Muckrake: It's what newspapers do
July 17, 2013One of our sister newspapers has stirred up a minor contretemps with local officials because it runs a "crime map" which shows where all of the crimes happen in the city. The "crime map" is one of the most popular features in that paper, which, is in a much larger city than Valley Center. The city has lots of criminal activities, including prostitution, which the city fathers apparently don't like to have highlighted.
We don't have anything like that here in Valley Center (I'm not saying we don't have prostitution, but we don't have it on the city streets where everybody can see it). But doing those kinds of muckraking activities is what newspapers have done through the few hundred years that they have existed—and should do.
As I say, we don't have a need for a "crime map" as yet here, but that's not to say that we don't have the occasional blemish to bring to our readers' attention so that the powers-that-be will become embarrassed and do something about it.
So, this week we decided to lift a rock and show off something unattractive at our local library. For years patrons have driven their cars over lights and backed into lampposts and broken barriers in the parking lot. Apparently this sort of damage is not considered worthy of fixing, so we thought we'd embarrass the County (always fun to do) and run a few photos to highlight it.
It's possible that the library system's budget doesn't allow it to fix such things. I could understand that, since the library a couple of years ago spent many thousands of dollars degrading the looks and functionality of our library and removing much of its "heart" in order to accomplish some sort of "one size fits all" goal of the library director, Jose Aponte, to homogenize and dehumanize all of the County's branch libraries (unless you happen to be the Fallbrook Library, in which case you are exempt from such requirements).
Previously Mr. Aponte thought it was too expensive to install flagpoles for County libraries. Now, apparently, he thinks it's too expensive to clean up debris created by heavy-footed motorists in the parking lot.
I suppose if the worst thing that we have to muckrake about is a bone yard where unattractive decapitated lampposts go to die, then we are in pretty good shape.
Nevertheless, we thought we'd bring it to our readers' attention.
Here's hoping we never have to write about prostitutes that the Sheriff's deputies refuse to do anything about!