June 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Journalism: Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson plans new paper in Eugene Oregon

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Peace Corps Malaysia : The Peace Corps in Malaysia: June 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Journalism: Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson plans new paper in Eugene Oregon

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-45-115.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, June 19, 2004 - 10:48 am: Edit Post

Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson plans new paper in Eugene Oregon

Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson plans new paper in Eugene Oregon

Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson plans new paper in Eugene Oregon

Maverick publisher headed to Oregon

Anderson Valley Advertiser creator plans new paper in Eugene

June 19, 2004


The sacred cow -- already threatened in Mendocino County by the ruthless pen of newspaper publisher Bruce Anderson -- may soon be endangered in parts north with Anderson's move to Eugene, Ore.

Still settling into his new community -- though perhaps not its embrace -- Anderson said he plans to launch a second newspaper, similar to the wildly scornful, many say recklessly libelous, Anderson Valley Advertiser, which he has published from his Boonville home for 20 years.

Though he ultimately may sell the Advertiser, Anderson said by e-mail this week that it "will remain pretty much the same" for now, with its publisher contributing from afar and traveling back and forth, at least until he sells his Anderson Valley house.

The new paper, to be called 'Gene!, will focus on Lane County, Ore., where he is said to be staying with friends while buying a home. He hopes to begin publication in January.

In the meantime, he plans to distribute the Advertiser around town "so people can get an idea of what to expect, and they can start building the wall of hostility between me and the rest of the community," he told the Eugene Register-Guard.

Anderson, a 64-year-old former Marine and Peace Corps volunteer, is known for a bruising, confrontational style that some say often overlooks reality and fact, though Anderson defends as satire fictional interviews, quotes and anecdotes he's published.

His departure may mark a new, safer era for public officials in Mendocino County, nearly all of whom have been caught in his sights in what are often personal, brutal tirades.

Cruel, crazy, brutal, abusive and outright fictional are some of the terms used by some of his past targets to describe Anderson's work. And though many readers understand that he takes liberties with the truth -- some calling it entertainment -- others said too many readers take it as fact.

"Best news since the Nazis were driven out of Paris," one person said about Anderson's move, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear that "anything I say will be used against me."

"Only crazy people will miss Bruce Anderson," said writer Michael Koepf, a contributor to the Advertiser for its first six years, until he turned witness against the publisher over his treatment of two teens in a group home he operated.

The abuse allegations surfaced after Anderson appealed the county's refusal to grant him a foster care license. Though an administrative judge said she didn't believe the allegations were true, she ruled against him on other grounds.

A few fans

Anderson has defenders who say his relentless critiques have focused scrutiny on areas that needed attention -- conditions in the Mendocino County Jail, for example, witnessed first-hand during a 35-day stay for decking a school superintendent who called him a "third-rate McCarthyite" during a public meeting.

Some even say his contentious, caustic approach masks a soft heart for children and underdogs.

"He's shined a light on a lot of things that needed illumination," said Mendocino County District Attorney Norm Vroman, whose initial election is credited by some to Anderson's verbal pounding of former District Attorney Susan Massini.

A conciliatory Massini said: "He obviously carries things too far ... but that's part of getting people to pay attention to what they haven't been paying attention to."

But Massini also said Anderson misused his intelligence and writing talent on unnecessary, personal attacks on people and their families.

Mendocino County Supervisor Richard Shoemaker distinguished, for instance, the stinging barbs printed about public officials from the "cruel" and "tabloidish" personal attacks made against citizens not otherwise in the public eye.

"Whether you agree with him or not," said Vroman, "it's nice to have a newspaper that's not beholden to anyone and doesn't have a political agenda."

For his part, Anderson -- an occasional political candidate whose newspaper's banner urges "Peace to the cottages! War on the Palaces!" -- has taken pride in offending people from all political stripes, as well as aging hippies, environmentalists, ranchers and the wine culture.

He said his idea when he bought the Advertiser in 1983 "was to put out a paper that alienated all of them," columnist Alexander Cockburn wrote recently, quoting Anderson saying, "I unified the community -- against me."

Anderson appears poised to do the same in Eugene, declaring it rife with "whole regiments of highly irritating people -- Mendocino County squared," according to "An Interview With Himself" announcing his move in the June 2 edition of the Advertiser.

Can he stay away?

Some are skeptical that Anderson will stay in Eugene, a community selected in part because his wife, Ling, has close friends there but where he has no following.

He announced a similar, later-aborted move to Humboldt County in 1995, telling readers: "When you get to where about half the people you see in Mendocino County inspire intense homicidal fantasies, it's clearly time for a change of terrain."

Koepf said he could imagine Anderson coming back this time, too. "In Eugene, he's just an aging Marxist nursing his latte at Starbucks," he said, "blowing off steam with the other old liberals."

But Anderson, in a column called "Oregon, First Impressions," published June 9, said he wouldn't "miss progressive Mendocino County in the least."

"It's an institutionally cruel and stupid place, politically considered," he said, "and the people who seem to think they stand for something better, don't."

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or at mcallahan@pressdemocrat.com.

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Story Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat

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