Posts Tagged ‘Newark Advocate’

“I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth.”

June 13, 2021

            A funny thing happened on the way to spending $3 million on street paving in Newark this week. Newark residents were told to “Shut up. We know better.” at a City Council Street Committee. The incident was so news worthy that the local paper (?) promptly wrote an editorial for the Sunday edition. This in itself was newsworthy (call the Dispatch! On second thought, fuhgettaboutit. They also are a Gannett publication). “Our view: Newark council Republicans wrong to cut off public input” (the Advocate 6-13-21) basically said “Tsk. Tsk. This is no way to run a government.” It referenced the original report by Kent Mallett, 6-9-21, headlined “Newark council committee cuts off public testimony on road repairs”. In that report Mallett shares “The meeting lasted 40 minutes, with council members and the city engineer speaking for about 30 of those minutes. A local Eagle Scout and a Grant Street resident were allowed to speak before the meeting adjourned.” “William Koser, an Eagle Scout working on his Citizen of Community Merit Badge, urged the city to pave roads, such as Countryside Drive, instead of spending money on continual patching.” And “Before the adjournment, Rebecca Speake, a Grant Street resident, said, “Grant Street connects 79 to Williams. We do get quite a bit of traffic on that street. I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth. I’m pretty frustrated.”” The bulk of Mallett’s report covered the brouhaha of “City Councilman Doug Marmie, R-6th Ward, made a motion to adjourn the meeting after one speaker and less than 10 minutes, saying the meeting was unfair because the speakers would only be from a couple wards.” This was eventually (after the fairness folderol) followed by “Marmie’s motion failed with a 3-3 vote. But, Councilman Jonathan Lang, R-5th Ward, later made a motion to adjourn and changed his vote, after addressing a 5th Ward concern about Countryside Drive.” All of which was an accumulation of little lies made possible by the tight Republican embrace of the Big Lie – you know, the fairness, the “public” in “public meeting”, the rules of order, etc. All of which caught the eye of the editorial board. None of which their editorial reveals as concerning them in terms of lies and truth. Something that Rebecca Speake couldn’t keep quiet about. “I’m sorry it’s been so uncomfortable for you to listen to my truth.” At which point the GOP majority committee men adjourned their meeting.

Uninformed In Licking County

April 16, 2020

Politics was once the news. Now Covid 19 has usurped that title. Currently politics is attempting to wrestle the title back to itself. Evidence for this is Dear Leader’s claim of “total authority” to determine when it is over and safe to come out. Would you take his word for it? Since Dear Leader is without a plan, relying mainly on being a “stable genius”, the when has shifted variously – first “Poof” it will just disappear, then 4-12-20 (Easter), now 5-1-20 (has little to do with International Workers’ Day). When it will actually be determined resides with the virus, according to Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Who determines is the politics, only the virus has little regard for democracy. It votes without registering or being qualified. And it votes more than once. The Newark Advocate has once again shifted its coverage of the numbers. When the pandemic first started up in Ohio, the Advocate gave the daily box score of diagnosed infections in Licking County. Then when the numbers increased, the daily show ceased and went to weekly. Now with the numbers approaching 100, the daily tabulation has returned. Why does this matter? In California the Governor, Gavin Newsom, laid out the state’s plan for reopening. It has six major conditions that need to be met for the qualified “all clear” to sound – capacity for testing, isolating, follow up, etc., protection of vulnerable population, the health care system can handle resurgence, therapies are readily available, public institutions can operate while facilitating social distancing, and the ability to quickly reimpose self isolation if necessary. For the sake of generating public confidence, it is a plan based on qualifications that can only be achieved through open and available reporting. As of this writing the Licking County Health Department is reporting 91 cases of diagnosed Covid 19 in Licking County. Does anyone other than the Health Department know where these are located? When the Advocate ceased its daily tabulations Licking County was second to Delaware County in reported cases for the 6 counties adjoining Franklin County (Columbus). Franklin County is one of the major centers of the virus in Ohio. As of this writing Licking is now 4thbehind Delaware, Pickaway, Fairfield counties (in that order). All the counties adjoining Franklin now have almost half as many cases combined as the total in Franklin. The diffusion of the virus is inevitable. Is anyone reporting on this? For a plan based on conditional requirements (like Newsom’s) to work implicates open and accurate reporting. How would one know conditions are being met without such reporting?  Of the 91 current cases, what percentage of cases border Franklin County? Are in Newark? Or are they in Hebron, Hanover or Utica? For the sake of expediency, does the Newark Advocate/Dispatch prefer  the authoritarian “all’s clear” to a thoughtful and engaged reporting of what conditions really are? Crimes are reported by neighborhood, where registered sex offenders reside, as well as notification of habitual DUI’s (yellow license plates), even product safety recalls are grounded in specificity. When it comes to the Covid 19 virus, why are we so uninformed in Licking County?

Ask Any Republican

January 13, 2018

Ask any Republican, and the chances are good, that the Republican won’t recall or repeat what was said. Go ahead. Ask ‘em. Josh Mandel has left the leadership stage of the Ohio GOP. No asking him. “Not a career politician” GOP U.S. Representative Jim Renacci has stepped in to fill the void in contention for the upcoming Senate seat (“When President @realDonaldTrump asks you to run — you do it. That’s why I am proud to announce that I am running for the United States Senate! I’m ready to fight for the Trump agenda and get things done in the Senate!#MAGA”). Well, Mr. Not-A-Career-Politician? “I’ve said all along the president many times says what people are thinking. I learned as a business guy that you have to be careful what you say because people pick everything up. Believe me, I’ve learned that when you’ve got a mike on, you’ve got to watch what you say.” “I know it’s difficult for the president because many times you want to say what you are thinking but in the end, I know a lot of times he is saying what people are thinking,” And he’s “a business guy going into a political career.” What could be more Republican? And as we all know from our Conservative hymnals, business guys are our salvation. What about a more contemplative, prayerful Conservative? Like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (GOP U.S. Rep from Wis.): “The first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful, but you know what I thought of right away? I thought about my own family.” Atta (good Conservative altar) boy, Paul! And the Newark Advocate’s tireless investigative reporters got these responses from our own GOP Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb: “ .” GOP Newark Mayor Jeff Hall: “ .” GOP Licking County Prosecutor Bill Hayes: “ .” GOP State Senator Jay Hottinger: ” .” And (not a politician) business guy Steve Layman: “ .” Analysis finds it reassuring to learn “what people are thinking.”  Ask any Republican, and the chances are good, that the Republican won’t recall or repeat what was said. Go ahead. Ask ‘em.

Unedited

April 4, 2017

Analysis goes short. The Abra Cadabra of headline juxtaposition on the front page of the 4-4-17 Newark Advocate was irresistible. The large cap “Kasich, Others Tout New Amazon Center” directly over the smaller cap “Licking Co. files foreclosure on Longaberger Basket” invites “Now you see it. Now you don’t.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Advocate’s new editor came out this past week. No big surprise in that it was the interim news editor, Ben Lanka. He even took the time to pen a personal column to introduce himself. Unnoticed (or should we say Un-edited) was the disappearance of the editorial/opinion section from the everyday, week day paper. Great for Gannett’s bottom line. Terrible for Newark’s readers’ need to know (you know, “Inquiring minds” and all). Gone are divergent points of view columns. Also the editorial cartoons (another reason for why “editorial cartoonist” has vanished from high school career day). And finally, absent and forever gone is the editorial itself, once a point of pride for most publications, expressive of the local news outlet’s leadership role in the community. But hey, Newark now has a new editor for its paper. As he puts it, “I’ve always believed as a journalist my most important role is to give a voice to the voiceless and to hold those in power accountable.” Analysis indicates that, without an everyday editorial/opinion page, this has the potential of being more magical than Penn and Teller!

Large Margaritas

May 26, 2016

A quarter of a century ago there was a Mexican themed restaurant in Columbus located on High Street, just north of Hudson. It was trendy then to take in the latest food and drink start ups, much as seeing the latest movie release is today. The major draw was the huge (pre- Bernie, Trump and Hillary) margaritas, a must have if dining there. The place was very dark and dimly lit. The nothing-to- write- home- to-mother- about food was brought to the table by little street urchins with even a bit of mariachi music wafting in the air. Down home Mexico! Did Analysis mention that the margaritas were huge? Soon the place was closed up by the health department, and the proprietor (who personally served each enormous margarita with a welcoming grin) found himself in jail for violating child labor laws, working after hours, etc, (and maybe more). Protestations of family values aside, the kids weren’t exactly all his. This past week’s news related reporting dominating The Newark Advocate took Analysis back in the way back machine. Various testimonials were penned by Luconda Dager, Nathan A. Strum and Bryn Bird celebrating the economic vibrancy and success of Licking County business development, and how much good it is bringing to our area, our neighborhoods, our own back yard. Indeed, the Bird article touts the imminent (and inevitable?) wonderfulness of the new Farmers Market to open next to the historic county jail (fair trade/unfair trade, you get to experience a twofer with one stop). Bird is not alone. Various other news reporting, on other days, elaborate the inevitable (and imminent?) success of the nascent enterprise to be. This is not unusual reporting for the Advocate (as well as most large media outlets). In essence, the “news” reporting is one huge infomercial. Analysis witnessed this recently with the FamFest (second year in a row). Afterwards, not a peep of critique was reported as to the actual event itself. Considering the genealogy and history of funding and organization, the grand opening of the new Farmers Market will probably receive at least a photo spread. Trendy events usually warrant imagery, sans a wordy critique. An equally celebratory article, likewise of a business oriented nature, was “Grant may be sought to clean up gas station site” by Kent Mallet. The mayor (a land bank board member) and his administration are all a gush that they may obtain funding to rid the city of the derelict gas station at Mt. Vernon and Deo Drive (a veritable museum of how life was a quarter of a century ago before Obama stimulus money made the Deo Drive extension a “shovel ready “ priority). “Deputy Licking County Auditor Roy Van Atta, executive director of the land bank, said the site could be cleaned even without the grant, but it would cost about $80,000 to dig out the tanks. It could then be marketed for sale, possibly to an adjacent property owner, before the end of the year.” Of course, the property is virtually even more unmarketable than the South Second Street fraternal hall recently “sold” by the Licking County Land Re-utilization Corporation (for $100). The old gas station, as well as the defunct car wash across the way, had their useful life terminated when the extension relegated them to only one driveway for entrance/egress. But, as far as business is concerned, there is much to be celebrated by the Newark administration. At least for “Newark Service Director David Rhodes, who owns the adjoining property for his storage units.” Analysis projects more celebration with storage unit development in the future. Another story, also by Mallet, “County children services levy not covering expenses” was quite troubling, not celebratory in the least. Put bluntly, the County cannot afford to care for the abused, neglected and unfortunate minors entrusted to its care by statute. Analogous to the anecdote at the head of this posting, all is large margaritas for the business community. When the lights come on, the family value oriented businesses eschew these children as not exactly theirs. Is it so hard to imagine Cheri Hottinger and the Chamber celebrating, in partnership with the county, that funding is guaranteed for every client of Licking County Jobs and Family Services?

Not News?

March 9, 2016

Or at least not for central Ohio. 3-8-16 Alex Zielinski reports online for ThinkProgress “Ohio Planned Parenthood Clinic Vandalized, Called ‘Den Of Babykillers’”. Newark’s only newspaper, along with the Cols. Dispatch and TV channels (one of which is owned by The Dispatch’s former owners and two others affiliated with Fox) found no need to headline this on the 7th and 8th. Zielinski begins the report with “Staff of a Columbus, Ohio Planned Parenthood clinic were greeted Monday morning with a freshly painted message in red scrawled on the outside of their clinic: “SATAN DEN OF BABYKILLERS GOD SEE ALLLL Mark 9:14.”” Of note: “Monday’s graffiti is the first major act of vandalism to a Planned Parenthood clinic since an anti-abortion extremist killed three — and wounded many others — at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood in November.” “The act of vandalism comes exactly two weeks after Ohio Governor and presidential hopeful John Kasich signed a bill that would pull all federal funding from state Planned Parenthood clinics.” And ending with: “Similar to other state bills aiming to cut ties with Planned Parenthood, Ohio’s reasoning to enact this bill is entirely based on the misleading video campaign that says the women’s health organization profits off fetal tissue — a campaign that has been discredited by nearly a dozen state courts. More broadly, Ohio is one of the states with the most stringent abortion restrictions in the country. The rapid pace of clinic closures there over the past several years is second only to Texas.” Analysis questions whether this is not news because it is (Christian) domestic terrorism not affiliated with Islam and at a nascent stage, is politically inconvenient for a newspaper (The Advocate) that places its hopes with the Republican Party (see this blog’s 12-29-15, The Year In Review), or an embarrassment to an out of touch presidential wannabe who hearkens his bygone glory days on the campaign trail as reasons for being elected.

 

The Year In Review

December 29, 2015

Walter Benjamin, the European critical thinker of the first half of the 20th century, conceptualized the future as an angel recoiling in horror before the onslaught of the present. Harry Shearer, the radio show host of the weekly “Le Show” (and former Simpsons voice, SNL cast member, etc.), culminates each year with a “Year In Rebuke” edition. Newark’s own Michael Shearer (Newark Advocate editor) devoted his December 27, 2015 editorial to a local year in review, filled with the accomplishments of the present that anticipate a future of progress and success (“2016 Holds Much Promise For Newark”). Michael’s angel of the future differs markedly from that of Benjamin or Le Show’s “Year In Rebuke”. For the editor of Newark’s only news source, the future lies with the Republican Party (“We hope Newark’s Republican administration and GOP-dominated city council will use their majority to responsibly and determinedly guide our city to sustainable prosperity and operational funding levels for many years to come.”); this in spite of the fact that THE news of 2015 constantly covered the incredible polarization and division of American civil discourse along party lines. This actuality of contention was continuously reported and commented on but never received attention in any media’s “year in review”. Many candidates for local office during the 2015 election made considerable effort to distance themselves from party identification and allegiance in order to better represent their constituents and enable the actual working of government to take on the challenges facing Newark in the upcoming year. Since 2010 we have had the party of the Advocate’s future hopes completely dominating Ohio’s legislature, executive branch, and judiciary. It has been pretty much ditto that on the micro level of Licking County and Newark municipal governance. Given Michael Shearer’s pinning his hopes on the performance of the past (embracing polarity over problem solving), it is not difficult to understand Benjamin’s angel of the future recoiling in horror before the onslaught of the present.

Between The Lines

September 16, 2015

The 9-16-15 online Advocate reported “Dan Evers leaving as economic development director” (Kent Mallet). “NEWARK — Dan Evers, director of Grow Licking County and economic development director for the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, leaves Oct. 2 to become executive director of the Clinton County Port Authority.” The usual spend-more-time-with-the -family was given as the reason for the departure (“Family considerations also played a role in the decision, Evers said. “It enables me to be closer to my parents and children at a time when being closer to them is important,” Evers said.”). Of course, unmentioned was monetary remuneration, something arrived at only by reading between the lines (“ Rick Platt, executive director of the Port Authority, said he’s confident the county can find a successor, but he said a review of the position is in order. “We lost someone to another county, so we have to make sure we’re being competitive in personnel offerings,” Platt said. “We have to evaluate was there something we could have done to have prevented that.”). Remembering history also helps in reading between the lines, but then again, after the dissed pleas to remember history during the decision to destroy the old county children’s home, analysis shows that memory just can’t be taken for granted. Besides, a smartphone does it so much better! But remember please, dear reader, the plea made by Chamber President and CEO Cheri Hottinger to the county commissioners to increase enormously the amount budgeted for the Chamber, er, Grow Licking County public private partnership. Which, after this blog’s previous “Junk Science” post (9-10-15), really does beg the question of who was Dan Evers’ employer or boss – Mrs. Hottinger? The county commissioners? The tax payers of Licking County? Or the businesses which not only were his clients but also his employers (the Chamber, after all, runs Grow Licking County which is a public-private partnership run by the Chamber which itself is a private endeavor comprised of the folks who were Evers’ “clients”)? Did he even have a boss? ‘Nuff said, as mentioned in the “Junk Science” post, reading between the lines here was something more of an exercise in “an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention” which most everyone already does without thinking! HOWEVER, Mallet’s line (from the article) of “Licking County’s employment and workforce have reached all-time highs this year as companies move to New Albany, Pataskala, Heath, Hebron and Johnstown. The number of manufacturing companies considering Licking County development sites has continued to increase during the last few years.” did not escape Analysis. Reading between the lines here requires a bit of an assist. That same day (9-16-15) online Reuters reported “U.S. household incomes slip, poverty rate up slightly in 2014” (by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu). “”In 2014, real median household income was 6.5 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the most recent recession,” Census researchers wrote [U.S. Census Bureau]. At the same time, the poverty rate ticked up to 14.8 percent from 14.5 percent in 2013, the data showed. Census researchers said the changes in both the median income and poverty rate were not statistically significant.” Reading between the lines of Mallet’s glowing assessment of Licking County progress, growth, and job creation under Evers’ Grow Licking County directorship requires asking a question the Advocate (definitely Kent Mallet’s employer) refuses to allow to even be asked: “What have we got to show for it?” One cannot answer this question in English. Speak American Sarah Palin insists! Au Contraire. Only by lapsing into European (or Asian) reverie and entering into a dream world (found there) do we answer the question. Yes Virginia, other modern industrial states have dependable public transportation whereby the residents of a county’s government and population center, like Newark, could access all these jobs in “New Albany, Pataskala, Heath, Hebron and Johnstown”. Remember history? Not too hard to recognize that Newark was not included with the “all-time highs.” And the streets still cry out for pavement. Analysis won’t even begin to address the obvious “U.S. household incomes slip”. Once again “Our news agenda reflects not a smoke-filled room but rather an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention.”

Fie!

September 15, 2015

“ORIGIN Middle English: via Old French from Latin fi, an exclamation of disgust at a stench.”

While on the subject of referencing dictionary erudition, the Newark Advocate ran a self-aggrandizing editorial in its Sunday 9-13-15 edition (what other day could, or would, the Advocate bother to editorialize?). Shearer and company jumped on the all too obvious, overcrowded, and self-righteous opposition to the proposed “Marijuana legalization amendment” (Issue 3) by waxing eloquent on the wickedness of monopolies. “Most dictionaries define monopoly as “complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market” or “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.”” Where’s this definition when it comes to the Advocate (with its Grow Licking County partners) championing the ”jobs created” at the various industrial parks sprouting up in Etna, New Albany and Heath/Hebron? Today’s (9-14-15) online New York Times brought gravitas (and relevance) to bear on this question (Who’s the Boss When You Work for a Franchise or Contractor? 9-14-15). “In a decision that’s been called the greatest expansion of union rights in decades, the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that if a corporation uses contractors or franchisees, contract workers who unionize can negotiate with the parent company and their direct employer. Previously, unions could often only deal with the contractor or franchise owner, greatly limiting their bargaining power. Critics of the ruling say it unfairly makes corporations responsible for workers they haven’t hired and conditions over which they have no control.” In an accompanying article (Companies Must Take Full Responsibility for All Workers) Ruth Milkman writes “An even more significant ruling came in last week’s National Labor Relations Board decision involving Browning-Ferris Industries, which found that the corporation and its subcontractor were “joint employers,” each obliged to bargain with the union seeking to represent workers at a recycling plant. The reason is straightforward: Browning-Ferris sets the working hours and tasks to be performed, the subcontractor handles hiring and payroll, and both hire supervisors. This is all standard practice when large companies contract with staffing firms.” And staffing firms are definitely the only entry to jobs at these new Licking County work sites. Analysis detects a noticeable stench when temporary staffing firms are somehow deemed exceptional to the definition of ““complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market” or “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.””

Junk Science

September 10, 2015

Writing for Salon Jack Mirkinson submitted an essay entitled “The media vs. the American worker: How the 1 percent hijacked the business of news This Labor Day, we have one simple question for media professionals: Why don’t you care about the middle class?” (Salon 9-7-15) Mirkinson writes:

“Now, this is not to say that there is an overt conspiracy going on at CBS News or NBC News or wherever else to crowd out coverage of labor issues and stories of working people, or that there is never any good coverage of these issues to be found these days. The news just doesn’t work that way. But media ownership matters because the owners hire the people who hire the people who hire the people, and what are all those people going to be taught? So much of journalism today consists of an elite class covering the world, and you’d be crazy to think that that has no impact on the way journalists think. Our news agenda reflects not a smoke-filled room but rather an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention. Labor issues and unions inevitably lose.”

Yawn. It’s not like this hasn’t been said repeatedly (“Billionaire CEOs, meanwhile, got lots of chances to put forward their vision of the American economy: Guests that were identified as current or former corporate CEOs made 12 appearances, including former AOL head Steve Case (Meet the Press, 4/6/14), Apple CEO Tim Cook (This Week, 3/30/14) and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (Fox News Sunday, 6/22/14). Former Hewlett Packard CEO and Republican political candidate Carly Fiorina made four appearances.”). Rather, it’s the insidious “un” spectacular occurrences that underscore how corporate ownership has determined who, what, where, how, and when. The latest is Rupert Murdoch’s purchase of National Geographic, the science publication that most readers cut their teeth on. Reuters reports (9-10-15) U.S. court finds EPA was wrong to approve Dow pesticide harmful to bees By Carey Gillam. “The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, is significant for commercial beekeepers and others who say a dramatic decline in bee colonies needed to pollinate key food crops is tied to widespread use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Critics say the Environmental Protection Agency is failing to evaluate the risks thoroughly.” To which “Agrichemical companies that sell neonicotinoid products say mite infestations and other factors are the cause of bee demise.” What happened to “science” and a government agency that stakes its being on scientific criteria? Somewhere in the Bush years it was determined that the clients these agencies serve are the large enterprises, the very ones regulated by these government entities, and not the public (W is quoted as prescribing just that). But wait, there’s more! Same day Reuters also reports from Europe that “French court confirms Monsanto guilty of chemical poisoning” “A French court upheld on Thursday a 2012 ruling in which Monsanto was found guilty of chemical poisoning of a French farmer, who says he suffered neurological problems after inhaling the U.S. company’s Lasso weedkiller.” “Lasso is not Monsanto’s sole herbicide accused of being harmful. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in March that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, one of the world’s most used herbicides, was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Monsanto reacted to the finding in June by demanding a retraction, labeling the findings by a team of international cancer scientists as “junk science.”” Now we have Sarah Palin rebutting President Obama’s recent visit to her home state with claims that he got it all wrong. Glaciers are growing. Is it any wonder that no reports of anything said by Bernie Sanders ever appear in the Newark Advocate? Or that no reports surfaced this summer that “Thousands gather to protest government corruption in Guatemala By Associated Press 13 Jun 2015 Every Saturday for nearly two months, Constitution Square outside Guatemala City’s National Palace has overflowed with thousands of protesters demanding an end to corruption and the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina.” (from the UK’s Telegraph) These demonstrations (unprecedented given the repressive history of Guatemala) originated in April of this year, have continued unabated since, and ultimately resulted in Molina’s ouster. Who knew that people could accomplish such things on their own? Mirkinson got one thing right. “Our news agenda reflects not a smoke-filled room but rather an unthinking understanding, passed down through the years, about who and what deserves to command our attention.”