When I first spotted your Dec. 19 issue, which claimed a 40-year history of activist coverage for our community, I could hardly wait to sit down and digest it. Good thing it wasn’t real food, as there wasn’t much nourishment inside.
If my math is correct, 40 years would make it 1979 for the start of your coverage, which would certainly include the early anti-nuke movement across California and the role of Sonoma County in the founding of the state-wide Abalone Alliance. In 1979, about 50 local activists were dealing with their arrests from the year before at the proposed Diablo nuke plant in Central California. It was the start of more protests and arrests over the next decade at the Lawrence Livermore Labs, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and Rancho Seco nuclear power plant. Sonoma County was a big part of that history, and The Paper (that name predated your current one) chronicled it all. Tom Roth and Elizabeth Poole were in charge, and Tom had been a founding member of SONOMoreAtomics our local anti nuke group along with many of us who are still around.
Starting in 1980, some of us who had been at the sit-in in Gov. Jerry Brown’s office against Rancho Seco finally came home after three months and began the protests at Bohemian Grove after researching the members of that local exclusive gathering who were profiting from the nuclear industry. Once again, The Paper chronicled the beginnings of that protest along with the reasons we spent the energy on doing it every July. In the decade of the 1980s, we in Sonoma County joined other groups across the state in protesting Central America politics, Native American issues, formed a variety of environmental groups and began the MLK birthday celebration in January which continues to today. Oh yes, we also founded the local Peace & Justice Center in the early 1980s. Once again, The Paper documented all of this, yet no mention of any of it in your 40-year wrap-up.
The only reference you made to that important decade in the history of our local activist community was one short letter from my old friend Jack Levin. Your actual Flashbacks began in earnest in 1989. Why is that, when the beginnings of your paper did such a good job of documenting these important events? Folks new to Sonoma County still have no idea of the rich history residing in your files. Why?
And finally, just for the record, the Stump was the only alternative paper around here in the early to mid-’70s, yet you referred to it as connected to what became the Bohemian. It wasn’t. The Paper (owned by Tom and Elizabeth and edited by Nick Valentine), and then the Independent, were the only precursors to your current paper. I love the idea of honoring 40 years of alternative reporting, so why did you leave out that important decade at the beginning?
To Another Year
Good overview of the Bohemian‘s genealogy (“The Independent,” Dec. 19); I had looked you up on Wikipedia a while back but got lost in all the convolutions. Seeing you from John Boland’s POV really helps. An example of how mainstream newspapers are transitioning—and so far surviving—is also the Guardian (UK). Here’s to you and another year of excellent local investigative reporting!
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