River Views

by Malcolm Macdonald, August 14, 2013

The Mendocino Community Network (MCN) provides internet access to many in Mendocino County. The MCN Discussion List was designed to be “an open, unmoderated list intended for the discussion of items relevant to the residents of Mendocino County as determined by the list membership.” Sometime in late 2012, I signed onto the list, thinking it might be a place to better keep up with upcoming meetings and/or topics peculiar to the Mendocino Coast and Mendocino County.

Occasionally, an entry relevant to our locality creeps in, but much of the MCN Discussion List is dominated by a handful or two of the same people who far too often devolve into some of the vilest ranting and name-calling this side of an unkempt gas station toilet stall wall. After a couple of weeks of sorting through the dozens of posts a day that flood into my inbox through the MCN Discussion List I got in the habit of deleting almost every one. If something in the post’s title appeared to be of legitimate interest I opened it, but those have grown fewer and farther between as the months have gone by.

Though he doesn’t sink to the depths of the caustic, cursing, name-callers, our Fifth District Supervisor, Dan Hamburg, is a relatively frequent contributor to the MCN Discussion List. From late last year to this spring, it seemed that Supervisor Hamburg’s posts seldom held much relevancy for my life along the Albion River or, for that matter, any part of the Fifth Supervisorial District. In late May Hamburg provided a posting about burial laws, which one might conceivably say is germane to a rural setting. Beginning with his May 30th posts I decided to save all of Hamburg’s contributions to the MCN Discussion List. For the last two months I have also saved every offering of another frequent MCN Discussion List poster for something of a comparison.

The titles of Hamburg’s May 30, 2013 posts: “Noam Chomsky, The Kind of Anarchism I Believe In” and “Modified Wheat is Discovered in Oregon.” In the two months and ten days that I have kept track Hamburg has posted more than 85 times to the MCN Discussion List. Last Saturday’s Hamburg posts: “Ed Asner skewers the rich;” “New Mexico is the driest of the dry;” Bad Prison Policy for Women.”

In fairness to Hamburg and in comparison, the other MCN poster had twice as many Discussion List entries, more than 175 in a 70 day period. That’s two and a half posts per day, typical for the ten to twelve individuals who dominate the MCN Discussion List, making it largely a waste of time.

Our Supervisor has the same freedom of expression as the rest of us. I would just like to think that an elected representative would spend his time concentrating more on issues pertinent and pressing to the Fifth District than posting articles about far off places.

In the past two months Hamburg’s MCN Discussion List offerings have included the aforementioned piece about home burials as well as a few posts in defense of his cutting off the public comment of a particular individual at a July Board of Supervisor’s meeting, but the vast majority of his contributions are merely recitations of articles found in national publications or internet sites. It might be a little more appropriate if our supervisor posted the articles of local or regional journalists as a public service, but I have yet to see Hamburg post an article from the Willits News, Ukiah Daily Journal, Mendocino Beacon, Fort Bragg Advocate-News, let alone any piece from the AVA.

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