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Fact-checking ads before publication is paper's objective

Call this the fact-check that shouldn’t have been.

The Triplicate’s election season protocol calls for me to see political advertisements in advance, not to censure sentiment but to ferret out false information – before it gets into print.

Generally some rewording does the trick.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen with an ad for supervisor candidate Leslie McNamer last week. It carried this statement about her opponent:

“According to Roger Gitlin, 50 percent of Del Norte County are: ‘Moochers, leeches, and victims.’”

That’s an inaccurate reference to what Gitlin wrote in an opinion piece posted last December in the Santa Clarita Valley’s West Ranch Beacon. His actual words were:


Editor's Note: An inch off the side

Starting next week, the Triplicate will adopt what is becoming the industry standard for full-size newspapers -— slightly narrower pages.

By narrowing each page by 1 inch, we’re following in the footsteps of numerous publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the flagship publication of Western Communications, the Bend Bulletin.

Some of the Bend folks will be on the North Coast early next week to ensure that all goes smoothly as we make the changes at the Crescent City offices and at our Smith River printing plant. Our sister publication, the Curry Coastal Pilot, is also making the transition next week.

Size-wise, it’s a small change, but it does entail redesign work. On the front page, promotions of inside content and weather forecasts will move from the left-hand side to elsewhere on the page. The horoscope will move from the Comics page to the classifieds. There will be other subtle changes to accommodate the new size.

Coastal Voices: Time to require GMO labels

What is GMO? Many people say it means “God move over” and that’s not far from the truth.

GMO stands for genetically modified organism.

Why should we care? Because you are eating it and your children are eating it!

Scientists, along with your favorite chemical companies Monsanto and Dow have conceived a way to tamper with the very core of our food. The life force of the plants we consume have been altered to suit them.

Editor's Note: Don’t miss these attractions

Enjoyed a couple of unexpected treats this weekend. One came courtesy of the animal kingdom, the other of human endeavor. Both were very Del Norte.

And the best news is, they’re still there for you to enjoy as well.

The constant murmur of waves and the irregular screeching of seagulls are two of the auditory rewards of living near the sea. A third is even more welcome, because it arrives on the wind.

When the breeze is right, the barking of seals a mile away seems to emanate from your own backyard. Lately they’ve sounded more exercised than ever, and on Saturday I peeked at them first from Point St. George and then from Pebble Beach Drive.

Editor's Note: The best thing that’s happened

The moon followed me on a long drive home Sunday, first as the roundest white spot in a swirly afternoon sky, then as a lantern in the night.

It was about three-quarter’s full, similar to its look on July 20, 1969.

Has any human being ever left behind a greater monument than Neil Armstrong?

I was 12 years old and about to head for a weeklong church camp in the remote woods of Western Oregon. The timing was excruciating, because I was going to be one of the few who wouldn’t be watching TV that evening. Along with the rest of the world, I’d already sweated out the lunar module’s descent -— 1,000 feet, 500 feet, 200 feet, and then, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Editor's Note: Recollecting the bad times

Little in life is as discretionary as the observance of anniversaries. I’m not talking about remembering wedding dates — that task clearly carries consequences — but rather the big news events of the past.

Later this week we’ll look back at a disaster that everyone who was living in this region 10 years ago will recall. The Biscuit Fire burned up a lot of southwestern Oregon and an appreciable chunk of northern Del Norte as well. At the same time, the much-smaller Shelley Creek Fire seared timberland far too close to Gasquet for comfort.

Other notable anniversaries of catastrophes are on the horizon. Crescent City’s signature tidal waves will be 50 years old in March 2014 — followed months later by the December floods that devastated the Klamath area while swamping much of the Northwest.


Coastal Voices: An update on Sutter Coast issues

Here are highlights from the Aug. 2 meeting of the medical staff, the local Sutter Coast Hospital Board of Directors and Mike Cohill, Sutter’s president of the West Bay Region, headquartered in San Francisco.

Critical access designation: Cohill said that in Lakeport, Calif., critical access was the only option other than going broke and closing the hospital. He also said those may be the only options for Crescent City. We also learned, for the first time, that Sutter has hired an outside consultant to study the feasibility of converting to the critical access designation at Sutter Coast Hospital.

Hospital ownership: Despite prior claims by Sutter Regional Vice-President Dr. Toni Brayer and Sutter Coast CEO Eugene Suksi that Sutter Coast Hospital is owned by Sutter Health, Cohill said the opposite.

“Sutter Coast Hospital is a separate hospital,” he said. Sutter Coast Hospital owns it.”

How to reach public officials


Coastal Voices: No compromise on dock safety

The July 31 article, “Harbor drilling methods debated,” may have caused some confusion in the community regarding the status of the drilling method for the new boat basin.

The article gave some people the impression that (a) the Harbor engineers doubted the validity of the alternative drilling technique, but (b) the Harbor Commission has decided to use the alternative technique because (c) the contractor is pushing it and (d) the Harbor would save a few dollars, and (e) in case the new harbor fails, the commission would rely on another engineering firm’s liability insurance to replace it.

This impression is not correct.   Here is the background:

 The harbor’s engineers designing the pilings and docks are the team of Stover Engineering, Ben C. Gerwick, and Treadwell & Rollo.  They designed the new harbor to be resistant to a 50-year tsunami event.

Coastal Voices: Action needed in park scandal

Here are excerpts from a letter sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, President Pro Tem Steinberg, and Speaker Perez:

On behalf of the California State Parks Foundation, our 130,000 members statewide, and our 43-year history of enhancing, protecting and advocating for parks, I cannot convey enough how deeply shocked and dismayed we have been to learn of the irregularities that have surfaced from the Department of Parks and Recreation in the last several days.

The news of the unauthorized vacation buyout program, coupled with the discovery of more than $50 million in 12-year fund balances that should have been disclosed and directed to parks and recreation operations, has affected our members, our partners, and the public’s trust in our state park system.

Our state parks have been used as a political football in recent years and have been repeatedly held hostage to broader budget and policy fights. That context is neither justification nor an excuse for the scandals that have come out, but contributes in part to the current state of affairs affecting our state parks.

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