Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hide and seek

From page A4 | March 18, 2013 | 3 Comments

Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Bell, is pushing Assembly Bill 642 sponsored by AOL. Just when you thought that antique Internet service was obsolete it manages to get a gullible assemblyman to single-handedly subsidize AOL by allowing Internet-only “publications” to publish legal ads. AB 642 has been assigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. It ought to be assigned to the round file, along with those inflated salaries Bell city officials paid themselves.

This is a scheme to play hide and seek with legal ads. Instead of the requirement that legally adjudicated newspapers have “substantial paid circulation” this bill would substitute the vague and legally nonsensical notion of “substantial regular readership.” That last daffynition would mean news aggregators (we call them news ripoff artists), bloggers and automated operations like AOL’s Patch sites and, as the California Newspaper Publishers Association suggested, even a weekly kitty video. Any of the Websites could be operated from Europe or Nigeria.

Legal ads come in four basic categories. Delinquent tax listings, home loan defaults and auction notices, proposed ordinances and developments, fictitious business names. All require proof of publication, something not provable on the Internet.

Delinquent tax listings, which in the early days of this newspaper were listed on the front page, are vital to county government and the taxpayers. Without publication of this list some people may not know they are arrears in their property taxes. A neighbor who knows the person or how to contact an out-of-town property owner will see their name and give them a friendly reminder. A person might see his or her name on the list and first come to realize they forgot to pay their property taxes. Again, proof of publication, which can only come from a newspaper, is a key piece of evidence if a delinquent property proceeds to the next level, which could ultimately result in a tax sale.

Notice of loan defaults are important to be published publicly for the same reason delinquent tax lists need to be publicly printed. And if a home or property is going to be auctioned off on the courthouse steps, then it should not be hidden from view in some mystery-meat Website, but should be printed in a newspaper. If it is not printed in a newspaper then the auction will just be a corrupt sale between insiders.

If city and county ordinances, developement proposals and other meeting notices are not printed in the paper then government will begin operating with little or no citizen participation. Pretty soon half of what our local government does will look like a private club, with limited memberships for sale.

Finally, there are fictitious business names. People starting businesses are required to publish the name of their business to make it legal and open a bank account under that name. Only by publishing these names can another business learn that someone has taken a name that is already in use. Or perhaps someone has left a trail of bad debts and decided to change the name of the business to avoid the bill collectors. Publication of the name of the business deters this.

And let’s not forget that not everyone has a computer. Not everyone who has a computer would know where to look for public notices or would even bother to look. Everybody knows they can find public notices in their local newspaper. And that’s the way it should stay. There is no hide-and-seek in newspapers. Everything is there in black and white and it is read all over. And you bet, we have many subscribers who read it cover to cover.

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | 3 comments

  • robertdnollMarch 15, 2013 - 8:57 pm

    a noble endeavor but it seems out of your reach considering the way you've let the comment section devolve

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 15, 2013 - 9:35 pm

    Having a bad day Robert ?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Foaming at the MouthMarch 15, 2013 - 11:08 pm

    The death of newspapers is not a pretty thing. Might as well go down swinging.

    Reply | Report abusive comment


Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 76 Comments | Gallery

Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3



My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 27 Comments

Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 26 Comments

Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 5 Comments


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 10 Comments

Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 3 Comments



Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7



4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5



Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8