Another undying story: taco truck. Examiner blogger Caroline Grannan posted a list of myth-debunkings about the taco truck rules in San Francisco, including some sharp criticism of Burrito Justice’s fine map-with-red-circles, which we lauded earlier this week. Grannan also fesses up to having been part of the group that worked for the no-food-trucks-within-1500-feet-of-schools rule. It’s the brave new world of blogging, in which you declare your bias and then defend it.

And that brave new world is looking more and more like the future, if the Chronicle and SFGate are any indication. The paper continues to wow online readers today with its spectacularly weird taste in advertising-as-wallpaper. What does it mean, after all, when your ad copy (“The Secret Lives of Seahorses”) font is larger than that of your own title? Seahorses are definitely cool, and so is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but the wavy seagrass effect is just a little overpowering. Oh, newspapers: even if you don’t survive in print, please retain a little of your gravitas.

In more practical news, city Treasurer Jose Cisneros reminded us today that folks making less than $45,000 in 2008 qualify for free tax help at 20 locations around the city. Even if you don’t owe taxes, city employees and their partners in the Earn it! Keep it! Save it! project can help you file for your Earned Income Tax Credit, which means up to $4800 in your pocket. Plus, you might qualify for the San Francisco Working Families Credit, which would add another $100 in cash money. No need to pay the tax-refund sharks a percentage of your hard-earned dough — call 211 for more information about the free assistance, or visit www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org.

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5 Comments

  1. “Fesses up” would imply some kind of guilt and secrecy, wouldn’t it? Actually, I’ve been an open, out-of-the-closet advocate for children’s health and healthy school food for quite a few years now! I’m not ashamed to admit it! I spoke publicly and openly in the early public meetings that led up to the ordinance that limits catering trucks’ access to schools; no secret there. Before that I spoke publicly and openly in favor of banishing junk food and soda sales from schools themselves, and I wrote a California state PTA resolution that called for removing junk food from schools and that became state PTA policy in 2004. I’m not exactly in hiding.

    I don’t think that voicing opinions is part of any “brave new world” in blogging. For as long as blogging has been with us, it has been about expressing opinions. Of course, that’s the same think as “declar(ing) your bias and then defending it,” except that calling it “bias” makes it sound like something wrong. But actually, expressing opinions is free expression, something we celebrate in our democracy — rather than trying to stifle by making it sound like wrongdoing.

    Yes, I have opinions on this issue (and others). That’s basically what my blog is about.

    My criticism of Burrito Justice’s map is that it’s inaccurate, because it shows many more restricted sites than actually exist under the law.

    Here’s the link to my post setting the record straight on that and other misunderstandings about this issue:

    http://tinyurl.com/dz6b72

    1. Caroline, thanks for your comment. You’re right — there’s nothing wrong with having an opinion or a bias, and we didn’t mean to say there is. But I do think we are in a brave new world, or headed toward one, in which most of our news is coming from folks with declared interests in a subject. Case in point: your blog and Burrito Justice on the taco truck saga. Meanwhile, the Chronicle’s rate of shrivel is increasing. And the same can be said of newspapers all over the country, newspapers that pride themselves in trying to be objective sources. Good or bad, it’s definitely a major shift, and one worth thinking about.

  2. As the wife of a 33-year Chronicle reporter who took the buyout last week, believe me, I’m on the same page on that issue! When I’m not advocating on children’s health and other education issues, I obsess about the death of journalism.

    I’m afraid it’s up to this generation of youth (my teens, the young journalists posting here and their peers) to figure out how to provide an income stream that will continue to support professional journalism. Mine stumbled badly on that.

    (Back on the original topic, I would emphasize that there’s nothing furtive, illicit or suspect about being a children’s health and nutrition advocate either.)

  3. Speaking of a world without professional newsgatherers: I’m finding it not just annoying but sleazy that a food blogger named Meredith Brody posted a sneering commentary on the SF Weekly blog about the taco truck issue without making the slightest effort to get the full information or check facts — and the Weekly’s blog “holds for moderation” responses by new posters.

    The post is being showcased on the Weekly’s homepage, with a photo of the taco truck. I responded right away (yesterday afternoon) to correct the misconceptions and provide accurate information, but the misinformation stands uncorrected while someone presumably intends to someday get around to approving the response(s) — or, possibly, not.

    This does give us a view of a world where all information comes from “citizen bloggers.” Not that bloggers are the only ones guilty of spreading misinformation; the practice in mainstream journalism is known as “check it and lose it.”

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