The MGH Report

Michael G. Haran, Proprietor


Posted by on Dec 18, 2013


Healdsburg Tribune


After reading Rollie Atkinson’s editorial it got me thinking just how valuable the Tribune is to Healdsburg and I’m sure how the other Sonoma West Publishers’ weekly papers are to their communities.Healdsburg Tribune #1

Rollie did a good job of listing the paper’s features and their benefits. I had never before looked at ads as news but Rollie’s comment, “The butcher’s special at the grocery story is a big weekly headline for us,” caught my eye. The Big John’s Market back page ad is the first thing my wife looks at when the paper arrives at our house. I look at all the ads in the Business Directory to see who is still advertising and who is new to the section and doing what. I like to follow the activities of the business owners that I know.

I enjoy following the Healdsburg High’s sports teams especially the basketball teams. I play basketball on Saturday mornings at the high school gym which is monitored by Wayne Rudy for the Town’s Park and Rec Department. He is a long time junior high and high school basketball coach for both boys and girls and he regularly brings the younger kids to our pick-up games to play against the all-ages that play there. The kids I have gotten to know I follow their high school sports careers in the Tribune. The Saturday mornings are also an on-going mini reunion of sorts as many of the players that have graduated occasionally come back to play.

In an interview with the California Newspaper Publishers Association in 2012 Rollie said, “We have a very low turnover in most of our organization, except for our newsroom. Our wage level is terrible, but we do offer a great learning experience and lots of freedom to explore the craft and trade of writing and journalism. I think we’ve been very lucky to keep finding the level of talent we do.” When asked “What are some of the ways the industry can preserve newspapers in our communities?” he went on to say… cautiously (very cautiously) explore projects or relationships with civic journalists.”

When we moved here about eight years ago, I wrote my first Tribune Letter-to-the-Editor about little Christmas tree that would light up every night in a vineyard. I have since gone on to write commentary that has been published in not only the Tribune but also the Press Democrat and other publications. I have to say that the tribune has helped me, and others, become a commentary writers and “civic journalists.”

Now if you look at what is published every week in the Tribune such as public notices, obituaries, local news, what the town government is up to, event calendars, school-library-museum announcements, local columnists and editorials on local, state and national issues I too am amazed at what a bargain the paper is at 50 cents. I think it is quite easy to justify $1.00 a copy. I feel the real value is closer to $5.00 but unfortunately you wouldn’t sell many papers at that price.

The paper is not just a local resource. When I travel and stay in a new community the first thing I do is buy the local newspaper to get a lay of the land. Even though my stay will be short I can serendipitously immerse myself in local politics, culture and the business community. I’m sure many Healdsburg tourists have found their stay in our town more rewarding by picking up the Trib and reading it with their morning lattes.

This is some of what the Trib means to me. So in this Thanksgiving season we certainly should be thankful for having the Tribune and we have to support the local merchants that support our town newspaper. I’m sure Rollie is not getting rich running his little publishing empire but he is certainly making us the richer for having the Healdsburg Tribune.

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Posted by on Dec 2, 2013

Cruz - McCarthy #1 Commentary

A recent letter-to the-editor of a local newspaper took a columnist to task for calling Ted Cruz a moron. The reader said that Senator Cruz has “advanced degrees and honors from prestigious universities” and that such “derogatory sophomoric” terms are a “departure from civility.”

As most people know it doesn’t matter if a person has advanced degrees that person can still be a moron and for that matter they can also be a hypocrite, sociopath, obstructionist and all around idiot. When someone throws their hat into the ring and runs for public off all is fair, the gloves come off and name calling is part of it. Politics can be a nasty business and if a person doesn’t have tough skin they better not play the game.

Ted Cruz is the type of Politian that comes along every generation or so. The last one like him was Joe McCarthy the communist witch hunter (it’s a little scary how much Cruz even looks like him). Cruz is an opportunist. He is riding the libertarian ideology of small government expounded upon by the Tea Party movement. To the casual observer it would look like Cruz is a moron if he has serious plans to run for president. Presidential elections are determined by the independent vote. Independents can go either center left or center right but they don’t like extremes and will never vote and extremist into the White House.

In true con-man fashion Cruz has been raising a ton of money from his base. You know that base, the people who scream “get the government out of my Medicare!’ and continually vote against their own self-interests (those are the real morons). Maybe Cruz’s goal is to raise as much money as possible so he can hang with the Koch brothers, the high priests of Libertarianism, but one thing is for sure he doesn’t give a damn about governing. Even his hometown newspaper, the Houston Chronicle, has disavowed him. The Tea Party of today is not even remotely concerned with the Middle Class, they are all about money going to money and finding whatever ways they can to keep it for themselves.

The Liberians primary belief is that the market will dictate the human condition. They believe that the federal government should be so weak that it can’t interfere with business. If the one-percent controls so much wealth that the U.S. turns into a banana republic so be it. If a person doesn’t have a job it is their fault because they are lazy and just sucking off the system. Let’s cut $40 billion from food stamps, most of which goes to children, but keep the subsidies for big oil.

What’s sad is that the Republican Party has been hijacked by extremist like Cruz and we have no one to balance check the political Status Quo. With our aging population we are going to need serious entitlement reform but it also has to include serious tax code reform of the wealth’s entitlements and we can’t find compromise with elected officials like Cruz who read “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor and spout ridiculous conspiracy theories about George Soros secretly partnering with the United Nations to come into our cities and eliminate our right to play golf.

Fortunately the majority of Americans are not morons. Con men have to work in the shadows and as the true agendas of these shills for the rich get exposed to the light of day they will once again slink back under their rocks just like what happened to Joe McCarthy. As Michael Ciric said in his blog, “So believe me, that ain’t no Green Eggs and Ham Ted Cruz is serving up. If anything it’s Green Eggs and Political Scam!”

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