Once upon a time in America we got our news from the pulpit of the church and the “Town Cryer.” Then came Ben Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette and his words of wisdom from Poor Richard’s Almanac. They included the immortal words, “Love your Enemies, for they tell you your faults.”
Randolph Hearst took over Ben’s job in the late 1800s and helped create the term “yellow journalism” during his paper war with Joseph Pulitzer. Too bad his bad habits are still around. Fast forward to 2016 and our “newspapers” have turned into computer screens and smart phones. We add comments to the stories that capture our interest and can quickly dive deeper into the news via the Internet. But the most engaging story is the one that we live. It’s Facebook, where news and our own personal lives commingle. We can read the news, get gossip, can catch up with high school friends, or simply lurk in the background.
In San Clemente, Facebook has taken center stage. One of the most popular forums is “San Clemente Life”, with over 9,000 members and a dedication to all the things we love about San Clemente. There’s a certain mesmerizing quality to a sunset pier photo, or the view through one of the “bubble man’s” giant creations. I think only kitten videos are more addicting.
There are some new Facebook pages popping up, and they’re interesting to note. Started only two-plus months ago, “Crime in San Clemente and Safety Tips” is a closed group that already has more than 2,500 members. There’s also Fight for Talega (900-plus), Capo Cares (900-plus), Take Action San Clemente (800-plus) and others. In case you can’t tell, most of these groups are centered around trying to make sense of the sober living home mess, a recent increase in aggressive and mentally unstable transients, and a big rise in crime and drugs that seem to come from the aftermath of Prop 47.
While there are no kittens playing with yarn on these forums, it’s gratifying to see neighbors banding together to try to create a better San Clemente any way possible. It’s also interesting to note San Clemente Life (my favorite) has more than a one-year head start on “Crime in San Clemente” in terms of viewers, although “Crime” is picking up 50-plus people per day.
It’s my hope that our neighbors join together to make positive changes, that the city listens to them and helps, and that the forum “Crime in San Clemente” stays small while “San Clemente Life” gives those kitten videos a run for their money.