[Next day update: I'll give the Statesman Journal credit for printing my letter to the editor today, "Well users have property rights too." I'd rather have had 500 words than 200 words to make my case, but thumbs-up to the S-J for giving me this smaller soapbox after they rejected my bigger one.]
This is why we need alternative news outlets. So stuff that's too edgy for the mainstream press gets out of the street. In the case of my Measure 37 subdivision opinion piece, out into the blue Salem Monthly boxes sprinkled around downtown.
I picked up a copy of the July issue yesterday in the alternative Coffee House Café, appropriately enough.
Turning to page 8, I saw myself staring back at me below a "Rural wells threatened by Measure 37 subdivision" headline —though thankfully just my head and shoulders, not the full body publicity photo that I'd sent off to the editors, which was shown with the online story.
I look excessively stiff and serious in that posed shot. I'd had it taken for the back cover of my serious philosophical book about Plotinus.
Figuring that wells going dry because of over-development deserved a fairly solemn visage, I emailed the photo off to Salem Monthly. Along with a heartfelt thanks for printing what the Statesman Journal wouldn't feeling.
The 500 word piece Salem Monthly snapped up was rejected by Salem's non-alternative newspaper. I was told that it was too critical of the county commissioners, Sam Brentano and Patti Milne, who approved the subdivision against the advice of Marion County's own water experts.
Well, it seems to me that the opinion page is precisely the place for well-deserved criticism. I didn't write anything that wasn't either undeniably true or strongly supported by factual evidence.
So kudos to Salem Monthly, which isn't exactly Salem's equivalent of Willamette Week yet – but is getting closer with every issue.
This month's articles about downtown Salem were excellent. I liked how "Downtown Facts of Life" told it like it is: (1) Downtowns are dirty, (2) Downtowns are often noisy, (3) If they're successful, downtowns are crowded.
It's encouraging to me that more panhandlers and street musicians are showing up in downtown Salem, along with spiked hair, black clad, Goth-type young people. Thank god, at least someone is filling the sidewalks.
Maybe someday the title of my tongue-in-cheek "Why Salem is better than Portland" post will have some serious reasons behind it.