For a newspaper with pretensions to being the newspaper of record for communities in the northern part of Westchester County, the North County News makes a surprising number of factual errors. A news story in this week’s issue contains many transgressions. In the story titled “Croton Voters to Choose from Four Board Candidates,” we read:
Minett, 42, is a part-time lunchroom supervisor at Carrie Tomkins Elementary School, and a mother of three. She’s also a community activist. Minett frequents village board meetings and has attended all the Comprehensive Plan sessions. She’s served on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee for the past two years.
The first and most obvious error, of course, is in the newspaper’s reference to the school. It is the Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School. As all Croton residents and readers of Crotonblog know, the Carrie Tomkins name should be correctly spelled as Carrie E. Tompkins. We caught this error in another North County News story two weeks ago and corrected it, telling Ms. Tompkins’s story in the process (see: “The North County News Ain’t Payin’ Attenshun”). North County News staff obviously does not read Crotonblog’s stories critical of that newspaper.
Mr. Bruce Apar, Editor + Publisher of the North County News, may be spending too much time at Club Fit in Yorktown Heights trying to shed weight and not enough time at his newspaper. He keeps the public advised of his progress in bulletins that appear from time to time on his personal blog. For those few who might be interested in his corporeal statistics, he crowed that he lost all of nearly four pounds. We have news for Mr. Apar. “Man bites dog” is news; “Man loses four pounds” is not news. If he doesn’t show more progress than he has demonstrated so far, Club Fit may find itself being referred to as “Club Fat” for its lack of success with Mr. Apar.
As eager TV pitchmen are fond of saying, “Wait, folks, that’s not all. There’s more.” Indeed there is. The North County News is obviously willing to accept as factual anything a candidate says. Regrettably, its account of Mrs. Minett’s civic endeavors is full of erroneous statements that result from its failure to check a few facts. Mrs. Minett is indeed a community activist if you define activism as appearing at village board meetings and haranguing members tiresomely, to the accompaniment of wild arm movements and facial gestures.
As for the claim that Mrs. Minett “attended all the Comprehensive Plan sessions,” we can categorically deny that she ever attended all Comprehensive Plan sessions. The record tells a different story. The Comprehensive Plan Committee held some 50 meetings between 2001 and 2006. Mrs. Minnett did not attend any of these 50 odd meetings.
The committee did conduct three public outreach workshops (in August of 2000 and January and March of 2001), and Mrs. Minett did attend these. So the correct figure for her attendance is three—not the more than 50 claimed in the North County News story. ” By any stretch of Mrs. Minett’s self-delusive imagination, her actual attendance at a mere three public information workshops is a far cry from her claimed attendance at “all meetings.”
It is also worth noting that Republican Mayor Gregory J. Schmidt disbanded the Comprehensive Plan Committee early in 2007. This was well before the final Phase Three code revisions were delivered to the village for consideration. And for some unexplained reason, mention of any activities after early 2005 was deleted from the village’s website. Similarly, the names of the Comprehensive Plan Committee members were also removed from the village’s website. Whether this was done vindictively, we don’t know. If it was anything but an accidental deletion, it does seem to be the height of political pettiness.
As for the statement that Mrs. Minett has “served on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee for the past two years,” we can again categorically deny this statement. Mrs. Minett has not and does not serve on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee.
She attended one, possibly two, Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee’s Community Input sessions, but she definitely is not a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee. And the Committee has held more than 20 meetings. So much for her illusory membership in or claimed attendance at committee meetings,
It is interesting to note that the recommendations made to Mayor Schmidt by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee a year ago have yet to be acted upon.
Mrs. Minett may think the moon’s a balloon filled with pretty people, but there’s no reason for the North County News to promulgate her fantasies as fact. And we hope that her imaginings do not creep into Republican campaign literature, where we shall again be forced to shoot them down.