Doug’s Rant

| Doug's Rants | July 13, 2017

He Once Told Me He Liked The Gazette:  (Think of it in the form of a song)

I and John Musella, who is the chairman of the board of the SCV Chamber of Commerce and acting CEO, used to be on friendly terms. I remember him telling me some years back that he “really liked the Gazette.” Apparently, his feelings have waned, reminding me of the song: “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” or maybe the break-up song I heard that goes: “She Hates Me, She Really Hates Me.” Although she is a he in this case, you get the point.

For some reason our relationship has become strained in recent months, although I can’t imagine why. I think the Gazette’s coverage of the Chamber’s goings on have been fair, accurate and balanced, but apparently he doesn’t feel the same way. Imagine my shock and disappointment when I received this email from him last week:

“Please cancel the delivery of The Gazette to the SCV Chamber office. We just put them directly into the recycling when they arrive every week. It would be better for the environment if you stopped delivering them.”

 It felt like a kick in the stomach, as my world came crashing down. I was surprised by his concern for the environment, since he is a Conservative and in business with The Dump, so I emailed him back: “What is it; you don’t like my support of President Trump?”


I was hoping for some reasonable justification and clarification for the jolting news, but it only got worse as he replied:

“Your question implies I read the Gazette.” Now this publisher is singing the song: “It’s Over, It’s Really Over.”  I’m not sure how I’m going to get through the rest of this rant with my depleted spirit, but I’ll give it my “Best Shot.” If I can’t get through this, maybe I’ll head to Arizona singing “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

 Too Much Heat in the Community Kitchen?       

Santa Clarita Community is a cool Facebook group with thousands of members, and the group’s creed is “Your Daily Community Connection.” I certainly agree with that description, as members of the group post informative and fun stuff all the time.

Some months ago I was encouraged by one of the founders to submit my rants each week. I remember saying something along the lines of, “Are you sure that will go over well?” The reply was something like, “Who cares; do it anyway.” So, most weeks I would post the column and from time to time received some disagreeing comments, which was fine with me. I think I even got a concurring remark along the way.

Then the last couple of weeks I noticed the rants were not appearing on the site. When I inquired as to why, I was told, “We aren’t doing national political posts in the group for a bit … it’s become so tense we decided to keep any political discussions locally focused and see how that goes.”  That’s fair — it’s their group and they have every right to determine what goes in or doesn’t go in.

But, later I got to thinking it rang of liberal snowflakes needing safe spaces. I flashed back to a member of the group who harshly criticized me for running Hart School Board member Joe Messina’s columns in the Gazette. The columns were all about national issues and had absolutely nothing to do with anything locally, let alone the school district. But, she was livid such conservative crap would come from a school board member. I asked what his thoughts on national politics had to do with his position, but didn’t get a logical answer.                

I would like to think that mature adults on either side of the political spectrum would be able to post their views and enter into constructive debates without tenseness getting in the way and ruining the opportunity for the rest of us. I hope the folks in the community group can get to that point someday soon.

An Open Letter to John Musella:

 The opening portion of this column was written earlier in the week based on an email I received last week, and obviously, it was written tongue in cheek. Later in the week I was alerted to a local podcast with John Musella as the guest. This letter is in response to statements made by John during the podcast.

Dear John,

In response to the recent interview you did, I found it amusing, as well as somewhat baffling. You asserted that the Gazette (or “a group of people,” as you stated it) put out “false information, making a stink about nothing” regarding the Latino Chamber/Bill Miranda controversy. You proclaimed we are “running around with no facts, no information, no evidence, no nothing” and “they are just running around saying it and just saying it doesn’t make it true.”

I’ll ignore your disparaging remarks regarding myself and the Gazette, as you said: “If you can even call it a newspaper” and then referred to it as “the classifieds.” I’ll even disregard your trashing the professional life of Lee Barnathan (the lead reporter of the series). I’ll ignore this stuff because we have made every effort during this controversial journey to refrain from the type of spiteful rhetoric you lowered yourself to in the interview.

I am curious as to why the podcast moderator didn’t bring up the racism issue that Mr. Miranda alluded to (resorted to) regarding myself. I’m also curious how you would have responded to the question.

By the way, you said my company is a “non dues-paying member.” While I admit we are a month past due (although we didn’t have record of being billed for the dues until you personally sent me the past due invoice for 2017 the day before you did the podcast). I will tell you that from 1998 through 2016 we paid approximately $7,500 in dues and related expenditures, but I digress.

John, you went on and on about “baseless allegations, rumors, innuendos,” on our part, stating “show me the proof.” You claimed to have the proof of no wrongdoing, including “all of the documentation, emails and checks.” When pressed about showing the proof, you responded with something along the lines of, “I’m not going to waste my time or the Chamber’s staff time responding to every crazy person who says something about something.”

Let’s back up a moment. On April 21 of this year, the Gazette published an article entitled “Messy Merger.” When that week’s issue closed-out with the story in question it was fast forgotten by myself and the reporter. The story made its point regarding the merging of the two chambers and the seemingly uncounted for monies. We then moved on to other news for the following week and the article would have been buried in the newspaper morgue from then on.

That is, until Bill Miranda went on KHTS radio and lambasted myself, the writer and the Gazette with false accusations. We responded to those allegations and that should have been that. But, I was then asked to appear on KHTS and things exploded, including Miranda’s racist insinuations against me. Mr. Miranda told Carl Goldman he had all of the proof that was needed and would be back in two weeks to provide it on the air, which still hasn’t occurred several weeks later.

During this entire adventure, the Gazette provided nothing but facts and factual statements from involved parties. Not once did our reporting or my statements on the radio go anywhere near the type of rancid communication you are accusing us of creating.

John, I’m not sure if you will read this, because you indicated to me last week you don’t read the Gazette, but I would like to issue a challenge to you and Bill Miranda to join Lee Barnathan and myself on the air and go over the proof that you and Bill claim to have. If the proof is viable, the Gazette will responsibly report it with a front page story.

If you have the documents you claim to have, why do we have to wait? Let’s do this and put it to bed once and for all.


Doug Sutton




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About Doug Sutton

Doug Sutton is the publisher of Santa Clarita Gazette, Canyon Country and Santa Clarita Living Magazines. Doug is active in Rotary Club of Santa Clarita, the local Chamber of Commerce and Heart of the Canyons Church. Doug and Jeannie have been married for 32 years, living in the Santa Clarita Valley for 20 years, raising their 3 sons here.

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