In my last blog on the Gripe Fest over the cemetery in Tassajara Valley, Ken Feinstein, a resident of Dougherty Valley who opposes the cemetery, questioned my journalism. "If you want to do journalism, interview the community here and find out what is going on. That should be your first step before wild speculation and accusations."
In the first place, I do not do journalism, which Dictionary.com defines as "the occupation of reporting, writing, editing, photographing, or broadcasting news." I don't do news. I write a blog, which isn't journalism.
I tried to explain this in a blog I wrote on the No on Measure W campaign. At that time I was writing both news articles and my blog, but I asked the Editor if I could just write the blog. So that's what I am now ? a blogger.
Dictionary.com defines a blog as "a website containing a writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations, opinions, etc." So I write my opinions and observations, which is why I use the by-line San Ramon Observer. I try to base my opinions on facts, but they are still my observations and impressions of what I observe.
The day after Tuesday night's Workshop I called Mayor Clarkson to ask what that was all about. Why wasn't anyone answering the speakers comments and complaints? Clarkson said the speakers were giving their opinions and everyone is entitled to his or her opinions. The saying is, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." Many of the opinions being expressed were not based on facts and no one was providing them with facts.
I did not expect such a big crowd at this Informational Presentation. I thought a handful of people who had some knowledge of or stake in the development of the cemetery would show up. I expected to see Bill and Harriett Newman and a few other people from Tassajara Valley. I did not expect most of Dougherty Valley's Chinese population to show up.
One of the speakers waved his hand to ask a question and shouted out "Why was this location picked for this cemetery? Does anyone know?" I knew, and I thought someone should answer him. I asked Mayor Clarkson if I could answer the young man's question. The Mayor directed me to go up to the podium with the microphone, so I could be heard throughout the crowded room and on the loudspeakers outside.
I explained how Curt Kinney was asked to find a location for a Tri-Valley cemetery. I wasn't a close friend of Curt and Jeanne Kinney, but I knew them for many years and I was still sad about his recent passing. I attended Kinney's funeral two weeks earlier.
Curt was proud of his accomplishment in locating this property for a cemetery. San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, and Pleasanton all passed resolutions supporting the building of a cemetery in Tassajara Valley. I wanted to add more to the history of the cemetery but I was cut short.
After the meeting a couple of residents from Dougherty Valley came over to speak to me. Angappa Muray (I hope I got his name right) and his wife are of Indian ethnicity. He told me he reads my blog regularly, which I love to hear. They did not speak at the meeting.
Many people of Indian descent live in Dougherty Valley and not one of them spoke at the meeting to oppose or support the cemetery. Angappa said that they are Hindus and use ashes. He said the Chinese have a cultural thing against living near a cemetery.
That's sinking in now. I am meeting with Crystal Lu next week. She was one of the speakers against the cemetery. She wants to tell me her side of the story, and I want to tell her mine. I have a side to this story too, which colors my observations in my blog. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinions, and as a blogger, I write about mine.