Would the New York Times publish Todd Juvinall’s rants?

In a letter to the editor of our local newspaper on Friday, Jim Firth of the local Democratic Central Committee has some appropriate comments for CABPRO founder/retired contractor/hard-right political blogger Todd Juvinall, whose latest “venture” seems to be an interest in building a housing subdivision on his land that includes 3 acres of wetlands/riperian area in Grass Valley. Nice.

Jim was in essence forced to respond to an “Other Voices” that Todd submitted to The Union, because the newspaper published it without proper vetting (see the New York Times’ policies below), so Jim had to set the record straight.

“Todd Juvinall is off — on another rant,” Jim writes. Then Jim sets the record straight, addressing the misinformation in Todd’s Other Voices:

“Democratic Central Committee members are registered with the Nevada County Elections Department (as are Republican Central Committee members). We are issued business cards and hand them out; we staff market booths and the county fair booth, march in parades, have an office, website, phone number and monthly meetings. The Nevada County Democratic Central Committee is a volunteer organization.”

Was all this avoidable? Of course. It’s another example of The Union not vetting the editorials that it publishes in its Op-Ed page, including correcting the grammar mistakes of its writers (Democrat vs. Democratic in Juvinall’s case), as Firth points out.

The Union is not facilitating a conversation on its editorial page. It is facilitating a mud ball fight. As one reader and longtime local school teacher here pointed out this week, The Union’s Op-Ed page is a “cesspool.”

While I appreciate that The Union has an “audience development manager,” (AKA circulation manager for its print edition and website), it also needs an Op-Ed page editor who works with the locals (such as Todd) who submit Other Voices to make sure their opinions are persuasive but not hostile personal attacks. This newsroom practice is not uncommon.

Here’s how The New York Times addresses the issue. An excerpt: “Once you have signed the contract, an editor will work with you to make the piece acceptable to both us and you. Sometimes that is complicated. If your piece has the germ of an idea we find fascinating but feels jumbled and out of order, we will probably ask you to revise it. We will never tell you what to think, but we will always try to make your thinking and your writing as clear and orderly as possible. We will try to help you strengthen your argument. We want your thinking to win converts.”

The Union is in dire need of adopting this approach.

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 SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

24 thoughts on “Would the New York Times publish Todd Juvinall’s rants?”

  1. Is it just me? The date stamp on the line version of the article you are speaking about regarding what Jim Firth wrote has October 29th marked on it. I’m never sure when I read the UNION online if I’m reading the most current information, as the front page never shows the date. And, the stories on the side bar and the pictured stories are often repeated. As far as the Op Ed section, I read it for entertainment. I believe the admins on Facebook are more discriminating regarding what they allow to be posted. It’s a common belief among the neighbors I speak with that “The UNION will print anything!”. And, FYI, Juvinall commented online regarding Firth’s letter. I’m serious when I say it’s almost laughable.

  2. Hi,
    The letter was in this morning’s paper. Todd has lashed out at Jim Firth (along with all San Francisco residents, union members and democrats, for that matter) on his blog.

  3. A few years ago The Union was committed to doing a better job. What happened? I’ve been told by a right wing friend that telling the truth and doing the right thing is too hard and it cost too much. Hum.
    Seems to me that it cost too much not to.

  4. I just sent the following reply to Todd’s blog.
    I would like to thank Todd for promoting my letter to the editor today. He is being very generous in explaining how and why I am a proud retired union member and employee, a community participant, an active Democrat, and a person willing to stand up and speak up for Democratic Values.

    I am fortunate to live in a country where a person can be an elected representative. I have put my candidacy forward twice for Grass Valley City Council. My campaign focused on how I believe everyone’s voice should be heard, that small, medium and large business interests all play an important role in sustaining the quality of life in the Sierra Foothills. I have and continue to support reasonable growth; low, moderate and market rate housing; and employment that offers a living wage to our citizens.

    In 2002 I had an opportunity to work for a short time for then San Francisco Supervisor Leland Yee. I regret not continuing to assist Leland, I do believe I would have been able to advise him as to whom he should or should not hire to work on his Secretary of State campaign.

    Todd is offering the following statement as an example of how I’m anti-business:
    At least here in Nevada County we have had enough. HERE is an example of a business trying to grow and Firth and his union pals trying to get in the way. Apparently Firth has never seen a project for jobs he could support.

    Sadly, Todd is once again off the mark. The HERE he’s referencing is regarding the Bloomingdale’s Department Store in downtown San Francisco. During the projects review period I worked as a Union Representative for the United Food & Commercial Workers Union. I was one of at least a dozen Union Representatives involved in discussions around this proposal. They included building trades, hotel and restaurant workers, the S.F. Labor Council, and a host of others. Everyone wanted the project to move forward, and everyone wanted the completed project to provide employment opportunities at living wages.

    I don’t expect Todd to understand all of his. His name-calling and innuendo don’t lend themselves to particularly intelligent dialogue. Fortunately, there are many people in our community who do understand, and are willing to step forward and work to improve our community.
    Jim Firth

  5. An exchange on Juvinall’s blog:

    “AnonymousOctober 31, 2015 at 4:18 PM
    Came to this blog to read what I thought would be intelligent, well-thought-out critiques of liberals. What I find instead is a bunch of angry rants, misspelled (intentionally) names/organizations, and platitudes. Our Republican Party chair for Nevada County recently wrote what I thought was a very pertinent piece that pointed out the need for plurality. If you keep portraying liberals as radicals, wait until the revolutionary left rears its ugly head. Tone it down, guys.

    “Todd JuvinallOctober 31, 2015 at 4:33 PM
    No, I think this is tame. Look around you and if you think the liberals care what you think then you are truly demented.”

  6. This also is from Todd’s blog:
    “AnonymousNovember 1, 2015 at 7:36 PM
    Firth and his socialists are scrabbling to keep the truth about Heidi Hall out of the publics mind. The most radical environmental extremists and their desire to go back to nature. Screw the people. NO visiting national forests, no fishing, no recreation of any kind. We can do it because the feds say so says the environmental caucus even though they acknowledge that its a natural suppression of the yellow toe frogs by predators. Not we the people enjoying what is our property as US citizens. When did national forest or park mean no people or amenities for them to enjoy? Answer, when the environmental democrap caucus said so. Thanks Heidi for the meters on our wells which we know is coming because of your gang of eco terrorists. Don’t cut the forests no matter how bad the fires are. Forget that nature needs and wants some fire to release seeds and fertilize the forests floors. Burn baby burn is just like black lives matter, not grounded in facts and just another socialists control mechanism. Your only own your property, we tell you what to do with, even your puddles and run off. Thanks Environmental caucus control freaks.”

    I wonder if it’s time to shut down Todd and his friends, whether you are a liberal or a “middle of the road” voter. Todd and his rightwing-nut friends are out of control. Even the middle of the road GOPers have warned Todd, but he throws water in their face. I wonder what it will take for Todd to “get it.”

  7. I’m flattered that Todd has chosen to post a picture me with our next President. Having said that, he really needs to do a “sit down” with Dr. Phil. LOL.

  8. “Fish” writes: “Took the day off….which is fabulous!” Fabulous? Spending your “day off” commenting on Todd’s blog. Not a whole lot going on in “fish’s” life — except for Todd. ROFLOL.

  9. Here’s some more recent “commentary” on former County Supervisor’s Todd Juvinall’s blog under a photo of Hillary Clinton:

    “Todd Juvinall November 1, 2015 at 9:40 AM
    Pelline kinda looks like this woman in the face don’t ya think? Irony!

    “Fish November 1, 2015 at 7:02 AM
    Hillary Clinton: Americas Ex-Wife!

    “Ralph Underglass November 9, 2015 at 11:28 PM
    I look at that face and immediately focus on the image of what my cat covers with sand. That face belongs to someone whose Doctor is a vet. That face is so scary that when she was born, her parents called her Sh** Happens.”

    (The vulgar word was unedited on Todd’s blog)

    1. I’ve never seen a person on the blogs 24/7 like Todd. He must not have much going on. He could spend the time getting a job taking fast-food orders so he could handle his delinquent property tax payment. What a loser. LOL.

  10. Hmmm, I wasn’t aware marriage made someone so lonely. Foney FUE sure seems to think so. I’m blessed to be in a great marriage with a great man.

  11. I learned on Todd’s blog from one of the nasty trolls that my dad had a house in Pasadena. He didn’t. What clowns. A little creepy too.

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