I’ll start this post by wishing Alan Bock a speedy recovery; Alan’s personal blog mentioned he’s dealing with a health issue that will keep him out of work for a few months but the prognosis for a successful recovery is good and we wish Alan well.Â In Alan’s place, John Seiler has returned to the OC Register.Â Unfortunately, it’s not the principled John Seiler I remember before he took the Register’s buyout.
Seiler, if astute readers recall, penned this defense of Art Pedroza when an anonymous Red County diarist put up a post asking if Art had a job.Â Art continues to insist we’re trying to find out who his clients are, and we have never made a single inquiry; we offered, in jest, to host the Red County post taken down by Chip Hanlon, but that was a joke that Art clearly didn’t get.Â John’s postÂ compared Pedroza to King Arthur (and Avalon…not the one in Catalina…trembles at the thought).
John wrote that the Red County people were “anti-business” and his post threw this line out: “The anonymous ‘Orange Juice Watch’ blogger â€” why canâ€™t he reveal his name? â€” attacks Art for Artâ€™s private business, instead of his politics (which is fair game). Then Mr. Anonymous Chicken attacks local businessman Tony Bushala.
Here’s where principles come into play.
I agree with John that a person’s politics and not his or her profession are fair game.Â But after John penned those words in defense of Pedroza in July 2009, I started sending him links to stories where Art himself went after people for their jobs.Â Art has written often that the county should fire Chris Prevatt from his job (and for our best reader Sean Mill, I only contacted your employer after your inquiries to the county about Prevatt which means I did the same thing you did).Â He’s called on clients of Pacific StrategiesÂ to dump Matt Cunningham, and he goes after people who disagree with folks Art likes – for an example a teacher who criticized a Steven Greenhut column (I don’t see the point of cutting and pasting the emails in here so forgive me).Â
In each case, I sent John a polite note asking him to hold Pedroza to the same standard he’s held theÂ Red County diarist to, which is only fair and is certainly the principled thing to do.Â
The typical response received from John is: “I’m retired.”Â I got a slightly longer version once where he wrote:Â
“I’ve stopped commenting on local matters because of a lack of time. I’m only doing an occasional blog on national or state matters on my own blog.”
Then November rolled around and Art acquired a number of web domains related to this blog, our friends and my business with demands for cash (we didn’t know then he was being sued for credit card fraud, so financial gain and not political free speech appeared to be Art’s motive).Â I emailed Seiler asking if he’d show some consistency.Â No response and then one stating he emailed me but it bounced but without any sort of reference to the reason I contacted him.Â We, of course, filed a lawsuit in federal court.Â Art still doens’t have a lawyer, he delivered an inadequate discovery filing and has to tomorrow to produce what we’ve asked of him; Art’s response was to tell us to get a court order.Â We are.
Seiler recently posted this item that he wasn’t FFFF blogger Grover Cleveland; I believe the Register’s blog policy, like most newspapers, is that bloggers cannot blog anonymously under another name.Â In reading some of Grover’s FFFF posts and brushing off my knowledge of President Cleveland, who spent his youth in my home county in Central New York, I must conclude Mr. Seiler is correct — he is neither Grover Cleveland the blogger nor Grover Cleveland the president.Â
Because say what you will about either Grover Cleveland, both men have/had principles that they stuck too.Â Mr. Seiler does not.Â
Since email was getting me no where, I called John in the newsroom Wednesday after Election Day.Â I reminded him who I was and why I was calling. I wanted to ask him to be consistent about bloggers going after someone’s profession.Â John’s response, and I’m paraphrasing here was “you’re involved in a lawsuit, I don’t want any part of it.” And with that, he hung up on me.Â
And while this isn’t the outcome I hoped for, I’m at peace with the end result because it tells me Seiler is going to place his friendship with someone over his principles that someone’s politics are fair game but going after their profession is not.Â I can respect that, sort of.Â Friends help you move. Real friends help you move bodies.
Is that a Big L or small l Libertarian? I can’t tell.