Local paper “disturbed” by low turnout, does not understand own role

…but I am not too shy to tell them some of the reasons:

See article here

Why didn’t people vote, especially when the city council made headlines more than once in the past year for antics better left to a vaudeville show or a sitcom.

Easy answer: Because the Recorder has abdicated its civic reporting responsibilities many times:

1) You posted a video of a TCSO officer misbehaving and admitting that he knew he was misbehaving. That was good. But it only lasted about 24 hours as a more senior TCSO officer asked the paper to pull the video, which you promptly did.

2) You have never pressed Councilmembers, especially those running for election on any controversial matters. The town has been hurt for almost 4 years as a result of Ward and Hamilton working to take away the rights of gays. And Hamilton’s flip-flop from his 2003 vote, when he pledged Council to work against what he urged the 2008 Council to do has never been reported. In fact, the Recorder took the page offline that reported the 9/2003 meeting I refer to.

3) Hamilton again: You have never followed up regarding his odd behavior during the arrest of the previous publisher of the Recorder.

4) You have never reported on the discovery, made quite plain on the Recorder facebook page by Case Lok and others, that Rodney Martin had posted materials with his view on the impropriety (to day the least) of the mixing of races in public and homophobic reasons why he homeschools his kids. Not only ought that have been news, but why he never mentioned it in his campaign ought to have been news as well.

5) You have never run or lent your voice to a sustained voter registration drive or get out the vote drive. For example, today’s 16 year olds can get drivers licenses, but they can’t register to vote automatically at DMV until they are 18, and that means they don’t get the benefit of easy registration until at least the first time they renew. But today’s 16 year olds are the 18 year olds of the next election who you will lament did not vote.

6) Too many of our polling locations are in churches. This may disenfranchise some voters who don’t wish to vote in a church or be in a church not of their denomination. But perhaps more importantly, kids in schools never get to see people vote or participate in elections, and so their right and responsibility to vote are only abstract matters at best to them when they are old enough to vote.

7) The Recorder NEVER sits down with City staff or politicians to conduct in-depth interviews on a regular basis, so we can get to know who is who and how they work for us. And when you do do even brief interviews, you never ask hard-hitting questions, such as how the Prop 8 vote affects our economic development. I have posted sufficient information on my blog that I will be happy to go over with your reporter to bring them up to speed so you can set him or her loose on this.

8) You don’t cover the (lack of change in) the local economic statistics, so that we can see what has really happened during each elected official’s term when he runs for re-election. Are we better off now than 4 years ago?

9) You don’t speak out for the demographic changes that are happening in Porterville, or demand that our elected and other institutions reflect the diversity among us now.

Each one of these undermines interests in local civic institutions and you (The Recorder) are at the heart of it with the ability to make an immediate difference in creating an environment that will lead more people to vote and participate in civic affairs.

Posted in Choose Porterville, Porterville City Council, Porterville News and tagged , , , , , .