Our RC Now blogger Wendy Leung used to print the occasional email or voice mail transcript of a reader comment under the heading “Your two cents.” What the heck, I’ll try it too. This was an emailed comment from a Lemon Festival official about my column last Wednesday on an Upland council meeting. The email was also sent to 20 other people, many of them at City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce or Fairplex, which certainly put me in distinguished company.
“Dear Mr. Allen;
“Your article about the Elephant rides and the Upland Lemon Festival was, as usual very misleading. If you had taken the time to read the article in your newspaper in regard to why the elephant rides will not be at the LA County Fair this year, you would have learned that it had nothing to do with safety or any other aspect other than a change up of theming at the fair.
“Have Trunk Will Travel has a safety record beyond reproach. They promote the breeding of Asian Elephants and have had elephants give birth at their ranch due to there program, which is privately funded. You try in vain to cast them in villainous role when nothing could be further from the truth.
“Have you seen their facility, or the custom trailers that were made specifically for the elephants, or better yet, taken the time to call them or ask questions? I will venture to say you haven’t, as most journalists would much rather write something without any facts as that is what responsible journalism is all about, is it not?
“How many people were able to see or even ride an elephant at the Lemon Festival? How many people were able to talk to Have Trunk Will Travel and LEARN about the elephants during the festival? Thousands. One person makes a negative comment, and out of nearly 100,000 people that’s what you choose to write about. Amazing. Perhaps we should ban all clowns, balloons, cotton candy, carnival rides, petting zoo’s & pony rides too, as I am sure there is someone that was scared by or doesn’t like them for what ever reason.
“Gary & Kari Johnson have done more and continue to do more for the welfare, preservation & conservation of the Asian elephants than you could ever imagine. If all animals were cared for and provided for as well as their elephants, this world would be a much better place. Next time, please take the time to learn the facts, prior to writing something just to sell news papers.
Founder Upland Lemon Festival”
Personally I think Mark read more into what I wrote than was there. I never said anything about “safety,” for instance, and don’t believe I cast anybody in a “villainous role.” (I also doubt that what I wrote sold any newspapers, although the idea that I did is flattering.) But what do you think? Was my commentary misleading or unfair?