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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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February 10, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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February 10, 2010
 

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lOB Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 EDITORIAL OPINION Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter EDITORIAL AB 1682 steps on the public's right to know It is hard to conceive of legislation affecting the public's right to know that would have a big- ger negative impact on crime and public safety in'California than AB 1682. To start with, records associated with crime are gathered at tremendous taxpayer expense and are the prop- erty of the public. Law enforcement agencies are mere custodi- ans of the public's records, not paternalistic pro- tectors that get to decide for their subjects which information they think the public needs and which it does not, as this bill suggests. Access to.public records is a fundamental right of every Californian. Nearly 83 percent of the public recently voted to make access to the records and meetings of government a constitu- tional right. Californians have a right to complete and ac- curate information about crime, and the Legisla- ture has a duty to create policies that promote the public's right to know. Each day, hundreds of newspapers access in- formation from law enforcement agencies about crime that precisely identifies the people in- volved. Precise address information allows indi- vidual members of the public to determine for themselves just how safe or dangerous their neighborhood, school, place of business or pub- lic park is, and allows them to make individual decisions about their personal safety, the safety of their families and their property. There is no way anyone can safeguard their person or property if they cannot get informa- tion that, with certainty, identifies persons ar- rested or victimized by crime. The bill would create two more bad outcomes. It would seriously harm the ability of the public to assist law enforcement agencies to solve crimes and prevent their future occurrence. Ac- curate and complete reporting about crime depu- tizes the public to assist law enforcement in solv- ing and preventing crime. When the public is made aware that an identi- fied individual has been victimized or has been arrested, it creates increased vigilance in the community, in the workplace and the neighbor- hood. This gives rise to all kinds of beneficial be- havior; including increased tips and Other com- : munications to law enforcement agencies and the creation of Crime Watch and other commu- nity-based policing programs. Making crime victims and suspects anony- mous and allowing law enforcement agencies to dribble out bits of information will make reports less accurate and will numb the public to real threats to its safety. Accurate and complete re- porting brings the community together to fight crime. AB 1682 goes the other direction and would further the notion that crime in the com- munity is "someone else's problem." AB 1682 would also eliminate the last vestige !of public accountability for law enforcement i agencies and law enforcement personnel As a i result of legislation and court decisions over the past two decades, short of civil suits or when a :~ peace officer's on-duty conduct results in crimi- : hal prosecution, there exists no opportunity for the public to obtain factual information about confirmed cases of serious peace officer miscon- i duct, and more importantly, whether law en- i forcement agencies that employ officers are tak- i ing adequate steps to protect the public. This public policy "black hole" should be ad- dressed by the Legislature before it considers pa- ternalistic legislation like AB 1682 to further ! shield the public from its own information. While crime does create individual victims, all ! crimes are committed against the state (the peo- i ple), and the state, through its prosecutors, is , solely authorized to pursue criminal cases. ! Because the State, not the individual, has a paramount interest in prosecuting crime, the public has a paramount interest in understand- ing the details---the most basic facts--about crime. If, however, on the facts of a particular case, release of address information (or any other of the generally releasable factual information about an incident or arrest) would harm the in- vestigation or place any individual in jeopardy, the law already allows an agency to withhold it. Likewise, the law already protects the identities of victims of sex crimes. A . Fe g f Breaking News .... go to plumasnews.com Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B. Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Delaine Fragnoli ........ Managing Editor Diana Jorgenson .......... Portola Editor Alicia Knadler ......... Indian Valley Editor Kate West ............... Chester Editor Shannon Morrow .......... Sports Editor Mona Hill .................. Copy Editor The catch 22 of snowy seasons MY TURN walk outside while keeping your feet dry opposed to a large city, because I had sur- KAYLEEN TAYLOR Staff Writer ktaylor@lasennews corn Winter weather drives me crazy and, until recently, I had forgotten how much. Out of the several reasons I had to go to San Diego for my college career, the num- ber one reason was no snow. Absolutely none whatsoever. When winter came to Southern Califor- nia, the only marker of the changing sea- son was a sky full of clouds. And rain, lots and lots of rain. There were no snow- storms bombarding the city, streets full of slush or the need to have snowboots to I would come home during the Christ- mas holidays, and in those brief weeks I spent in the snow, I soon realized how much I missed being in an area where the changing of the seasons was apparent. The majority of the friends I made were from different areas of Southern Califor- nia and a few had never seen snow. I still feel sorry for these people. Only until you can survive the day battling several feet of snow in a car and on foot can you say you've lived. The friends I made wouldn't survive an hour in the snow, let alone the entire season. In a strange way, I felt like I had been exposed to much more than they had, since I came from a small community, as I/Vhere in the world RA55 FED ANG8 Lucia Biunno took a trip to New York City and had her picture taken at a farmers' market in Greenwich Village. Next time you travel, share where you went by bring- ing your local newspaper along and including it in a photo. Then e-mail the photo to smorrow@plumasnews.com. Photo submitted vived so many winters. It was the one thing I had over them, and it made me smile like I had the greatest secret. Then came the day in San Diego when I got cold during a non-winter night. I refer to it as non-winter because there was no such thing as a winter down there even though it was December. I remember feel- ing like I was somehow a traitor to my roots because I thought it was chilly dur- ing a 60-degree evening. After that fateful night, when I came home to visit I wasn't just cold, I was be- yond frozen. Though I was uncomfortable and stiff, I still finished out my Christ- mas vacation, satisfied I was surrounded by snow instead of buildings. The months leading up to my departure from the city, my conversations with my friends were about my excitement to be in an area with changing seasons. I was ready to be back home, spending winter back in the snow. Then it arrived and I was painfully aware that I was no longer visiting but living in the cold, bright-white spectacu- lar that imposes its power on this quiet, mountain town. Now, I'm back to struggling to get down the street without sliding all over the place, people with their fancy, snow-capa- ble trucks tailgating me because I wasn't blessed with such a grand, slip-free vehi- cle, my feet freezing and wet because I didn't realize the snow was a lot deeper than I first suspected and, my favorite: the icy roads that are consistently pre- sent during the night, with or without the snow. When I saw the first snow flurries of the season, I was back to remembering why I left in the first place. Everything about this weather makes me irritable. Especially those people in their trucks who don't understand the concept that my car is a bit more difficult to keep on the road than theirs. I need my space, people! I can't stand to be cold and I've been spending way too much time snuggled up under my two comforters. Shoveling snow is another task that puts me in an awful mood. Even amidst all my complaining and frustrations, I still remember what is was like to, have no winter, wondofland and- ~ -,, howl wished I had it. Jaoo" So with the snow or without it, I know I'm capable of surviving a snowy winter because I've done it many times before, and that makes me whole in a way that this town is complete with having four seasons. R_EMEMBER WHEN merchant and was also at one time Plumas ........................................................................................................... CountyClerk. KERI TABORSKI Historian 80 YEARS AGO... 1930 W.S. Quigley of Taylorsville has been ap- pointed as a member of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors by California State Governor C. C. Young. Quigley will replace W.C. Lawrence who reigned. Former Quincy resident Martha Good- win, Plumas County native, died this week in San Francisco. She was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John E. Goodwin, pi- oneers of Plumas County. Her father was a 50 YEARS AGO... 1960 Advertisement: Special Valentines Day smorgasboord with a continental touch will be offered Sunday at Hotel Quincy for $2.00 a plate, Almanor Judicial District judge Edward Spellmeyer has been presiding over the Plumas Judicial Court following the death of Fred Dettmer last month. 30 YEARS AGO... 1980 ' Members and guests from six local Ro- tary Clubs including Greenville, Loyalton, Portola, Quincy, Susanville and Westwood will participate in a 75th anniversary cele- Community MY TURN RUTH ELLIS Staff Wdter rellis@lassen news.com A friend of mine commented that she turned on the news and was reminded why she never watches it... it's too de- pressing. Considering my profession, that irked me at first, mainly because it implied she hadn't watched the news in a while. For as long as I can remember, I've al- ways been interested in current events, good or bad. But, upon further thought, I do have to agree with her. The war in Afghanistan, high unemployment, perse- cution in other countries and most re- cently, the devastating earthquake in Haiti. News that makes the national headlines might make people consider locking up their children until they reach adulthood, setting up an electric fence around their newspapers balance house or never stepping foot in public. Despite all the doom and gloom, there are positive news stories out there. I'll ad- mit I really enjoy reading People maga- zine. Some might think it's just a gossip rag. While it does keep one up to date on what the actors and actresses are doing, I find the magazine to be full of intriguing stories about people, the average citizens, all across the United States and some- times beyond. A recent favorite was about a soldier stationed in Iraq who befriended a dog, which was considered a big no-no in the Army. Whenever he and his group broke down camp and moved to another area, the dog would find them. As the soldiers got ready to travel to an- other location 75 miles away, the man thought that would be the last time he would see his friend. Several days later, much to their dismay, the dog showed up looking a little worn flown and cut up, but he was there. The man decided to adopt the dog, and the two eventually reunited in sunny San Diego. One of the things I love about working here at the newspaper is that there is a balance of stories. There are the crime stories that most large newspapers wouldn't even consider newsworthy and, of Course, the never-ending state budget. The joke around Feather Publishing is that we went into journalism to avoid bration of Rotary International held at the Plumas County Fairgrounds in Quincy. John Dean, who changed the course of history with his testimony abbut Water- gate will be the guest lecturer at Lassen College in Susanville Thursday night. '10 YEARS AGO... 2000 A Plumas County Grand Jury's report was disclosed today that the Plumas County Board of Supervisors crossed the line when they used public funds to buy livestock from the Plumas County Fair 4-H auction. The report indicates that the supervisors have spent $25,000 in public funds in livestock during the past five years. out the, rim news math, but this past year we have written more budget stories than we care to count. On the other hand, we have the awe- some opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people who have done the neatest things in their lives. One of my favorite interviews was talking to the man who developed the guidance abort SYstem used on Apollo 13. There are many talented artists and musicians who live in the area, and go- getters who pour out their time and ener- gy in supporting our community. Another of my favorite things is inter- viewing the students at Lassen High School. Last week, I talked with students in the Lassen Environmental and Applied Partnership Program. It was the fourth story I have written about LEAPP, but every year, I'm impressed by what the students learn and get to do. Not only do students learn numerous computer skills, they also work on pro- jects that benefit the community. Students are fun to talk to. Many are the up-and-coming leaders and they dream big. It is also refreshing because they are usually never worried that what they say is going to offend someone. In large cities, people don't open up their paper and see a photo of their child at a school event, or a story about some- thing interesting their neighbor has done, but those are the types of things that make community newspapers great.