Claremont COURIER/Friday, April 12, 2013
The Claremont Courier (United States Postal Service 115-180) is published once weekly by the Courier Graphics Corporation at 1420 N. ClaremontBlvd., Suite 205B, Claremont, California 91711-5003. The Courier is a newspaper of general circulation as defined by the political code of the state of California, entered as periodicals matter September 17, 1908 at the post office at Claremont, California under the act of March 3, 1879. Periodicals postageis paid at Claremont, California 91711-5003. Single copy: One dollar. Annual subscription: $52.00. Send all remittances and correspondence about sub-scriptions, undelivered copies and changes of address to the Courier, 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Suite 205B, Claremont, California 91711-5003. Tele-phone: 909-621-4761. Copyright © 2013 Claremont Courier
one hundred and fifth year, number 22
420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205BClaremont, CA 91711
(909) 621-4761Office hours: Monday-Friday9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Publisher and Owner
Photo Editor/Staff Photographer
Reporter At Large
Kathryn Dunn, Jenelle Rensch
Office Manager/ Legal Notices
Christina BurtonAnam Sethi
ou may not think much of the public no-tices (we call them legals) in most com-munity newspapers, but printing them,and printing of them correctly, is serious busi-ness. Public notices are also important revenuefor newspapers publishing them. In some cases,eliminating public notice revenue from a smallnewspaper could put it out of business.
Assembly Bill 642, authored by Anthony Rendon (D-Bell),proposes to permit online publishing of public notices by call-ing Internet-only entities “newspapers of general circulation.”Yes, that’s correct. This bill is written so a website can qualifyas a newspaper to increase business.Affected would be notice of public meetings, namechanges, trustee sales and business statements.Rendon agreed to carry the legislation at the specific requestof AOL, who owns the Patch local news websites. Patch is allover California and was the brainchild of current CEO TimArmstrong several years ago.The problem is Patch isn’t doing too well financially, havingconsistent quality, accuracy and local sales challenges. Plus, run-ning a business based on local online advertising is a real toughgo. I applaud their efforts, but their business model isn’t workingand it’s been losing millions since it started. And now Mr. Arm-strong is taking serious heat from investors to retire Patch.So AOL’s latest idea is to take the public notice business outof the local communities to help their bottom line. If you can’tbeat them, get a bill passed that calls your website a newspa-per. It’s a classic case of big business versus small.What this means is it’s optional to get them published in anewspaper, which means few people will do so. Knowing howaccurate information is on the Internet, even as a consumer,this just doesn’t make good sense…unless you are AOL.Newspapers are also best equipped to handle and guide aperson through the fickle nature of the notices (one mistakeand you start over.) The COURIER office manager and publicnotice expert Vickie Rosenberg put it this way: “The numberone pitfall with an inexperienced person would be understand-ing the parameters of publishing different legal notices. Not alllegals have the same guidelines. Some people take the paper-work home and fill it out. When they return, 90 percent of thetime there’s an issue that would make the notice invalid.”In addition to filing the notices properly with the courts, Ms.Rosenberg also makes sure all parties get hard copies.I see nothing wrong with publishing public notices like cityagendas on the Internet. Like the COURIER, just about everynewspaper in the state has the information on their websites. Butwe need print, too. I’ve never seen a person hack a printed page,try a work-around to cut corners, or fix a mistake mid-stream.How comfortable would you be if a person gave you a legaldocument printed off the Internet? How comfortable wouldyou be with a blog qualified as a “newspaper” under AB 642handling your legal matters? Customer service would meanclicking an email link and hoping for a timely reply.I find people who support and sponsor this type of legisla-tion have no clue what it takes to publish legals correctly.In fact, under this bill, someone in the public notice busi-ness doesn’t even need a brick-and-mortar building and busi-ness office. You could easily be contacting someone far-faraway. This was designed for AOL/Patch, because it’s impossi-ble for them to staff every community.Finally, the most popular argument supporters of AB 642make is access. The Internet is a better place to find this infor-mation, especially in the digital age. But I ask, what aboutlow-income families and seniors who may not have access to acomputer? These are the people who are not heard and wouldbe impacted the most.Even with secure websites, public notices are legal docu-ments, and should be treated as such. If Mr. Armstrong fromAOL really wants to print public notices, just call me. I canrecommend some great deals on printing presses.I want to encourage our COURIER friends to contact thechairman of the Judiciary Committee (below) to lend an opin-ion about AB 642. Clearly, this is big business at work at theexpense of consumers and local newspapers. Thank you foryour help.Bob WieckowskiPO Box 942849, State Capital Room 4016Sacramento, CA 94249Email: assemblymember.wieckowski@ assembly.ca.gov
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