Time to Ban Ms Diamond? Palo Alto Issues, posted by Steve Evans, a resident of another community, on Aug 31, 2006 at 8:21 am
How about banning the blogger Ms Diamond from this forum? Perhaps it is time for her to find another job. She really puts no time into factual writing on this forum. Perhaps she is best suited to something that requires less thinking on her part...since she really doesn't seem to put much thought into what she does now.
Posted by Marvin, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2006 at 9:50 am
That is an interesting suggestion--lets ban people whose opinions we disagree with. We already have the Mayor turning over e-mails that she does not like to the police. We have the people that run this forum censor comments that they claim are not appropriate.
Palo Alto be at the forefront of being politically correct.
Posted by Steve, a resident of another community, on Aug 31, 2006 at 9:54 am
No, ban someone who can not do her job, takes no time to research what she puts out in the public..this is her job you understand? Subject to rules of journalism. So not that I disagree, it is totally not acceptable for someone in her position of public trust to spew forth such unfactual information.
Posted by LOL!, a resident of the Esther Clark Park neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2006 at 10:42 am
It's obvious that DD doesn't show the due diligence that better journalists demonstrate while researching and writing. It's one thing to have an opinion - we all do - that's why they say opinions are like a particlar body part - everyone has one. The thing about DD is that she thinks her opinion MATTERS, even when it's a badly informed one. Yuck.
Posted by John, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Aug 31, 2006 at 8:40 pm
DD is not a critical thinker, but she does represent a local view of things.
Palo Alto does NOT want pit bulls approaching our toddlers.
Forget about the dog fanatics! Who are they to tell us anything? Most of them are from out of town (an organized hit piece).
Look, everybody, dogs are NOT allowed off leash in this town, period. If an on leash dog causes a problem, the the owner should be taken to court to face the consquences. This should include major financial consequences.
Posted by City Worker, a resident of another community, on Aug 31, 2006 at 10:55 pm
Ms. Diamond never does complete research (from with both sides of a story or issue) when doing an article on the city of Palo Alto. She only reports or writes what she wants.It is not to say that the city always makes the right decision, but get the facts "straight" from both sides. She has become "a joke" at city hall.
Posted by Karen W., a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2006 at 12:08 am
Gee, one of our spoiled city workers -- who gets more than 46 days off a year, full health insurance benefits, use of city vehicles, no time clocks, every other Friday off, annual pay raises that aren't related to work performance -- is complaining about a journalist like Diana who points out such things. I'm surprised that city worker's criticism isn't harsher.
Posted by Sue, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2006 at 7:01 am
John is right...there is a group of dog fanatics from out of state trying to bully local residents and Diana Diamond for having an opinion about pit bulls they disagree with. Read her blog, it's pretty obvious what's happening. I'm sure "Steve Evans" is another member of one of these organizations.
Why not ban all op-ed pieces, because someone, somewhere will disagree with them?
Posted by City Worker, a resident of another community, on Sep 1, 2006 at 7:01 am
To Karen W.
First, I don't have a city vehicle, do not get Fridays off. I cannot afford to live in Palo Alto (your live in a great city) but thats OK. I enjoyed my job. I also enjoyed working for and serving the citizens and guests of Palo Alto.
All I ask is that Ms Diamond report both "sides" of a story not just "her OPINION". It looks like I'm not the only one who feels this way- city worker or not. Karen- have a nice weekend.
Posted by Herman, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Sep 1, 2006 at 10:56 am
So DD has become a "joke" at City Hall.
The real joke, and it is a sad one, is our City Hall--it is populated by overpaid, overcomensated incompetents, who get away with anything they want and do not have to answer to anyone (i.e. the recent utilities scandal as an example) and it is also the home of our do-nothing City Council.
Posted by Mt View Resident, a resident of Mountain View, on Sep 1, 2006 at 9:40 pm
You know why your PA finances are in the dumps? All you and your "joke" residents do is whine and fight with the city hall rummies. In the meantime my city is stealing all your sales tax base. So, keep turning down your big box retail, killing your Hyatt deal, building silly playing fields on prime land, closing your supermarkets, closing and moving (to other cities) your auto dealerships, building more homeless shelters so more homeless can hang around downdown and scare you shoppers away. My city loves it.
PA Herman (can I call you PA), have you ever shop at Wallmart, Target,
Cost-co, OSH, Bestbuy, Bed & Bath, REI, Trader Joes, Safeway, Sears, Mervyns in the city of Mt. View? How about Home Depot or Ikea in East PA? I bet you have PA Herman!! My city is laughing all the way to the bank.
Oh, and by the way, don't tell anybody but were thinking of building a five star hotel at Shoreline to compete with the dumps you call hotels in your city and also redo San Antonio Shopping center- to steal more of your sales tax!!
And about DD- keep writing those negitive stories about the city of PA- we love reading about them.
Posted by Harv Wright, a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2006 at 12:19 am
To "City Worker" who wrote "All I ask is that Ms Diamond report both "sides" of a story not just "her OPINION"."
Last time I checked, she was an opinion page columnist, which means she is paid to give her view of things, like others in the opinion section.
If you want both sides of the story, look on the news pages, not the opinion section.
I'm tempted to make a comment about how this proves that some of our City workers are not that bright, but I'll refrain because there's no way of knowing whether the person who posted as "City Worker" ever actually worked for the City.
Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2006 at 1:40 am Douglas Moran is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
The critiques of Diane Diamond's columns are based upon an outdated attitude on Opinion pieces (Aside: I lament the passing of the old version). The current attitude is that *everything* in an Opinion piece is opinion, including items presented as being facts, and thus there is no obligation to be accurate, or to correct "mistakes" (Rationale: If it is an opinion, it - by definition - cannot be wrong. See also Stephen Colbert's "truthiness".)
If you are interested in the debate on this, a good starting point is the NY Times article of 28 March 2004 by Daniel Okrent entitled "The Public Editor: The Privileges of Opinion, the Obligations of Fact". William Safire (retired NY Times columnist) is a prominent proponent of the viewpoint cited above; Okrent criticized it.
Recognize that many current columnists are essentially propagandists. Newspapers publish them because they are also entertainers: They appeal to people who want their biases validated as well as to people who love to rail against people with whom they disagree. If you look at the NY Times, four of their eight columnists are solidly in this category of entertaining propagandist (Brooks, Dowd, Krugman, Rich); two are often in it but occasional venture outside (Herbert, Tierney), and two are legitimate commentators, albeit with biases (Friedman, Kristof).
Back to DD. From the beginning of her columns in the Daily News, she clearly fit in the category of propagandist. It is inappropriate to criticize her for not having fact-based opinions - that was not her job/role. For example, in multiple cases (examples: Charleston-Arastradero corridor moratorium, Hyatt Rickey's) she was told that by all sides that her "facts" were wrong, but she continued to use them in subsequent opinion pieces. If she was just lazy about getting facts - instead of being a propagandist - she would have used the correct facts in those subsequent pieces. Possible "urban legend" : During an interview, she purportedly cut off a City official with "I don't need to understand this. I just need enough to write my column."
Some of DD's errors seemed to have been intentional - These were facts that were irrelevant to her opinion and were hard to get wrong because they were both correct and prominently featured in the briefings or documents that she most likely would have consulted. Example: She gave the wrong speed limit in a piece on speeding problems on El Camino. Example: She called Foothill Expressway "Junipero Serra" far beyond where the names change. Perhaps to enhance the entertainment value of her pieces for knowledgeable readers, she inserted such errors - akin to "Find the ten differences between these two pictures".
If you look at DD's tenure at the Daily News and the reaction to her departure, you can see that she was wildly successful in her role as an entertainer. Much of the criticism in previous posting should not have been directed at her, but at newspapers, both individually and collectively, for replacing commentators with opinion writers.
Posted by Steve Evans, a resident of another community, on Sep 2, 2006 at 4:32 am
HEY SUE: I'm not a member of anything! I live in the country with my American Staffordshire Terrier. Plain, simple, boring guy. Guess you don't know me do you? Just wanted to set the record straight on your thoughts about me.
Posted by Wolf, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2006 at 10:42 am
I like our (PA) focus on this forum. This is all about dumping on DD and her major faults, such as not recognizing the change of name of Foothill Expressway in a timely manner. It is definitely not about unimportant things such as City Hall waste or our idiotic city council that loves to give sales tax revenues to our neighbors--we will not be provoked and respond to such trivia, or defocus from dumping on DD!
Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Sep 2, 2006 at 4:01 pm Douglas Moran is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
The response by "Wolf, a resident of Palo Verde" is a prime example of the degradation of public discourse exacerbated by opinion writer such as DD.
His reply included "not recognizing the change of name of Foothill Expressway in a timely manner" as a paraphrase of my statement "She called Foothill Expressway 'Junipero Serra' far beyond where the names changed." This displays (1) a lack of general knowledge: A name change can be the result of two roads being extended to meet rather than a partial renaming, (2) a lack of local knowledge: (a) Foothill Expy extends almost to the far border of Los Altos, (b) the change in layout of the roadway from street to expressway occurs where the name changes, (c) the change occurs at a political boundary (Palo Alto city line), (d) The names go back decades before DD columns, (3) poor reading comprehension, and (4) no hesitation in fabricating a "fact": That the error was simply one of timeliness.
Yet Wolf believes that his opinion warrants public airing. The philosophy of "All opinions are of equal value" leads to this sort of narcissism. Note: Conservatives routinely blame liberals for this philosophy, but conservatives seem equally willing to embrace it in practice.
Discourse in which facts and logic don't matter is nothing more than a shouting match. [Portion deleted by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Jeremy Loski, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2006 at 1:30 pm
Douglas "Doug" Moran has a penchant for "facts". That's fine, as far as it goes. That said, Douglas Moran spewed fact after fact in the recent debate over the California Avenue PTOD in an effort to reinforce his mistaken notion that the PTOD would chase Fry's out of town.
In doing so, he missed the "fact" that his opinion, which was reinforced by City Council, will give Fry's MORE negotiating leverage with Palo Alto in the future. I wonder how many people will remember that when Fry's grinds Palo Alto to a pulp in future negotiations regarding tax breaks and other incentives - all costing our city revenue that it would otherwise have had if we were able to negotiate without giving our cards away beforehand.
Posted by Bill Johnson, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, on Sep 6, 2006 at 1:43 pm Bill Johnson is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Three posts were deleted because they all chose to negatively characterize another poster. We have and will continue to allow a little latitude in these discussions, but if the focus is on the poster rather than the subject being discussed, then they will be taken off. There are obviously some stong opinions about the people involved in this forum, but engaging in personal characterizations of others is not what we want Town Square to be about. Those of you who think that's censorship are free to find a forum that allows it. But we want the culture of Town Square to enable residents of the community to feel safe from personal attacks when the post on the site. If a poster has his or her facts wrong, then correct the facts. Just don't attack or demean them and we'll be OK.
Posted by Graham, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2006 at 2:08 pm
I beg to differ with our esteemed publisher. The posts did not negatively characterize another poster--they mentioned certain facts that were published in our local newspapers, the Daily News and the PA Weekly. The fact the incident in question reflected negatively on the person in question is not the fault of the people who are posting said information.
The comments about "feeling safe from personal attack" are a further extension of the mind set in Palo Alto, held by many, that any criticism of someone else is considered a "personal attack" and therefore cannot be condoned.
I find it ironic that a publisher of a newspaper would come up with such feeble excuses to justify censorship of criticsim of certain individuals in this community, who for whatever reason the PA Weekly feels the need to protect.
Posted by Jeremy Loski, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Sep 6, 2006 at 4:42 pm
How did my post say anything different about Doug Moran - regarding his publication of "facts" - as he calls them, than in Doug Moran's criticism of Diana Diamond's use of "facts"? Seriously, where's the personal attack in that.
The Weekly obviously appears to have a misguided bias in favor of Doug Moran's opinions, as it has permitted Moran's Op-Eds on the library (where he has made many factual and other errors), as well as Alma Plaza, and many other topics. I can find factual mistakes in all those publications. What about that?
Why shouldn't someone who claims to be calling someone on factual representation in a public forum be held accountable for his own factual misstatements?
If you permit that to happen, you will deny the healthy - although sometimes antagonistic - process that gets ALL biases out in the open, including those that the Weekly's editors disagree with.
Posted by CD, a resident of Menlo Park, on Sep 16, 2006 at 2:32 am
What a double standard! Doug Moran can criticize Diana Diamond, even by reciting "possible urban legends" that he can't support, and his opinion is OK, according to Bill Johnson. Then, when others cite news stories out of Johnson's own newspaper about Moran, that should be deleted? Am I missing something here?
For what it's worth, Moran's reputation speaks for itself, and so does Diamond's. I won't discuss him because it might violate the Weekly's rules, but Diana's columns often carry more facts than all the rest of the articles in the paper. She'll ask tough questions and won't pull punches, which is more than what I can say about the Weekly.
Posted by Rich Johnson, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 12, 2006 at 7:44 pm
I agree that Miss Diamond is entitled to her opinion - we all are -however she is a columnist and frequently states items as "fact" not opinion and then it is discovered these weren't fact at all. She needs to clearly differentiate between fact and her opinions. As to the Pit Bull incident she and her paper should be ashamed for misrepresenting this story - it was one leashed Pit Bull that gave a small dog that came up to it and barked one bite. Because of the size difference between the dogs, the results were tragic for the small dog. When I read the article in the PA Weekly, I thought there had been a second incident, but no, just one that was wildly exaggerated. I think Miss Diamond's opinion was at work there! Likewise in her criticism of city workers pay increases and benefits. She had several things incorrect in this story and did not give a complete picture of what city workers were getting compared to other workers. She may feel that workers pay is too high, but she should get the facts correct when she reports such a story.
Posted by Andrew - Native of Palo Alto, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Sep 9, 2007 at 6:39 pm
As unfortunate as it may seem, Miss Diamond is exercising her constitutional right to be narrow minded, ignorant and flat out wrong. The fact that she chooses to do it publicly and is then shocked by the backlash really surprises me. Does she actually get paid for this?
"There are no stupid questions, just stupid people."
Regarding her suggested "PA Ban on Pit Bulls" posted 9/2007
Look at the hard facts and numbers lady, almost ALL of the negative pit bull incidents in the U.S. are within or very near to low income areas. This is a crystal clear red flag of the issue at hand. You don't hear about the Hillsborough doctor who's pit bull attacked a child, why? Because it didn't happen. His pit bull or pit bull mixed breed is neutered, trained and loved, and wouldn't do that. Attack another dog?...possibly, but that is an entirely different issue.
I hate to pick on Michael Vick but it seems that the number of ignorant people that say, "I didn't know that dog fighting was illegal" is more than expected here in the U.S. And this is the mentality of the unsavory Pit Bull dog owners.
Bottom line, there are pit bulls in every community. The majority of which you will NEVER hear about because they are trained, loved and properly socialized members of the family that never harm any children. In fact they thrive on protecting the members of their family.
Low income areas have many individuals that are not well educated and have many self esteem issues of their own. This is where the problem lies. They get "tough dogs" such as Pit Bulls, Rottweillers, etc; to boost their macho images. Often pitting these dogs in fights to make money and gain more "ghetto" credibility.
What does this mean? Educate and enforce laws regarding dog ownership, don't just throw out a blanket ban on "large breeds" because they often end up in the hands of ignorant people that are in need education.
Fast cars and motorcycles kill people, people die rock climbing and parachuting all the time, should we just ban these things too?
Posted by J, a resident of Menlo Park, on Sep 10, 2007 at 9:03 am
Thank you Andrew! I was starting to feel worthless based on Diana Diamond's comments. I am a city employee (not PA) with "oh my gosh" TWO pit mixes that were rescued (One from PA animal shelter & one from Rocket Dog Rescue) and with whom my family has invested quite of bit of time and finances to properly train...as we would with ANY breeed. I work extremely hard at my job and have helped increase gross Parks & Rec revenues for my city by over 35% in the last 5 years. I have good benefits and I struggle with wanting more financially in this area - even though DD probably feels I am overpaid. We are wards of the economy. We don't get raises when the economy is bad like everyone else, but we DON'T get bonuses when the economy is flourishing. Our bonus may be steady income and fine benfits, but let me pose this question to you DD...
Would you rather have all of us be paid even less and get less benefits? Would this help retain and recruit quality people to run your city OR would this help you with your platform to keep belittling people who you feel are beneath you?
Please note that I am not sticking up for every city employee- but just like the private sector, there are good employees and bad ones.
Just fed up with reading blanket statements that represent DD's personal views of things on a more global scale than really looking into her own city's demographics.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 10, 2007 at 9:38 pm
Yes, anyone can write under their own name or not. Many of us are doing just that. What is different for a city official is that they are not allowed to advocate for projects in which they might have a financial interest. For example, if they own property that would benefit by the project. A conflict of interest.
If an official advocates for something under a name that is not his own, we would not know that he was violating this important conflict of interest law.