Powerful Media Silence on HOPE’s Public-Records Monterey-Downs Water-Promise Lawsuit

Censorhip is the Worst

Censorhip is the Worst

HOPE filed a simple but powerful Public Records Act Lawsuit on Monday to expose documents of a secret Water deal between Monterey Downs’ Horse gambling racetrack, the Water company – Cal-Am and Monterey County.

Afterwards, we dutifully sent out Press Releases to most of the local media – who then studiously and completely ignored the story !

Is our lawsuit a non-story — or is something less honorable going on here ?

Is our local media practicing Self-Censorship ?

Well,  the nation-wide legal news reporters “Courthouse News Service” found HOPE’s lawsuit newsworthy and wrote a detailed story (on their front page) you can read here : “Secret Water Deal Alleged in Monterey County” !

So our lawsuit is not merely news,

it is news of national interest !

But not according to our Monterey Peninsula newspapers !What’s with our local media’s screamful-of-silence response ?

1. We know Paul (leading local environmental protection hater) Miller and his “Pacific Grove-Pine Cone” (the newspaper hasn’t been in Carmel for years)  supports every development and water overuse.

 Paul Miller’s Pine Cone not only censors letters to the editor (and the only commentaries he allows are his own)Miller actively campaigns FOR censorship of people he can’t adequately debate.”

Miller also worships the quicksand I walk on (as well as how he loathes anyone else doing public records requests — or maybe its just others getting public credit for them).

So Miller won’t write about it — with pleasure (or bitterness).

So that’s one paper down.

2. How about Weak Coastly, multi-milllionaire Bradley Zeve’s snarky formerly “alternative” paper that used to cover important stories the daily missed ?

 Trouble is, it now acts politically as business biased as the Herald – like supporting Pacific Grove’s Measure X – a giant Hotel development the size of three football fields ?

Zeve’s reporter actually called us back within 15 minutes of us sending the Press Release out.

The reporter’s first word is not “hello” — its “WOW.”

He asks for and we send him a copy of the lawsuit.

This is where it gets more interesting.

A bit later he emails back with a question irrelevant to the story — “How many members does HOPE have?” – as though HOPE is an imaginary organization.

Well, for more than a decade (since 1998) HOPE has played a leading role in protecting our Peninsula’s environment and public participation in government decisions.

(But you wouldn’t know that from reading Weak Coastly, because they refused to allow mention HOPE’s name for its first 8 years; until 2006.)

HOPE is known (with tongue well-in cheek) as the group that stopped both Dirty Harry and the Terminator for leading real, and huge victories for our Peninsula’s Environment. And  (unlike the Sierra Club) HOPE is a genuine IRS certified 501(c)3 Non-Profit where your donations are tax-deductible !

Since a single person can file a Public Records lawsuit, the number of our members is wholly irrelevant. But just to play along with this – do we have any expertise or credibility related to the issue ?

HOPE has won lawsuits that no one else would touch.  In addition, back when it had courage, Weak Coastly themselves once called our executive director, me, a “hyperactivist” for  attending and participating in hundreds of government meetings a year. In the same vein, Water District Director Alvin Edwards referred to me as “the eighth member of the Water Board.” So its not as if HOPE is a bumbling novice on Monterey Peninsula water issues or government.

Better yet, our attorney, Susan Goldbeck, is nationally respected as a litigator, served admirably as a Pacific Grove Councilwoman and wouldn’t waste her valuable time with a flimsy lawsuit.

So because the question is irrelevant, we sent back an appropriately vague answer, wondering if Weak Coastly asks every news source how many members they have ? Or were they just setting us up for an excuse so they didn’t have to report it ?

Well, 3 days later the new Weakly comes out on Thursday with – nothing. Not a peep. “Wow” — but Silence.

Two down.

Update April 4 Monday: Weak Coastly finally mentions the story, living up to their snarky standards by calling it a “conspiracy theory.” On a positive note, they get the first clear denials from County Counsel and Cal-AM.  Still no word from Potter or Monterey Downs.

So is this true, or is the Washington DC maxim operating “Never believe anything until its been officially denied.” Time should tell.

(Note: We are now at step two of Ghandi’s list: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.” I added – “and finally they take credit for your work.”)

3. How about our so-called “newspaper of record” the daily Herald ?

Supervisor Potter Caught ?

Supervisor Potter Caught ?

Not a word. The Herald doesn’t even return a call asking if they got our Press Release.

That’s all three. (1)

So Potter and Monterey Downs win silence by censorship . . .

For the moment . . .

Question: Why do you suppose, that the day before we filed, Potter made efforts to not stop us from filing the suit?

Do you think Potter gave up trying to kill this story after that ?

Or do you wonder if Potter used a stick or a carrot on our local news media ?

Could there be other stories the Potter had killed ? ? ?

Stay tuned for when we depose Potter and his cronies.

This is bound to get even more interesting rapidly.

But weirdly, you can’t read a word about it in the local press. (Which is why HOPE started this Blog)

Makes me wonder what other stories are self-censored by our local media.

Inquiring minds want to know ;-)

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(1)  The Cedar Street Times doesn’t count — because its just a vanity paper that barely pretends to commit journalism.

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