The Coastal Post - December, 1995

Pt. Reyes Light: Shame, Shame, Shame!


It's been said never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel, unless you make movies. Newspaper feuds are always good for the circulation of both rags. If only for that reason, we're going to fire back at the Light for their sneering coverage of the Stephen Simac for BPUD campaign.

First: When the Light endorsed Jenny Pfieffer for that office in November, it would have been good form to acknowledge that her sister-in-law writes, and her partner worked for the paper.

Second: It was a low blow, a foul, to state"that no one seems to know why Stephen Simac is running for BPUD, which is a good reason why he shouldn't be." After all I was the only candidate who had a platform with specific issues. The closest one incumbent came to a platform was a poem on menopause. The other mumbled something.

Not only does this attitude of the Light's discourage public involvement in our democracy, but it also indicates Mr. Mitchell doesn't read his own paper, since my reasons for running were reported in his paper. Was there an ulterior motive at the Light for also endorsing the Buck Center on Aging and its Alzheimer's research?

Goofy Reporter, The Deerslayer

The goofy reporter he sent over to interview me was kind of dim-witted and used cliches like "fashions himself a working-class hero" in his story. Whatever, but the reasons I had for running were in his article, misparaphrased because he couldn't understand the complexities of the issues.

All of my campaign issues were clearly laid out in the publicly-available Coastal Post and the Bolinas Hearsay News. It's probably too much to expect that they would actually read a candidate's campaign statements before dismissing them as irrelevant.

It's hard to get too upset about being butchered in Lite stories by Sir Rolando, intrepid delivery boy, photo opportunist, and heavily-edited copy boy. One question, Dave Number Two: Did you feed the homeless with the doe you killed while you were speeding over to get a picture of park rangers shooting fallow deer?

Resting on his Pulitzer Prize

When an editor has a Pulitzer Prize in his pocket, you might think he would fight fair. It's considered bad form to not print the letters of candidates for public office responding to negative coverage.

Nevertheless, Mr. Mitchell sent my brief letter back to me with a curious reply. A reply begging a return volley.

In a battle of wits, I could be accused of shooting an unarmed man, but as Mr. Mitchell showed on the police video, he's capable of defending himself. Kicks like a girl, though.

One of my far-flung sources reported that she overheard Mr. Mitchell and his cronies at their bull sessions in the Pt. Reyes Station cafe discussing local papers. They were talking about the Coastal Post, of course, because it's hard to find anything interesting to say about the Lite.

His paper is the kind of a warm and fuzzy weekly that lures the yuppies to West Marin so they can complain about the smell of cow shit. Basically an advertising shill for bed and breakfasts and whale-watching trips.

Now the Coastal Post honors the tradition of revolutionary broadsides printed up by Thomas Paine. We're a tabloid on steroids, we grab the news and shake it like a terrier, delivering it in bite-size pieces for your infotainment.

Studies show that's how you like it. The number one selling newspaper in America is the National Enquirer. Rupert Murdoch feeds the minds of millions with page three boobs, and front page mass murderers. Of course, in Marin we're different. We like sex on the front page.

I just want to make the readers happy, or enrage them. Both are healing, they blow out the pipes. Vent, write back. Rage, froth, call me vile, low and callous. Thanks for sharing.

Muzzle the hurricane

That's no reason to suggest that I should be muzzled as one of Mitchell's cronies was overheard to say. My source claims Mr. Mitchell then said "That Stephen Simac is a natural disaster area." She told me that was when she decided to vote for me. Hurricane Simac.

To put some spin control on his non-endorsement of me, I wrote to ask him about this incident. It was a funny letter, and short. No need to get huffy, and send it back with a personal reply. It's not like I wanted to get to know you better, Dave.

It was a curious little letter. One of the stupider things he wrote was calling me "despicable" for a story on suicide prevention I wrote last spring. The unforgivable part to a writer was that he'd obviously never even read my story.

Suicide queens, self promotion

He did read one angry response to my sensitive study on suicide which explained from my own experience how an individual can own responsibility for their life and rise above the selfish temptation to commit suicide.

Dave Mitchell, how can you call me despicable for an article about an anonymous suicide attempt and not print my letter because of that? Not only do you publish the street names where suicide attempts are made in your police reports, but how could you forget your obituary for Richard Brautigan, who killed himself in Bolinas eleven years ago?

Bad form, knockdown punch

Dave, Dave, Dave. May I quote from your November 1, 1984 Sparsely, Sage and Timely final good-bye to one of the great hippie writers?

"It's considered bad form to speak ill of the dead, but in Richard Brautigan's case some who knew him are willing to make an exception. It's not surprising that he shot himself in the head and it was nearly a month before anyone noticed."

That was bad enough. He was dead, Dave, but you had to kick him while he was cold, and you weren't feinting. The author of In Watermelon Sugar, A Confederate General in Big Sur and other classics of stoned literature shot himself in the mouth with a .44 and lay undiscovered for nearly a month in Bolinas. That fact along should have said it all.

He had no friends, and those who knew him shouldn't have been anonymously quoted about all his nasty personality traits. You even dragged an old girlfriend into the obit who bitched about how arrogant Brautigan was.

Now who would want an old girlfriend to be quoted in your obituary. I shudder to think what one of my old girlfriends would say about me.

Your readers were appalled at your insensitivity. A Robert James Cawley said it best in his letter to the editor the next week, November 8: "It seemed so biased, trying to get the last put-down even though the recipient can't hear or respond to the attack."

Instead of just admitting that you slammed Brautigan because you were jealous that he was a better writer and got a lot of money for writing novels without plots, you tried to weasel out of responsibility in your excuse to Cawley's letter. You said "the point of the editorial was that Richard Brautigan was a delightful writer despite personal flaws."

Brautigan would have poured the half-empty bottle of booze found beside his dead body over your Pulitzer, if he could have, for that back-handed compliment. At least I wrote about people who can fight back.

Of course you still have that option with me.