Sunday, December 30, 2007

Adieu 2007, A Toast to 2008

This year started with a commentary on the forums so what better way to end then with another commentary on the forums? We lost the Astoria Citizen's Journal forum and KAST Coastwatch forum finally got away from the annoying VOY layout. We were amused and flattered to see that they used our "matters" headings in their board topics, too. We copied some things from the Rust forum, adding our own touches and KAST copied us. If it ain't broke why fix it?

We can still claim title to the longest continuous running open membership forum in the county. Whether or not that is a title that holds any merit it does mean we are persistent and useful. That is most obvious in the recent elections when the ballot measure for 4-123 failed. The forums played a major role in getting information out when the media, namely the one and only daily newspaper, was dismally lacking in accurate reporting or blatantly lying. is undergoing a metamorphism right before it's readers eyes. One moment it is a typical blog chronicling the life of the writer, the next it is a commentary on local news, the next it is reporting news long before the other outlets are aware of the topic.

Bloggers in the area have kept one another, and the public at large, informed of many facts that would otherwise have been kept from them by those who deem us too naive to understand, to small to matter, or too inept to appreciate the finer points of politics. To this day the Daily A has not explained how it is that the Committee to Retain the Independence of the Office of District Attorney mailed out $2600 worth of newsletters without having any printing costs associated. At 21 cents per flyer that's close to 12,500 of those two paged, double sided flyers that were sent out. The bloggers know only one source that has the capacity to print out 25,000 double-sided pages and write it off. Hey, Daily Astorian you want to explain how come you didn't report that expenditure? Uh, Larry? Uh, Sky? Uh, Steve? Uh, Josh?

The forums aren't always right, we've had a loopy woman posting as a commissioner. We've had a disgruntled former resident move back east and post lunatic threads polluted with sexual innuendos. We've had the dodgers, the thought police, threats of libel, threats of exposure, threats of laptop confiscation, grammar and spelling monitors, flame wars, rhyming wars, punsters, warped thinkers, finger pointers, SHOUTERS, and a day or two or three with no posters at all (horror of horrors)!

Though people are piecing their lives back together after the storm, I suspect that times are good at the moment. It is when we are agitated that the forums are in their peak use. There are things that are coming to a boil under the surface for a great many topics. Expect to see action on the forums in the coming year.

A few people feel betrayed by the County Commissioners, stating that they have overlooked the citizens' concerns for public safety by voting for LNG, seemingly for economic growth. The cry of "recall, recall, recall" is always in the air. The Daily Astorian continues with its arrogant editorializing and omissions of reporting real news. A few feel betrayed by the Port Commissioners, each of the city councils, as well as the college board and other school boards. There will be an election in May, politics usually lights up the boards.

Our forums have developed, evolved, become better or dropped off the charts. The people have become better communicators or stopped communicating. Some people have hopped from board to board chasing people away, some people have hopped from board to board chasing ideas down. Some people have online avatars distinct from themselves, a few post only as themselves. Some say they abhor those posting "anonymously". ROTFLMAO! As far as we can tell, everyone has posted using an avatar at least once. If it is good enough for Benjamin Franklin, in order to get a point across that otherwise wouldn't be listened to merely because it came from him, then it is good enough for us.

A toast to the year behind and all those with the courage to share their thoughts and comment on others'. A toast to those forums that continue to grow, providing an outlet to the community. A toast to the leaders who take the time to read, sort through the emotions, listen to their community, and find their way to the answers. A toast to the new year ahead. May we find our way together. Building a community, our voices uniting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Do you hear what I hear?

Will our local media dare to commend the wisdom of 6,666 wise voters as this storm has devastated our county’s revenue? The choppers hum overhead carrying personnel to assess the damage to our county owned timber with many saying as much as half of our forest disappeared and with it the revenue that may take decades to replenish.

As explained by many opposed to 4-123 measure counties need the option to remove the stipend in case of a natural catastrophe. Wahlah! A natural catastrophe! Half of our forest is wiped out. Where would that money come from for the next five years to pay for 4-123 now? Bank loans? Options taken away for the greed of one man and his accomplice the local media.

Our county commissioners have multiple tasks now, of bringing the county back together after a devastating campaign to malign their characters and a horrific storm that has taken away the county’s main source of revenue. In the horizon is the ability to make up for that revenue by allowing the LNG industry a toe hold which could bring the immediate reprisal of a recall campaign against at least one of the commissioners. As in the 4-123 campaign it will be led by the local daily paper’s editor using his paper with biased reporting, slanted editorials and yellow journalism while he armchair quarterbacks the running of the county.

The destroyed revenue must be compensated for. County manager Derickson has been warning of a decline in timber revenue in the near future, which is why the two staff positions in the District Attorney’s office were added on a contingency bases, the devastation of the forests has now accelerated the problem. The public could use, and the commissioners deserve, good and accurate reporting at this time. Too bad that the Daily Astorian has proven itself incapable of providing either.

If local outlets begin putting the Daily Astorian next to the National Enquirer in the checkout lines will Forrester get the idea that he and his paper are no longer trusted to impart news and have become a curiosity along the lines of locals suspected of having alien’s babies and sitings of Elvis Presley? Will he then get the message that we want, need and deserve better then he has been providing us? Or will someone finally step up to the plate and provide us with an alternative to his daily joke? Hell, at this rate the high schools could rotate providing us more accurate local news.

Humble pie, cow pie or eating crow, however one slices it you can bet Forrester will refuse to eat it. He can dish it but he can not take it or even smell it, even when he is stepping in it.