West Park Media Coverage, The Tale of Two Newspapers
By Emerson Drake
Tuesday night the Board of Supervisors meeting was a sometimes boisterous, often somber affair reminiscent of an Irish wake without the libations. A lonely Gerry Kamilos was the only speaker for the ill-fated and bloated business park. Even his ardent supporters from the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the International Union of Electrical workers remained in their seats. Bill Basset and the Alliance didn’t even bother to attend although presumably they sent flowers. Even West Park consultant Mike Lynch stayed away to avoid the stench of defeat from the project.
Everyone present heard the death knell of West Park except an editor at the Modesto Bee who used as his headline “WEST PARK GETS A REPRIEVE.” The Patterson Irrigator was polite but more to the point by saying “Supervisors postpone decision on West Park.”
West Park Dead on Arrival
Only Supervisor Monteith and the Bee’s Editor saw any signs of life after Supervisors DeMartini, O’Brien, and Chiesa were through. Supervisors Chiesa and DeMartini were wondering aloud if Kamilos should be allowed to bid again. And who could blame them with one failed promise after another.
Earlier in the week we had been treated to a Judy Sly editorial motivated by a conversation with consultant Mike Lynch, suggesting almost word for word Monteiths’ request, varying only by twenty-four hours the time of the suggested coup de grace, hers being Friday and his Thursday at 3:00PM. Little surprise with the coordinated effort as the Bee’s mantra has been jobs, jobs, jobs, no matter how illusionary.
What was a little shocking (maybe I’m more naive than I realized), was the Bee using Jeff Jardine to suggest the days’ headline was true, claiming “County has little to lose by punting on project.” Apparently editors at the Bee have decided to shape opinion without the inclusion of reality. And then the following day: “West Park ties unraveling.”
Now nothing had changed or happened during the ensuing twenty-four hours except maybe the people who were there or watched the meeting on video and TV calling the Bee and asking, did you listen to what was said? The unraveling headline came under the heading of ANALYSIS. It should have come under the apology, Can’t find my Glutes with both hands and a flashlight.
But of greater concern is the unbecoming habit the Bee has fallen into of listening to pundits and consultants and repeating their words as facts or news. The editorial staff has allowed this same consultant, Mike Lynch, to give voice to his dreams and wishes and then reports them as gospel. Well they aren’t. Not his MID water sale dreams or his fantasy of West Park. It seems as long as Mr. Lynch gets paid, he believes it’s in our best interest. But what most of us have learned over the years is trickle down economic theories only get the person wet who cashes the first check.
I can honestly tell you I wish the Patterson Irrigator covered Modesto. And if the big wigs at McClatchy want to get their shares to rise above the present $1.63 they better learn to write reality about Stanislaus County politics or maybe the Irrigator will water Modesto’s thirst for local news.
Gerry Kamilos’ pie-in-the-sky jobs may look and sound pretty, but fantasy won’t fill your child’s belly or your bank account.
The Patterson Irrigator story http://www.pattersonirrigator.com/view/full_story/19893220/article-Supervisors-postpone-decision-on-West-Park?instance=news_special_coverage_right_column
Modesto Bee original story http://www.modbee.com/2012/08/21/2338978/supervisors-delay-west-park-decision.html