A month ago I wrote a column featuring former County Supervisor John McCowen’s thoughts on retiring CEO Carmel Angelo’s tenure in Mendo County.
As I said then, a number of authoritarian, PC lunatics called McCowen’s insider insights “hate speech.”
Are you kidding me. We’re talking politics here, not all this “woke” crap emanating from neurotic, would-be censors.
At the time, long-time journalist Beth Bosk explained the genesis of the big stink.
“I shared John McCowen’s post to both the Mendocino County 4th & 5th District group sites. It was immediately dumped as ‘hate speech’ by the manager of the 4th District group site … Retelling a personal history that involves criticism of one public official by another is not hate speech, it’s lived history.”
McCowen weighed in at the same time, commenting, “A few days ago the Administrator of the District pages deleted the following comment which was considered to be bullying or hate speech: ‘The mismanagement starts at the top with CEO Angelo who is more concerned with rewarding her friends and punishing her perceived enemies than with managing the county for the benefit of the public.’ If this is hate speech or bullying then either the Administrator lived a very sheltered life or is personal friends with the CEO.”
Believing this tempestuous teapot had been placed back in the cupboard, I was a bit surprised this week to find the kettle was back on the front burner again.
A reader sent me the latest developments on this “only in Mendocino County” kind of numbingly mindless affair.
Evidently, according to a number of folks anyway, the chief censor allegedly repressing/suppressing political dialogue on social media sites corresponding to the five supervisorial districts, is Ms Kathy Wylie, someone I have no personal familiarity with other than she was a 2014 candidate for county school superintendent, served as secretary for last term’s Mendocino County Grand Jury, and is this year’s GJ Forewoman.
So it appears Wylie is someone who is active in both political and civil affairs, and is thought of highly enough by her GJ peers that they selected her as Forewoman. So her background doesn’t square with her foreground, at least as perceived and experienced by those going on the public record recently.
A Laytonville woman emailed me, “These are just some comments about Kathy Wylie censoring and blocking people from Facebook pages represented as being for county residents. I am one of those blocked because I dare say things about Ted. She is … hell bent on controlling information. The fact she chairs the grand jury should be explored and talked about. Someone chairing the grand jury who censors anyone who opposes her.”
Bruce Broderick: “Welcome to the club. I’m banned and blocked. But I’ve just started Mendocino County 4th district From The Coast. No reason to have coastal news coming from a real estate broker in Anderson Valley is there? In any case, I will get the page better populated over the next few days. You are welcome to join and post.”
Beth Bosk: “The content of what I posted: The “ADMINISTRATOR” of this group, KATHY WILEY, who has taken control of all 5 of the Mendocino County Supervisorial District groups, has squelched my participation on the Mendocino County 4th District group (one I rarely comment on) and the Mendocino County 5th District group (where I comment often, but not nearly as often as she does herself) because she doesn’t approve of the way I express my opinions or the opinions themselves. Currently she posted the directive “Admins have limited you to one comment per hour until February 13, 2011” on the Mendocino County 4th District Group site. And a similar one on the 5th. The duration of this abuse of custodianship is lengthened every time I comment … I was careful, not to comment more than once an hour on this site since the abuse began. . . . Ms. Wiley, who is also the current chair of the Mendocino Grand Jury, has embarked on an unbelievable power grab, and refuses to discuss her rationale for muffling the opinions of group members over the phone. Nor is there any avenue of complaint on the Group Sites. If your participation in the Supervisorial group sites is also being abridged by Ms. Wiley, please let the rest of us know. You can also call me at 937-5703.”
Tom Tetzlaff: “I am not surprised by that. She ruined that place and I left after being censored too. Just because one disagrees with another doesn’t mean we should stop talking to each other and expressing various thought and ideas. That is really the only we move forward.”
Ari Lindgren: “I was blocked from both those pages for telling people about this page.”
Eric Broderick: “Except she controls nearly all of the mendo county district pages and heads the county grand jury.”
Fern Creek: “She’s limited our posting and commenting ability in the 2nd district group. The last time it happened I asked about it so that I can be careful not to break the rules next time. She was vague and said, ‘No personal insults or attacks period.’ I couldn’t think of or find any instance where I attacked anyone. Meanwhile we are frequently attacked by a couple group members which never get addressed by the admin (which is fine with me, I don’t like censorship. Even if it were in ‘my favor.’ This time I’ve asked her similar questions about what I’ve done wrong. She has ignored me.”
Now I have to confess, I avoid social media sites at every turn. I’m just not a good fit for them.
I believe the sites in question are private sector entities, and are not supported by public funds, i.e., tax dollars. If I’m assuming a fact not in evidence, I further assume my many fans will soon disabuse me of that notion.
I’ve always believed that problems just don’t happen, people make them happen. Therefore given that cause-effect human dynamic, all problems are solvable.
Potential solutions are:
1. Contact the owners of the site(s) and demand they change their offensive policies.
2. Contact the owners of the site(s) and demand they change the offensive site administrator.
3. All else fails, find an alternative site(s) and/or start-up a new site(s) that respects the free-flow of political dialogue.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)