Thursday, May 17, 2001
The Daily GrindSquid often wonders what it would be like to work at a daily newspaper, to actually break the news each day and not have to sit on your hands and wait for Thursdays to roll around, praying that your hot tip didn't find its way to Ryan Ranch. (Not that Squid would trade this private mahogany-paneled office and custom-made leather chair for the drab, fluorescent-lit acres of the local dailies' newsrooms).
Well, the folks over at the Carmel Pine Cone, which publishes every Friday, have figured out a way to have the best of both the weekly and the daily worlds. Co-publisher Paul Miller dreamed up a deal with Salinas-based Californian in which the two papers share advertising and news content.
Miller hopes the collaboration between the two papers will not only benefit both papers financially, but will inject some healthy rivalry into the area's kennel of news hounds. "Competition is a very healthy force in journalism in my experience," he says. "If you don't have competition, you can get lazy."
Indeed, it seems Miller is already using his new outlet to keep the Monterey County Herald on its toes. Thanks to him, the Californian pulled off a major scoop over the Herald last week. Miller attended a Sunday evening meeting of Del Monte Forest property owners in which county Supervisor Dave Potter announced he would not seek the state Assembly seat being vacated by a termed-out Fred Keeley. The story popped up in the Californian on Monday, May 7, forcing the Herald--which has by far the wider circulation in Potter's and Keeley's districts--to run an embarrassing second-day story on Tuesday.
Good work, Miller, but don't stop there. Squid's sure readers in Salinas await with bated breath those titillating stories only the Pine Cone can bring us, such as the latest on the home mail delivery debacle and those thought-provoking lunch-menu controversies.
Judge For YourselfSquid got schooled in the peculiar ways of the courts this week when word hit that Marina City Attorney Robert Wellington had filed a motion to dump Judge Michael Fields from a hearing scheduled for Friday over the legality of Measure E, Marina's controversial urban growth boundary initiative. In the motion, Wellington declared that Fields "is prejudiced against the City of Marina and its City Council" and that his client "cannot have a fair and impartial hearing before Judge Fields."
So what, Squid asks--you can just ask for a different judge if you don't like the one you were assigned? What kind of legal system is that? Or odder still, is Fields an enemy of Marina?
Squid dialed the jilted judge, who assures that asking for a different judge is something every attorney is entitled to do once per trial and is a "not uncommon" event. Fields says he can't ethically ask Wellington why he got the heave-ho.
So why would Wellington let Fields stand fallow? Word is Fields has a reputation for being enviro-friendly, but one local environmentalista sniffed, "He's no Judge Silver," meaning, presumably, that Fields rates second to his magisterial buddy in the Mr. Green Jeans department.
In any event, Squid can't help but think this case would be a real plum. It got the attention of state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who volunteered that he thinks Marina's lawsuit threatens the initiative process. Is Fields sorry he'll miss the big show? "I have to admit it sounds like great fun," he says.
Cheer up, Judge. Squid's positive there'll be another contentious land-use case in no time.
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