Mission Viejo’s new electronic bulletin board. The truth that was not reported

It’s truly sad when we have local reporters who simply lack topic information or go with the flow to keep future stories coming from city hall staff. Report whatever they say without engaging in a simple example of investigative reporting.

Case in point. A few years ago members of our city SCAT team wanted to opt out of a volunteer activity of manually changing our community message board that was located at a major intersection in town across from the Mission Viejo library. Hearing that concern during a council meeting I offered to create a team of volunteers who performed that task for around 18 months until we were asked to stop performing the weekly Vanna White changes. Shortly before we were removed the city spent taxpayer funds performing repairs that we had recommended. After that date the sign was in perfect condition.

Following is part of the text written by our local Saddleback Valley News beat reporter Amanda Glowish. Take particular notice of the bottom line. It’s lie, and no one had the courage to call them on it. That’s one advantage we who write blog posts can do without fear of retribution (unless your an appointed Commissioner in Santa Ana).

“City events will soon be electronically displayed on the corner of La Paz Road and Marguerite Parkway.

Construction has begun on a $143,030 electronic message board which is replacing a 15-year-old manual sign on the corner. The electronic board will be about 5 by 15 feet and surrounded by a brick display with potted plants.

The City Council approved the electronic message board in July with the opposition of some residents. The city sees the new sign as a way to upgrade the corner and be up to date with technology. Those in favor of keeping the manual sign see the electronic sign as a safety hazard and an unnecessary expense.

More than 30 e-mails were sent to the Council from residents who don’t want to see the manual sign replaced with a “Las Vegas style flashing sign,” when it was approved in July.

The manual sign was rotting and could not be saved, according to city staffers. “

Note: I am sending a copy of this post to the reporter and city staff inside Mission Viejo’s Taj Mahal City hall.

Gilbert note. I have stated this before and it’s worth repeating. If you are a reporter covering a city you need a constant flow of data for future stories. If you challenge or burn someone in power you can kiss off establishing any relationship with that person unless you are high enough up the food chain to demand respect.
Perhaps that’s the reason why several local articles are turning into “puff pieces” to make you feel good and let the city have a favorable slant. To me that is not reporting. You end up becoming an extension of their PR department.

Question. Can you site examples of similar stories in your city. As is our policy, you are not required to post your name on any response to Juice posts.

Let me wing it with this one. We recently read about the mega million dollar commitment in Santa Ana to finally repair some roads. Did the reporter question the city as to why some of said repairs were neglected for so long. Didn’t we set aside a bucket of money for slurry sealing where the eventual cost would have been much lower? Perhaps I am wrong but it was a question for the media to present.

About Larry Gilbert