Legal notice practices, small towns and who’s getting overlooked

Stockton, El Dorado, Cedar County — it’s where most all of us reading this live. This area alone is home to thousands.

Sure, in some cases our neighbors may be spread few and far between, but the greater Cedar County population itself is well over 14,000. Add in neighboring counties and the far reaches of our paper’s circulation area and we’re talking numbers well into six figures.

The Cedar County Republican is the longest standing paper in the area I just referenced.

So, why is Jefferson City overlooking us when it comes to legal notices and some public record practices?

One would think if pressing legal matters or public disclosures were required, the publication with the most longevity and highest circulation in a given area would be a strong contender to carry out such tasks.

In this case, I’m addressing the recent medical marijuana amendment passage and all the legal announcements which preceded it — of which the CCR received none. Zero. Zip. Nada.

So, what’s the reason for the overlook here? Is it intentional?

One can only speculate, but logic tells my habitually over-thinking-self there’s got to be a reason.

Typically, standard operating procedure for any given political announcement requiring public conveyance is tasking the paper of record in a specific district with the duty of printing said legal notices. It also is in accordance with state sunshine laws and standard balloting announcement practices.

In this case, the CCR is the paper of record for Cedar County.

While it may seem inconsequential to some, a big part our duty as the paper of record here is to bring our readers full, complete, accurate and current information provided to us by local, regional, state and federal governing bodies.

Multiple full-page pressings were sent to the other four publications in our collective group of newspapers, with the CCR being the only exception.

I’m not talking about lost revenue here, I’m talking about the possibility of a tactical omission near the top of the informational chain.

While our elected Jefferson City folk and the powers that be obviously know the SOP, there’s an obvious oversight or an intentional slight here which directly victimizes our readers.

Are we calling anyone out? Well, no. Not specifically anyway.

I’m in no rush to take that course. And, in my younger years, I gleaned more than enough experience in going off half-cocked to tell you this is neither the time nor the medium in which to do such a thing.

The real meat and potatoes here is simple: every reader in our circulation area was denied the ability to read, evaluate, assess and digest thousands of explanatory words regarding all facets of an amendment to our state’s constitution.

This should have been (and previously has been) made available to our community of readers in physical print — and this farm-boy-turned-firefighter-journalist thinks there’s a tangible reason behind it.

While I’m not itching to point fingers just yet, like many of you, I would very much like to know the motive and logic behind this quandary.

I don’t have immediate answers for John and Jane Q. Public just yet — emphasis on the “yet” there.

I wish I did, but, logic tells me shaking a few trees and beating a few bushes will do more in this case than a number of other more pointed approaches.

Until then, stay tuned, dear readers.

So, to sum this one up, when we have answers, so too will you.

Because that’s what your 134-year-old paper of record owes you. 

Brite, a Cedar County Republican reporter, occasionally pens topical opinion columns.

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