Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In Which Vijay Kothare Talks of Terrorists and Parasites in His Report as the CHCA Board Consultant

The following letter was provided to Chestnut Hill residents and others. It appeared on the Chestnut Hill Local web site for a brief period, but was ordered removed within a few days by CHCA board representatives. Needless to say, they were antagonistic to the message. We think the writing speaks for itself. It was addressed to a Chestnut Hill Community Association Executive Board member as well as the Chestnut Hill Community as a whole. The author was retained as a consultant by board members in the wake of the resignations of the editor and assistant editor of the Chestnut Hill Local.

Open letter to Sanjiv Jain and Chestnut Hill

Dear Sanjiv,

You asked me, "What is the solution to the problem at the Local?" So, I am putting on my consultant's hat, as I have done in the past, when called in by publishers to evaluate their publications. What I am about to write may be obvious. Still, it needs to be said.

To be blunt, The Chestnut Hill Community Association is being targeted and held hostage by terrorists and parasites. Unfortunately, the terrorists and parasites are winning. Under the guise of protecting editorial purity and freedom of the press, they have managed to falsely paint the CHCA board as bad guys and get the community on their side. I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would have done with a problem child like "The Local"?

There are three camps here fighting at cross-purposes.

The first camp is the Chestnut Hill Community Association. This group is made up of volunteers, who give their time and often, even their money, because they have an interest in their community. The CHCA also owns and publishes the Chestnut Hill Local. This group is hemmed in by certain bylaws that prevent any communication with the editor of the Local or his staff. No self-respecting publisher should use pressure; however, as publisher, he should have a voice regarding the nature of journalistic responsibility and good judgment. If the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal were restricted by the same type of laws that create this firewall between the CHCA and the staff of the Local, they would long be out of business.

The CHCA has created 50 publishers. That is 49 too many by any standard of responsible governance. Thus, the CHCA has become a hydra-headed monster and it is a monster infected by a serious virus. That virus is The Chestnut Hill Local. The concept of this community paper has great merit. However, what the paper has become under its staff of terrorists, and has been allowed to become under various boards of directors, is infecting and sickening the CHCA.

This brings me to the second camp, the editorial staff of the Local, also referred to here as "the terrorists.” This group is a total of 4-5 people, including production. Through their interaction with the clerical staff, they are able to apply influence upon them. They bank upon the herd instinct, which offers the clerical staff a comfort zone. The clerical staff does not realize they are being sucked into the insurgency by the terrorists.

The third group, I call "the parasites.” They live within the bloodstream of the CHCA. Call then dissidents, "The Gang of Eight" or "The Second Opinion Caucus.” They sit upon a fence and will jump into any camp that suits their purposes. These parasites have been won over by the terrorists. In fact, there is a strange, highly active feeding frenzy between the terrorists and the parasites. They feed upon each other for moral support, legal support and gossip. The parasites regularly disrupt work at the Local by having meetings with their terrorists in production, during office hours, as they did today. They are deeply engaged in back stabbing and the killing away of those good cells in the CHCA that work hard to restore the health of the organization. 

This last group, the parasites, remind me of the Saudi Royal family that spends America's petrodollars to finance madras's for indoctrinating terrorists, and Pakistan's secret service, the ISI, which provides funds and guns and materials for terrorist activities in Kashmir and India and provides a safe have within Pakistan. This comparison may appear far-fetched, but it illustrates the type of structure that supports insurgency, because terrorism cannot exist in a vacuum. 

I have not read the fine print in the bylaws regarding what the CHCA can do about these terrorists and parasites who hold it hostage. Lenin once remarked that revolutions are started by a handful of dedicated terrorists. In this case, it is more mean-spirited mischief than revolution.

I grew up with a father who was a banker. Since leaving Stanford I have worked as both a reporter and editor for various business magazines. I have spent my lifetime with the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and fledgling entrepreneurs. These people took risks everyday and fought for their visions, launching companies, products or services and making them grow. My father's advice would be to "clean house and start fresh".  It can be done, but it requires guts to stand up to terrorists. It requires that the CHCA define their vision and stand up for it.

When the board brings in an outsider as the new editor, it will inevitably face the same problems all over again, unless the house cleaning gets done. The new editor will have to choose sides to survive. On the one side, the terrorists and their parasite moles on the board. On the other side, the CHCA board that chose him. The new editor will have no real choice but to go with the terrorists because they are his staff. He will have to work with them everyday. He will have to get work out of them, socialize with them, be their pal. He can never be their leader. He may think that he is, but he too will have been sucked into the bloodstream of the virus. There is no middle ground.  He must be either with them or against them, and the terrorists have their numbers in their favor as well as their parasite moles from the dissident group.  

Who, then, is the publisher of the Chestnut Hill Local? The dissident group becomes the de facto publisher. It starts to create a support structure for the new editor. He is encouraged to come to them, to feed from their trough. To these stealth envoys, these moles, these parasites, access to the editor, who holds the megaphone for the community (at least he thinks so) is the closest they have come to the powerful mystic of journalistic triumph.

My advice to any new editor would be to get a letter signed by all 50 members of the board of The Chestnut Hill Community Association giving responsibility and authority without interference from them. These dissidents need to be chopped off at the knees. If such an arrangement is not possible, it means that the board will continue to be at the mercy of the Local's staff of terrorists and their parasite moles within the board. It also means the CHCA must become resigned to the fact that they will need to look for a new editor every year or so.

The Local needs leadership, but how can the CHCA offer leadership while it is held hostage? First, the CHCA must solve the insurgency problem. The solution must be more than the CHCA vice president of operations coming in and reading the riot act. The Chestnut Hill Local needs a drastic overhaul.

Perhaps you do not want to hear this, but then, what are friends for?

Vijay Kothare

The preceding letter was written to Sanjiv Jain, a member of the Executive Committee of the Chestnut Hill Community Association, in response to his request for an assessment of the situation within the staff of the Chestnut Hill Local.

Vijay Kothare spent one week in the Local's offices to assist the editorial department in the absence of resigned staffers Jim Sturdivant and Mike Mishak. 

The letter has been edited to increase the clarity of its content for the general public by Pamela Waters, board member, CHCA.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a sad reflection on what was only recently a vibrant newspaper. Seeing what the Local publishes lately only intensifies how angry I am about what these people have done to the newspaper. There is no excuse for their incompetence and malfeasance.

A Chestnut Hill resident

Wed Dec 28, 10:59:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat Jan 21, 04:22:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to know who removed this extraordinarily bizarre letter from the CH Local website. I reflects SO badly on the Dornemann side that I can only think the good reverend and her pals insisted it be deleted. On the other hand, FIT graduate Pammy Waters didn't notice anything journalistically untoward in it. Cut people off at the knees!!!???

The newspaper has become a sad joke. An "editor" who fills the papers with press releases from the AAA and inane anectdotes instead of editorials. An "editor" who runs opinion columns as front-page stories without even a byline.

A very concerned Chestnut Hill resident

P.S. Who gives a damn about Vijay's oh-so-important father? A google search on this egotistical young man reveals a co-editorship on a nursing manual and nothing else.

Sat Jan 21, 04:44:00 PM EST  
Anonymous CHjournprof said...

Now that you've posted this letter, how about the one from Richard Snowden in which he threatens to hammer the Local unless they're nice to him and remove all the negative stories about him from the archives? (This was the subject of a Tom Ferrick column late last year.)

Fri Jan 27, 01:05:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A flyer from Legacy Real Estate appeared on my kitchen counter the other day. I felt like someone had dropped a little snake in my house. The president of Legacy Real Estate introduced Chestnut Hill to Vijay Khotare and his truly frightening diatribe. The idea of doing business with someone who does not think Mr. Khotare is a deluded, scary human being is unthinkable. That goes for Pam Waters, too.

Tue Feb 07, 08:58:00 AM EST  

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