Ruffalo: Motherlode of unreported nuggets hides in Placer minds

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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In what sometimes seems eons ago, I had a nightly talk show on a Nevada County radio station. Listeners seemed to like it, for which credit belongs to the format rather than the host. The format was different than many — if not all — audio blab-fests which seem to have their audio workings greased with large amounts of vitriol. You’ve heard that type of show, probably too often. You know, where intelligence gets measured in decibels rather than I.Q. points, while success seems to be gauged on just how many guests and hosts can yell simultaneously. My show was different. One was not allowed to call in to introduce or discuss a problem unless he or she was prepared to offer a viable solution. After all, most of us have at least a modicum of an idea of what it will take to solve a problem, so why not exert the extra effort to flesh out that thought rather than immediately set your thought thermostat on high? The reason to bring this up is that looking back on my recent columns, I see a lot of stormy bluster but very little fresh air in the form of offering direction. So here is a modest proposal for the tea party, a group which deserves far more credit than most of the media allow these days. Unfortunately for those Liptonites, some people hear only the yelling without listening to the message. Too bad, because that message should be heard loud and clear, especially when it correctly claims that the system is broken and it behooves us all to have it repaired. How to repair it? Well, one of the best ways for us folk to reach viable conclusions is to have as much information on hand as possible. That doesn’t happen these days despite having a media which has grown geometrically in a very short time. But the problem with so many outlets is that most are flooded with opinion rather than fact. So why not help us all with a deluge (we have placed the word “tsunami” on hiatus out of respect) of information. If the tea party has anything, it has energy. Please direct some to that energy to getting out the word. Delegate some of your members to attend each and every governmental function, then put the information — and only the information — out to us via a website or the like. For example, if some Liptonite resides within one of our school districts, then have that person attend every board meeting and report back with what happened. Same with special districts, especially the Foresthill water gang. Do likewise with city councils, boards of supervisors and each and every public visit by an elected official. And here’s a tip; also send that raw news to the established media, especially the myriad electronic forums now available. Many times a tidbit provided from without gets coupled with a bit of reportage from within to produce a very informative article. On the other hand, please keep opinion out of the raw news report. Add comments to news stories or create your own blog at Give the Gentle Readers some credit. Many of them have retained the ability to form an opinion on their own without the need to be spoon-fed. And let’s not limit this hunt for solid information to just to the tea party. Republicans can form their own info-hunting parties, especially when such a motherlode on unreported nuggets such as those that might be discovered hidden in the mines and minds of the Placer County Republican Central Committee. Demos, please do the same. However, asking Independents to do likewise might present a problem, in that the very independence those good folks display probably will preclude them from banding together to form such an alliance. It may be somewhat akin to getting a gaggle of anarchists to agree upon a uniform of the day. One thing I’ve noticed in the four decades of tilling these fields is that it’s a whole lot more difficult to be a reporter these days. When I started (no, not with Gutenberg), I had to grind out a couple of stories a day. On the other hand, I did not also have to produce a blog, constantly update an online site with fresh or rewritten news, nor lug my own camera, nor videotape the event, nor try to cover other beats because the economics of the industry have made most newsroom staffs about the size of a Congressional caucus dedicated to cutting Congressional salaries. It all boils down to this; while one can never have enough information, biased opinion can overflow in milliseconds. A little help, please. Jim Ruffalo’s column runs on Sundays. Reach him at