Last week, you published a letter to the editor that included one man’s opinion that John Simpson of the Rainbow Inn was driven by a profit motive for his work on the Idyllwild Community Recreation Council (ICRC). All who know Mr. Simpson and the Rainbow Inn are aware that they have made immeasurable contributions of time and funds to this community. This letter is to inform those who may not know, what I believe to be the facts.
Over 12 years ago, a movement began to create a new community center. This was intended to augment Town Hall, which was built in 1946 when the town had about 500 or so residents. In the event of a natural disaster, this new center would be a safe haven. It would support the needs of children, adults — young and old — and be accessible to the handicapped for the purposes of recreation and education.
The [Idyllwild] Community Center land is on private property that was purchased by a private citizen and given to a private board [ICRC] for the charitable benefit of this community. ICRC has always welcomed the community to its open meetings, and held the input of citizens in the highest regard. In recent years the county, particularly the Economic Development Agency, and the Town Crier have been scrutinizing the operation of this board, which I have been proud to have been a member of. So much so, that many volunteers including myself have resigned due to the stress of this continual badgering. ICRC took over recreation from the Chamber of Commerce when no one else was willing to increase recreation opportunities here.
John Simpson did not live in Idyllwild when this all began so many years ago. Yet, he stepped up and took the helm when others like myself began to feel the ill effects of this type of “pervasive investigative journalism” and resigned for reasons of health or sanity preservation. I agree that all activities of ICRC should be open and aboveboard, and I agree that all should have the right to free speech. What I don’t agree with is allowing someone to disparage a man and his buisness in print when many who read this paper might not know that individual, or that he is of the highest caliber. This sort of editorial decision not only costs the paper many friendships, but also places its credibitilty on the line.
The impression the Town Crier leaves with its constant attacks on ICRC, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District and other volunteer organizations is that it is the “Angriest little paper west of Manhattan.” This is a community, not a personal playground where the bullies must always win.