Monday, September 28, 2009

I believe him…

"I accept responsibility," … "I just assumed that what I was doing was right, and I see now that many of those things were totally wrong."  (Monte McFall to judge)

I really do believe him.  And I’m glad his sentence is reduced.  Why?  Because it rings true to me. 

In my experience, these government types are bullies, and they don’t even know it.  It’s like “the fish doesn’t know he’s wet” because he’s surrounded by water everywhere, it just seems normal to him.

And I know because I’ve gone through a bit of that enlightenment myself.  I was quite the junior nazi when I was a young man, I believed in leftist and liberal causes.  It just “seemed” to be right.  We knew best, and the “little people” just needed to be told.  Don’t even bother asking, just tell them, no, command them for their own good.

You can see this in the video of the attack by the teacher.  She was incensed that I would question her authority to simply command me to not film the union demonstration or her people.  She’s probably used to talking to school children that way.  If I was a child I would have been up for detention, expulsion, deportation or worse for “talking back” like that.

It does seem normal to these types, and I know they can change, so I do believe Mr. McFall.  Good luck.

 McFall's sentence reduced |

p.s. I know: this makes no sense unless you are familiar with the case I’m talking about.  See The Record link above; also a good summary here.


  1. A shy reader asked if I’m being sarcastic here. No, I’m not. Of course I can’t peer into someone soul and “know” anything. But I’m saying it sounds believable to me

  2. Hey Joe, I think you should let this vendetta with the teacher just go away. Honestly, you come across in a much more negative light than she does. Look at the tape again. How do you justify 3 people sitting by each other as a "union demonstration"? That teacher asked, not yelled, that you not tape her. There is nothing in the video where she mentions a union demonstration or protests the filming of "her people". That is quite a creative interpretation on your part. I did notice that she mentioned her personal safety concerns. Why did you feel the need to continue to film an obviously distressed woman? She was at a public meeting, but she did not publicly address the board, so why did you consider her "fair game"? I am taking you at your word that the tape was not intentionally edited, but there was obviously some conversation missing between you two and also there is a glitch or skip when the Superintendent is giving his Action Item 1 report. If you want to be taken seriously as a video or on-line journalist, then you need to recognize your jouralistic responsibilities as well as your rights and powers. Otherwise you come across as a bully with a video camera who abuses the Freedom of Information Act. I expect much better than that from you. As for the supposed "attack" , it appears the woman was swatting at your camera to try to maintain some privacy, rather than physically attacking you. Rise above this and don't play the imagined victim.

  3. I don’t disagree that I’m also the jerk not only jamming a camera in people’s noses and just to add to it, being mouthy about it too! I could have artfully edited the video to make me look better. Maybe add a soundtrack or something. But I didn’t. Because it’s not about ME, it’s about telling the truth.

    I’m not making propaganda here. That’s why I included it all in the video. You’re probably used to seeing pictures or films produced the Chamber of Commerce or the pictures in the school brochures or even the Manteca Bulletin. They sit around and think about exactly what you are saying -- “how will this make ME look?” Or how does this make our city or our schools look?” That is what propagandist does, not a truth teller.

    But I decided to tell the whole story, warts and all. What happened is what you see, and what you see is what happened.

    Look at the school’s website or anything they print. It’s filled with this happy smiling faces of children being enlightened in a clean and safe environment of the 21st century. But if you actually visit a school, you’ll see decrepit filthy brown painted trailers surrounded by chain link and barbed wire, patrolled by police with gun sniffing dogs. And it not only looks like an itinerant prison camp but people there act like surly prison guards. You can see just a hint of that in the video and that’s part of what’s got people bent out of shape. How dare I bypass the powerful editors that demand the public only see what we think they should see?!

    I also realize that there are some who view their “journalistic responsibility” as never uncovering anything about our blessed public servants in a way that discredits them. Just look at the Manteca Bulletin some time. There are those who view the town as some kind of “destination” that has to be “sold” to the rest of the world. So, god forbid there should be people acting badly, or government programs going awry, or filth or poverty in our wonderful town. So they take it upon themselves to “clean it up” for “public consumption.” Is that what you think I should do? Is that what a “real” journalist does? (Actually, the answer to that too often is “yes” which is the whole purpose of this enterprise.)

    I agree with you that that there didn’t seem to be any major event going on over there. There really wasn’t much a story. It became an event when one of them tried to suppress the filming. Particularly the method which I don’t think I need to comment on further. But in other words, what you’re seeing at the beginning of the video was routine recording that would have never seen the light of day had the latter events not occurred.

    (continued... 4K per message)............

  4. (Continued from previous ........)

    This isn’t the first time this has happened. When I put in public records requests I (used to) get the 3rd degree from the office people. Who are you? Why do you want this? Do you live around here, do you have children in the district, etc etc. None of that was proper. It was intimidation and if they do it me they do it to everyone else. The idea being that not everyone is a mouthy jerk like me who isn’t stopped by their attempts at intimidation. But that’s the point, others are. And that’s one of the way “they” keep things as secret as they are.

    The same thing has happened many times at the meetings. When I first arrived, it was like one of those old western movies when the stranger walks into the saloon. Everyone stops and looks. That’s what happened when I first arrived at the school board meetings. At the time I thought those were just curious strangers. Now I know who those people were who asked “who are you?” Where do you live?” etc. Those were district employees!

    And once again, if they tried to intimidate me, they also do it to anyone. That’s how they keep “ordinary people” from participating or learning more about how the schools work. They have a consistent pattern of “suspecting” you if you ask questions, of making the ordinary person know in their own way that you aren’t welcome and in fact, you’re a little suspect because you’re asking – so stay in your place and “pay your taxes and shut up. We’ll tell you want you need to know.”

    In fact, it’s funny you ask about the gap when the camera was off, because it relates to this. From what I recall, the attacker, I’m sorry, concerned district employee, came over and asked who I was, and asked if I work for someone or am I just “some guy.” That’s when I turned the camera back on. The reason should be obvious. She never asked to speak off the record, she just proceeded to… well you can see in the video.

    Maybe that is something they don’t understand, and maybe I did react with indignant rudeness, but you see, I’m used to that opening line. It always (always!) has been an attempt at intimidation. I could name more names about who has done this before. They were all “district employees” but lets not go there for now.

    I’m also reminded that these trivial meeting fights are often “escalated” especially if the slight is toward one of the government’s own. What do you think would happen to me if I went over there and started hitting a district employee with my camera or my papers? Do you happen to remember the “incident” of “assault and battery” at a Manteca City Council meeting a few years ago? That was the result of a citizen tapping a city worker on the shoulder to get her attention to hand her a paper. That resulted in the citizen being hauled into the police station, and the case went on for months before being finally dropped after much legal expense.

    But you see, it was different because that was one of the “government royalty” who decided to claim “attack” because she was tapped by the papers. I don’t recall anyone criticizing the government worker at the time for making such a big deal out of what was obviously a trivial matter. Do you?

    I don’t entirely disagree with your overall interpretation of the events shown. It is “possible” that someone was being protective, or had some legitimate concerns. Whatever they might be. And I do take personal issues of privacy and such very seriously. But as yet, no one has made any requests to remove anything, or explain anything, and my email is listed on the front page and I’m easy to contact.

  5. Hey Joe, I'm not trying to supress your journalistic integrity or your desire to get to the truth under the surface. But in this instance, you make this woman a symbol for a much larger problem that may or may not exist. In fact, you have blown this incident way out of proportion. It is you who decided to film and then post this "confrontation" which seems more a "tempest in a teapot", than anything else. Let it go! You do make a good point about certain agencies putting on a false front or good face to disguise the reality of a situation. With the demise of the Sun Post newspaper, we are going to really need investigative journalists who aren't afraid to dig beneath the PR and expose the truth. But picking on a teacher who simply prefers not to be filmed is not the way to do it. And while you can't control other's behavior, you are responsible for your own and rudeness is never a badge of honor.

  6. It's amazing how this woman's bad behavior is being excused and we're blaming the victim.

  7. You sir are not an American Hero. You think your little rants mean anything in the lives of normal people...They don’t! You are obviously a small man that needs to validate your worth by creating meaningless dribble. A hero that calls himself a hero is only a hero when he’s alone. PLEASE FIND ANOTHER HOBBIE.

  8. At least you got the "sir" part right.