Council Junket, Gangnam Style.

Back on September 20th, Brea Matters commented on the taxpayer paid vacation Don Schweitzer, Brett Murdock and Tim O’Donnell made to Anseong, South Korea and Hanno, Japan. Terri Daxon had a good piece on the same topic in the Star Progress the same day, but someone at the OCR felt it wasn’t worth their ink so it never made it into the Register’s print or web editions.

The total of the final tab remains a party secret, but airfare alone was $5,000 bucks.  An almost comical attempt at justifying the trip was made during a Sister City presentation to Council and now, 48 days later, the Orange County Register has graciously reprinted a city press release that, except for a sensationalist headline, paints a rosy picture of the junket.

Way to keep up with the news folks!

The CIOFF – International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folkarts are the promoters of the Anseong “World Folkloriada.”  The first such event was held in 1996, and there have only been four others since then, including Anseong.

It’s hardly an ancient and treasured event.  I have t-shirts older than that with far greater sentimental value and some representing a memorable cross-cultural exchange.

According to the CIOFF website, their objectives are to:

  • Promote the intangible heritage, through forms of expression such as dance, music, games, rituals, customs and other arts.
  • Serve the objectives of UNESCO.
  • Support the activities of its members and those of non-governmental organizations working in the areas of folklore and cultural heritage.  (Note the non-governmental reference and the absence of any reference to commerce or trade development.)
  • Serve the cause of peace and non-violence through the implementation of the above objectives.

Unlike the OCR’s reporting that, “The trip was a chance to learn from people in the sister cities and make contacts that could lead to commerce between Asian and Brea businesses.” – the sponsoring organization has nothing to do with commerce at any level.  For Mayor Schweitzer and friends to suggest this trip was about business is either hugely naive or willfully false.

Shame on the Orange County Register!  This is about as blatant a reprinting of a city press release as anything I’ve seen in the OCR.  Michael Mello, staff writer I guess, seems to have taken the Ryan/Reimer release and printed it verbatim.

What has happened to journalistic integrity? Would Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley or Bernstein and Woodward think this was a solid story? Not on your life.

How arrogant and totally presumptive, in his final days in office, for a Mayor to stick his hand in the cookie jar one final time.

How insulting that he passed out free cookies to his best friends… especially when there aren’t enough cookies to go around anymore.