What is going on over at the Pacifica Tribune? Is anyone performing the most basic copyediting anymore? It's painful to read Horace Hinshaw's own columns. He's the editor of the paper, for crying out loud! Does he even read his own submissions?
From Horace's latest "The way I see it" column, December 10-16, 2014: "Tonight we'll have changing of the guard...
“Tonight?” I guess if you happened to read this on the correct day, it would be "tonight." The piece was posted online December 9 at 5 p.m. I hope you didn't show up to Council Chambers then. No event date was provided anywhere in the piece, nor was there an article anywhere in the paper about the event to glean a date from. If you read Horace's piece on Thursday or Friday, well, "tonight" has long since passed you by. (The reorganization is on Wednesday, December 10 at 7 p.m., by the way.)
"...when we introduce a new Mayor."
Who is "we"? "We” aren’t introducing anyone, but the newly seated council will elect a new mayor on December 10, and perhaps that newly elected mayor will introduce herself or himself to us.
"Mayor pro tem Karen Ervin will move up one chair to assume the role, taking over from current Mayor Mary Ann Nihart."
Isn’t this declaration a bit premature, since it's predicated on an election that hasn't happened yet? Yes, Ervin is the odds-on favorite, but until the vote actually happens, it's not a done deal, and stranger things have happened. She may not even want the position. Who knows?
"We'll lost one councilmember while welcoming a new one."
C’mon, man, this is just terrible writing.
"Mr. Keener was very outspoken on the Highway 1wideing issue during his candidacy run for the council."
What the hell? How does a sentence like this get published? 1wideing?! And what does a “candidacy run for the council” mean? Horace, you've got to get your "stuff" together and read what you're publishing every week under your name.
Dear Riptide Editor: Did you happen to notice the unusually ugly "Fall Colors" photo at the top of the November 19 Pacifica Tribune editorial page? For one thing, it was printed in black and white, so there were no fall colors, unless you consider ash gray a color. For another, perhaps because of the lack of actual color, you could not tell what the picture showed. Was it a tree or was it some dog's dinner?
November 5, 2014, Pacifica Tribune: "DEAR READERS—Thanks for all your letters to the editor during the past month. I appreciate your support more than I can say. To my friends who urged me not to return here as a matter of principle, I hope you understand that I value this column as an opportunity to be an alternative voice in the newspaper. In the final analysis, I decided that was the greater good. I won’t bore you with any Alice in Wonderland metaphors (down the rabbit hole, Mad Hatter’s tea party, etc.), but suffice it to say that this long, strange suspension was no fun. I missed writing my column and getting your emails. One good thing about the time away was that I had a chance to do more blogging on Pacifica Riptide. You are always welcome to visit us there online and see what our motley crew of writers, photographers, and rabble-rousers is up to. Meanwhile, welcome back to Wandering & Wondering. Let’s continue to celebrate free speech, freedom of the press, and the San Francisco Giants huge World Series victory."
In early October, Pacifica Tribune interim editor Horace Hinshaw said he had "decided to suspend the column indefinitely" (my weekly "Wandering & Wondering"), and would not discuss the matter until after the election "to avoid any controversy."
In his October 15 "Editor's corner" in the Tribune, Hinshaw wrote: "The suspension of John Maybury's Wandering and Wondering column has sent a flurry of letters to me, requesting the reinstatement of his column. John's supporters are under the impression that he would not return as a weekly contributor to the Tribune. That was not the intent. In my discussion with Mr. Maybury I told him we would re-visit a time for him to return after the Nov. 4 election. However, with the misunderstanding -- and it's probably because of the word 'indefinitely' being used instead of saying 'after Nov. 4' in my statement last week -- I want to defuse this matter now. Mr. Maybury has the opportunity to resume writing his weekly column on Wednesday, Nov. 5." (Editor's corner)
On October 15 and 22, the Tribune editorial pages ran several protest letters. Several other letters that we know of were submitted to the Tribune but never appeared in the newspaper, though at least one appeared on the Tribune website. Some of those "missing" letters are archived here on Riptide in the Comments thread below this post.
Hinshaw wrote in an editor's note October 15: "There have been some internal production changes at the Tribune and it may be that the cyperspace [sic] thief got their hands on them."
As a freelance writer contributing my column to the Tribune for the past 15 years (formerly with pay, but now unpaid), I have no contract. Nevertheless, I protested this unfair suspension of my column during the election season. I did nothing wrong to deserve suspension.
My personal endorsement of City Council candidate John Keener appeared in a full-page ad that Keener paid for and Hinshaw accepted and published in the Tribune's Coastal Connections supplement, and also on a Keener campaign mailer. The ad and mailer simply said "John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide and Tribune" (as is often done on campaign literature for identification purposes only), not implying that the Tribune endorsed Keener.
More important, I did not endorse ANYONE in my column itself. John Keener and I made this very clear in subsequent letters to the editor, but to no avail. So the suspension ran full term until November 5, at which point my column was reinstated.
Letter to the editor, Pacifica Tribune, October 8, 2014: As a freelance newspaper columnist ("Wandering and Wondering"), I do not speak for the Pacifica Tribune when I endorse John Keener for Pacifica City Council. That is my own personal opinion. (John Maybury, Moss Beach) — Editor's Note: In an endorsement publication for John Keener, Mr. Maybury was listed as a writer for the Tribune, implying that the Tribune is endorsing Mr. Keener. Mr. Maybury is not employed by the Tribune, but rather is a freelance contributor. The Tribune does not endorse any candidate for City Council. To avoid any controversy, Mr. Maybury's column has been suspended indefinitely.
With the budget, general plan, and the San Pedro Creek bridge in the news lately, I thought this might be of interest to readers seeking more information about these subjects.
I've begun a SLOW reorganization of how the information is presented on Pacifica Index. I completed my goal of converting council, committee, and commission info into a more accessible format than what the City of Pacifica provides, but I find that it continues to be much more difficult to locate information on Pacifica Index than I would prefer.
The material is searchable and includes data from across multiple city departments and sources, supplemented with my own research, analysis, and occasional on-scene reporting (snapping pictures and taking video with my camera phone).
CAVEATS: (1) It's small right now. Like, really, REALLY small, but I thought it may be of use to some readers now. God knows how long this entire project will take, and if I wait until the entire thing is complete, the sun may burn out first. I've been trying to add at least one subject a week, but it's really slow going. So far, I have pages on the following subjects:
Budget, Annual Budget, Mid-Year Review City Finances Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) General Plan General Plan, Housing Element General Plan Environmental Impact Report General Plan Outreach Committee Junior Olympics Linda Mar Boulevard Repaving Local Coastal Land Use Plan Measure A; "Transportation Tax" (June 7, 1988 & November 2, 2004) Measure V; "Utility Users' Tax" (November 5, 2013) Parks, Beaches and Recreation Department PLAY Activity Guide San Pedro Creek Bridge Utility Users' Tax (November 5, 2013 Ballot Measure)
(2) The site is slow. It works, but it's slow. I don't know if this is my webhost or my database. Probably both. Things will get faster eventually, but for now the site requires a little patience.
(3) The site is "nonpartisan." Yes, I have my own strongly held views on issues, but Pacificapedia is not the place for them. Information and analysis only, here.
I'll continue to keep Pacifica Index up to date and continue to index City Council agendas on an ongoing basis. Please let me know if you spot any errors. If you'd like, in the comments below you can indicate which subjects you'd like me to tackle next on Pacificapedia.
I hope Riptide readers find Pacificapedia useful. I've spent a LOT of time on it and I'm pleased with how it's been coming along. Thanks for reading.
According to a San Francisco Chronicle business story July 19, Integrated Whale Media Investments of Singapore and Hong Kong has paid $475 million for a majority share of Forbes Media stock.
Steve Forbes, staying on as chairman and editor in chief, is quoted as saying: "The buyers are entrepreneurs and they understand entrepreneurial capitalism, and they have a vested self-interest in not messing with the editorial."
How refreshing to hear those words. But we wonder how long that will last. So many times we have heard corporate takeover artists promise they would not interfere with editorial or creative, only to find out soon after that they were lying. And inevitably when that happens, product quality, job security, and staff morale go downhill. Just ask anyone who has lived through a merger or acquisition.
A writer/editor colleague and friend asked me for my opinion on Grammarly, which is under discussion on the Quora forum. Here is my take on it:
"As with most other spell, style, and grammar checkers, this program is only as good as the humans who input the content and coded it, which is to say that it does some good but also some harm. As an added layer of quality control, as a backup, as a second pair of eyes, it’s probably somewhat useful, especially for a non-writer or novice, but there really is no substitute for a real human editor. The main problem with all such word programs is their occasionally vague or unhelpful or downright silly suggestions. Their best calls are probably outright spelling errors and duplicated words, so it wouldn’t hurt to run those tests just in case you were sleepy or impaired when you wrote the copy."