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Like many of you fellow Longmont residents, it gets old having to endure our city from another planet to the southwest. The latest nonsense, also known as “par for the course”, was a mandatory assembly at Boulder High School put on by CU’s Conference on World Affairs.
I haven’t seen any coverage or comments in Longmont’s Daily Times-Call, and if I missed it, sue me, I have a life. There’s been some coverage by the Rocky Mountain News, but not a whole lot anywhere else.
If you are easily offended, skip the next section as I’m going to repeat some of the quotes used in this assembly. Keep in mind, this was intended for kids as young as 14, and they had to attend, it was not optional.
So, here’s what passes for acceptable public education, Boulder-style: “I am going to encourage you to have sex and encourage you to use drugs appropriately”
“I want to encourage you to all have healthy, sexual behavior.”
“We all experiment. It’s very natural for young people to experiment with same sex relationships…certainly probably one of the most appropriate sexual behaviors would be masturbation.”
“That’s the thing they don’t tell you about condoms. If you’re lucky enough to get them on, and you still stay hard, it’s hard to stay hard. And another thing, it doesn’t feel as good.”
“Even today, there are psychiatrists who will do sessions under the influence of ecstasy. If I had some maybe I’d do it with someone…”
I get no joy repeating that swill, and since I’m not a tabloid reporter, I don’t get paid to do so. Just thought you’d like to know. Pretty self explanatory, you be the judge.
The school and the district are running from the press on this one, at first acting outraged, then defending it. But regardless if you think this behavior is acceptable or not, and I feel sorry for you if you do, is this an appropriate use of our tax dollars?
Are school representatives beyond question about what our children are exposed to? In our dealings with local school officials, they do act above any possible scrutiny and how dare we ask questions about our own kid’s education. Sounds like these Boulder types are no different.
Personally, I see this as just another attempt by the schools to drive a wedge between parents and their kids. I’ve seen it over the years as a student and as a parent. Step by step, that’s how these types work, gradual indoctrination. In another era, taken a little further, this had another name – Hitler Youth!
Extreme comparison? Not as much as you think. Others, including some of the students, have said these clowns were trying to be “cool”, to speak at their level. I’m not going to give them that easy way out; there was a clear agenda here.
I haven’t seen the St. Vrain Valley School District weigh in on this, and I’m publicly asking them to take a stand, one way or the other. There’s plenty of committee’s, departments, and board members – anyone will do. We aren’t paying you to be politically correct or to ride the fence. I’m sure the Times-Call would be more than willing to give you a large space on their editorial page, use it. Your silence on this issue will signal solidarity with your despicable Boulder counterparts.
Over the last month, the Longmont Daily Times-Call has had a few front page stories about graffiti in the city. These included large color pictures of the “artwork” and bio’s of the “artists”. There has also been no shortage of Open Forum letters and TC-Line comments about their coverage, mostly negative. I’m going to have to stand on the side of the people claiming that the Times-Call has glamorized this behavior and the people who do it.
What was May 6, 2007’s editorial? ” Vandalism does not make you glamorous.” Really? You don’t say. But wait, you did say, in so many words the opposite with your earlier coverage. So which is it, and why the change of heart? A little heat from the police? Getting the message from your readers? Has graffiti increased since your exposé’s hit the stands?
I don’t have a lot of sympathy here for a couple of reasons. First, these huge front page stories were not necessarily on slow news days. These seemed like pieces put together earlier sitting around waiting for a dull time to throw out there. Second, after numerous negative letters pointing out the obvious (except to the paper apparently), they put out another story making these graffiti artists seem like misunderstood saints. More negative letters followed.
Now they start their latest editorial blaming vandalism on the weather! It starts out with vandalism at a construction site, but also mentions spray paint and graffiti. It puts the “onus” on law abiding citizens to try to make vandalism harder on the criminals that commit it. How about a little onus on the criminals? How about some more onus on you, the Times-Call, to be a little more responsible with your reporting and commentary?
It gets really rich with the editorial staff asking that these “vandals should take a little pride in their community”. Among other things, isn’t that what makes them criminals and vandals, a lack of pride in their community? Before you point your finger at law abiding citizens, and even the vandals you’ve essentially glamorized, take a look in the mirror. You’re part of the problem.
I do my own investigative journalism. I don’t get all my facts or quotes from a newspaper, I often go right to the sources and email or speak to them directly. I also on occasion will send the Daily Times-Call a news tip. It’s usually something I put a lot of work into, but think it’s worth them possibly digging a little deeper with the resources they have, and possibly printing it. The only thing I ask in return is partial credit if they use some of the work I’ve done. I don’t think they’ve actually run one of my news tips, and that’s fine, it’s their paper.
On March 24th, 2007 I wrote a piece about “Kids’ Nite Out”, I then posted it around 1am on March 25th to YourHub. I was surprised to see it on the front page of the Longmont section online, even more surprised that it went on the printed edition on March 29th. I had a couple of conversations with Kids’ Nite Out Managing Partner Eileen White on March 25th and 26th, and based on some new information I updated the story on YourHub, although the printed version was the original.
I then noticed the Times-Call repeatedly visiting my site between the 28th and 30th via an IP tracker. This doesn’t even count the visits to my YourHub story and site. Then on the 31st this story ran on the front page of their paper: Kids can come and go, Program at recreation center forced to change strict policy, by Rachel Carter. They quoted the same source I contacted, which was not the same name found on the original letter given to us by Kids’ Nite Out. Also, this policy change happened back around January. It was never reported until I wrote about it over 3 months later. Then coincidentally, within a week, it shows up on the Times-Call?
My write-up on this wasn’t just an opinion piece. I researched state law and interviewed the above mentioned person. The Times-Call interviewed the same person and others, and did a fairly decent job in reporting it. They also have staff that do this for a living. I do this as a sideline, I don’t get paid, and I don’t have subscribers. I do like beating them to a story, and wouldn’t mind if they used some of it in their own reporting, as long as credit is given. I once beat them by two weeks on some work I was doing on railroad noise and regulations, another front page story. Since it was mentioned in a city council meeting I couldn’t verify they got the idea from me.
Some history: A few years ago I was given permission to republish parts of the Times-Call on my website, as long as proper credit was given, which I’ve always done. I was also told that on occasion at least one reporter would check out my site, possibly to see what else was going on or what might’ve been missed. I’m flattered, but never asked for anything in return, not even a free subscription, which I pay for twice a year. But when I research and write, I’m not anonymously giving to a charity. I give credit where it is due, and I only ask for the same in return.
There was no love coming from the City Council on Valentines Day ’06. Here is the document (dead link now) limiting your access to locally elected officials. The normally accepted procedure was to have 5 minutes at the beginning and end of each meeting for “Public Invited To Be Heard”. As an occasional speaker, it took time to whittle it down to fit that time frame in some meaningful way. Then somewhere along the line they decided to cut that time. My personal opinion is that this came about from all the Walmart protesters that would go one after another for quite some time, usually repeating each other, and may have pushed the limits of what the councilmember’s would tolerate. I waited for it seemed about 30 speakers, all about Walmart, just to get my airport issue addressed. I could’ve gone between them but didn’t want my point lost in a subject that the city had already made their mind up about.
So down came the hammer. The first step was a 5 minute limit on the first 12 speakers, but #13 on only had 3 minutes, so much for planning out your comments to fit the time allowed. Now you get 3 minutes, period, 1st, 10th, 20th, doesn’t matter. In the old days you didn’t have to put your name on the sign-up sheet, now if you don’t you don’t get your turn until the end of the meeting (regular session only, study session there is no public invited to be heard at the end). Here’s my problem with this: I usually did not put my name on the list for one reason, if someone else already spoke to my issue, I didn’t waste councils time and repeat them. If no one else did, then I’d raise my hand and speak, usually last. But now, if the only way I or anyone can be heard is to sign up, then we all will and possibly waste more of council’s time that could’ve been saved by avoiding duplication.
The bone thrown out by council was this 30 minute chitchat with a couple members of council before the session. This was to be done on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month. You have to sign up for it, and the member may spend 1 minute listening to you, or 29 minutes listening to someone else, in no order and at the discretion of the council member. Recently they cancelled a meeting, cutting these 30 minute get-togethers down to ONCE in March. They point to the possibility of contacting members via phone or email, I’ve done that plenty in the past, results are spotty. Try it for yourself.
I usually agree with Mayor Pirnack on most issues, but this is one I’ve never agreed with. One of her main goals was more public involvement in city issues, something I took to heart, hence this blog/site, etc etc. But this change in procedures (technically known as R-2006-12) goes totally against the Mayor’s stated goal, which I believe is a worthy goal.
I share that goal with my encouraging people to get involved and follow what goes on in their community. Instead of trying to have all the answers, I’d rather nudge you to ask more questions. You’re paying for it in one form or another, get your moneys worth.
UPDATE: According to the Times-Call “City Talk” section, City Council members face-to-face meetings are now only on the fourth Tuesday of every month. The above resolution still says “twice a month”. Watch for it to totally disappear.