City Journal Winter 2016

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Winter 2016
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Conor Friedersdorf
The New Watchdogs « Back to Story

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When you're in uncomfortable position and have got no cash to go out from that point, you would require to take the loans. Just because that would help you for sure. I get short term loan every year and feel myself great just because of it.
Transparency to the University of California Berkeley. University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) has forgotten that he is a public servant, steward of the public money, not overseer of his own fiefdom. These are not isolated examples: Cal tuition, fee increases exceed national average rate of increase; recruits (using California tax $) out of state $50,600 students who displace qualified Californians from Cal; spends $7,000,000 + for consultants to do his senior management work (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; in procuring $3,000,000 consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from others; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010 (M Krupnick Contra Costa Times); ranked # 70 USA best universities Forbes; tuition to Return on Investment drops below top 10; QS academic ranking falls below top 10; only 50 attend Birgeneau all employees meeting; visits down 20%; absence Cal. senior management control NCAA places basketball program on probation.
It’s all shameful. There is no justification for violations by a steward of the public trust. Absolutely none.
Governor Brown, UC Board of Regents Chair Lansing must vigorously enforce stringent oversight over Chancellor Birgeneau who uses Cal. as his fiefdom.

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You can "watch" all you want, but the media has no interest in your story. Neither will the local DA, unless it shows the DA in a crusading light, like denial of gay civil rights, or some such.
I have ben involved in many a scandalous government situation, and never had anyone the slightest bit interested, in the press or government. They both say the same thing. "Well, you sue them, and if after the case is over, you win, then forward us the file so we can get after them on criminality. Of course, the statute of limitations will be way over by then... Have a nice day!"
The only answer to each and every problem like this, is to dismantle all-powerful government. Do you really think any of the flagship media wants to point out real abuse? I don't. Anytime they want to, they could go on a union government project jobsite, and if they can't find a drunk (or a hundred) who takes 2 hr lunches, and that everyone is home by 2 PM, even though they are paid (extremely well, thanks to Davis-Bacon)to work until 3:30, I will eat my hat. Yet, every day, the news comes on, showing a new government initiative to waste money, and it is covered ad nauseum, pointing out that the funding is completely inadequate and blaming Republicans for this, while this continual intentional malfeasance and waste, which could be discovered in 2 minutes, will never be even mentioned.
Goebbels would be proud!
The "old model of watchdog journalism remains relatively healthy" in New York? I think the operative word is "relatively."

Sure, the dailies and other publications, from City Hall News to New York Magazine, do *some* watchdog journalism. But an awful lot gets a pass.

Take, for example, developer Forest City Ratner's astounding effort to raise $498 million from immigrant investors (under the federal EB-5 program) for the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.

In an extensive series, I reported that the developer's partner in China was misleading potential investors. OK, I'm just a "blog"--albeit by a reporter acknowledged as the expert on this project. But Reuters, in its own investigation, came up with the same conclusions.

Did any of the dailies follow up? No.

Did any report on Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's blatant lie, on a video aimed at Chinese investors, that "Brooklyn is 1000 percent behind Atlantic Yards"? Other than a blog post or two, no.

Norman Oder
Atlantic Yards Report
A thoughtful piece, thanks much.

For more on the progress of new online investigative reporting groups, plus some of the current issues, people see the Investigative News Network,

where there is a reprint of a speech I gave at the last investigative reporters and editors convention

where, by the way, of the 76 groups winning honors or awards for high-impact work, a full third, 26, were nonprofit investigative news orgs

ololo pish pish rialni
I grew up in Southern California, and I would humbly point out that if the L.A. Times (and the now defunct Herald Examiner) had been doing their jobs for the last 30 years, the corruption would have never reached the state it reached.

If the papers had been doing their jobs the freeway improvement money would have been used to improve the freeways so they didn't collapse in 1994 during the earthquake.

If they had been doing their job they would have pointed out that the earthquake rebuilding tax never went away despite the fact that everything has been paid for and rebuilt for 15 years now.

They would have pointed out that there was no need for the "showdown" between Sheriff Sherman Block and Supervisor Gloria Molina over the county jail shut down, because the difference between what he wanted them to spend and what she wanted to spend was the amount the road repair budget went up that year.

L.A. has always been corrupt, just like other big cities, the difference is that all of the media (TV and Print) won't go after them for the corruption until it is rudely obvious to everybody.

This is one of the fundamental problems with government subsidized TV like P.B.S. who is going to bite the hand the feeds them and feeds them well and is the only source of food?