Friday, January 8, 2010

Not a fan of Barbara

As far as Barbara Arietta's unsigned article about herself in the Tribune goes, you might say "Oh, it's no big deal" or "the article is basically true" or "that's how they do it at newspapers", but the important point is that Ms. Arietta was knowingly, deliberately trying to deceive us - to have us think (as many did) that some impartial, responsible reporter wrote that long, flattering story. This is dishonesty that should not be tolerated in a public official. It was a contemptible, underhanded attempt to influence public opinion and  shamelessly garner personal publicity. Ms. Arietta's self-serving subterfuge undermines the trust that an informed society must have in a free press. It's a shocking display of poor judgment. Don't you people resent the fact that she would play you for such fools?

    Call me a coward if you like but I have a life to live and a job to protect, so I'll just sign this...

A Concerned Citizen


Lance said...

You know, I've been standing in front of the Fresh and Easy/Trader Joe's/New-Best-Store-In-The-World, ever since Vreeland donned the hard hat (for safety purposes, I'm sure). I'm getting tired. Damn Tribune for reporting blatant self promotion drivil! Think I'll go to taco Bell. I'm hungry.
For god's sake, who gives an eco-friendly scat!

Steve Sinai said...

Just a couple articles down is an announcement from Barbara that Pacifica Mayor Sue Digre will be speaking at the Pacifica Democrats Club. Given the complementary way the announcement was written, it looks like Barbara's philosophy when it comes to biographies is to point out positive accomplishments people have made in the past.

If it were Barbara tooting her own horn and nobody else's, that's one thing. If she toots everyone's horn, then I don't know if it's right to accuse her of being contemptible and underhanded when she's simply being consistent in how she writes announcements. As to why Barbara's name wasn't on the byline, you'd have to ask Elaine Larsen, the editor of the Tribune.

Lionel Emde said...

Steve's right, the byline should be there.
Barbara's writing about herself is, well, ridiculous.
So attribute the article and let the people laugh.

Kathy Meeh said...

Its doubtful that this "concerned citizen" is anyone other than just Jack Dodson or his "evil twin", who thinks he's doing Pacificans for Sustainable Development (PSD) and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) an important "knock out" by doing what he can to thwart a qualified potential 2010 city council candidate who has been highly effective in the work she has done leading to the survival of 77 year old Sharp Park Golf Course, the habitat there, and the sea wall which protects citizens who live in the area.

Rather than celebrating and acknowledge Barbara's remarkable civic track record, no "dog poop" is nasty enough for poor 'ol Jack or his "evil twin" to throw at Barbara. Why him? Did you hear his oral presentation tirade at the December City Council meeting? He was way out-of-bounds, and recently on this blog there have been a few commentary posts that look like his style (unless that of his "evil twin").

Did Barbara write an account of her civic activities for the Tribune? She's an ongoing contributing reporter for the Tribune for several articles, "free labor" but not significant. Is the information true? It sure is, all true. Did the managing editor of the Tribune approve the article? She sure did.

Is the Tribune a promotional newspaper for civic activities, clubs, local events, city council members (including city spin), and columns which promote a certain view point? It sure is.

Recognize any of those self-promoting ideological forums, Lionel? Some people might think the lack of balance with these columns are kind of ridiculous too.

Do other people write Tribune articles for all these organizations, activities, columns, self promotion with the art (including their own exhibits), and more? The sure do. Do contributory articles include a signatory? No they don't, take a look at the Tribune.

What about the hidden author and agenda of the person who posted this blog article, the so called no name "concerned citizen"? Hidden name, hidden agenda, skewed "dog poop" information intended to harm a citizen who has been seriously important in the "Save Sharp Park Golf Course" effort, Chairperson.

I know Barbara is and has been involved in a lot of activities here and over the hill, I'm glad the article was posted because I can't keep up with what she is doing. I do know at the SF Sharp Parking hearings, those who called her cell phone were Officials or their offices from both counties.

Actually, read Barbara's track record, she has a "horn to toot", whereas the blog article offender may follow "an ends justifies the means" agenda, possibly referred by Ian as "integrity".

Steve, the local Democrats bring in speakers, and their publicity has always given generous credit to those individuals in promotion-- all part of their "dog and pony" show tradition.

Faulty front page blog articles are an abuse of "free speech", and this is posted by a person with "no name", with the purpose of diverting the focus of credible information, and the trashing a significant member of our community who is making a difference. Shame.

ian butler said...

Isn't it a double standard for an avid Tod Schlesinger supporter to trash Jack Dodson for acting like ...Tod Schlesinger?

Isn't it also a double standard to simultaneously "shame" Concerned Citizen for posting anonymously and excuse Barbara for doing the same?

I personally don't believe anyone should engage in tirades at city council meetings, post anonymously, or promote double standards.

mike bell said...

Tirades at City Council, comfortable or not, is as precious a right as the Constitution itself.
It's the hope of America in action.

Anonymous and double-standard posts eventually reveal the hypocracy or ignorance of the perpetrator.

Kathy Meeh said...

Ian, Tod Schlesinger is not a focus of this conversation, nor has he represented himself in the "unnamed" article shadows of this blog as a "concerned citizen".

Parceling-out the city council tirade you brought-up, the issue is not the speech delivery, but what Jack Dodson actually said, and his threats.

Tod Schlesinger, on the other hand, supports true representation, the golf course, and Barbara Arietta's many efforts. So, here we go again with you mixing-up comparisons and analogies with polar opposites. Remember the last time it was Plater, Hall, Curtis "integrity", another oxymoron.

A Still-Concerned Citizen said...

The response to my comments on Barbara Arietta's Tribune article were about what I expected: "Who care's" to "That's Barbara" to "Who is this no-name *#!!* that dares question Barbara?! Steve Sinai, who from the little I've read, seems a rational person, decided to overlook the point I was trying to make - that Ms. Arietta was deliberately attempting to deceive the public by writing a flattering article about herself and passing it off as the work of an impartial reporter. Mr. Sinai contends that since Ms. Arietta also wrote a flattering article about Sue Digre, it all evens out. The logic of that escapes me. Of course Ms. Arietta wrote - and signed - a puff piece on a successful local politician. The problem is she didn't sign her own puff piece.

I'm sorry to disappoint Kathy Meeh, but I'm not Jack Dodson or his evil twin. I don't know them, or you, or anyone else at this website. And although I don't play anymore, I'm a strong supporter and long-time fan of Sharp Park Golf Course. But judging from your response to my original note, Ms. Meeh, I'm very glad I used an alias. My wife half jokingly said she would fear being spat on in the supermarket. I'll not attempt to convince you that what Ms. Arietta did was wrong. I guess you either know it or you don't. As for her "remarkable civic track record", I believe you're confusing quantity with quality.

Thanks for letting me have my say. I won't bother you again with quaint, outdated notions of personal integrity and public conduct.

Anonymous said...

Dear Still Concerned Citizen,
Thank-you for your posting and bringing this truth to light. Please don't be discouraged. Many others share your quaint, outdated notions of personal integrity and public conduct. Unfortunately hardly any of them post at this site...

Steve Sinai said...

Concerned, I actually agree with you that people shouldn't be writing articles about themselves and then having them published without attribution. But given that Barbara wasn't the person who decided what name went on the byline, it's hard for me to imagine that she was engaging in a sneaky, underhanded plot to deceive people. It was the Tribune's decision to list "Pacifica Tribune" as the author.

What Barbara wrote is no different than the kind of thing that comes from the offices of Leland Yee, Jerry Hill, Jackie Speier, or Brent Plater; or a company announcing a new product. Those often get published without identification of the source. I'm not saying it's's just the way it is.

Kathy Meeh said...

"A Still-Concerned Citizen" and "Anonymous" (possibly one in the same, or Jack Dodson, second may be Ian Butler), you get all the respect of "no identification".

Let's try this a different way, the headline on the article was "Pacifican Barbara Arietta elected vice chair of SMCTA/CAC". This is a Pacifica citizen announcement to an important County post. This kind of announcement occurs in the Tribune when timely and known. Fortunately, more information about the person appointed was included.

And, since you really did want to keep Sharp Park Golf Course, you can thank Barbara who was a seriously "concerned citizen" for the past few years attending all those meetings, working and speaking on behalf of Sharp Park Golf Course.

Anonymous, really you and Ian Butler should spend hours discussing "integrity"-- and, you know, those who qualify: Brent Plater, Nancy Hall, John Curtis.

Note: My name is on this post, yours is not. I agree Steve Sinai (6PM) the other person you chose to insult before he even posted.

Now let's see, here's what Barbara Arietta (the person you have chosen to discredit) has been doing during the past 3 years, a true account from the article above:
1. Vice Chairman, 2010-11, San Mateo County Transportation Authority/Citizens Advisory Committee (SMCTA/CAC), countywide Measure A Transportation monies.
2. Director, Pacifica Library Foundation
3. Director, Pacifica Historical Society
4. Director, Pacifica Library Foundation
5. Chair, City of Pacifica Green Building Task Force
6. Investigative taskforce appointment, San Mateo Grand Jury (08-09)
7. Member, City of Pacifica, Golf Task Force
8. Chair, Pacifica Community Coalition to Save Sharp Park Golf Course (PCC)
9. Member, City of Pacifica General Plan Outreach Committee
10. President, Pacifica Democrats Club
11. Associate Member, San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee
12. Contributing columnist and correspondent for Pacifica Tribune.
13. Moderator of several city wide debates, including the 2008 City Council and School Board Election debates
14. Volunteer, San Francisco Zoological Society.

Don't you and your "concerns" look silly?

A Silly But Still Concerned Citizen said...

Mr. Sinai:

You say that "Barbara wasn't the person who decided what name went on the byline", but surely she never had any intention of putting her own name on it - it was entirely written in the third person. This would not seem to be an editorial decision at the paper. They most likely just print the material as they get it. What first caught my eye about the article was the fact that here's a story, a local citizen appointed to some minor county board, that normally would rate a paragraph or two and winds up with an extravagant half page! The paper obviously has some space to fill.

I take your point, however, about press releases and business communications that tend to show their subject in a favorable light - I've written hundreds of those over the years. And I've cooled down somewhat, taken my pills. My wife, reading over my shoulder the other day, said "Getting a bit stuffy, aren't we?" So if you would admit that this was not some editorial blunder, and that there was some minor, perhaps subconscious intent to deceive on Ms. Arietta's part, I will posit it was not a big deal, a immodest but momentary lack of judgment, but certainly not a nail in the coffin of American Journalism. Let's move on.

If I may briefly address Ms. Meeh, two thoughts occur to me as I look over the list of Ms. Arietta's civic accomplishments you so kindly provided. First, as a banker would say, she seems dangerously over-extended. How could anyone possibly devote the time, energy and concentration, the planning, preparation and follow-through that a competent job would require, on a dozen different projects? That just doesn't happen. Or else the bar is set pretty low on each individual project. That's the result of choosing quantity over quality. Secondly, every "chair" that Ms. Arietta occupies denies that space to another person who may wish to participate in the civic process, a younger person perhaps, with imagination and enthusiasm. In my experience, one of the most important duties of management was bring in young talent, nurturing them along, making room for them at the table, sharing resposibilities and credit. This does not seem to be Ms. Arietta's philosophy.

Finally, as far as Ms. Arietta being "highly effective in the work she has done leading to the survival of the 77 year old Sharp Park Golf Course", I'm afraid some people hold a different view of that situation also. I mentioned earlier that my health (or lack of it) has ended my golfing days, but I have friends that still play, both here and in the City, and we all have closely followed the debate. And thankfully, it looks like it's turning out just fine.

The bulk of the Sharp Park defense was undertaken by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, which has done a magnificent job - you can find them on-line.It was decided early on, however, that it could be highly beneficial to have a broad-based show of support from local citizens, non-golfers, men and women, young and old, who stood opposed to the extreme environmentalists. A substantial group of voters that any politician would have to pay attention to. Barbara Arietta quickly stepped forward (naturally), formed the "Pacifica Community Coalition etc" with herself as "chair" (naturally) and then...what? The job here was community organizing at the grass roots level, out-reach, mobilizing the troops, spreading the word through the various neighborhoods. I can assure you, no word has reached my neighborhood. Or the neighborhoods of any of my other friends in town. No pamphlets, no petitions, no lawn or window signs, no one knocking on doors or talking to people at the shopping centers. But the opposition was there - luckily they're a pretty wacky lot.

A Silly But Still Concerned Citizen said...

[Continued from above...]

Ms. Arietta was "leading the fight" by attending meetings and writing long, ponderous letters (signed, you can be sure) to the Tribune. Now Ms. Aritta is said to be a great meeting-goer, she sures goes to a lot of them, but I'm not convinced her presence there had much, if any, effect on the outcome. And that was not the job she signed up for. That was not organizing a broad-based show of support, young and old, etc. And, as I said before, her domination of the Sharp Park dicussion may well have inhibited other, less forceful people from coming forward with ideas and energy that might have resulted in an actual community coalition. We might need one someday.

I don't know Ms. Arietta personally (some of my friends do) and I mean her no harm. But by taking such a large role (or roles) on the public stage, she invites the scrutiny of her fellow citizens. This is what I see.

In closing, Ms. Meeh, I'll say that speculation on my identity is avoiding what I have to say. Shoot the messenger. You don't know me. Our paths have never crossed and I doubt they ever will.

I remain,
A Silly But Still Concerned Citizen

Anonymous said...

Silly and still concerned citizen

Kathy Meeh said...

My observation is that Barbara's involvement at the two Counties level was essential, as were here two county connections, and her attendance and speaking at multiple San Francisco agency meetings (PROSAC, Recreation and Parks, Supervisors). Based upon my inquiry, Mayor Lancelle was primarily absent from these meetings over the year plus duration.

Mayor Lancelle was in attendance at the last two meetings, Supervisors and Recreation and Parks where she spoke, her direct support for keeping the golf course seemed tepid (lukewarm), and her concern for keeping the sea wall was stated as "its part of the California trail." Barbara and others who supported SP Golf Course were clear, myself included.

You don't like Barbara's comprehensive articles in the Tribune or on your email, don't read them-- she's wired to be thorough, accurate and "do the right thing". As for "Save Sharp Park" and SF Golf Alliance meetings held in SP banquet room they were heavily attended and well organized. The Alliance meeting was so crowded, I left a donation and took the exit.

Apparently you were not involved and are just sideline quarterbacking, so you're still "silly". The outcome is a victory for keeping our city access to our 77 year old SP link golf course. Be happy, and celebrate the efforts of everyone involved-- there was no "done deal", this was a process played-out over months/years of hard work and effort by many. Congratulations to all!