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About this blog: I am President of Embarcadero Media's East Bay Division and the publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, Dublin TriValley Views, San Ramon Express and Danville Express. As a 25-plus-year veteran of the media industry, I have experience...  (More)

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Question credibility, corroboration before condemnation

Uploaded: Jul 26, 2017
It had all the elements of a juicy story – undue influence, discrimination, big guy vs little guy….

The only thing missing was proof.

Randall Frost of Pleasanton wrote on the Pleasanton Weekly Town Square July 15 and submitted a letter to the editor in which he stated a local event venue and winery was pressuring the City to relocate a taco truck because the patrons were, according to Frost, “working class Latino people.”

The Society of Professional Journalists code states four guiding principles for professional journalists: Seek Truth and Report It; Minimize Harm; Act Independently; Be Accountable and Transparent.

We have to ask questions to determine credibility of the source and corroborate the information, so it not coming from just one source. We do this to minimize harm, like damaging the reputation of organizations and individuals with false information (to the point we had to remove a Town Square comment about burning down the building of the accused complainant).

To “seek truth and report it,” we contacted city officials, Casa Real representatives and Frost. Melody O’Shea, COO of Beets Hospitality, the management company that operates Casa Real, said, “We’re so upset about that. Our culture, who we are, our employees, and our values are all about accepting diversity. We patronize the taco truck. We’ve used them for our holiday parties and our employees have used them personally. This has always been about congestion.”

To “be accountable and transparent,” and so you better understand our being very leery of villainizing Casa Real based on claims from one unverified source, we will share our email questions to Frost, and his responses:
We cannot find anyone to corroborate your statement that: "...the City was working with Casa Real to force Nelly to move. On making further inquiries I was told that someone from Casa Real had said the reason they wanted the truck moved is that the people who bought food at the truck did not wear the right kinds of clothes to satisfy the operators of Casa Real---in other words, they were working class Latino people...” We were told by the city that it was because of concern for the safety of drivers and Nelly's patrons that the truck was relocated. This seems like a plausible concern considering the construction at that location. It would also explain why the location of the truck was fine for 18 years, until the construction started close to that area. Do you have any documentation, such as an email, to corroborate that a city official said a Casa Real representative said they wanted the truck moved because the patrons "did not wear the right kinds of clothes" or something similar to that? Was that city official (Senior Code Enforcer Mark) Dennis? If not, who was it?
Also, (we) understand you are a freelance writer and have written pieces on marketing and branding. Did you consider that saying "I spoke to my attorney about this case and he noted that often in cases like these, the situation is such that someone (e.g., representing Casa Real) who supports the City or members therein gets special favors for the support..." and ".... “Here you have someone with some influence in the city forcing someone to do something that’s not right – vacate public property..." might damage the reputations of Casa Real, the city, Dennis and (Casa Real’s Eric) Callahan without cause if the issue was, indeed, safety?
If this all happened the end of June, with the demand to move being given June 30, why did you not bring this to the public until July 15?
Finally, are you satisfied with the outcome as reported in (another website) that Casa Real is working with Nelly's to find a suitable location in which both businesses can thrive?

His responses:
“Lo siento pero no hablo con periodistas” (I’m sorry, I don’t talk to reporters.)
“Lo siento, pero no te conozco. No hablo con extraños.” (I’m sorry, I don’t know you. I don’t talk to strangers.)
After being told the questions were asked by professional journalists from the Pleasanton Weekly:
“Ya veo. Sin embargo, no considero que Pleasanton Weekly sea una fuente de noticias professional.” (I see. However, I do not consider Pleasanton Weekly to be a professional news source.)

These responses, or lack thereof, speak for themselves in terms of credibility of source and proof, or the lack thereof.
They also speak of a need to ask questions and think critically before accepting statements as fact.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Fake news in Pleasanton that I and others absorbed.
Thank you Gina for determining and reporting the facts.

Posted by Ptown fan, a resident of Kottinger Ranch,
on Jul 26, 2017 at 6:57 pm

Ptown fan is a registered user.

Thank you, Gina, for obtaining the other side of the story from the winery and event venue. It's nice to see that all parties are working together to find a working solution for everyone. With the intersection of Vineyard and Isabel as part of my daily commute, I have often wondered how the Food Truck (which makes great food, by the way) can operate on the side of the road - that intersection is a mess and only getting worse! I can understand why the City has asked them to relocate for traffic congestion and safety issues, especially with the new highway 84 construction. I feel badly for the businesses that are being portrayed negatively for sharing a safety concern for their own customers and those who travel there.

Posted by chebucto, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Jul 26, 2017 at 8:16 pm

chebucto is a registered user.

Why this firestorm against Casa Real and Ruby Hill Winery based on one man's story? Our community has vilified local tax paying businesses without researching the facts. Social media at its worst. Do you commute along Vineyard and Isabel? It is
crazy dangerous.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jul 27, 2017 at 7:30 am

DKHSK is a registered user.

So after sending in a harmful and false racist narrative to the Pleasanton Weekly newspaper, Mr. Randal Frost then claims that the Pleasanton weekly is not a "professional news source"?

His answers are an insult.

I get it Randall. You thought you could paint a city and its residents as racist and it backfired when a news organization followed up with you.

Now you run for cover.

As a person who has a small tech startup, you have now made sure that my company will NEVER use your "expertise" in marketing and packaging.

Good job.


Posted by dknute, a resident of Golden Eagle,
on Jul 27, 2017 at 12:16 pm

dknute is a registered user.

The Truck did pose a hazard to customers...but 18 years? 18 years to take action? Action? Where does one find the City Codes that prohibit signs, truck parking along the road, etc? Anyone?

Posted by Lou Stuhle, a resident of Jensen Tract,
on Jul 28, 2017 at 11:32 am

Lou Stuhle is a registered user.

A lecture on journalism ethics from the PW. That's rich.

Posted by G-dogue, a resident of Vintage Hills,
on Jul 28, 2017 at 5:25 pm

G-dogue is a registered user.

Post removed because it contained false information and unverified claims.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jul 28, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Pleasanton Patch is not professional journalism!
Pleasanton patch is a cut and paste site!

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