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June, 2007



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Taking Back the Light
By Elizabeth Whitney, Inverness

Thanks to the Coastal Post, I can write to my community, which starts in West Marin and radiates outward. I can't do this via my weekly community newspaper, the Point Reyes Light, because I have identified myself as a challenger to its editor, Robert Plotkin. He even removed my paid classified ad announcing a town meeting on the subject of "The Role of a Community Newspaper in Revolutionary Times."
And now I am willing, albeit reluctantly, to take this whole thing to a new level. After talking to many, many local people l feel it is time to take some action as a community to express how we feel about the state of things at the Point Reyes Light. There is great discontent with the paper throughout the local towns that the Light traditionally served in West Marin. There is also a sentiment that we can't do anything about the state of the Light and the mindset of the editor.

I disagree. I think it is time to TAKE BACK THE LIGHT and I am now initiating a focused protest on Monday, June 11, as TAKE BACK THE LIGHT DAY. If you have strong opinions about the Point Reyes Light, take your paper back to the editor at the office in Point Reyes Station and communicate verbally or in writing why you feel as you do. You can also mail your paper back with your comments to Box 210, Point Reyes Station 94956, if you find this easier.

Starting right now, with these words, I am willing to make this event common knowledge and encourage action in Point Reyes and Inverness where I circulate personally. It is not an easy thing to do; I really have no desire to engage Plotkin on this level or to make myself high profile in this manner. I have given it a lot of thought and been very tempted to surrender to the passivity of non-action and just keep on doing things that are "my life," like making my garden beautiful and having time for my friends and family and being a helpmate to my partner, organic farmer Peter Worsley. I have plenty to do and lots of creative ferment inside me that wants to be expressed.

When I came back to Point Reyes in November of 2005, Plotkin had just taken over the Light and I looked forward to his era as an opportunity to write for the paper as an "out there" original thinker. I had just spent four years in Malibu where I wrote a weekly column called "Making Waves" for its local paper, The Surfside News. It gave me a lot of pleasure to surf the wild side of radical ideas for whomever was reading that paper and I imagined being able to take that even further for this community. Of course that was not of interest to Plotkin and my offers of participation were ignored and my letters to the editor never published. I could even say that my courage to take on the Light is fueled not by anger but by a true sadness that I can't contribute to my own home town paper.

It's a pleasure to return to the Coastal Post for freedom of expression, the paper that printed my first columns in the 1980s and helped me develop a style of writing that flourished in the "Making Waves" years. Don Deane has been an ally and friend for all these years and Jeanette Pontacq is a vibrant addition to the local journalism scene. This paper is alive and well and has all the potential in the world to keep on diversifying and experimenting. It is a good place to activate a show of defiance in the cause of restoring the symbol of the lighthouse to the Point Reyes Light. Our community needs a forum for its conversations with itself and for the news that is being generated by many dedicated souls who invigorate West Marin with their enterprise and cultural activities. We deserve better than we are being given and it is time to make that point loud and clear. Join me and make Monday, June 11, TAKE BACK THE LIGHT DAY. In revolutionary times, we must speak our truth and articulate our values and ideals...or we lose them. See you on the street!

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