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Editor's Note: If you want DN’s best, you gotta stick around

Residing in Crescent City for five-plus years has led to one glorious revelation above all others: Living at the beach is far superior to visiting the beach.

Especially Pebble Beach, simply one of the most scenic stretches of coastline anywhere.

It’s not that the out-of-towners don’t get it. They have a hard time driving along Pebble Beach Drive without pulling over for pictures.

They do this in any weather, aside roiling waves or a still surface, the green water of a gray day or the sparkling blue of a sunny one.

But unless they’re lucky, they miss the transcendent events.

They may stay a few days and revel in the sea’s transformation from high tide to low, but they haven’t experienced those shifts occurring every 10 minutes unless they were here on March 11, 2011.

They may marvel at skydiving pelicans feasting on fish in the summertime, but they probably haven’t seen those birds massed at the edge of a bluff, their long bills tucked against a stranding January storm long after they should have flown south.

And they may turn pull-offs into haphazard parking lots at the slightest sign of a Pacific sunset, but … well, you get the idea. Sorry, Visitors Bureau, but the biggest rewards eventually go to those of us who are here for the duration.


Editor's Note: Will new Solid Waste Authority Board do its job?

The board of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority has work to do, starting at its meeting this afternoon.

Let’s hope the two county supervisors recently appointed to the board take that work seriously. For the last four years the county has seemed to play games with the agency tasked with overseeing the collection and hauling of waste and recyclables throughout Del Norte while also answering to the state over the environmental monitoring of the closed Crescent City Landfill.

The new members, Mike Sullivan and Roger Gitlin, are among the majority of county supervisors who have long questioned whether the authority should exist. They’ve implied there must be a more efficient way to oversee Del Norte’s waste, but four years of assessment have yet to produce a viable alternative.

Back in 2009, Sullivan was appointed to chair an ad hoc committee tasked with determining whether the authority should be disbanded.

Said Sullivan at the time: “We’re really going to have to go through the numbers, and if there’s a potential savings without a lapse in service then we’ll have to consider (dissolution).”

Alas, the committee completed its work without recommending dissolution. Then in late 2011 Sullivan and Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen called for creation of a new ad hoc committee to study, you guessed it, dissolution.

The Crescent City Council, a partner with the county in the joint powers agreement that created the authority, understandably made some noise about the county proposing to take the lead for the second time in forming a panel to study the authority’s viability. So instead of another ad hoc committee, all five City Council members and all five supervisors created a super-board of 10 members in October 2011 to oversee the authority.


First Jesuit pope just 1 of the signs

OK, by now those of you who are so inclined have filled out your brackets for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Which is a shame, because you really could have benefitted from the following information: Gonzaga University will win the national championship.

Del Norte High’s season is long over, the annual Crescent City Jaycees tournament is in the books, but the arrival of spring always heralds prime time for hoops at the higher levels.

The pros, ehh, they’ll be playoff-ing until practically summer. But the men’s and women’s college tournaments are things of beauty, three weeks of single-elimination games that begin today for the men.

Just think of it: As of this morning, 64 teams in each tournament can win the championship simply by putting together a six-game winning streak. Compare that to the sordid world of college football, where the only way to play for a national title is to crack a code dictated by biased pollsters and absurdly programmed computers.

And in office pools everywhere, we get to play along by making our picks, plunking down a few bucks and kibitzing with co-workers – the most wholesome way to gamble on sports.


Vista Point: Science of sneaker waves: Seeing isn’t always believing

 

Three boys stand on a log. An adult couple walks by 20 feet down the beach. That scene is not recorded, but presumably it’s what was happening just before video began to capture a moment of fright on Oct. 24, 2010, at Rockaway Beach, Ore.

The video shows three boys sent tumbling off their log as every visible part of the beach is rapidly inundated by a surging wave that seems like it will never relent.

Two of the boys struggle to gain their footing in the surge, and just as soon as they do a much longer log hits them in the legs, cartwheeling them face-first into the water. The third boy, up to his neck in water, can’t even get to his feet before he is swept about 15 feet down the beach by the second log and nearly pinned between third and fourth logs, one of them just missing his head as it rushes by.

By the time the recording begins, the couple who had been walking by have already been knocked down. One of them floats uncontrollably for about 20 feet, and only regains footing when the surge begins to recede. The other floats away, belly-down, for 30 feet, struggling to keep head above water, and has to be helped up after a sixth person runs out to assist. The person who is helped up staggers back to high ground, leaning on the rescuer for support.

As with giant squid or Siberian meteor blasts, the ubiquity of the video camera has revealed the secrets of another of nature’s elusive elements: the sneaker wave.

 


Editor's Note: There’s no such thing as a perfect newspaper

I’m coming up on 34 years of newspapering, so you’d think I’d know better.

There I sat with my coffee last Thursday, looking over that morning’s edition and finding it a shining example of what we’re trying to do here three times a week:

A front-page centerpiece about a highly charged local discussion of gun rights well-captured by the writer and photographer. An insightful look at one of the biggest local sporting events of the year and the volunteers who put it together. Intriguing developments regarding two high-profile figures under investigation. A story of a local family and its two generations of Warrior athletes. A preview of the next big community theater event, complete with great shots of rehearsing cast members.

Almost perfect, I thought as I turned through the pages a second time. But there’s nothing like journalism to cure a case of pride.

It was a couple of hours later when we noticed that a big chunk of one of those front-page articles had accidentally been left off a “jump” page, where stories are continued inside the paper.

Readers of the article about the reinstatement of Del Norte chief probation officer Thomas Crowell missed the details about the public safety officers’ fund he is accused of embezzling from. Gone also was Supervisor Martha McClure’s explanation for the reinstatement while charges are still pending: “We don’t always have to go for the jugular.”

 You can read the full article at triplicate.com — it’s the first one that comes up when you type “Crowell” into the search engine. Meanwhile, the Triplicate’s search for perfection is never-ending, if you know what I mean.


A rush to judgment with gun resolution

Some interesting reactions were on display as the Del Norte County supervisors listened to public comment and then voted Tuesday on a resolution “in support of the Second Amendment and the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

All but one of the 11 citizens who spoke supported the resolution. And the exception made it clear he doesn’t like the idea of additional gun-control laws. Bill Lonsdale just questioned the necessity of the resolution and implied that Supervisor Roger Gitlin was forcing a local vote on a hot-button national issue in an attempt to politically damage any colleague who disagreed with him.

Lonsdale wasn’t the only person in the room who seemed less than enthusiastic about what was unfolding. After the public comment period ended and supervisors had the floor, three of the five said absolutely nothing about the issue at hand.

Responding to Lonsdale’s questioning of the need for the resolution, Gitlin asked, “If not us, who?”

Martha McClure was the only supervisor who delved into the 11 “whereases” contained in the resolution, questioning interpretations of legal precedents in three of them.

“I too am a gun owner,” said McClure, but she noted that the supervisors had already taken oaths to uphold the entire Constitution and said it made no sense to “cherry-pick” amendments for special consideration.

She abstained, but her four colleagues voted in favor of the resolution. “Sure,” said David Finigan when the roll call came to him. It sounded more like, “whatever.”


Editor's Note: Print product, but Facebook-friendly

As I wrote last week, the Triplicate’s financial health depends for now on its paper product. If Del Norters value their only comprehensive local news source, they’ll buy it (not a big expense) and advertise in it (also not that big of an expense).

That doesn’t mean we ignore the Internet. At triplicate.com, we post breaking news as soon as we’ve got it. And as of this week it’s easier than ever to track us on Facebook.

We started out in the world of social media as “The Daily Triplicate,” but that site didn’t go away when we switched to three-times-a-week publication and added a second site, “Del Norte Triplicate.” So for more than a year we’ve been posting at both sites. Finally, we’ve been able to merge our “friends” and “likes” into a single site, simply “The Triplicate.”

We post the breaking news there as well, along with occasional bonus photos and previews of what’s coming up in the next print edition.

Since we’re already talking about cyberspace, let’s take a look at the results from some of our recent polls at triplicate.com. These surveys are far from scientific, but they do generate a lot of responses.

• Most recently we asked if people should be legally prohibited from walking on the Crescent City jetty, the scene of many wave-washed tragedies and rescue operations over the years.


For now, we remain mainly a paper product

A recent letter from a longtime resident illustrates the challenges facing the newspaper industry these days.

The writer said she had lived in Del Norte for two-plus decades and always relied on the Triplicate for “local news as well as national headlines.” She’s never been a subscriber, however, preferring to occasionally “buy editions that seem to have articles about something relevant that piques my interest.”

Her beef was that the newspaper doesn’t post its product to its website “in a timely fashion.”

In other words, c’mon Triplicate, join the Internet age and give us your product instead of selling it.

She assumed we could collect enough revenue through online advertising to compensate for letting people read the news for free. Unfortunately, that has proven to be an industry-wide fallacy resulting in dramatic downsizing and even closure of some newspapers.

Here’s the truth, at least in Del Norte: For the foreseeable future, the fortunes of the local newspaper are inextricably tied to its print product.

That is why we don’t post local articles and photos to our website from one edition until the next edition is already in our subscribers’ hands or available for purchase at stores and machines.


Coastal Voices: Yes, citizens do need large-capacity guns

In the Jan. 12 Editor’s Note column, “Newtown: There are myriad ways to fight back,” you discussed a number of valid proposals. And I do agree with some of your suggestions.

Arming designated people with self-defense training capable of firing back is a good idea, though they need not be marshals or even law enforcement. How about expanding the base of civilians with concealed weapons permits? They have the training needed and the extensive background checks.

As for violence in entertainment and graphic TV news, exposing our young people to the violent entertainment, movies, video games and much of what is called music these days does have an effect. But all of that can be reduced with parental censorship. Also the parents as role models make a lot of difference.

The mentally ill is a bit of a stickier subject. It has been my experience that most professional psychologists are extremely left-leaning (i.e., anti-gun). Allowing them to make the decision on which of their patients should be allowed to own firearms is biased at best.

Strictly speaking, if one is a danger to himself or others, they shouldn’t be allowed on the streets. I also know that isn’t practical or right. But neither is punishing law-abiding citizens for the crimes of a few.

The Newtown shooter was mentally disturbed by all accounts I have seen, as was the shooter in Aurora. Both were on anti-psychotic drugs, as were almost all of the shooters involved in the recent shootings. Most broke several state and federal laws in the commission of their crimes.


Editor's Note: Newtown: There are myriad ways to fight back

I’ve written before about the need for passionate moderates: People who energetically seek compromise while taking stands based on the issue at hand without regard to labels such as conservative or progressive, Tea Partier or liberal.

Nowhere is the need greater than in formulating America’s response to the string of massacres culminating — at least for now — in Newtown, Conn.

There are partial solutions a’plenty and none involve rocket science. In fact, they’ve already been mentioned by local voices in the pages of the Triplicate. The non-compromisers will tell you that only some of these proposals are valid. But the fact is, they all are.

• Violence as entertainment: Killing people is obscene, and yet we limit access to pornography much more than we limit access to video games where players choose their weapons and go on murderous sprees. Sometimes the victims are unsympathetic, but oftentimes players can kill anyone they choose, including bystanders — the special effects are the same.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board already advises parents and retailers alike about the appropriateness of certain games for certain age levels. But let’s face it: plenty of these games are inappropriate for all ages. We should treat them the same way we treat the vilest forms of legal pornography — stores that opt to provide them should put them behind their counters. And if the public starts to view these establishments as the equivalent of adult bookstores, all the better.

Again, killing people is obscene. Movies that contain an inordinate amount of violence should be rated X. The movie industry is self-policing. While submitting films to the ratings of the Motion Picture Association of America is voluntary, many theater chains won’t show them if they are unrated.

Giving films that are full of gratuitous violence an X rating would prevent children from seeing them in theaters. What gets shown in homes is up to parents, but the message would be delivered to people of all ages: watching this stuff in movies or TV shows is as socially acceptable as watching porn.

• TV news media and voyeurism: Each massacre becomes a 24/7 mini-series on CNN, FOX and MSNBC, as every detail is told and retold over the course of several days. Unless they have the good sense to turn it off, viewers are force-fed far beyond the nutritional value of understanding what happened.


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