Friday, September 24, 2004

Get a Blog, Bruce

Conklin's response Monday Sept 27 in The Union. Which makes a lot more sense to me than the editorial below. What does all of this have to do with the Nevada County Contractor's Association? with the huge ads the NCCA has been putting in The Union lately, in which they say how much they care about quality of life here? Those ads must be expensive. (or not; wild speculation here (and wide of the mark, says George Boardman in a nice piece of first-person journalism Oct 16))

The Union's interviews with candidates for District III (Grass Valley) County Supervisor: Stevens, Conklin, Spencer

Today The Union ran a two-column-wide editorial slamming Bruce Conklin for his lame-duck voting in December 2002 to allocate "open space" money (bequeathed to the county by a local resident) to the Nevada County Land Trust, his subsequent hire by the Land Trust to oversee restoration of the Julia Morgan-designed Northstar House (discussed by your correspondent in gruesomely amateurish fashion in the second half of this post), his lack of "repentance" regarding this sequence of events, the hefty % of the bequeathed money that has gone to overhead (much of which, presumably, is Conklin's salary) and the relatively 'unfaithful' restoration.
  • Restoration criticism (PDF files)
  • Conklin's perspective (from in here)-
    The disagreement basically comes down to a couple of people who feel that the very early work that was done should have been purer to the original house. On the other hand, the Land Trust feels they acquired a house that was in danger of falling down. The roof was gone, the windows were gone, the doors were gone, and it was constantly being vandalized when they got it. It was in an emergency condition.


I don't know Bruce personally, but based on who supports him and who opposes him and what and who he has supported in the past, I'm wondering if William Arkin's admonition "Never mistake a mirror for a window" might apply here. (Actually I'm sure it does apply; the question is whose perspective it applies to.)

So, if you don't know Bruce from Adam - or if, like me, you have a gut feeling that this [editorial] is not the whole story, but not much specific knowledge - what should you make of it? You could trust in the beneficence and omniscience of The Union's editorial board, but that would lead you down some very slanted garden paths.

Alternatively, it would be nice if all citizens in the district had the opportunity to get to know the candidates. I don't mean the candidates' popping up at the door some weekend, or telemarketing or brochure-bombing the populace with carefully crafted pabulum (e.g., to recycle this:"The most overused and overrated word in the political lexicon is 'change.' All politicians are for it, even those who've been around for a hundred years and have never actually changed anything except their combovers.") - I mean we the people should have the opportunity to get day in and day out exposure to a candidate's take on what's going on in and around the county. They can do it by following the other NC's lead - North Carolina journalist Ed Cone explains who, what, when, where and why in Local political candidates hit the blogging trail:
Jeff Thigpen has something to tell you. Lots of things, actually, like what a boisterous meeting of the Guilford County commissioners looks like from a commissioner's point of view, and why you should vote for him to become Register of Deeds in November. So Thigpen got himself a weblog, and now he can talk to voters and constituents any time he likes.

By writing directly onto the web, Thigpen has the ability to communicate with a potentially enormous number of people, in his own voice, unmediated and at almost no cost. He's got his own media platform now; he doesn't have to wait for television or the newspaper to carry his message, or dip into his campaign budget to buy an ad every time he wants to get a message out. And because readers can leave comments, he's able to have something like a conversation with them...

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