“With goodwill, smooth progress is still possible.” That’s the sentiment Ann Christoph expresses to end her column in last week’s Indy in which she recounts how the city was initially blamed for the devastating 1993 fire and later reports established that the supply air support was the critical factor in the rapid spread of the fire.
The Los Angeles Times reported on December 4, 1993 “Two helicopters that OC fire officials say could have prevented the Laguna Beach Fire disaster have been grounded for years because county officials at short of money have chosen not to spend the [funds] to refurbish them…” In a February 25, 1994 Times report on the comprehensive autopsy of OC fire officials which is titled “Copters Urged for Battling OC Wildfires”.
It worries me that The Indy cheats its editor’s scoops but never publishes an editorial. I guess it’s a concession to retail survival. Worse, it allows its lineup of columnists to regularly lie in the pages of the newspaper. Yes, he made a small correction last week to a very serious, in fact defamatory, lie, but that was an exception.
I’ve pointed this out to the editor in the past and been told, “Indy is a marketplace of ideas.” This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between facts and interpretation. Please see above.
In the spirit and tone of Ann Christoph’s column, allow me to suggest that The Indy practice more scrutiny of its columnists’ claims before they go to press. Having an opinion column is not a license to dither in the name of the First Amendment. It is a failure of journalism, one of the pillars of democracy.
Most importantly, Laguna Beach is a wonderful place and we are all blessed to live here, to be neighbors to each other, and to enjoy its beauty. Let us resolve to move forward harmoniously in an atmosphere of factual accuracy. Thanks a lot.
Kiku Terasaki, Laguna Beach
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