Author’s note: The tape recording of the newspaper meeting began shortly after the meeting started so, regrettably, this document does not include remarks by several community members. In transcribing the tape, I made the best attempt I could to understand each speaker, although at times it was impossible to hear each word. Rather than editing for the written page, my decision was to literally transcribe the spoken words and punctuate as best I could. Other than words that I could not understand, nothing was edited out. The style of the meeting was informal; a cordless microphone was passed around as people requested it until everyone felt satisfied that they had said what they came to say. Robert Plotkin, editor of the Point Reyes Light, was in attendance the whole time and gradually participated in the community conversation. Some of the comments were directed to him. On the whole, the tone of each person’s comments was spirited, serious and eloquent. The value of this document continues as others read it and ponder the seriousness of the issues raised here.

—Elizabeth Whitney, meeting organizer


Sim Van der Ryn: I moved back here because I feel this is a positive place and this is a place that has a lot of potential, that still feels like a community, even though it has changed a lot. I’d like a paper that reflected the positive—obviously, you have to have some things that are negative. But I think the ones that have been in the paper have been pretty stupid and disgusting. Saying the cemetery is “spooky” in a small town to me doesn’t honor the dignity of the people that are in that cemetery who lived here, who are our ancestors. Maybe it makes a Halloween story but I think it is stupid. So I don’t know. You can do what you want…

Carla Steinberg: Ah, the voice of the codger.

Sandra Holland: When people used to complain to me about Dave Mitchell, I’d say, “The Point Reyes Light is what holds this community together. It is the center, it is the glue. We find out what is going on with our neighbors.“ I don’t find that to be the case any more. It breaks my heart. There is no center.

Ruth Fleshman: I think one of the things that I have heard over and over is that when Dave Mitchell came here nobody liked him either…[laughter and cross talk]…Besides which the young writers can’t spell.

Melinda Leithold: Neither can Cal Trans.

[laughter]

??: Without taking anything away from anything anybody else said, and this is a minor nitpick in the scope of things, but I would like see a newspaper that at least has the self-respect to proofread its articles. I can’t say it is any worse than it was before, but it’s sad.

Ruth: It’s also irritating.

Peter Worsley: The west coast New Yorker

Elizabeth Barnet: I was interviewed for two articles recently and both of them made me feel really bad afterwards. One of them was…the reporter represented that she was going to be doing…she actually was interviewing all the yoga teachers in town and I am a yoga teacher. The article was not about all the yoga teachers, it was about just the yoga teachers at Yoga Toes. Which was fine, it was just that she had represented herself as doing kind of a survey about yoga. The other one was an article about home schooling, and my kids still, when they see the woman who took the photos in their activity see her as the person who had her camera in their faces. When we see that reporter in town the kids still identify that experience as a negative experience.

Peter: Just a comment on what was just said. I used to be a photographer and was studying photography with my favorite teacher. His emphasis was that you needed to build a relationship with the people you photographed (if you were photographing people), and I was. I was photographing black teenagers. So, as hard as it was for me, I made friends with most of them and took photographs of them.

Elizabeth Whitney lives in Point Reyes Station, California.