Article stepped over the line | Letter to the Editor
August 30, 2011 · Updated 12:21 PM
I am a week late in writing this but the feeling is still real and strong. Due to what I believe was a grave error in judgment by Leslie Brown, Greg and Margaret Wessel have been very ill served. A story of suspicion, feuding between neighbors and gossip somehow became part of a story about how a government error brought a fellow Islander a “noteworthy” chunk of change (despite the fact that he was trying to sell a property with a house that had been built illegally) at the tax-payers’ expense. The unsubstantiated accusations as well have now been thoroughly distributed throughout the Vashon community so the Wessels are in a position of wondering what people think about them. This sucks!
Brown’s Aug. 17 article “Lawsuit over a letter spotlights a tough land use dispute,” was informative of the results of Bill Tobin’s lawsuit with the county but stepped way over the journalistic line when the unverified accusations of trespass, anonymous reporting to the county, and a broad and vague comment of some past interference with a land sale on the county’s behalf by Greg, were so undocumented that they amount to gossip. The tidbits about the forensic experts were neat but also unverified. There is no value to the community in this type of tabloid journalism.
The fact that I think Greg and Margaret are great people is irrelevant. This should not happen to anyone in the local paper. The Beachcomber is a valuable medium on the Island but should really work harder. When an Islander has gone through due process and is penalized for unethical behavior or has a victory over the government due to an error such as Bill Tobin experienced, let’s hear about it. The unfounded stuff simply spreads gossip.
— Jon Whalen
Editor’s note: The news story about this dispute was based on extensive interviews with all the parties as well as court documents, and The Beachcomber fully stands behind the article.