too, please, in your response.

  2. Greg,
    The issue of fairness and whether you like it are separate issues. Sometimes you have to just swallow hard. It’s called professionalism. The Auburn Journal cited my “scoop” about hiring a new city manager in Grass Valley; The Union did too, probably because The Journal forced their hand to some extent. The Journal showed real professionalism. The Editor and I have had some private conversations about that since. We sometimes struggle with the concept of a meritocracy in our community. And let’s face it, in the example you cite, they haven’t unlocked the comments.

  3. Yes, they did. And thanks for bringing it up. It threw me off too in the “pull quote.” They wrote “It is unbelievable. They are totally wrong. They sabotaged the website. Really they attempted to undermine the entire organization and take over the cooperation (sic).” Then in the story you see the word is “corporation.”

  4. I don’t think any thinking people with past “experience” with The Union have any expectations that it will become anything other then the hack outfit it’s been for years. It appeals to it’s diminishing base of mouth breathers and right wing ideologues.

  5. Matt Renda had been working on this story since the first week in January (I have email proof). Unfortunately life events got in way of going to print on this earlier. Sometimes that happens…

  6. Liz,
    Please. The story wasn’t even “baked” the “first of January.” The lawsuit (with the charges) wasn’t filed until this month, and the CABPRO board members’ letter to members (also quoted in The Union article) is dated January 18. The link to the letter and court documents (along with the dates) is here:

    Also, this was the lede story on the front page of The Union this morning (the most important “news hole” in a newspaper) one full week after it appeared on this blog and Facebook. No urgency from the editors, I guess, operating in a “media bubble.”

    This explanation reminds me of the one when the ex-publisher sued the grieving father, rather than apologizing for writing it that way in the first place. The Union sat on that story for weeks. Its excuse was waiting for the DA to file charges. But he never did.

  7. From Jan .10, Matt Renda’s story list, via email:
    Chuck Shea — My man might be on the outs with the right organization.
    Fire meeting — One man is griping about the closed nature of Weston’s meeting, saying it should be open to the public. Emerging flap.

  8. Liz,
    First of all Jan 10 is not the “first week in January”; it is the second week in January. But on the bigger issue, comparing a budget line “my man might be on the outs with the right organization” to a “fully baked” story with a letter dated January 17 to all CABPRO members and a lawsuit with a case number dated February 5 (CL14-080276
    Case Type:CIVIL – LIMITED Case Status:OPEN File Date:02/05/2014) is the difference between night and day — journalistically and otherwise. In fact, as the facts show, Chuck ALREADY was on the “outs” last year.

    The Union was late with this story, and it didn’t have the professional courtesy of crediting this blog, which dug up all the news and interviewed Chuck. Shame on you. The internet is changing how we communicate.

    1. Liz,
      I’m merely asking you to extend a professional courtesy that is common in the journalistic profession. We both know that. Your attitude is astounding, really, and it’s what prompts people such as Bruce Levy to make the observations they do. Needless to say, you have a real customer service problem on your hands.

      BTW, I notice Matt’s name is no longer on the masthead — more turnover, I guess. In this story he was listed as a “special to The Union.” That’s too bad: a lot of people in our community told me they are going to miss Matt’s reporting.

    2. Liz…You certainly picked the perfect description of the existing problem. For those who don’t know, an “idée fixe” is a preoccupation of mind held so firmly as to resist any attempt to modify it, a fixation. The name originates from the French “idée, or idea.”

  9. Well, Liz you’ve got a loyal reader in Bonnie McGuire. But for every Bonnie McGuire, there’s a Bruce Levy. And let’s face it: 16K circulation in a western county of 60K is nothing to write home about, particularly when you face an aging, declining demographic. Worse, Liz and Bonnie are avoiding the real issue: exercising professionalism and “best practices” in journalism.

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