Tuesday, May 31, 2005

5 Easy Pieces

Danish windmills in a five part series, the story they didn't want you to read.

This is the series that Jack Coleman should have written a year ago for the Cape Cod Times. The Times refused to send him or fellow reporter John Leaning to Europe to investigate the wind farms for the paper, even while private citizens were travelling there to see for themselves.

Veteran reporter Jack Coleman would eventually leave that paper over editorial differences concerning the the Times' coverage of Cape Wind. Last week he traveled to Denmark as part of an expedition to the see the windfarms.

He traveled at the expense of Cape Cod Today, where his installments can be found. He was part of an entourage from Clean Power Now, the Cape group that favors renewable energy and the Nantucket Sound wind farm.

His dispatches from Denmark were made available to other newspapers and were carried by the Providence Journal, Quincy Patriot Ledger, the Berkshire Eagle (which credited CC Times since the editors couldn't believe our daily didn't cover such an important matter for Cape Cod), and others. Still the Cape Cod Times doesn't see the value of first hand observation of the European wind farms.

Not when it might differ with its own position on the the single greatest issue on the local horizon in two decades.

Coleman interviewed public officials and the public at large in Denmark, and reported a remarkable story of the development of the wind industry in that country, and provided a window to the future of wind energy in this country.

He sent back testimony that the windmills did not hurt tourism, fishing, wildlife, and most importantly, real estate values in that seaside community. He would testify himself, and through the eyes of fellow travelers, what windmills of similar size and distance to ours, would look like from the shore and up close. When they could actually see them, they were "awe inspiring".

This is story that the Cape Cod Times did not want to write. The story that they did not want us to read. Congratulations to Jack Coleman for finally getting to write it. Thanks to Cape Cod Today for making it happen.
SM

Monday, May 30, 2005

The man who actually killed Christa Worthington could still be at large...

...& the editors at the Cape Cod Times don't think it's news

Maybe Christopher McCowen, the trash hauler charged with killing Christa Worthington, is lying when he claimed another man killed Worthington while McCowen watched.

Then again, maybe McCowen isn't lying.

More than 10 days have passed since The Cape Codder weekly ran a story about McCowen's assertion, which came during a court appearance on May 17.

The Boston Herald apparently deemed it newsworthy and ran a story on May 28 that began, "The Cape Cod trash hauler charged with the rape and murder of Christa Worthington told police he had an ongoing affair with the single mother and has tried to pin the crime on his friend, sources said."

The Cape Codder story, written by Marilyn Miller, indicated that "McCowen twice told investigators that he was not involved with Worthington, and twice said he had never been inside her house."

"But after his DNA was matched, he changed his story, (Assistant District Attorney Robert) Welsh said," Miller reported. "He then admitted having a relationship with Worthington."

Again, maybe McCowen is lying, but maybe he's not. Either way, for reasons that defy comprehension, the powers that be at the Cape Cod Times have deemed all of this beneath the interest of their - go figure - dwindling readers.

According to the Times's online archives, the last time the paper reported on the Worthington case was on May 18, with two stories. One of them, by Karen Jeffrey, was about Worthington's executors suing McCowen for $10 million. The second story, written by P'town and Truro reporter Eric Williams, described the same court appearance reported by Miller in the Cape Codder two days later.

But nowhere in Williams's story is a possible second suspect mentioned, nor the alleged romantic relationship between Worthington and McCowen.

McCowen, Williams wrote in his lead, "told investigators that he participated in the beating of Worthington and was present when she was killed."

Miller's story on May 20 contained yet another eye-opener that has gone unreported by the Times - the affadavit filed by police "leaves open the possibility that another man had sex with Worthington" right before she died. And when was the affadavit filed, upon which it entered the public record? April 15 - a month and a half ago.

Christa Worthington's actual killer is not the only mystery in this case. Why the Cape's only daily has lost interest in covering it is another.
JC

Sunday, May 29, 2005

How do they miss so many stories?

Look at the headlines on this page, not one of them has yet appeared in the local daily newspaper;

  • NStar strike settled [Globe]
  • What does a wind farm really look like? [Coleman]
  • Wareham Man arrested after Kennedy threat [S-Times]
  • Christa's accused killer finks on friend [Herald]
  • Otis could get nuclear waste [Globe]
  • Red Tide closes Pleasant Bay, Chatham Harbor [Chronicle]
  • Cape Wind wins Scargo Café "Sand Poll" [cct]
How can any journalist miss this many major cape stories for this long? How does The Cape Codder and The Herald get to run stories about a second Christa killer for a week while our daily doesn't notice? How can their sister newspaper in New Bedford scoop them on a Ted Kennedy assassination attemp in Wareham, or the Globe know about Otis being used as a nuclear waste dump for days and days before our own daily? wb

Monday, May 23, 2005

Zindler zaps one

Kudos to The Times

In an unusual expose of influence and financing of the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, Cape Cod Times writer ETHAN ZINDLER knocked one out of the park in his 2-page story on the super-rich who own Great Island, the private enclave which forms the eastern shore of Lewis Bay as it juts out into the sound nearest the site of the proposed wind farm. Here's a sample of Ethan's story;

...In 2002 and 2003, three family foundations connected to Great Island property owners contributed a total of $168,500 directly and indirectly to the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the local group spearheading opposition to the proposed wind farm. The island is also the summer home of one current and one former member of the Alliance's board. Another resident has contributed an undisclosed amount to the group... Read the rest of his story here. WB

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Suggestion for coverage of East Falmouth murder case

Needless to say, someone should talk to the garbage man.
Come to think of it, this could be a case in which all the suspects are garbage men.
JC

Maybe the Times ought to hold off on polling altogether

Rather than rewrite the item here, my take on yesterday's story in the CC Times about the Cape Wind-Donelan lawsuit can be found at windfarmblog here.

Something else I just noticed about the story by Ethan Zindler - nowhere does it actually cite the two-page ruling by state appeals court judge Raya S. Dreben, which served as the basis for the story. At the very least there should have been a line or two in there to convey the judge's rationale.
JC

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Flimsy Argument

Senator John Warner, the third Senator from the Cape & Islands, criticizes the inadequacy of the federal review of offshore wind farms, and The Cape Cod Times, the first daily from the Cape & Islands, applauds him in the Sunday editorial, A Flimsy Foundation, (5/15/05).

Only thing is that they left out some important facts about Senator Warner's special relationship to the Cape. What follows is a blog previously published on October 7, 2004 at www.capecodpolitics.blogspot.com. SM

The Rich and Powerful (Again)
They Are Among Us
How did Senator John Warner (R) of Virginia come to throw the biggest hurdle in front of the Cape Wind farm in Nantucket Sound? Family connections, and a coincidence of Senatorial Committee assignments that makes the Perfect Storm look like an afternoon thunder shower.

Mellon, remember that name. Senator John Warner married money, both times. It was very instrumental in advancing his political career. (Sound familiar?) His first wife was Catherine Mellon, daughter of Paul Mellon, of the famed Pittsburg Mellons. But by the time Paul Mellon got the money, the family had moved to the Virginia side of Washington, DC.

There, John Warner and Catherine Mellon, married and had 3 children, Virginia, John and Mary. Turns out Mary and Virgina have homes in Osterville, Oyster Harbors, where they are preoccupied with philanthropic and environmental causes. Senator John Warner has a vested interest in not seeing, the wind farm built within sight of the family homes in Osterville. Virginia and Mary would be very put out if it were built, not least because they had the clout to kill the project, and the gaggle at the Wianno Club would be mortified if they found out that they hadn't used it.

Also, Paul Mellon's 1rst wife and Catherine's mother was Mary Conover. Senator John Warner's first wife, Catherine Mellon, now Catherine Conover (very generous to local environmental causes) is also living in Osterville. And as anyone who has ever been divorced will understand, " Now what's a Senator to do?"

But wait, there is an even more important family connection at play here. Turns out the family patriarch's (Paul) 2nd wife is non other than the much beloved Bunny Mellon (formerly Rachel Lloyd Lambert) of Osterville, which would make her Catherine's step-mother and Virginia's and Mary's step-grandmother, and Senator Warner's ex-step-mother-in-law. Mrs. Mellon owns ALOT of real estate in Osterville.

Enter Opportunity
US Senator John Warner, is Chairman of the Armed Service Committee, and also chairman of the subcomittee that oversees the Army Corps of Engineers (the permitting agency of the Cape Wind project).

While the Cape Wind Environmental Review was being held hostage at the Pentagon, Senator Warner proposed an amendment to a military appropriations bill pending in the Senate, to kill the Cape Wind project. I'll leave it up the the professional scribes to expose the inner workings of the Senate and the Pentagon from here on, but let's not forget, Senator John Warner once served as Secretary of the Navy.

There's nothing like having a third Senator from the Cape to get the job done, (stopping CapeWind) when the other two can't or won't get their hands dirty. Especially when there's a really good family tree to do so. Turns out it was Mellon's, not Kennedy's, or Heinz's.

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Or how about this ...

District attorney to seek DNA samples from all nine-fingered residents
Jake, again

A headline begging to be written

Police finger suspect in Wendy's case
JC

Friday, May 13, 2005

Otis isn't MMR

You heard it here first

Otis ANGB, not MMR, was vulnerable

You would think The Cape Cod Times would know the difference between the Massachusetts Military Reservation and Otis Air National Guard Base.

In its editorial this week, The Times dismissed the possibility that the MMR will be shut down in the next round of base closings, the initial phase of which was published today and Otis (along with Groton and Portsmouth) were on the closure list.

But as I wrote on April 15 for capecodtoday.com, it is not the MMR that appeared vulnerable to closing, it is the air base and 102nd Fighter Interceptor Wing, one of five military commands at the reservation.

The main problem for Otis is cost - it is enormously expensive to run compared to other Air Guard bases around the country. Elsewhere, these bases are typically situated within commercial or municipal airports, which cover maintenance costs. This was the case with the 102nd, which was based at Logan until the late 1960s. But with the move to the Cape, expenses such as snow removal - recall the difficult winter we just had - were covered by the military, not Massport.

The Times' editorial points out that F-15s from the wing "were the first to respond to the Sept. 11 attacks" and that the 102nd "is our country's first line of defense from air attack across the entire Northeast. Closing Otis would make vulnerable the nation's air defense."

But the closer one looks at the military's response on Sept. 11, the more problematic it becomes for Otis. Two of the wing's F-15s scrambled at 8:53 a.m. in response to the hijackings, according to the 9/11 commission's final report. Heading directly for New York City at top speed, the planes should have reached lower Manhattan by 9:03 to 9:05, which probably would have been too late to stop the second plane (but for all anyone knew at the time, more hijacked planes were heading to New York and the pilots of the F-15s would have been given immediate authorization to shoot them down).

According to the commission's report, the F-15s did not arrive over Manhattan until 9:25, more than a half-hour after they departed Otis. What happened? In the confusion and shock of that terrible morning, the F-15s were diverted to military airspace about 115 miles east of Long Island, according to the report.

The military's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) first learned of the hijackings from the Federal Aviation Administration at 8:37 a.m., with a call that warned of "a hijacked aircraft heading toward New York," according to the report.

Still fighting the "Cold War"?

But rather than send the planes from Otis directly to New York, the military sent them to air space off Long Island - as if in response to the threat of the last conflict, Russian bombers coming in over the Atlantic. The military has said there was no way to know where the hijacked plane was heading, but apparently it was not a mystery to the FAA official who first called NEADS.

This is not to blame the pilots and ground crews at Otis for their efforts that day - the problem stemmed from an outmoded defense system and poor judgment higher in the chain of command.

But the military's inadequate response that day demands a hard-nosed appraisal of fundamental assumptions that remain with us, such as Otis's importance to homeland security. With New York City almost certainly still a target to al-Qaeda, does it make any sense for its air defense to be based 153 miles away on Cape Cod? Why not at La Guardia, JFK or Newark airports instead, or an air base on Long Island?

The Times' editorial also claimed it would be "foolhardy to close the Upper Cape base in light of the fact that the Pentagon has been relying heavily on the National Guard and Reserve components during the Iraq War. Several units from MMR have served and continue to serve in Iraq."

Compromised facilities

And last I checked, the MMR remains the only military facility in the US where the federal government has banned live artillery out of concern for public health. Does it make any sense to train soldiers with rubber bullets for the dangerous conflict in Iraq?

Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman Bill Delahunt say they are doing all in their power to keep the MMR open - while they have also consistently rejected requests from the military to ease environmental restrictions while we are at war. Cleaning up the groundwater at the reservation has been an enormous headache costing hundreds of millions of dollars - unlikely to endear the MMR to the Pentagon.

The Cape's topography and climate are also ill-suited what soldiers are encountering in Iraq and may eventually face elsewhere in the Middle East. The MMR's location also makes it of marginal value in other possible conflicts down the road, against North Korea and China.

Come to think of it, one could make a case that all of the MMR is vulnerable, not just Otis as I predicted.

And finally, the state's all-Democratic congressional delegation works against keeping Otis open, as does the fact that one of its members, Sen. John Kerry, ran against President George W. Bush last year in a nasty campaign.

This is not to say I hope Otis is closed or the 102nd is reassigned - I was a member of the 102nd from 1985 to 1991, serving in its civil defense squadron, and I will always be proud of that. If Otis is an integral part of our nation's defense, I hope it continues to serve us in that role, and serve us well.

But if the rationale for Otis's existence is the challenge from an earlier conflict, we need to respond to the world as it is, not as it used to be.

JC

(originally published Thursday, May 12)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Rest of the Story

"A message has been sent to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates: Leave the Cape Cod License Plate funds alone".

That's how the Falmouth Enterprise ran a report in this week's edition (5/11/05) about the Assembly of Delegates Finance Committee meeting regarding the County budget.

Since when does the Falmouth Enterprise cover anything outside of Falmouth, let alone a County budget hearing, and not by the full Assembly, but by a sub-committee?

Seems the Finance Committee is going to recommend that the Assembly of Delegates vote to send the License Plate funds to the towns instead of the usual suspects (the County Economic Development Council (EDC) administers the funds). That would take the subsidies away from the EDC's current recipients.

So guess who was front and center at the meeting that wasn't even scheduled to discuss the EDC? The "Friends of the EDC" alumni association.

Missing from the Enterprise report was the detail that would put this group into perspective. Those who were quoted as speaking against the proposal also receive the greatest benefit from the License Plate program.

Mary Pat Flynn was obviously there to protect her turf. She is the chair of the EDC. She's been running the Council that's been rewarding their friends (over the last 5 years, to the tune of $2 million), with small but sometimes big grants of other people's money. She's from Falmouth.

Maggie Geist, Executive Director of the APCC (Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod) was there, speaking against touching the money. Another fact missing from the article is that the APCC is the single largest recipient of grants from the EDC.

Gwen Pelletier, Executive Director of the Lower Cape Community Development Corporation (LCCDC) was there because she gets License Plate funds from the county sometimes, but she also gets License Plate receipts directly as well (about$200K a year).

Gwen spoke against, because her agency more often gets to refer other lower Cape agencies, that she doesn't give money to, to the County trough (EDC). Because, you see, she uses her License Plate funds in-house. If the County trough ceased to exist, there would be questions asked, and the friends would want some of Gwen's money.

Missing from the pogrom, however, was Wendy Northcross, the Executive Director of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. They too get an equal share (same as EDC) of the License Plate receipts, but it disappears into the black hole of their operations.

Wendy was smart enough not to attend the public meeting. But you can rest assured that she's lobbying against this proposal as well. With the County funds gone, the friends that were getting the money in the past from the County, will naturally turn to the Chamber with the some of the same questions. (See Gwen above).

But back to the main point. Why was this minor meeting of so much interest to the Enterprise?

The quiet force behind this matriarchy is Janice Walford, Editor of the Falmouth Enterprise, friend of Mary Pat Flynn, Maggie Geist, Gwen Pelletier, Wendy Northcross and Julia Taylor, the Assembly delegate from Falmouth (not mentioned in the above article, but was quoted in the The Cape Cod Times this week as opposing County funds going back to towns).

As Paul Harvey used to say, "Now you know the rest of the story."

SM

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Wise Guys

The Cape Cod Times, one of our favorite daily publications on Cape Cod, ran a self-serving letter to the editor today, in support of Wise Living, the 60-plus affluent home-ownership proposal for the Grade 5 School in Hyannis. This was the option preferred (over a Catholic High School) the editors preferred in a in a recent Times' editorial.

The letter was self-serving because it was from the Executive Director of the Housing Assistance Corp., Rick Presbrey, who failed to adequately mention that the offer by Wise Living of land and money (about $1 million) to move the homeless out of downtown Hyannis and into Hyannis woods, would pass through his agency.

Isn't moving the homeless out of town, self-serving for the affluent-living developer as well? There seems to be alot of that going around.
SM

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Dissing Contest

Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the gallon.
Sometimes your friends just can't help themselves. Representative Matt Patrick has been in a stupid dissing contest with the Cape Cod Times, mostly of his own making.

He sent out a press release taking credit for half a million dollars in pork barrel (for the Cape) in the state budget in the same week he sent the Cape Cod Times an ed/op piece opposing the income tax rollback.

The Cape Cod Times called him on the carpet, not so much for the audaciousness of his position as a tax and spend liberal, but on his insistence that (and contrary to the Times' insistence that the budget was fat with pork), the budget could not be cut!

Although his positions are logically consistent, is it incredibly dumb political posturing. Opposing tax cuts for the sake of special interest handouts.

Matt's suffering from the excitement of being "in" with the leadership of the House for the first time in his short tenure. Let's hope for his sake as well as ours that his hubris is only temporary. Because the new Speaker, from whom all power flows in the House, happens to dislike the wind farm.

One man's pork barrel is another man's safety net.
We can't let the Times off the hook here for good behavior, either. They actually favor some pork. In a recent editorial, they endorsed Representative Gomes' special insertion into the budget for a prescription drug pharmacy program for lower Cape residents. But they disapprove of the Cape-wide Lyme desease prevention program that Representative Patrick favors.
SM

Quiet Times in Hyannis ?

Cape Cod Times played down the results of the wind farm question on the Mashpee ballot last Saturday running only this as the 10th paragraph at the bottom of Sean Gonsalves' 12 paragraph report;

"Question 2 was a non-binding advisory question, asking voters whether they support or oppose the proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound. The nays had it, with 1,075 voting no and 713 voting yes. There were 35 blanks."
We had expected a front page headline in "Second Coming" type. Dare we hope the editors see the light at the end of their tunnel vision? At least they let us know about the blanks this time. wb

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mashpee Emptyprize?

You've got to love the idea of The Falmouth Enterprise launching those three other editions (Sandwich, Bourne & Mashpee) when CNC folded a couple of their mastheads to create the Upper Cape Codder. I mean, at least those town have their own newspaper, right?
Maybe. We increasingly hear Upper Cape readers of the new editions referring to them as
Mashpee Emptyprize, etc. Reminds us of the days when our local daily was still named the Cape Cod Standard-Times and some wags referred to it as the Sub-standard-Times. wb

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Romney won't run for governor next year

Seashore Park Advisory head Kaufman is kingmaker for his '08 run to replace Bush

Robert Novak reveals secret Washington talks recently in which Ron Kaufman and Mitt Romney planned with GOP operatives a run for the White House in '08 for our governor. Kaufman, President Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card's brother-in-law, was apponted by the President as head of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park's Advisory Committee last year despite his total previous lack of interest in the cape.

The Novak report today stated; "Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a recent secret Washington meeting with national political operatives signaled he probably will forego seeking re-election in 2006 in order to pursue the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Romney did not flatly reveal his future intentions, according to sources who were present. But he did say a presidential race would be difficult if he were concentrating on a 2006 campaign for governor and were still in that office in 2007-08. The early evening meeting was held at the Caucus Room, a Washington restaurant popular with politicians and lobbyists. It was put together by Ron Kaufman, longtime Massachusetts member of the Republican National Committee and an intimate adviser of the senior George Bush. Political operatives attending were not committed to a possible Romney candidacy, but were asked to participate in a private discussion of the current political climate." Source. wb

Thursday, May 05, 2005

On this one, Schechtman is right

Cape Cod Times Editor in Chief Cliff Schechtman is no stranger to criticism, especially when it comes to his paper's coverage of the proposed offshore wind farm. Schechtman has also drawn a scornful reaction from some, such as blogger Peter Porcupine, for his successful lawsuit forcing Barnstable Sheriff James Cummings to release the names of reserve deputy sheriffs in the county.

But in this matter, Schechtman hasn't just won a legal battle, he's performed a public service. And anyone willing to put aside personalities and politics and consider the merits of the case has probably come to the same conclusion.

A brief history of the case --two years ago, a Yarmouth car dealer was charged with 10 counts of larceny and four counts of fraud. The car dealer was also a deputy sheriff on the Cape, which begged the question - who else is one? When The Times asked Cummings for the list, Cummings balked, saying the association of deputies was a private organization not subject to public disclosure laws.

But as the Supreme Judicial Court eventually pointed out, Cummings was appointing deputy sheriffs in his capacity as sheriff, not as a private citizen. This is just conjecture on my part, but I suspect that Cummings let his disdain for The Times get in the way of his better judgment. And while I'm not a lawyer, I don't think he was given the best legal advice. Surely a Supreme Judicial Court that advocates gay marriage can be expected to support transparency in public records.

One of the criticisms made by Peter Porcupine is that the list of 292 deputies, when eventually released, turned up nothing embarrassing or revelatory. But it is only by virtue of The Times' actions that anyone, Cummings aside, could have made any observation about the names on the list. Had the paper not forced the issue, the list would still be locked away.

For all anyone knew before the case was settled, every person on the list was a scofflaw - surely not the kind of people you want appointed by a sheriff. Or that the price of getting deputized by Cummings was a hefty contribution to his next campaign (The Times also reported that well over half the deputies had contributed money to Cummings). Getting deputized by the sheriff brings no authority to make arrests, but it does provide a badge that is identical though slightly smaller than the one carried by Cummings, according to the Times' coverage.

But as Schechtman has pointed out, how can any of us be sure the appearance of authority that comes with this pseudo-badge hasn't been abused - especially if the sheriff is unwilling to disclose who has been deputized? Count me among those opposed to the idea of people carrying badges without any authority to use them, especially after 9/11.

This is not to denigrate the fine charitable work of the deputies or that of Cummings in his other duties. But had I been deputized, my presumption would have been that this was somehow a matter of public record.

If you plan to request public records on the Cape, the lawsuit by The Times means you are more likely to get those records, and in a timely fashion, than if Cummings had prevailed in the case. I say this based on scores of requests I've made over the years, requests that were all too often stymied or dragged out by unwilling bureaucrats or records-keepers not acting in good faith. I've heard cops tell people they can't look at a police log - as public a record you'll ever find - because the names in the log are protected by privacy laws (they aren't). A Raynham police dispatcher once tried to charge me $5 for looking at accident reports. A fee can't be charged unless you call police and ask them to make a copy of a record and mail it to you.

It should make no difference who is making the request - the law sees no distinction, for example, between citizens and the media - but in reality, it makes all the difference. Human nature being what it is, a direct correlation exists between the sensitive content of public records and the length of time needed to obtain them.

Take down that dusty copy of "All the President's Men" for the best example of this.

Jack Coleman

Jornal em Português

Obrigado Cape Cod Times

I was scanning the Cape Cod Times classifieds this morning, and noticed they are reaching the 10,000-plus Portuguese speaking Brazilians who live and work here with want ads in the native tongue;

DISHWASHER: Cozinha professional. Precisa-se de pessoas para trabalhar interessados deven vir pessoalmente Siena Restaurant en Mashpee Commons 508-477-5929. wb

New Gay webzine launched in P-town

The release from EDGEptown.com said the new site is devoted to providing news and entertainment information for the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community of Provincetown and Cape Cod, as well as the many tourists that frequent the destination spot every year from around the globe.

The company’s flagship portal, EDGEboston.com, is already the most popular Gay/Lesbian Web site of any type in New England according to the Amazon tarcking site. wb

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

CNC launches new weekly in Plymouth


Herald Media goes head-to-head with Old Colony Memorial

Tomorrow (Thursday) the Community Newspaper Company will debut a new newspaper in Plymouth, going up against the Old Colony Memorial, the flagship weekly of MPG Communications which is 183 years old this week.

The focus of the new Plymouth Bulletin according to Editor Mark Skala "is on community content, more news people want to read about."

The Bulletin will launch with a 48-page broadsheet mailed to every household in town, over 17,000. CNC killed the Pennysaver in Plymouth and decided to go with a newspaper in that town instead. The first issue exceeded the advertising goals according to Skala.

The OCM circulation is around 10,000 according to Skala who says he's seen their latest ABC report, but Managing Editor in Chief Sarah Corbitt said their "distribution numbers stands at 16,000" and the newspaper was never stronger. She feels no threat by the CNC upstart in her 'hood. I remember Malcolm Hobbs at The Cape Codder saying the same thing after the launch of Cape Cod Chronicle in 1966. Go it goes...

"Happy Birthday to us," Corbitt said. "We began publishing on May 4, 1822. Our focus today is what it always has been: giving our readers the best possible newspaper we can. Today, in honor of our birthday, we debuted our new Village Life section, devoted to news and features from the 7 villages of Plymouth. We are very excited about this new initiative as we begin our 184th year."

Their first start-up but on a bad news day

CNC was developed by Fidelity Investment Co. in the 1980's. They eventually bought more than a hundred newspapers in eastern Massachusetts, shutting down some, folding others into regional editions like the Upper Cape Codder which replaced the Sandwich Broadsider and the Mashpee Messenger. The newspaper group was sold to the Herald Media Co. a few years ago.

The Plymouth Bulletin is the first start-up by the CNC staff, and it comes a day after Herald Media announced a forced buyout package to 52 editors, columnists, and other nonunion editorial employees as part of the newspaper's effort to cut labor costs by $7 million to pay for a recent libel suit judgement against the paper.

The Herald package offers two weeks of pay for every year of service up to 26 years, plus a $12,000 cash payment, according to Herald spokeswoman Gwen Gage.The Herald set a May 13 deadline for nonunion workers to apply for the buyouts. wb

Often mistaken, but never uncertain

Cape Cod Voice attacks its imagined competition

For those among you who don't bother to pick up a free copy at the Hearth 'n Kettle or lower cape convenience stores, Cape Cod Voice is a flashy, four color fortnightly newsprint magazine which just entered the "business magazine" field with a new product named Cape Cod Business Voice. We can't show you its web site since it has none, and it's parent has one which has no editorial content.

The Publisher, Seth Rolbein, attempts to ingratiate himself and his publication with the business community by insulting his imagined competition in his first edition.

After getting the Cape Cod Times' Publisher Peter Meyer to graciously grant him an interview about its new glossy magazine Cape Cod VIEW, Rolbein proceeded to state that The Times discounts its rates while cravenly bragging about how his rates are so much better, and then complains that VIEW had "only 30 pages of paid advertising."

At the rates The Times charges for VIEW, that's serious money for a first edition and probably more than the Voice's total ad revenues per issue after five years of its precious existence. And View is a readable, general circulation magazine focusing on matters of interest to thirty-something houswives while the Voice continues to focus on one subject each issue and beat it to death.

And then he goes after Cape Business magazine as well

Not satisfied with dissing Cape Cod VIEW which Rolbein mistakenly thinks is his peer, he next tries to impugn the honesty and worth of Cape Business, another new glossy magazine published by Glenn Ritt, Bob Viamari and Ernie Johnson.

These gentlemen showed great wisdom in refusing an interview, as did Rusty Pierson the new Publisher of Cape Cod Life.

Despite that, Rolbein managed to snipe at Ritt as someone "who served a short stint as editor of Community Newspaper Company.... after moving here from New Jersey." St. Secaucus, image that! Someone came here from Off Cape.

Rolbein probably forgot that he himself served an even shorter time at the same post and quit in a huff when asked by the owners to reduce staff during a recession. He immediately announced he would start the Voice, but had to keep his investors on hold for a year because he also forget that he had signed a non-compete with CNC.

This is the financial brains behind CC Business Voice?

Running scared?

He proceeds to suggest Cape Business also breaks its rate card, although I know from personal experience this is not true. While Rolbein's CC Business Voice is full of insinuated nastiness, Ritt's new Cape Business is jammed full of valuable business information and data and fairly bulging with advertising, more in each successive issues.

Rolbein is obviously "running scared." His sponsors are among some of the cape's biggest and most successful businesses, and as business people rather than unreconstructed 1960's liberal writers like Rolbein, should realize what an error it was to back The Voice with their hard-earned reputations.

In the newspaper and magazine business, the 11th commandment is "Thou shalt not impugn your peers."

Rolbein's only excuse may be that he has none. Maybe his motto should be "often mistaken, but never uncertain." wb

'Tis a sin to tell a lie

Because now there is someone looking over your shoulder

Now is the time for all good journalists to come to the aid of their media, especially here on Cape Cod which has always been home to some of the best newspapers and magazines in America.

But yesterday ain't today, and what's happening in the inky trade nationwide is also happening here on this sandspit.

Up-starts, up-smarts and other idiots adorn a media scene once reknown for excellence, so this journal will attempt to point out the more obvious foibles of the local press to our gentle readers and fellow Cape Codders.